A few years ago I was given a book of about ninety-billion recipes for a bread machine. I’ve made, oh, five of them. Maybe six.
One that we love so much we’ve “we-ified” it [Dohlism for changing a recipe to suit our purposes] is the elusive Pesto Sourdough Bread.
Why elusive? Well, to be frank, I’m kind of a “spur-of-the-moment” bread maker. I go in spurts, and consider myself doing well to decide 4 hours before I want to eat bread to make it, let alone the 4 days ahead of time it takes to get a sourdough starter going. Because I really don’t use a starter enough to keep one going! Even in the fridge! And, for some reason, no bakery will sell me a cup of starter, even at double the price of a loaf of their sourdough bread. Why is that?
Today I started a starter… and on Monday we shall feast!
- 3/4 cup all-purpose or bread flour
- Large pinch (rounded 1/8 tsp.) of yeast
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk to make mine, since I never have buttermilk around!)
- Whisk together the flour, yeast and buttermilk (it will be about the consistency of pancake batter. Add a pinch or so of flour if it seems really runny)
- Pour into a “sitting container” (I use a quart mason jar) and secure 2 or 3 layers of cheesecloth to close (metal ring of mason jar fits right over the cloth)
- Put in a warm spot (75-80 degrees) and keep at room temperature. It will bubble and ferment and be flecked with butter spots from the buttermilk
First Feeding: After 3 days (36 hours) “feed” the starter with 2T flour and 3T water. Let stand at least one more day before using.
Feed equal parts water and flour (plus a pinch of sugar if you want it to be extra active) when you use the starter to make bread, or if unused and in fridge for 2 weeks (don’t leave at room temp without using for more than about 5 days w/out feeding). (Usually, I put in 1 cup water and 1 cup flour every time I make some bread.)
And here’s the bread recipe. I’m a bread machine gal all the way, so that’s how the recipe is structured. And if you are a fan of Delay Timer baking, you should pick a different recipe. Also, I use dried herbs for all of these, except my fresh basil and homemade pesto I’m using this time!
- 1 cup buttermilk sourdough starter (or other sourdough starter)
- 1/3 cup fat-free milk (can be made with dry milk – add correct water for 1/3 cup here, and powder after flour)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 3 T. pesto
- 3 C. bread flour
- 1 T. sugar (I really do mean 1 tablespoon; I know 1 tsp is more common for bread)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. marjoram (similar to oregano, so in a pinch you could probably substitute since this isn’t in every kitchen)(funny, two of our favorite bread recipes use this… maybe we just really like marjoram)
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. bread machine yeast (that’s 1.5 tsp. SAF yeast)
Put in machine, run for basic setting, remove promptly, let cool completely (room temperature) before slicing in, and enjoy!