One of my big pandemic activities (like everyone else!) has been developing a sourdough starter, and playing around with bread making. With little yeast or flour in the stores, I went directly to a local flour mill, then spent hours learning how to develop a good sourdough starter out of simple flour and water.
Making Sourdough starter From Scratch
This process took about a week until I could use it. I mixed a cup of flour with about 3/4 cup of water and kept it very warm. 12 hours later, I would discard half, and feed it again with the same amount of flour and water. Not wanting to waste the discard, I began making crepes, pancakes and brownies. I did make a few mistakes, like using chlorinated tap water that didn’t allow the yeast to develop. Setting the tap water out on the counter overnight eliminated this issue. Pretty soon I had a bubbly, vibrant natural yeast. If it’s really not working, throw a couple of raisins into the starter and ‘borrow’ the natural yeasts on their skin to kick-start your fermentation.
Here’s one of the best sourdough brioche recipes I developed over the past few months!
Though this recipe is for the stand mixer, over time I started trying it in the bread maker on the dough setting. It saves many steps and loads of dishes! As with most doughs, add the wet ingredients first, and top with the flour and salt. The butter melts naturally in the warm water, and the heat takes loads of time off the first rise.
Sourdough Brioche Recipe Ideas
The loaf in the photo was turned into some of the most delicious french toast we’d ever had. The kids learned how to dredge a slice in an egg and milk mixture, and the dish becomes uber-decadent with maple syrup. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did! Another variation is to make 8 hamburger buns – just shape them before the last rise. Any leftover bits and crusts make great croutons – just cube and saute with garlic and butter. These are best frozen if you aren’t using them right away. Without all of the preservatives, the shelf-life on these breads isn’t long.