I remember reading when I was younger that January is the worse time of year to try to break old habits and create new ones.I dont make New Years resolutions. This year i did want to get back into an old habit. This new old habit was baking bread. I have baked bread many times in my life. I even had a bread machine that made baking bread so simple. I bought it 10 years ago when we lived in a drafty house that was very difficult to convince bread to rise in. I saved an article from a sunset magazine about baking the perfect sourdough bread. It had a recipe for sourdough starter that used yogurt. My goal, or some would say resolution was to get a sourdough starter going that I liked and that made great whole wheat sourdough bread and to start baking my own bread.
Day one: I dug up the recipe from sunset. it was simple. 1 cup low or non fat milk 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, 1 cup all purpose flour. you warm the milk to between 90 and 100 degrees. mix in the yogurt and then seal it up in a large mason jar, let stand in a warm area for a day. i put mine in the cupboard above the refrigerator.
Day 2: stir in flour and let sit for several days until it is nice and bubbly and has a pleasing sour smell. if it turns pink throw it away.
Day 5:bake bread!
to make bread you use 1 cup sourdough starter,1 cup warm water 3 1/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tsp salt and one packet yeast. I put it in my bread machine and it groaned and squeaked and didn't do a thing! The motor had ceased. I tried the old brook handle in the garbage disposal trick of Jimmie it to get it to become unstuck, of course I used a wooden spoon not a broom but I couldn't get it to budge. I took the mixture out and mixed it by hand, kneaded it, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, covered it with a tea towel and let it rise for 50 minutes. After it rose I kneaded it a bit more and made loaves. Let those rise for 50 minutes and then baked in the oven at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes. I also took my bread machine and put it in our pile of stuff to get rid of. We will either take it apart, try to fix it,or make a planter box out of it. Imagine how much more storage I have in my kitchen without it! We now live in a much less drafty house. I have made about 6 batches of bread with this starter. After each cup of starter is removed you feed it with 1 cup warm milk and 1 cup flour. I slowly changed my flour from white all purpose to whole wheat. It is so simple, using my kitchen aide mixer with its dough hook and the bread is wonderful especially this time of year when a nice bowl of soup and a chunk of crusty fresh buttered bread makes the perfect dinner.