This started out as a bread machine recipe that was dialed in until it was perfection. Then it became a recipe that could be done in the bread machine completely, or just mixed with either a mixer, or bread machine, then placed in loaf pans and baked in an oven. This recipe consistently produces high rising fluffy loaves. These ingredients are (for the most part) weighed, not measured in cups, and the results are consistently stunning. Using sourdough one of the keys, the other is below :)
The whole thing should only take about 5 to 8 minutes if you are doing it in a bread maker. These are pretty commonly found at thrift shops for a fraction of retail.
Best Bread Machine Sourdough
(Approximately 2 LB) Bread Loaf
These ingredients are measured two ways, but for best results please weigh everything that has weights available to do so :)
1 c (250 G) Sourdough starter discard
1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
3 1/4 cups (398 G) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons (25 G) oil
3/4 - 1 c (203 - 236 G) warm water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1. Add sourdough, yeast, sugar, flour, oil and warm water to bread maker pan.
2. Put pan in bread maker and cover with plastic wrap.
3. *Start bread maker to mix dough until just blended. Make sure to watch and as soon as flour is not fluffing into the air remove protective cover and scrape sides with small spatula from the dollar store. This will keep from having unmixed flour in the corners when the bread is cooked on some bread makers.
4. Once dough is fully mixed together turn machine off and unplug. Leave the cover on and set a timer for one hour, or plug machine back in and set a time delay of one hour before the bread maker begins again. (This will allow some time for the sourdough to activate and help the bread to rise high.)
5. On mine I set Bread machine to basic bread loaf and medium crust color. (Not dark or light.) Find the setting that works best on yours, starting with medium.
6. Once the bread maker is done cooking the bread, remove it by inverting onto a heatproof surface to cool, preferably a cooling rack. Leave it there for about 1/2 an hour, or until cool enough to cut without it releasing steam. It is hard to wait, but worth it :)
7. Make sure the dough hook is removed from the underside of the bread before cutting.
8. After bread is cooled until just lukewarm, it can be sliced and enjoyed, or stored in a container that allows it to have a small amount of circulation, but not get hard and dried out. A breadbox is ideal, but there are so many creative workarounds available too. I would love to see what everyone comes up with for their own.
*The dough should just form a smooth ball. If it is sticky, or wet, there is too much water. if it is not a smooth elastic looking ball, it may be too dry. when first making it, try adding the minimum amount of water first and then adding about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time until it forms a perfect ball while mixing.
This recipe is foolproof for me, but recipes tend to alter a little depending on climates and altitudes. We live at about 1,800 ft above sea level in a very, very dry desert. I add in the full amount of water, pretty much every time. Your climate may differ. Not only that, not all bread makers are the same. Some are more fickle and it is not as easy to make a perfect loaf in them.
Please comment and let me know how this recipe works out for you and please feel free to add any hints or tips of your own.
If anyone is interested in instructions for baking in loaf pans in the oven, please let me know :)