We have always loved sourdough bread for making paninis as they have a wonderful texture and can hold all the heavy stuff that you put into a panini and can hold its shape with the panini press - I know I know..... thats a lot of panini talk :)
I have been baking bread for a long long time - but, never attempted a sourdough bread............. main reason being the time it takes. Its a long process, a few days actually. But, then finally I just decided one fine day that this bread needs to be baked by me. So, then the process of getting the sourdough starter started and rest as they say is history.
I had found this sourdough bread recipe on the internet a long time ago - this was a couple of years back when I wanted to bake a sourdough bread. However, I never got to baking it. I had noted the recipe on notepad and never saved the site url - so the credit to this recipe goes to the internet.
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a ceramic / glass bowl add warm water and yeast. Mix with wooden spoon until the yeast is dissolved.
Stir in the milk, sugar and flour. Mix until there are no lumps and its a smooth mixture.
Cover with a plastic wrap and make some small holes in the plastic wrap so that the yeast can breathe. Let it stand in a warm and draft free area to get fermented.
After about 24 hours - you should have a bubbly frothy mixture - thats when you know your starter is getting started. If it does not foam, then discard and start all over again.
If fermentation has begun, then stir it well and cover tightly with a plastic wrap - no need to pierce holes this time. Let it stand in a warm and draft free place for 2 days.
When the starter has become foamy, stir well and pour into a 1 quart glass container and refrigerate - Starter is ready to use when a clear liquid has risen to the top.
Stir this before using in bread.
Use starter as required in the recipe and reserve the remaining in the refrigerator.
Use starter regularly - every week or so. If bread baking reduces then replenish with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of flour to the remaining starter and mix well and refrigerate - This is to keep the yeast alive.
1 cup sourdough starter
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a bowl, mix the sourdough starter, water and 2 1/2 cups flour and mix well till its a smooth batter. Cover and let it stand in a warm place for about 8 hours.
Then add 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt and oil to this mixture and mix well to form a firm dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes to get it smooth and springy. Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl covering it on all sides with oil. Cover and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour or untill the dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready when indentation on it remains when touched.
Grease a large cookie sheet with oil. Gently push fist into the dough several times to get all air bubbles out. Divide dough into half. Shape each half into a round, slightly flat loaf. Be careful as to not the tear the dough by pulling. Place loaves on opposite corners of the cookie sheet. Cover and let it rise for 45 minutes or untill it has doubled in size.
Heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Brush loaves with cold water. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes untill the loaves get a nice golden color - and are hollow when gently tapped. Cool on a wire rack and slice when its cold.