My starter (we call it the "mother") is about 5 years old & she is a plain flour & water starter though there are many ways you can get a starter. I don't think flour & water are applicable to her description anymore. She, like myself & most other mothers I know, needs a jolt of sugar in the morning to get working. She has metamorphosed into a herman starter.I don't know how that name came about but I didn't invent it.
The day before I commence, the mother comes out of her sleep from the fridge. I stir the hooch (the sour water that has risen to the top) back in to make an even consistency. Then I feed her 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of potato flakes & a 1/2 cup of water & let her sit on the counter over night or all day to bring it up to room temperature. When the mother is awake she is fizzy & bubbly. She gets another stirring, & I add 1 cup of starter to my bread bowl. I'll feed her again, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour & 1/2 cup water & put her back to bed.
For the rest of the bread you'll need 2 & 3/4 cups of wheat flour, 3 cups f white flour, 1/4 cup of flax seed, 1/3 cup of sugar (optional), 1/2 cup of vegetable oil & 1 Tablespoon of salt & enough warm water to do the job. You might notice my jar of yeast sitting there. I also add 1 tsp. of yeast in the colder months or the rising time goes to 2 days. It is also optional though.
I LOVE King Arthur flour & excepting my own, that is what I use. I did not buy any wheat flour because I told myself I would have 3 cups of ground wheat flour ready at the time of this baking. Flour is getting expensive. However my plans went awry & I am demonstrating the first all white loaf in about 4 years.
Stir & mix it all together w/out the use of aluminum tools. I knead mine directly in the bowl so I can take it w/ me if I need to be doing something else. Cover & let it rise in a warm place as long as needed. 12 hours is not unusual.
Punch it down & form a good tight loaf. It should be smooth & satiny, excepting all of those little flax seeds.
Divide your loaf into 2 & prepare them for another rising.
I found this next trick on Candy's blog, Keeping the Home. I love how uniform it makes you loaves. Butter the bottom & sides of your pans thoroughly. I cannot express adequately the superiority of stone pans vs. aluminum. The yucky looking one is Pampered Chef, that's just good seasoning you see & it's my workhorse. The pretty one is Paula Deen, from Walmart. There is not much difference in their performance, only in their method of washing. Paula's will be my model.
Take one of your dough balls & stretch it over your fist. I only had one googly eye, so it's not quite the comical effect I was aiming for. Victor & Charlotte were appreciative though. I have never read Nourishing Traditions, though I hope to some day but this is supposed to stretch the gluten strands. I've not read the book as I said so I can't tell you why that is the thing to do. That is just what is going on.
Smoosh your dough into its pan, ugly side up. Really smoosh it (technical term) & get all of the air bubbles out.
Continue the smooshing down the length of your pan.
THEN, (favorite part) flip the loaf over to reveal a fairly smooth uniform buttered loaf of bread.
Put your bread down for another sleep in another warm place, covered w/ a clean towel.
In the morning it is ready to get up! It is always neat!
I have cleaned my oven since taking this picture. Bake the bread for 30 min. at 350 degrees.
When it's finished, re-butter for a softer & more flavorful crust. If you don't let it cool adequately it won't slice as well. I slice it on the side for the same reason, but the first loaf is always sacrificed...it smells too good!
Serve up smiles.