Sourdough has been in my family forever. My mom always had a mason jar of it in the back of the fridge that she restored and fed every time we wanted her special pancakes. Family legend has it that my mom was given her sourdough starter from a group of tough cowgirls on a working ranch in high plains Eastern Oregon. These women were the wives of equally tough cowboys, one of whom was my dad, that drove cattle in harsh conditions, often away from the ranch. Sourdough was a staple. And while my mother was never a cowgirl, she did keep the sourdough.
It was only as an adult that I learned to bake bread with sourdough starter. It can be a difficult to get a good rise with sourdough bread. After baking many heavy, flat loaves of sourdough, I finally found the knack. To work properly, sourdough starter needs to be fed quite often, particularly the week preceeding baking bread. So get out your starter, feed it some flour and water every few days, and when it's nice and bubbly, you're sourdough starter is ready to go.
If you need to make a new sourdough starter, check out the Kitchen Sink Sourdough Recipe on my blog at One tomato, two tomato.
Here is my recipe for Spelt Sourdough Bread Buns, which is perfect for hamburgers buns or dinner rolls. Plan ahead because you need to start them the night before. I love the earthy nuttiness of heirloom spelt flour in these rolls. They are toothsome and dense without being to heavy. Sourdough bread likes to take it’s own sweet time, but the flavor is well worth it!
By Tammy Kimbler
1 c active sourdough starter
1/2 c water
1/2 c whole milk
1 large egg
2 Tbs olive oil
3.5 c whole spelt flour
2 tsp salt
This recipe makes 8 buns that are a great size for burgers. Start this dough the night before for best results.
Remove one cup of starter from your active sourdough batch. Be sure to replenish your starter! In a non-reactive bowl, combine the starter with the water, milk, egg, salt and olive oil. Stir in the flour. You want a loose-type dough so you should still be able to move the dough around with a spoon. (We will add more flour later if it needs it.) Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise overnight for at least 12 hours.
The next day, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until pliable, adding more flour if needed. The dough should come together quickly. Let rest for 20 minutes, then divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Form rounds out of each piece of dough and place on a well oiled cookie sheet. Loosely cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap so that the dough surface does not dry out. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have doubled in size. This may take 2-4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the rolls on the top rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes until puffed and brown.