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Incorporating Sourdough Discard into my Grandma's White Bread Recipe!

The other day I made my grandma's "Two Hour Bread" and thought that it would be neat to try this recipe again, but using all the accumulated sourdough discard I had in my fridge. I had almost three pounds of discard, which I think you can agree is starting to be almost too much to deal with!!

When you incorporate sourdough starter into regular bread recipes, you just need to remember that starter is 50% flour and 50% water (at least mine is. Some people do stiffer starters, so just adjust to whatever you have). So, if you put it in, you can add up how much starter you have, divide it into two, and minus that number from the flour and water needed for the recipe. For me, I had 1317 grams of starter, which equalled 658.5 grams of flour and water respectively.

Grandma's Original Recipe

Makes 3 loaves.


705 g (3 cups) warm water

2 eggs, slightly beaten into the water

70 g (1/3 cup) oil

112 g (1/2 cup) sugar

7 g (1 tsp) salt

22 g (2 tbsp) instant yeast

- add to 520g (4 cups) flour

Mix yeast/flour mixture into the rest of the ingredients. Add about 700 g (4 or five more cups) flour while kneading until a soft dough forms - about 10 minutes.

Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down.

Let rise 15 minutes again. Punch down.

Shape into loaves or buns, let rise until doubled in the pan. Bake at 375C for 30 minutes.

Incorporating the sourdough starter into Grandma's Recipe

For my experiment, everything was the same except for the warm water and flour.

Instead of 705 g warm water, I added 46.5 g warm water to the bowl of starter.

1317 grams Sourdough Discard

I added the rest of the ingredients, minus the flour and instant yeast.

water, eggs, oil, sugar, salt, starter

Then, when it came time for the flour to be added, I realized that with my formula, I had more flour in the sourdough starter than what I needed for the recipe. The recipe called for 520 g of flour. I had 658.5 from the starter! So I improvised a little and added the instant yeast to the second amount of flour - the 710 grams that would get added while kneading.

However, this created a MUCH wetter dough than the original recipe. Origninally this would have been the total amount of flour added, even after kneading for ten minutes. So I found that I had to add about another cup of flour to be able to knead this very soft, wet dough. Beacuse most of the flour was from the starter, I didn't actually need to knead it as long to get a smooth lump of dough, because I guess the water had already been soaking into the flour for at least a week, as I stored it in the fridge!

One more major difference from Grandma's recipe is that because my starter was cold from being stored in the fridge, it took the loaf an hour or so to do its first rise, instead of the quick 'n easy 15 minutes from her original recipe! But rise it did, and so it was ready to divide and shape.

I punched it down, and weighed the lump of dough, dividing the number in 3 to figure out how much each loaf should weigh. Then I weighed out the 3 loaves, shaped them, and put them in their pans.

I let them rise until a little less than doubled. I think next time I'd let them rise more, but it was getting late and I suppose my tired brain was saying, "Yep. Those are doubled all right. Bake them and GO TO BED!"

I'm not sure how to prevent them from breaking on the side like that, but that certainly doesn't affect the taste! I had to flip them half way through the bake because each of them were too close to a wall of the oven.

The bread was quite delicious, but not as pillowy soft as Grandma's original recipe. I think if I had let them rise in the pan a bit longer I would have achieved a softer loaf altogether, but the crumb is still very nice, and the flavour is good too - very mild and sort of sweet like this kind of white bread should be, but with a tiny whipser of a hint of sourness from the starter. I would have thought that the sour flavour would be more obvious, but I barely could taste it! One other thing that might achieve a softer loaf would be to use about half the amount of sourdough discard - or at least just 1040 g (instead of the 1317 I used) to account for the 520 g of flour and 520 g of the water.

I hope that two of these loaves can be purchased by some local folks, but one of them is for me and my brother, and I've already enjoyed a lovely peanut butter and honey breakfast from our loaf!

I hope this blog entry was helpful and interesting to you! I enjoyed the experimental process, and I'm quite happy with the results. This is not my favourite kind of bread, as I prefer the heartier "real" sourdough breads out there, but there are some things that are just better with plain white bread. Cheeze-Wiz, for example. Nostalgia city, here I come!

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