Christmas Present 2014

by on December 24, 2013 » Add the first comment.
Print Friendly

This year Cynthia made a huge batch of pumpkin muffins and I made sourdough Parker House Rolls for all of the neighbors. Mine came with an instruction manual. Here it is for your use.

Sourdough Bread

By Robert and Cynthia – Dec 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Robert and Cynthia.  Here is a present that will keep on giving.

The Story

This sourdough starter was originally obtained from friends of Carl Griffith at

The original “parent” of this starter was on the Oregon Trail in the year 1847.  The Pioneers would use the starter to chink part of the kitchen walls – much as we would use plaster.  When the time came to pass on the starter, they would break out a portion of the plaster and give it to a friend, who would then bring the starter back to life and continue to pass it on in the same manner.

This very starter could have been used by two people with the last name Andrews, who actually traveled the Oregon Trail during this time: John and Mary.
Managing and using sour dough starter takes a commitment.  It needs to be used and refreshed at least every two weeks. Most families have no problems going through two loaves of bread in two weeks.  If you decide to take on this task, you will be rewarded with a nice bread, pancakes, bagels, etc. with a tangy taste.

If you decide not to move forward with this project, that’s OK… just pass the chunk of starter and this booklet on to one of your cook-happy friends.

Merry Christmas!

The Important Stuff…

Sour Dough bread making is a bit different than the yeast breads and quick breads you probably grew up with. A sour dough culture is ALIVE as much as a cat or dog or hamster is. Being alive, it requires regular feeding, or it will die. Not daily, but every 7-14 days.
First, you will need to REVIVE YOUR STARTER.  This takes a couple of weeks, but then it is easy sailing.  See  just below this paragraph for instructions on reviving your starter.  This happens ONE TIME ONLY.
Every 7-14 days, you will need to MAINTAIN YOUR STARTER by following an easy ten minute process, which results in enough dough to make two loaves of bread.  See next page for how to maintain your starter.

Reviving Your Starter – One Time Only

Here is how to revive the starter:

1. Get a small container.
2. Pulverize your chunk of starter.
3. Begin with two tablespoons of lukewarm water, stir in your starter and let stand for a few minutes to soften the start granules.
4. Then mix in two tablespoons of flour.
5. Add one tablespoon of sugar.
6. It should be like thin pancake batter.

7. When the mixture gets bubbly, put it in a little larger container.
8. Then stir in 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour.

9. When that mix rises up add 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour.

10. When this bubbles up, you will have about one cup of very active starter that is ready for use or storage in your refrigerator.
You can expect the first sign of starter activity to take from four to 12 hours.


o I use the baby formula wrist test to judge the temperature of the water. A few drops on your wrist should feel neither warm nor cold.
o A glass jar with a plastic lid works well for the container.
o Established starter will do fine in any room temperature that is comfortable for humans. Warmer room temperature is helpful when reviving start, but do not go over 85F if at all possible. Cooler temperatures just extend the time required. If room temperature is under 68F, I find a warmer spot such as the top of my refrigerator or a cold oven with the light on.
o Vigorous stirring of the mixture from time to time will slightly shorten the time between growth stages, but is not necessary for success.
Good luck with your sourdough.

Maintaining Your Starter

When I first started baking with Sourdough Starter thirty years ago, the amount of the starter quickly over-whelmed me. Here is a way that you can maintain your starter, and create just enough for two people or a small family.
This assumes that you now have about 1 cup of active starter kept in a glass jar in the refrigerator with a plastic screw lid that IS NOT tightened too tightly.

1. Start with your jar of refrigerated starter.
2. Let come up to room temperature
3. Transfer your jarred starter to a large glass bowl.
4. Add 1/2 CU bread flour
– Add 1/2 CU warm milk (room temp is OK)
– Add 1 TBL sugar
6. Mix and let sit (covered) overnight to ferment (at least 10-16 hours) I prefer to set it under a small table lamp.
– Meanwhile, wash your storage jar. Contamination can ruin your starter.
7. Next morning, fill your glass jar with your amount of starter (same amount as Step 1)
– Once every month add 1 TBL potato water, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 2 TBL AP flour
8. Return jar to refrigerator.
9. Use the remainder for your recipe.
NOTE: You must use/feed your starter at least once every week, or the starter will die. Even if you don’t bake, feed it and discard (or share) the part you would normally use.

Special Steps

If you want to share with someone, just prepare your starter and rather than baking, give them half of the starter, and you refrigerate the other half.

If your sour dough starter is running low, just double the items on the Ingredients list, and proceed with the Instructions as normal.
Sour dough from places such like San Francisco have their “special” taste because of the molds and yeasts indiginous to that area. If you pay for a Sour Dough Starter, it will have the taste of the area from which it originates initially, but as you halve the starter (each time you use it) the tell-tale taste will diminish each time, until it takes on the characteristics of YOUR region.


Basic Bread
* 1 cup of sourdough starter
* 4 cups of all-purpose flour
* 1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
* 1 1/2 cups of water
* 3 tablespoons of sugar
* 3 tablespoons of margarine or butter
* 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon of salt

You need to have the sourdough starter at room temperature, so if you have your starter in the refrigerator, put a cup of it out on the counter for a while before you start mixing the bread. You combine 2 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast in a big bowl (a 4-quart glass bowl will do). Heat the water, sugar, butter and salt until warm (110 degrees Fahrenheit or so). Add the liquid to the flour and yeast mixture. Then you pour in the sourdough starter. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. The mixture looks very smooth and creamy at this point, and smells very yeasty. Then you mix with the mixer on high speed for 3 minutes. This is when you begin to see the elasticity develop in the dough. It practically climbs up the beaters to the mixer! You need to keep a scraper or a spoon on hand to push the dough back down. It’s fascinating to watch!

Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with the soda in a separate bowl. Then add it to the yeast mixture. Stir this until the dry ingredients and the starter mixture are combined. Then try to add as much of the remaining flour — 1/2 to 1 cup — as you can. The dough gets pretty stiff at this point.
The next step is kneading — a part of making bread that many bakers find most satisfying, because you can feel the dough changing in your hands as you knead.

Put the dough on a floured surface and start pushing and pulling. It will take about six to eight minutes to get the dough to the right stiffness. You will know it is done when you can push on it with your finger and it pops right back instead of denting.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it into a greased bowl. Cover it and put it in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size — about 60 minutes.
When it has doubled, punch it down — another satisfying part of bread baking.

Put the dough on a floured surface and divide into two parts. Cover these two lumps for about 10 minutes and let them rest. Make them into two round loaves.

Put the two loaves on a greased baking sheet, and cover again to let them rise until they are about double in size (about 60 minutes). Then it’s time to bake the loaves, in a 375-degree oven for about 30 to 35 minutes.

You should get a crusty bread with a hearty, chewy texture and that amazing sourdough taste!

Pizza Dough

One recipe basic bread dough
* 4 T. olive oil
* 3 T. olive oil
* 4 cloves of garlic
* 1 1/2 t. oregano
* 1 t. basil
* 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
* salt and pepper to taste
* 3-4 C. grated mozzarella cheese or soy cheese

1. Make the basic bread dough adding four tablespoons of olive oil when you add the salt. Let it rise as in the basic recipe.
2. Make sauce. Sauté crushed or chopped garlic in olive oil for one minute. Add oregano and basil. Sauté for 15 seconds. Add can of tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook at medium high heat for
15 minutes. Let the sauce cool before putting it on the pizza.
3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Punch down the dough and shape it into two 12-inch pizzas.
4. Ladle on the sauce and spread the cheese on top.
5. Bake at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes. The bottom should be light brown and the cheese bubbly.

Simple Sourdough Pancakes

Make pancake batter the way you always do, then add about 1 Tablespoon sourdough starter to every cup of pancake batter.
That’s it.

Sweet Rolls

* One recipe basic bread dough – previous page
* 4 T. of butter
* 1/2 C. or more maple crystals*
* 4 T. cinnamon

1. Make basic bread dough and let rise.
2. Butter a 9×9 inch baking pan. Scatter some maple crystals and cinnamon on the bottom to make it gooey.
3. Punch down the dough and divide it into two pieces. Roll one piece into a rectangle. Spread half the butter on the dough leaving a one-inch margin on the top. Sprinkle on half the maple crystals and half the cinnamon. Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll dough into a log. Slice the log into 3/4 inch pieces and place them in the pan. Leave room between the rolls for them to expand. Repeat with the second piece.
4. Let them rise for about 30 minutes.
5. Put the rolls into the oven cold. Set the temperature at 425 degrees. Let the rolls bake for 15 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and cook until done, about 15-20 more minutes.
Maple crystals can be found at health food stores or ordered from food co-ops. Date sugar and regular granulated sugar may be used.

Rustic Bread

* 2 C. warm water
* 1 T. maple syrup
* 1 t. yeast
* 5 C. unbleached white bread flour
* 1 C. whole wheat flour
* 1 T. salt

1. Put the water in a large bowl and mix in the maple syrup. Add the yeast and mix it into the water. Let it sit for about five minutes. If the yeast is active, it will begin to froth.
2. Begin to mix in the flour with a spoon by adding two cups. After the first two cups of flour are mixed in, add the salt. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time until you get the right consistency. It may not take all the flour.
3. Knead the dough for at least five to seven minutes.
4. Put the kneaded dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 6-8 hours on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
5. Punch down the dough and shape it into two small loaves or one large loaf. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Let it rise for about 1/2 hour.
6. Bake the bread for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees.

Royal Caribbean Sourdough Rolls

– This recipe came from one of the chefs.  I reduced it to feed a family rather than 200 people.

3 C High Gluten Flour
1/4 C Sour Dough Base
2 tsp Yeast
1.5 C Water – more or less – adjust database

Instructions as modified by Grandpa
Mix all ingredients for 5 minutes slow, and 6 minutes fast until well developed
Divide into rolls and place on the sheet pan
Proof for 30 minutes
Make a shallow cut on the top of each
Bake with steam for 5 minutes at 500 degrees
Then lower the temp to 400 and cook until browned

Original Recipe to serve to approximately 200 people
25 pounds High Gluten Flour, 99PRD011113
2.5 LBS Sour Dough Base 10%, 99PRD011441
5 oz Dry Yeast, 99PRD012140
7.5 Liters Water

Sourdough Parker House Rolls

3/4 cup warm water
1 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup melted and cooled shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

In large bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar together and let the yeast sit for five minutes until foamy. Add starter and shortening. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. Mix in flour mixture. Cover loosely and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down; turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead about 10 times.

Divide dough into baseball-sized pieces and flatten slightly.  Dip both sides in butter and place on cookies sheet.
Cover loosely and let rise again in a warm place, free from drafts, for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake rolls uncovered for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Happy adventuring!

Find more like this: Grandpa's Use Only

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.