It seems like almost everyone is making bread at home these days. While I love that people are rediscovering the joy of fresh bread, straight from the oven, the current circumstances of social distancing have made finding active dry or instant yeast almost impossible. I have some help for you on that front.
Almost 10 years ago, just before my family moved home from China, I taught several ex-pats how to make their own sourdough bread, and then I also posted a blog about replacing active dry yeast with sourdough starter.
It has been my most consistently visited blog post ever since. It’s not gone viral by any means, but it just plugs away, day after day, helping people in all parts of the world (not kidding) figure out what to do if they can’t buy yeast to make their bread. Now seems like a good time to pull that post off the back shelf and see if it can help a few more people who might be struggling with the same question I had when dry yeast was scarce for us in China. Here is how it goes:
This is going to be a short post today about converting a bread recipe that calls for active dry yeast into a recipe using sourdough starter instead. Yes, you really can do that.
If you are using the starter instructions that I gave you, then about 1 cup of starter equals 1 Tablespoon (or 1 packet) of active dry yeast. Also, it has roughly 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water so you need to remember to compensate for that when you are adding water and flour to your recipe.
If you find that your bread does not rise quickly enough, then you will need to use more starter the next time. If you find that it rises too quickly then you will need to use less. Makes sense, yes?
Here’s the part that will cramp your brain. If you want a stronger sourdough flavor, use less starter. If you want a more mild flavor, use more starter. Hang on a second before your brain short-circuits over this. Remember: A slow rise develops more flavor in the bread. A fast rise develops less flavor in the bread… (read more here)
If you haven’t already nurtured your own sourdough starter, here’s one way you can get one going.
Okay folks, I have to be upfront with everyone here. Almost everything I know about sourdough I learned on the internet. And most of my best information I found at Mike’s website at www.sourdoughhome.com . The man is a sourdough genius and he gives easy-as-falling-up-the-stairs instructions. I’ve never met him or talked to him, but one thing is certain, his rock-in-the-pond is sending out big ripples!
So, if you don’t want to wade through his website just now, here’s my version of how to make a sourdough starter… (read more here)