Sourdough Wheat Bread

Gretchen gave me a sourdough starter earlier this year, and since then we’ve bought only two loaves of bread from the store. I love making it! If you don’t have a starter, you should get one from a friend. I’ve experimented with several different bread recipes, but this is our favorite.

1 cup sourdough starter
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour (we grind our own, so it’s extra fresh!)
1/4 cup dark molasses
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour (we now use all wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)

Bring Sourdough Starter to room temperature. Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in whole wheat flour, molasses, butter, salt, and Starter. Combine 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and the soda; stir into sourdough mixture. Stir in wheat germ. Stir in as much remaining all-purpose flour as you can mix in with a spoon. On lightly floured surface, knead in enough remained all-purpose flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Punch down; divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Shape into 2 loaves; place in two greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pans. Cover; let rise till nearly double (about 1 hour). Bake in 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes; cover with foil for last 10-15 minutes if bread browns too quickly. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

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