Bake Like a Pioneer: Hannah’s Sourdough Bread Recipe

As you all have heard me mention before in my posts, my grandma is basically the bomb when it comes to cooking, and general culinary wisdom. She’s the one who taught my Dad to cook, and he in turn has taught me all he knows. As the keeper of the family’s culinary wisdom she has a wealth of recipes that were passed down from her mother, and other family members. This recipe for Sourdough Bread is one of those. 

In fact, my grandma swears that this was how the pioneers made their bread. Every time she mentions making Sourdough Bread or her recipe she follows it up with :
“…just like in the pioneer days when they were out on the trail!”I’ve pointed out several times that I don’t think the pioneers had Idaho potato flakes on the frontier, but she dismisses my argument completely.It may not be from the pioneer days, but it is really old. As a matter of fact, when we dug it out the recipe paper was so old it was starting to crumble.

So here it is folks, my family Pioneer Sourdough Bread Recipe!

Here’s what you need:
1 cup of warm water
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs instant potato flakes
1 package of dry yeast
1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup warm water
6 cups of bread flour
(Recipe makes 4 loaves of bread)
The first thing that you want to do is mix your starter up. This is what you let rise before you do your bread. Combine all of the starter ingredients listed above in a large bowl. Mix them all together, cover the bowl with a towel, and let them sit for 8 hours, no more than 10. You may be saying – 10 hours??? I aint got time fo that!
Well, its not as time consuming as it sounds. You can just leave it set and go about your daily shenanigans, as long as you have your time set so you don’t forget about it. Although the easiest way that I have found to do it is to start it late at night and leave it while you’re sleeping. Doing this ensures that you can get up and finish making it when you wake up in the morning – and if you’re lucky, have fresh morning bread.
After your 8 hours are up, you want to make up the Second.
Add all of the Second ingredients together in order from the list above. After you have this all mixed up, pour in your Starter from before. As I said, adding this all together makes 4 loaves total, so be prepared.
After things are all mixed, cover the bowl with a towel again and let it set and raise until the dough has doubled in size. After that “punch it down” – meaning fold it over and over in the bowl until it shrinks down a bit.
After punching to down, divide the dough into 4 equal loaves. Since we didn’t have a bread pan at the time, we used a baking pan and put them in it. You can have them however you want, braided or not, but we just went the easy route with plain loaves. Also make sure to grease your pan so the loaves don’t stick.
After you make out your loaves in the pan, cover them again and let them raise until they’ve doubled in size again.
Once they’ve doubled you can put them in the oven!
Make sure you put them in gently so your bread doesn’t fall.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until the dough is done.
The only thing left to do now is serve with some butter, or some of our Berry Bonanza Jelly, just like the pioneers did!
Homemade bread always makes a great gift as well. For the holidays we always make a bunch of loaves up to give to family members along with some of our jelly. They always love getting our baked goodies at Christmas. There’s always those people you have a hard time buying for around Christmas, and  you can’t go wrong with food!
 Food is the perfect gift. The pioneers agree.
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