Friday, February 08, 2008

AMISH Bread Starter - Sourdough Bread #4 - a Success

Flat Sourdough Flat French Bread and Loaf Bread

After several weeks and numbers of tries in modifying the original AMISH Bread Starter I obtained in October 2007, I trained it to proof with just water and flour or water and pastry flour. Sugar was removed for 20 days, then 1 TBLsp of sugar was added to the baking starter, and 1/2 cup sugar is returned to the starter - as the starter looked a bit weaker - not bubbly as usual. However, you would know that the starter is still alive when the zip lock bag continues to swell up like a balloon and bubbles are forming every few hours before your daily routine of kneading the bag.

The first three attempts in turning them into Sourdough bread produced interesting results.
The dough was not kneaded but just mixed with wooden spoon - just enough to make the flour disappear.
The bread texture turned out looking rough and airy, but still very heavy. Dough tasted chewy, but just not "light" enough.

On the 4th batch tonight, it turned out successfully compared to the other three.
A Large plastic bowl with cover
A large Wooden spatula or Spoon or anything you can use to mix up the heavy dough without breaking
Measuring cups

1. 2 Cups of AMISH Bread Starter that has been modified and have been maintained with just water and flour.
2. 1-1/2 Cups of Organic Low Fat Milk -- Lactose Free - Warm to touch
3. 1 TBLsp of Sugar
4. 3-1/2 Cups Unbleached Organic Flour
*Organic ingredients are optional

5. 1 egg white + 1 TBLsp water

8 pm Thursday evening.
Mix first two cups flour in milk and Starter with wooden spoon.
The dough will form, but it is stuck to the sides of the bowl.
Add one more cup of flour and continue mixing with wooden spoon.
Then, add 1/4 cup more and 1/4 cup more just enough to get the dough leave the side of the bowl....but not quite. But with your spoon, it leaves the side of the bowl when gathered. If touched, the dough will stick to your fingers.
Do your best and form it into a Ball size.
Cover the bowl and let it rise to double or more in size.

6 am Friday morning.
Use the wooden spatula and divide a section to a non-stick baking pan.
Stretch the dough into shape of French Flat Bread.
Cover with aluminum foil or whatever you have - leaving enough room at the top - like dome shape, but air-tight to rise.

If desired, transfer the rest of the dough into a loaf pan (greased and floured).
Using wooden spatula, shape it into a desired form in the pan.
Cover air-tight to rise and also leaving enough room at the top to allow dough to rise without sticking.

*Or place a piece of parchment paper between the dough and Aluminum foil to cover. Parchment paper can be left on the bread to bake and taken off easily after 10 minutes into the baking.

6 pm Friday evening.
Pre-heat oven to 325F - Conventional Large Gas Stove is used for this baking example.
Place the rack at 2nd from the top rack and place Loaf Bread - **without removing the aluminum foil - if stuck on the dough or leave the parchment paper, if stuck on the dough.
Please the rack at 2nd from the bottom and place the Flat French Bread.

Prepare egg white wash:
Beat 1 egg white + 1 TBLsp of water

After 10 minutes, without taking the breads out of the oven - still on the oven wire rack, carefully and gently remove the parchment paper or aluminum foil on to of the bread that might have gotten stuck to the dough.
**should have oiled the top of the dough during proofing - could have avoided dough from sticking to the material covering the pan or have placed the parchment paper.
Brush the bread with egg white wash.

Bake for 20 more minutes - Check on the Flat French Bread first
The bread should "sound" hollow when tapped and crust is Golden brown.
Switch the position of pans, if necessary.
Bake the loaf bread for another 20 to 30 minutes longer - until Golden brown and "sound" hollow when tapped.

Here are some visual aids:
Amish Bread Starter - Fed every 5 days.

Starter - Bubbly - Sign of Life?

First 3 sourdough breads' texture - Bubbly, but Dense, and heavy - did not rise enough?

Batch 4 - Flat Sourdough French Bread

Texture is chewy and light

Batch 4 - Loaf bread turned out much lighter than before.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sweet French Bread with Amish Bread Starter

Here is the latest Recipe for the Home Baked Sweet French Bread using Amish Bread Starter.
2 Cup Starter (only 2 days old from 5th day)
5 TBsp Sugar
3 TBsp Softened Butter
2-1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Mix all ingredients in a large plastic bowl (with lid) with Sturdy Spatula for about 5 minutes. & Hand Knead for 10 min. in the bowl.
Cover the plastic container.
Let it rise till Double about - 12 hours.

Roll the Doubled Dough into shapes of French Bread:
Divide the dough into halves.
Roll out the dough into oval shape - 1/2 in thick.
Place them on top of Non-Stick Cookie Sheet, side-by-side to each other & leaving about 2 inches of gap to allow the dough to rise till double in size.

Using sharp kitchen knife or scissors, slit the top of the bread dough about every 3 inches.

Cover it with Saran Wrap loosely and also place an empty 8 oz yogurt cup, for example to keep saran wrap from touching the dough's surface.

My kitchen temperature was about 62Degrees. To help rise the dough.
Place the cookie sheet above a pot of hot water without turning on the stove.
Change the hot water several times to help dough rise into double in size.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Egg White Wash -
Beat 1 egg white with a tablespoon of water together.
Egg white wash will give the bread nice shine and soft top.
Otherwise, just brush the top of the bread dough with Water right before baking time.

Brush each Bread dough that has rise in double with Egg White Wash.

Place at top second rack of the conventional (gas) oven
Bake for 35 to 40 min.
Bread will look shiny and brown.

The texture is more like a bread than the French Bread. Maybe less kneading will create less fine looking bread. Taste wise, it is great.

Friday, December 21, 2007

AMISH Friendship Starter Diary

Croissant and Cinnamon Roll.

The basic Amish Friendship Starter Bread recipe can be found at:

Follow the recipe steps and modify as necessary. As you gain experience you can add the starter in place of the dry yeast to bake all kinds of wonderful home made breads and other favorite goodies.
Here is of mine to share:
This is how the Starter looks like between Day1 through 5.
Bubbly and plastic will expand almost like a balloon.
Be sure to keep the plastic Closed.
Do not refrigerate. There is no reason to.
Day 1 thru 5

The starter will develop into foamy bubbles at the top.
It develops pungent smell - very normal.
No discoloration, however that I have ever noticed.
Every day, pop open the plastic and carefully with your hand, just knead gently around the the plastic to subside the foam and bubbles -- basically just squeeze the plastic bag with top open a few times - every day - squeeze the plastic bag all around. You should be able to tell which part of dough is more liquidy and others drier. So, use your hand and with "open close" hand motions to mix the starter well. Be sure to close the bag.

On day 10, it's time to prepare and mix the starter with your favorite ingredients.
Be aware that it has been taking minimum of 12 hours for the dough to complete the first rise at 65Degree room temperature.
A pot of warm water is used as well to aid in rising.

If you do not have anyone to share the Starter on the 10th day and you want to continue keeping the starter for the next baking, you can adjust the Day 10's ingredient feedings to the Starter - Flour, Sugar, and Milk mixture measurement to 1/4 Cup each rather than 1 Cup each.

Amish Sourdough Bread recipe posted at the web site posted above is very easy to make. I will change the amount of flour from 6 Cups to 4 Cups, and use melted butter rather than the "oil".
Some recipe variations to try:
1. 2 Cups Starter
2. 6 TBsp Sugar
3. 4 Cups Flour
4. 1 Cup warm milk and 1/4 Cup melted Unsalted Butter
5. 2 Eggs plus 1 Egg Yolk ---Keep the Egg White for egg white wash for bread.
6. 1 tsp salt
7. Optional - 1/2 Cup Coconut Powder.

Mix all ingredients and Knead well - about 10 minutes.
The dough should be very soft to the touch.
Brush a full teaspoon of oil in a large plastic container with a lid. The dough is almost difficult to handle without additional flour, but do not add extra flour.
Let it rise over night. When the dough doubles in size, punch down and make it into variety of shapes.
Place the shaped dough on top of non-stick baking pan with lips/sides.
Let it rise again till double.
Preheat oven to 325 - 350 degrees.
Prepare egg white and 1TBsp of water. Beat it up to mix water and egg white.
Use a pastry brush to brush egg white wash on raised dough.
Enjoy watching the wonderful bread turn into golden brown.
Depending on the size of the bread - 12 to 20 minutes of baking time.