Updated: May 13, 2020
I'm not sure what took me so long to attempt bread, but lets just say I basically #nailedit the first time around. *Pats self on back*
My house smells amazing, the bread is freaking delicious, and I cannot wait to start really experimenting with different additives! I'm already dreaming of cranberry walnut bread, olive bread, rye bread, and I really want to try to figure out Cheesecake Factory's brown bread! I promise to update you guys as I explore the possibilities.
Now, you can really go nuts with the baking accouterments, and lets be honest, I probably will eventually, haha.
But I want you guys to know that you can do this with whatever you've got handy. You do not need fancy proofing baskets, you don't need your own grain mill, and if you don't have a dutch oven, you can easily DIY something that will work!
What you DO need, is sourdough starter though!
Pain is just a French word for bread.
Whole Wheat Flour
Other Materials to Have Handy:
Large Glass Mason Jar (or something else to keep your starter in)
Parchment Paper (this made the process so simple and mess free for me!)
Aluminum Foil (for DIY-ing a Dutch Oven)
Large Ceramic or Glass Bowl
Container for baking your bread (Pyrex, ceramic, or metal loaf pans can all work for this)
Danish Dough Whisk (a spoon works for this to start!)
Bread Lame (a VERY sharp knife will work for this short term, but a bread lame works soooooo much better. It was a worthwhile expense for me.)
Instructions for Sour Dough Starter
The beauty of sour dough starter is that although it takes a couple days to get it going, once you've got your starter you can keep it going indefinitely. Just one pack of starter can get your started at least 3-4 times, but you won't need to do it that many times. You only use a small amount of your live starter each time you make bread, and you just "feed" it flour and water in between bread batches to keep it alive. I know people that have had the same starter for years! How cool, right?
I bought Breadtopia Dry Sour Dough Starter on Amazon, and I love how my bread tastes (and it got the nod of approval from the picky husband and the 3 kids old enough to eat bread, so I definitely recommend this one)!
Then I followed the instructions on Breadtopia's site for reviving my dry starter. This is also a great resource for how-to videos and recipes. They have a lot of fancy gadgets that you definitely don't need to make amazing bread though! Day 1: In a mason jar, soak 1 ½ teaspoons dried starter in 1 Tablespoon lukewarm purified or spring water for a few minutes to soften (full disclosure- I used tap water). Then stir in 1 Tablespoon all-purpose or bread flour, close the lid and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Day 2: To the above mix, stir in 1 Tablespoon of flour and 2 teaspoons of water and let it continue to sit covered as before for another 24 hours. Day 3: Stir in 1 more Tablespoon of flour and just 1 teaspoon of water this time. Within the next 12 to 24 hours you