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I have been meaning to get this posted for the last few days. The luscious loaf you see here is long gone now, and has currently been replaced by another. That’s the beauty of sourdough starter. With very little effort you can easily make endless loaves of bread for a very long time. The older the starter is the better it becomes, gaining more and more depth with every feeding. I have heard stories of starter being years old. Some even passed down through generations. Panera Bread Company brings sourdough starter from their mother store to each new store that is opened. A starter that has been around for more than 20 years. It’s really quite amazing.
So, I figured up the cost per loaf of this recipe and it comes out to about $.28 per loaf. Not too shabby…
3 cups flour
1 T salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup sourdough starter
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the starter and water. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center to obtain a rough dough. ( Feel free to do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook). Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic ( also feel free to use the dough hook for this )
To knead, push the dough away from you, then fold it towards you, and push away again
Place in a clean greased bowl. Make sure that the top of dough gets a little greasy too. over with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm place to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in volume. ( For a faster rise, place the bowl on top of a rack that is on top of a pan of boiled water. The steam will make rising faster)
Lightly grease a loaf pan. Punch down the dough. Knead briefly and then shape into a loaf form and place, seam side down in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough rises above the rim of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400. Place a shallow dish of water on the bottom rack of oven. Dust the top of the loaf with flour, then score lengthwise. Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when thumped.