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Sourdough is big. And although I admire bakers who regularly create perfectly folded and turned loaves, I have yet to master this.
Yes, I am a second kind of sourdough baker. The type that uses sourdough discard with the addition of yeast to make yummy baked goods. This way you get some of the sourdough flavor… but with no more effort than ordinary breads or baked goods.
Today’s recipe is based on a bread that I’ve been baking for years, adapted from a Red Star Yeast cookbook. I was motivated to create the new recipe for three reasons. First, I needed use up my starter, which multiplies incessantly. Second, I hoped to add even more flavor to an already tasty recipe, and third I wanted to cut down this recipe to make a single loaf.
The resulting bread had all the honey-sweet, wheat-y goodness of the original with a hint of sourdough flavor and a bit more lightness! Talk about exceeding expectations!
Step by Step Highlights
Combine water, honey and oil and yeast to proof at around 110 F (lukewarm)
What is Proofing?
In bread-making the term “proof” is used to refer to two different processes. The first is to “proof the yeast,” where you dissolve yeast in water plus sugar to activate and test it. The second is to “proof the bread (or dough)” in which case you let the dough rise and lighten.
Now some people consider proofing yeast a little out of date. Originally this served dual purposes—to dissolve the dried yeast and to make sure that it was still alive. Today’s yeast (versus the 80s when I learned to bake), is milled smaller and dissolves more easily so proofing the yeast is less important.
But I buy my yeast in bulk (much more economical than the packets), and sometimes the last bits will have gone bad (albeit rarely), so I still proof my yeast to be extra sure it will work.
On Types of Mixers
Over many years (okay decades), I have used four different types of mixers in bread making. Initially, I used a hand mixer then finished the dough by kneading by hand. This works great for someone on a budget or who doesn’t cook a lot. If you are more active in the kitchen and can afford it, a good freestanding mixer is a joy!
My first stand mixer was a basic model that immediately had trouble keeping up. Next I got a Dimension 2000 mixer (since discontinued) that had great capacity but sometimes had trouble mixing small quantities for other uses. Today I use a standard Kitchenaid that still has the capacity for 2 loaves of bread–and is like a second set of hands for all prep!
- 1/2 cup water
- ¼ c honey
- 2 T oil
- 1 scant T yeast (1 individual packet)
- 1 cup sourdough starter (see note for sub)
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
Combine water, honey and oil and heat to about 110 F. Dissolve yeast in mixture and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, sourdough discard and salt to mixer bowl, then pour in yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead in the machine for 5-10 minutes until dough pushes back/doesn't dent when pressed. Add a little additional water or flour if needed to make a nice consistency.
Cover dough with a wet dish towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours.
Spray an 8 x 4 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Punch down dough then form into a loaf and place in pan.
Let rise until almost double, about 30-45 minutes.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 F until golden. Remove from pan to cool.
Instead of the sourdough starter you can use an an extra half cup each water and flour.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
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