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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Six years to make a loaf of bread?

The title of the blog sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. My hygienist in Washington gave me some sour dough starter as a going away present. Debbie, my hygienist, knew that I wanted to make sour dough bread in Japan. She gave me some of her own starter that was handed down from generation to generation. The starter came from Alaska. Alaska starter is well known to be flavorful and hearty.

I have been taking care of the starter for the past six years. Every few weeks I discard half of the mix and add more flour and water. I then stir the starter and keep it refrigerated.

I was hoping to have an oven by now, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, I decided to try baking a loaf in the wood stove. I have discovered that baking in a wood stove is fun, but controlling the temperature is tricky.

Baking sour dough requires an oven that is around 200C (400F). The temperature needs to remain constant for about an hour. That sounds easy enough, but I soon learned with my first loaf that bread turns into charcoal quickly…oops!

The second loaf was better and the flavor and texture were wonderful. I didn't get the rise I was hoping for. No problem! I love eating my rejects!! The starter needs another week of feeding and it should be ready to go. I also need to be more patient with the oven temperature.

I'm looking forward to baking more bread and incorporating the sour dough into pizza crust. Stay tuned...                               George


  1. That looks fantastic...good air pocket formation! You are a better man than I am! We couldn't keep our sourdough starter longer than 2 years but Rose used local organic grape mash to form the starter when we were living in Fairfield. Now that we live in Tucson, I don't think the local yeast will be any good. Haven't been back to SF in over a year, but next time we will have to try to find some!

  2. Hi Michael and Rose. Thank you for the kind words, but I still have a lot to learn about making sourdough. Try purchasing some Alaskan sourdough starter on the internet. It comes on a wooden spoon wrapped in plastic. It's pretty tough stuff! You can also buy SF sourdough starter in the dry or wet form from Amazon. I just baked a loaf of Alaskan sourdough and I'll be posting pictures shortly. How are things in Tucson? Are you both enjoying the retirement life? It's always a pleasure to hear from you guys. I hope you have a great holiday season!!