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flirting with bread baking again--sourdough starter?

post #1 of 2
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I have made challah the last two weeks. It's really expensive to buy it where I live--there are a couple of stores in our neighborhood where they import it from bakeries across the Charles River and they mark up the price outrageously! Now that I'm out of work it's a pretty good use of my time to make challah, I can do other things at the same time.

I am also considering baking the bread we use during the week. I own the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and the one by Daniel Leader, which both have sourdough recipes in them. I also have access to excellent flour. I have some questions for people who do or have done this:

1. Is making your own bread at home worthwhile if you can buy good whole grain bread? Is it economical, a good use of time and resources, practical?

2. Have you had success with sourdoughs? Which recipes have worked for you? I've only tried once and it didn't go so well. It was over a decade ago but the trauma of the brick...and the stinky starter!

3. If you baked your own for awhile, did you use a mixer or do it by hand, or a mixture of both? I have a mixer with a dough hook, but when I have tried to use it for bread I always wimp out because I am afraid to overknead. I wind up taking the dough out and kneading it a bit by hand just to make sure it's really the right texture!
post #2 of 2
1. "Is making your own bread at home worthwhile if you can buy good whole grain bread? Is it economical, a good use of time and resources, practical?" I did a cost/benefit study. The "healthy" whole grain bread I was buying wasn't organic and was very high in sodium. I can make my own for a little less money, plus its organic and lower in sodium.

2. "Have you had success with sourdoughs?" No! "Which recipes have worked for you?" I'll be watching this thread!

3. "If you baked your own for awhile, did you use a mixer or do it by hand, or a mixture of both?" The part that was hardest for me was stirring in the flour. Now I let my mixer do all the stirring, then I usually knead it for about 10 minutes. This works for me, and as long as I'm planning to be home during the day, its not too disruptive.
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