I have fond memories of visiting San Francisco and eating sourdough bread, and so when the suggested accompaniment for a chowder recipe I wanted to try was sourdough bread, I looked through my recipe books (and Google) to find one. As you can imagine, the majority of them called for sourdough starter, however this recipe from Taste of Home didn’t. Maybe that makes it not authentic, but that’s okay. It still tasted great.

I first tried this recipe many years ago, but didn’t write any notes, so making it this week was just like doing it for the first time. Here are a few notes:

  1. Be sure to use the entire amount of salt. I think I cut it down a bit, and Wayne noticed!
  2. The plural “baking sheets” is there for a reason. You need two.
  3. Instead of using a pastry brush, I sprayed the loaves with water using a spray bottle. Be careful when moving the pan to do so; I inadvertently tilted it and the still soft dough just about slid off onto the floor.
  4. This makes two large loaves. I think I’ll try four next time. I could halve the recipe, but the 48 hour prep time seems to call for a larger end result.

However, even with those minor snafus, this was delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to our clam chowder.

Sourdough Bread

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

In a 4-qt. non-metallic bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of flour until smooth. Cover loosely with a clean towel. Let stand in a warm place (80°-90°) to ferment for 48 hours; stir several times daily. (The mixture will become bubbly and rise, have a “yeasty” sour aroma and a transparent yellow liquid will form on the top.)

Stir in milk powder, butter, sugar, salt, remaining water and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Do not knead.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
Turn onto a floured surface; punch dough down. (Do not knead). Divide in half. Shape each into a round loaf. Heavily grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough on prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

With a sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes across tops of loaves. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Brush loaves with cold water; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown. Yield: 2 loaves.

Editor’s Note: Dough may also be shaped into 24 rolls instead of loaves. Bake for 10 minutes, then 20-25 minutes after brushing with water.

Wayne surprised me a few days early with some beautiful Mother’s Day roses. Isn’t he thoughtful? Gorgeous flowers can elevate even a simple soup and bread supper to elegant dining!