Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, from About.com

This was my first foray into making sourdough, which apparently is a pretty complicated process initially, but then is less of a pain in the ass after you get over the initial hump.  Sourdough is based on a “starter”, a fermented mixture of flour and water that lends sourdough its tangy taste.  It takes at least a few days to make a decent starter, and my first attempt resulted in a nasty mixture which had a smell that could knock you over–and I’m pretty sure it would have given botulism to anyone who tried it.

But my second go-round in the starter game did well with this Sourdough Starter recipe from allrecipes.com.  After initially making it, I “fed” it with more flour and water once a day for about a week, until it just smelled…right.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I then used a cup of the starter as the basis for this bread, and stored the rest in the fridge for next time.

The starter, all bubbly and yeasty-smelling:

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The finished dough, proofing before baking:

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The final product (makes an awesome PB&J, Ruth Reichl-style):

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