Have you ever kept a sourdough starter? My friends Krissy and Nick gave me a start from their sourdough starter a few weeks ago, and I’ve been having all kinds of fun with it! This particular starter is the sweeter variety, also known as Herman starter, which is replenished with sugar, flour and milk. It’s fun thinking of something different to make with it every week, and I’m anxious to see how long I can keep the starter going!
Krissy and Nick shared some recipes, including bread bowls, which I’m dying to try … again. I tried them once, but the yeast I had was probably old, because the dough didn’t rise like it should have and I wound up with hockey pucks instead of bread bowls. I bought some new yeast, so the bread bowls will be one of my next projects.
This time, though, I tried Amish friendship bread. You can add any kind of fruit or nuts you like to this bread. Chocolate chips would even be good! I had an abundance of blueberries, so I mixed some of them into the batter before pouring in to the pans.
If you don’t have a friend who’s willing to share a starter with you, you can make it yourself.
Herman sourdough starter
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
In a glass or plastic bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the flower and sugar, and mix until smooth. (Do not use metal bowls or utensils.) Cover loosely and leave in a warm place overnight. The next day, stir, pour into a sturdy resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate.
For the next four days, massage the bag to stir the mixture. On the fifth day, stir then divide in half. Give half away with feeding instructions.
Feed starter with 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate and stir daily for the next four days. Feed again on the tenth day and return to the refrigerator, stirring daily for four days.
On the 15th day, the starter is ready to be used for baking. Reserve one cup in the refrigerator and continue to follow the stir and feed cycle (stir daily for four days, stir and feed on fifth day, ready to use on 10th day).
Amish friendship bread
1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Beat all ingredients together by hand until blended well. Add nuts or fruit if desired. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle additional cinnamon and sugar on top, if desired.
Bake at 325 degrees F. for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Test with a toothpick for doneness.