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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Recipe: Sour bread (EASY)

Shelly asked for some bread recipes. Try this one out. It's not a yeast bread, but you'll be surprised how much it reminds you of one. Because it's not a yeast bread, it doesn't have to rise, but you do have to knead it. So I think this recipe is a nice "entry" recipe into learning how to make yeast breads. Some tips below.

SOUR BREAD

Makes 2 loaves


5 C self-rising flour

5 Tbsp sugar

1 ½ C sour cream

12 oz beer

Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350o. Blend together flour and sugar, add sour cream and beer alternately, mixing well, pour dough onto a floured board, and knead until firm and smooth. Divide into 2 loaves, place in two well greased loaf pans, and bake 45 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter and return to oven for 15-20 minutes longer or until tops are golden brown.

TIPS
* Blend together: You can do this in a big bowl with a big spatula by hand if you want to get in a good work out, or you can do it with a mixer. Use dough hooks if you have them.

* Pour dough onto floured surface. This recipe calls for 5 cups of flour and a floured surface. Two things about this.
> First, the amount of flour in a bread recipe is always going to be affected by the humidity in your kitchen, which is affected by the outside humidity, and whether the A/C or heat are on. The difference can be as much as... maybe 1/4 - 1/2 cup (just guessing based on experience): if it's relatively dry, you'll need less flour. There really is no way scientifically explain how you'll know when you've incorporated the right amount of flour before you begin kneading, which brings me to
> Second, although it's seldom explicitly said in the recipe, the amount of flour given typically INCLUDES the amount of flour on the floured surface! So a big mistake is to incorporate the entire amount, and then throw down another cup on the surface! What you are looking for before you turn the dough onto the surface does vary by recipe, but basically you are looking for a nice blob that holds together. (And if you are using a mixer, it's better to get the last bit of flour in by hand so you can feel it better.)

* Knead until firm and smooth. What can I day? I haven't looked but there should be tons of good videos out there demonstrating this.

* Greased pans: With bread, use Crisco, not cooking spray.

So this isn't nearly as hard as I may have made it sound. Even if you flub something up, the bread will still taste good! It just takes some practice, and don't expect baking bread to be a scientific endeavor!

Funny story: Years ago, my mom was teaching me how to make something we called "skinny pancakes" (crepes) with no recipe-- just eggs, milk & flour. The trick is to get the batter the perfect consistency (right amount of flour) before spooning it into the pan. So I'm asking how do you know when it's right? And she says, "Here is the test." Finally! At the time I was taking a lot of chemistry classes and so this was what I wanted to hear: there is a test. And she puts the wooden spoon into the bowl, scoops up some liquid, and pours it back into the bowl. I am expecting some measure of drops per second or something. ?? And... "See?" No, Mom, I don't. She does it again. And again. What am I supposed to be seeing? Well of course! It's just like the consistency of heavy cream-- whatever that is. She concludes the test by saying something in German which translates to

It is not in my head, it is in my hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marica, Thank You so much. I cannot wait to try this and it is not complicated. I have a homemade sour cream recipe that I can pass on to you for others. I was thinking if we couldn't go to the store, we could still make this bread. I will forward in a couple days along with the source. -Shelly

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