Here's a story...When I was a kid, there was a Great Harvest Bread right by the pool where my mom worked and where my siblings and I took swim lessons. "The Bread Store" is what we liked to call it. We were frequent visitors at "The Bread Store" for free samples after swim lessons. Who doesn't love free samples? I always got a slice of white bread topped with butter and honey. Perrrrfection.
There is a Great Harvest right by my office, but I rarely go inside. I still love their bread, but I have a bread baker of my own these days.
Greg first made a couple loaves of his mom's sourdough bread in the fall. A few weeks ago, he was inspired to bake again. It is a long process from beginning to end, so I have always left it up to him. I am too impatient. Make the starter, let it sit, remove some starter and let it sit again, make the bread dough, let it rise, etc, etc, etc. Two weeks later you finally have a loaf of bread. So. many. steps.
Just tell me when it's ready. I'll take it from there.
As you could imagine, Greg and I haven't bought bread from the grocery store for a long time now. I have loved reliving my Bread Store days with some butter and honey on top of a thick slice of warm bread. But my favorite way to enjoy this is by tucking a slice of provolone cheese between two small slices and microwaving for about 15 seconds. Ohmygosh. So simple, but soooo delicious. I even told Greg I wasn't sure what I liked more- these melted cheese and sourdough sandwiches or cupcakes. Seriously. It was that good. Call me crazy, but it's true. Bread can be quite magical.
Although I have only watched this bread-making process and never actually made it myself, I wanted to share the recipe anyway. Enjoy!...if you have the patience that is.
Makes about 1 large + 1 small loaf
1 cup sourdough starter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup warm water
6 cups bread flour
1. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Put dough in another well-greased large bowl, and turn so all sides are greased. Cover with wax paper and let rise all day or overnight (dough should triple in size).
2. When finished rising, punch down and kneed dough a few times. Divide into 2 or 3 parts, depending on pan size.*
3. Kneed each piece of dough 8-10 times. Place each in a greased bread pan. Let rise 4-6 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves in heated oven for about 30 minutes, or until tops become golden brown.
*We have been making one large/standard loaf and one mini loaf since those are the only pans we have.