Happy New Year, friends!  I hope 2011 has begun well for you!  These first 5 days of the year I have undertaken a couple projects; mostly the house-keeping type projects.   The result?  A relatively clean house, a clean desk (organized!) and fresh bread to taste!

A few months ago a friend of mine gave me a jar of sourdough starter.  I’ve been expirimenting.  It’s been hit and miss, as I was not really one for bread baking, but I was determined to make it work.  The great thing about the sourdough starter is, you put some aside for your next batch – and as long as you keep it going, your supply of starter can be endless!  Which is great for someone like me… because things are bound to happen!

I had a couple times the bread turned out good, and a couple times it did NOT.  The week of Christmas I made 3 small loaves, and I THINK they turned out good, but I ended up giving all three away… so I don’t know!  Last week I started making some sourdough again, the dough looked PERFECT and I was so exited!  I turned the stove on to pre-heat while I watched a movie with Kenzi.  After the movie, I put the bread in the stove, set the timer, and left to do other things… came back and….. well… something wasn’t right.  The perfet dough in it’s perfect pan loaves hadn’t risen, and was still gooey in the middle.  Then I realized the stove was OFF.  Hey… who turned off the stove?  The husband denies any responsibility, of course.  *sigh*

So I waited another week until I knew I would have time to start again.  After all, this process takes about 27 hours…..

Step 1 – 1 cup of the starter dough.  I store it in the fridge, so I took it out and let it sit for awhile until it was room temperature.  This was around 8 pm Monday night.

Then I added 1 cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of lukewarm water ———————–>>

….and covered it and let it rise overnight…..

Until it’s nice and fluffy and bubbly.
Here it was Tuesday morning.
<<———

Then I stirred it (which makes it smaller again) and transferred it to a larger bowl so I could repeat the process.  (added another cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water)

Tuesday night it was all fluffy again, and I could have made it into bread at that point.  But instead, I took 1 cup of the starter dough out and gave it to a friend, added yet another cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water to what I had left, covered it and let it rise a third time!

Today (Wednesday morning) it was nice and fluffy again and ready to go!  So I got together the rest of the ingredients I needed and grabbed my book to double check that I had the right amount of everything.  As I did this I decided to look thru my book, and I stumbled upon another recipe… and realized I had what I needed for it right in my cabinet!

Yep!  Raisin Bran Cereal Sourdough!  Yummy!  I hesitated…. should I really try something new?  I mean afterall, my last bread attempt was a failure… but that was a technical failure.  And the time before that… well I didn’t taste any because I gave it all away.  So who knows?  But…. this was just too tempting to pass up!

<— going for it.  Mixed the raisin bran into the dough as directed.

….. and formed it into two beautiful little loaves.   —->>>

And then there is more waiting.  Covered the loaves and let them rise for another 2 hours.  Then, FINALLY, around 1:30 pm, they have doubled in size and I’m ready to put these babies in the stove.  Of course, I double check to make sure that my pre-heated stove is still ON.  Hubby’s not here to turn it off, but since he denies turning it off last week I guess it could have been faulty electric wire.  Or a Ghost.  No Ghosts today… so into the stove they go!

<— 1:30 pm

                                                            2:45 pm ————->>

                         YUM!

And… finally…. 44 hours after taking my starter dough out of the refridgerator….

Delicious, warm, fresh bread!

I can sleep tonite with a sense of accomplishment!
The first loaf is almost gone, since the girls came home from school just in time to have fresh bread with butter for their after school snacks.  The second loaf will make great toast for breakfast in the morning, and maybe great sandwiches for lunch tomorrow too!!

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And for you bakers out there… if you have some sourdough starter dough (or can get your hands on some) here’s the official recipe.

Raisin Bran Cereal Sourdough

2 cups culture (sourdough starter)
4 &  3/4  cups Flour
1 & 1/4 cups water
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups raisin bran cereal.

1.  Mix liquid culture (starter) with 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and let proof (rise) for 10 – 12 hours.

2.  Punch down (stir).  Add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and proof for 8 – 10 hours.

3.  Punch down (stir).  In a separate bowl, dissolve the sugar and the salt in 3/4 cup of water.  Then mix in the 2 cups of raisin bran cereal until well moistened by the water.  Mix the cereal/water mixture into the dough.  Mix in 1 cup of flour.  Mix in another 3/4 cup of flour.  Leave the last cup of flour on the board, and transfer the dough here when it is too stiff to mix by hand.  Knead and fold the remaining flour on the board into the dough. 

4. Split the dough in half and form two pan loaves and put them in your loaf pans.  Cover with saran wrap and let proof for another 2 – 4 hours, at least until the dough has risen and doubled in size.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and let cool.

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