Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fake Sourdough Bread

I haven't blogged a new recipe for a long time.  This one is a little unusual and one I haven't made before today.  I am blogging about it so I don't lose the recipe the next time I want to make it.

In the past I have made sourdough bread, but I have found it tedious to keep a sourdough starter alive.  If you don't make bread regularly, then the starter has to be kept alive by throwing some away and feeding it.  It is wasteful, and we don't eat that much bread to bother with keeping starter alive.  I came across this recipe for Cheater's Easy Sourdough  If you google Cheater's Sourdough there are many recipes.  The cheat is using Greek yogurt instead of sourdough starter.

I mixed up the dough.  It was drier than the pictures on the website, so I added more yogurt.  It still wasn't very sticky, but I set it aside to rise.  I let it sit for 14 hours.  It looked like it had risen enough so I shaped it into a ball, covered it and let it rise another two hours.  I have made sourdough bread in a cast iron dutch oven before and used the same process to bake this bread.

After baking it, I took it out to cool.

Then I cut some slices.  It is quite dense and tastes just like sourdough.  I wonder if adding more yogurt would make it lighter in texture or soggy.  It will be great to have with soup.  I toasted a slice and ate it with my oatmeal and blueberries sweetened with date paste.  It was delicious and very filling.

I doubt that this fake sourdough bread has all the health benefits of "real" sourdough, but I don't know for sure.  I would think that the live cultures in the yogurt would be destroyed by the baking process. That would probably be true for sourdough starter as well, but the fermentation process to make the bread rise is a positive thing. I read that regular bread is hard to digest.  Even if you don't have gluten problems, regular whole grain bread is hard to digest.  The lactobacillus and the wild yeast in sourdough starter forms lactic acid which can neutralize the phytic acid in wheat making it easier to digest.  Phytic acid interferes with the absorption of nutrients so by neutralizing them, you are making nutrients more readily available and absorbable.  Long slow fermentation of wheat can reduce phytates by up to 90%.  This bread with yogurt starter definitely has a long slow fermentation process.  I hope I have that concept right.  They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  I do know that sourdough breads are usually tolerated for people with gluten sensitivities and has a low glycemic index for people with diabetes.

I will make it again when I have a hankering for sourdough bread.  If you don't count the rising time, it takes five minutes to mix and 35-40 minutes to bake.  Everyone can carve out that much time for a bread with no additives or odd ingredients.

Cheater's Easy Sourdough


3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant dry yeast for 18 hour rising time or 3/4 tsp for 6 hour rising time
1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened yogurt which contain active cultures or 1 1/2 cups of whey (the liquid drained off of homemade yogurt)


In a stand mixer with a dough hook or in a large bowl by hand, mix the flour, dry yeast, salt and the plain yogurt.  Mix on medium low speed for two minutes until a dough forms.  If the dough is too dry and doesn't want to come together, add 1 tbsp more yogurt.  Continue to knead with the mixer or by hand until the dough is springy.  The dough should be very sticky but able to retain a shape.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it ferment and rise at room temperature for up to 18 hours.  The dough should have doubled.  Then transfer the dough to a bread board or counter lightly floured.  Gently fold the dough over itself a couple times and form it into a ball.  Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and cover with a large bowl.  Let it proof again for about two hours until doubled.

Preheat the oven and the heavy bottom baking pan with a lid (I used a cast iron dutch oven)  to 450 degrees F.  Lift the dough on the parchment paper and transfer the dough into the pan.  Cover it with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Then remove the lid and bake until the crust is golden brown.

Let is cool on a rack for 20 minutes.

Update:  I make my own Greek yogurt and get an excess amount of whey.  In fact, I now use the whey as the starter for my next batch of yogurt instead of the yogurt itself.  It works so well, I thought I would replace the yogurt in this recipe for equal amounts of whey.  It worked so well.  It isn't quite as dense and tastes great.  


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