My cousin Sandy’s sourdough bread reminds me of the friendship bread my girlfriends and I started so many years ago. The concept is creating the starter, which is then shared from friend to friend to friend to friend – never-ending. In fact, my cousin Sandy has had her sourdough starter for seven years! How’s that for gratitude!

Sandy recommends King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour for our gluten-free friends!

Starter Ingredients

2 cups lukewarm milk
2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (one package) yeast

Bread – Ingredients for 1 Loaf

1 cup starter
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Bread – Ingredients for 2 Loaves

1 1/2 cups starter
1 cup milk
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 2/3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 tablespoons salt
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Starter Instructions

1. Mix the starter with an electric, hand-held mixer on the lowest setting. Cover your starter and place in a warm draft-free location for 4-7 days, gently stirring it once a day. You may notice that the mixture bubbles and in some cases it may even overflow your bowl. This is an indication that you have a healthy fermenting process going on. A sour-smelling liquid may form on top of the starter which should simply be poured off and discarded. If your starter ever changes color, to purple, for example, discard it and start another one.

2. After allowing your starter to sit for 4-7 days it is ready to be used. Take out whatever portion your recipe calls for and put into the machine as you would any liquid ingredient. After removing a portion from the starter, the starter must be “fed”. Simply add equal portions of milk or water and flour as was used. For example, if you used 1 cup of starter, replace it with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of bread flour.

Bread Instructions

1. I use a bread machine to mix the dough ingredients on the dough setting. Once finished, drop dough onto a floured surface and then shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a buttered loaf pan. (If you’re making the 2 loaf recipe; cut the dough ball in half and shape each into a loaf and place in a buttered loaf pan.)

2. Cover pan in a draft-free place, with a bread towel, and let rise for 45 minutes. Then bake at 350º for 35 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan immediately and place on a cooling rack.

Some hints on feeding your starter…

Always use the same kind of flour. If you used bread flour in your original starter, use bread flour to feed it.

Alternate between milk and water for each feeding. Since your original liquid ingredient was milk, the first liquid feeding should be with water. If you forget which one you used last, that’s okay, but try to alternate at least every other time. I put a piece of tape on the cover that shows an M or W, that way I know next time I need to use the opposite.

A hint on bread storage…

We don’t eat a lot of bread fast, so I cut the loaves in 1/2 and freeze in plastic bags until ready to use.