There are so many varieties of bread it literally requires a volume to cover them all. However, sourdough bread is so popular that it would be remiss to ignore it in the series.
Sourdough bread begins with a starter, which is a small batch of yeast batter that is allowed to ferment. The starter can be preserved in the refrigerator for up to two weeks; it needs to be stored in a nonmetallic container so it doesn't pick up any off flavors. Cover the container loosely with plastic wrap. As the starter ferments, it will rise and a yellow liquid will form on top. To use the starter, stir it down, then measure the amount appropriate to the recipe.
1 pk. (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
2 c. warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
2 c. all-purpose flour
In 4 qt. nonmetallic bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add flour, stir until smooth. Cover loosely with a clean towel. Let stand in a warm (80 degrees), draft-free place to ferment for 48 hours; stir several times daily. After 48 hours the starter is ready to use.
1 recipe sourdough starter
1/4 c. dry milk powder
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. warm water
5 c. all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for dusting
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, dry milk powder, butter, sugar, salt, water and 2 c. flour. Using dough hook, beat on low until ingredients are incorporated, then increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Lower speed and stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Do not knead. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with dampened towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a floured surface, divide in half. Shape each half into a round loaf. Sprinkle cornmeal onto two heavily greased baking pans (if using parchment paper, spray parchment with additional nonstick spray). Place loaves onto prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes across loaf tops. Bake 10 minutes, then brush loaves with cold water. Bake 35 - 40 minutes longer or until loaves are golden brown.
Finally, the following recipe for a hybrid yeast-quick bread is one for the time-crunched. The combination of baking powder and yeast leaven this bread in half the time.
Sour Cream Quick Rise Dough
2 pk. (4 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. dairy sour cream (not lite)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
In large mixing bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 2 c. flour. In medium bowl, whisk together 2 c. flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In microwave-safe bowl, heat together water, buttermilk and butter for 1 - 2 minutes on high. Liquid should be very warm and butter melted.
Using the dough hook, beat flour and yeast mixture together slowly while adding hot liquid. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.
Lower mixer speed to fold, and alternate additions of sour cream and flour-baking powder mixture. Beat until mixture forms soft dough.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Dough will be elastic and lose its glossy appearance.
Divide dough in half, shape each half into a loaf and place in well prepared loaf pans. Cover with damp towel and allow to rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves on center rack for 30 - 35 minutes or until tops are golden.
Saturday: Using leftover and stale bread