I bake about two loves a week of what ever takes my fancy .I use mostly long bread pans and produce a smoth loaf that I cut in half and store in plastic ziplock bags in the freezer. I use the bread sliced every morning for toast and sandwiches.Total time to make the bread is about two hours on a saturday morning !
You could try and make a starter by capturing a 'wild bug' but this is hit or miss.The easiest way is to find someone to share their proven starter with you. Some of these starters go way back in American history.
As I remember Carl's goes back to Wagon Train days to Oregan in 1847.
I keep mine in a pair of flat plastic containers over the refrigerator where it's nice and warm.Every few days I take it down and feed it a bit of dried potato flakes and a little flour and water.After feeding it I pour some off and either save it to make bread or dump it down the sink.After feeding it take it down after an hour to see it working up bubbles and a sour smell and Stick your finger into it to taste the sour flavor !
Here is the place to get free sourdough starter seed.
How to Get Carl's sourdough Starter
Send a self-addressed, stamped (41¢) #10 envelope [SASE41] to:
Oregon Trail Sourdough
P. O. Box 321
Jefferson, MD 21755 USA
A #10 envelope, also called, in the USA, a "business-size envelope", measures about 9-1/2 inches by 4-1/8 inches (24 cm by 10.5 cm). European size DL is close enough. If such an envelope is not available, simply send postage (or currency as below) plus your postal address, and we will provide an envelope.
Normally, it could take up to six weeks for your start to get to you, but it probably won't.
There is no charge for the starter. Occasional unsolicited donations offset costs of distribution and production to allow us to carry on Carl's tradition of not requesting a fee
After awhile your envelope will show up with a tiny bit of dry sourdough seed.There will be included directions on how to bring it back to life.
The way I use mine is to add yeast and starter when I bake any bread.The yeast provides the 'foolproof' rise and the sourdough provides the distinctive sourdough taste.
I bake White bread,Whole Wheat,Rye Wheat,Potato Onion Rye and just about every other combination you can think of and all sourdough .I even put sourdough in blueberry coffee cake for the distinctive taste.
As the others have told you, a recipe which calls for yeast really means it. You can't make substitutions and expect to get a good result. What you got was probably a lot like Irish Soda Bread in terms of texture and density. That's fine if that's what you're aiming for. (I hate Irish soda bread).
I got to missing our Paris breakfasts, so I now make brioche sometimes when the craving hits.
I used to make bread from sourdough starter until I started to feel like I couldn't go on vacation or leave the house for any extended period of time. I gave it up, but gave some of the starter to a neighbor, sort of like keeping the Olympic flame going.
Don't you DARE give her a breadmaker. Presents do not have cords.
Wanted to bring this thread back up to thank everyone for the recipes and suggestions. You were correct in that I needed to use the yeast, not baking soda. I've made four loaves since the original thread and have now pretty well mastered the amount of water, kneading, rising, etc. The last two have been very fluffy, with lots of black olives and just a hint of Italian cheeses. :D
Good stuff, but takes a lot of work.
Most good stuff does, CW. :)
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