Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sourdough Starting the New Year - Corn Bread

I knew I could get your attention. . . 

If you're going into the New Year and your familiarity with sourdough is the occasional store bought bread, you owe it to yourself to try the real thing.  There are as many starter recipes as there are cooks.  One that is popular is a sourdough starter made with mashed potatoes and potato water  from a well known celebrity chef.  A great recipe to be sure, but also much more labor intensive.

A number of other starters require one to constantly "feed" the starter, which results in a really distinct taste over time, but for those that may not bake regularly, or get all distracted out in the shop, your sourdough starter will end up as dead as your house plants and if you've used a recipe that takes a lot of time, you're not likely to start another one.
This recipe is easy enough that you can start one over easily, and with the help of the potato that jump starts the yeast, it ferments quite rapidly so you can make your bread just a day after you have started it, though longer time gives a more noticeable "sourdough" taste.

1 package (or cake) active dry yeast (not the instant)
4 cups warm spring water or quality tap water (my tap water tastes like someone soaked a deep sea diving suit in it).
3 tablespoons sugar
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I'm a fan of King Arthur' flour for general baking)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm (not hot) water (about 3 minutes), then stir in the sugar and the flour. To help feed the fermenting yeast  I add one medium sized Idaho potato, washed, peeled and cut into quarters. Place mixture in a pottery bowl, cover with a clean  kitchen towel and let stand  8-12 hours in a warm place, free from drafts, stirring occasionally. Then keep lightly covered and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.   If you do wish to "feed" the starter, rather than start the recipe over each time, replace used starter by adding equal parts flour and warm water with a couple teaspoons of sugar (i.e. for each two cups starter used, add in one cup flour, one cup warm water and the sugar).

Sourdough is obviously good for baked bread and biscuits, but it has other uses, a great batter for chicken fried steak (that recipe another day), waffles and corn bread.

Yes cornbread.  Sourdough Cornbread
It's got a slight tang and a much softer texture than regular cornbread while maintaining that tender crumb. 
Serve it with some HOTR King Ranch Chicken made with lime marinaded chicken, Penzey's Chili 9000 and Indiana's own Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke Hot Sauce.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Brigid and Barkley at Home on the Range


  1. I rarely bake sourdough bread but make sourdough pancakes 3-4 times a month so my two starts get regular use and stay healthy. The truly lazy can purchase a variety of starts from sourdo.com. My two (Finland and San Fran) are different as night and day so even those that don't like sourdough may find one that they like. Sourdough pancakes with real maple syrup are a dream made in heaven.

  2. Happy New Year, ma'am. I pray it's a good one for you.

  3. Looks like a great recipe.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Brigid,

    Happy New Year to you! I am so over 2012! That beyatch has tried to kill me three times now. The last time was near terminal stupidity.

    I was climbing extension ladder to get up on the roof, which I have done a thousand times. Just about there when the ladder decided to leave. Thought I was going to ride it down into the bushes, but the ladder flipped me off onto my back on the patio. Fractured the L4 vertebra, twisted and sprained just about every muscle and joint I have. Hurt like a sumbitch.

    After checking to make sure all the fingers and toes still worked, realized that my head did not hurt. Head had landed on a piece of garden hose! Decided the Lord wasn't ready for me just yet.

    So, the folks at the hospital patched up Humpty Dumpty and I am finally home recuperating.

    So, here's to a great 2013!

  5. Gosh...never thought of sourdough cornbread. My wife keeps saying she can get her hands on some already started starter from a few of her friends...this recipe is going to make me tell her to man up and follow through. Pretty please.

    Hope you year is off to a good start.

  6. Local wild yeasts may or may not give more interesting results than using prepackaged varieties in a starter. Google provides all kinds of leads on harvesting local yeasts.

    Surprisingly, the FL organisms were wimply/fragile, and I never had much luck when I tried collecting down there. I haven't attempted a starter since we moved to PDX.

  7. Sounds like a great cornbread! I hope you have a healthy , happy and
    peaceful New Year!

  8. Racoons love sourdough. We'd forgotten to bring the dough in at sundown (was rising outside on a warm summer afternoon) and discovered two 'coons taking turns eating it by the pawful. That was the end of the semi-heirloom sourdough starter.

  9. It's ALL good and that chicken is EXCELLENT! :-)

  10. Beside the notion of how to maybe actually do something I have been thinking about for decades, you answered a culinary puzzle. I tasted cornbread at one of my favorite restaurants lately and... it was... whack? Yes, way out there. It tasted more like a cake, while definitely still a cornbread too, by taste and some other elements. It has been haunting my thoughts. Now, I am pretty sure, I know.

    Oh, Happy New Year. I do hope you have a great one. And may even the losses be seen as forms of gain.

  11. Happy New Year.
    Made your Rosemary Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt and due to popular demand am making again today. Cannot wait to try this one.
    You are killing my New Years resolutions already.

    All the best

  12. Adding this to my HOTR recipe file....

    I actually have a sourdough starter that I started many many years ago, and this is a good impetus to take it out of Han Solo storage..

    Happy New Year!!

  13. Oooh. That sounds awesome. We're working our way through the crockpot cookbook from our bookstore trip, looking for low-carb recipes. This one will have to go in the stack of "for a need to ignore diet day, bake..." recipes.

  14. My overly optimistic self wants to say Happy New Year to all. I (too) had a rather sucky 2012, so there's no where to go but: better.

    Good to hear that Barkley is getting over his cough, poor guy.

    May 2013 bring you the best you want out of life and preserve the best that you already have :)

  15. Happy New Year!

    Hope you have some friends around to share all that food.

  16. Happy New Year Everyone. I'll be back here in a bit, a family member is in the hospital, Ive got some things to take care of today and tomorrow. (not my Dad)

  17. I never knew sourdough corn bread existed. Sounds fabulous.


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