Here are some interesting thoughts where the sourdough came from one of my vintage books by Jeff Smith “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American”.
“Sourdough is probably the oldest form of “raised” or “leavened” bread that we know. While the Egyptians are generally given credit for baking the first raised bread, we must also remember that their claim to this fame occurred just after the Jews had fled Egypt, leaving their leavening behind. They were taught to bake unleavened loaves of bread in the desert. Most likely from the historical events that it was the Jews who brought a wild leavening from the desert, a sourdough, into Egypt, and the Hebrew people taught the Egyptians how to bake raised bread in the first place.
In any case, we are all familiar with the biblical lines about a little leaven leavening the whole. The Bible is referring to sourdough, and we have been using these wild yeast forms ever since. There is some evidence that Columbus brought a sourdough starter with him on the ships when he set out for the New World. In the time of Columbus, sourdough was the only kind of yeast available. It was used in this country from the very beginning.”
To make a rye sourdough: It is a process of 6 days. So, if you planning to bake your bread on a weekend, you need to start your sourdough on Monday.
On day 1 – mix 1 teaspoon of rye flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small clear jar. Seal it and let stand overnight.
On days 2, 3, 4, and 5 – add 1 teaspoon of rye flour and 2 teaspoons water to the jar and stir. You will see that every day more bubbles will form on the surface.
To make a starter – mix 1 tablespoon from the jar with 1 cup of rye flour and 2/3 cup warm water in a large bowl. Cover and let ferment overnight. Add1 teaspoon flour to the remaining ferment in the jar, seal it, and refrigerate it for use at other times.
For my dough proofing I used Brod & Taylor proffer.
- For the wet mixture:
- 1 1/4 cups rye flour
- 1/2 cup rye sourdough starter
- 3/4 cup cold water
- For the dry mixture:
- 1 1/3 cup rye flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 2/3 cup sultanas/golden raisins
- 2/3 cup hot water
To make a wet mixture: I a large bowl mix together the flour, sourdough starter, and water. Using a spatula scrape the mixture from around the edge of the bowl. Cover with plastic and let ferment overnight.
The next day, in a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dry mixture: the flour, salt, and raisins.
Tip the dry mixture over the wet mixture, making sure you entirely cover the wet mixture.
Pour the hot water over.
Using a wooden spoon mix together with all the ingredients.
Spoon the dough to the greased loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch) and smooth the surface of the dough.
The loaf should be rise for about 2 hours. I used Brod & Taylor proffer for my proofing. I set the exact temperature 85F (best for proving rye bread), and I didn't have to cover the loaf pan with a plastic or kitchen towel. It works like a charm.
Preheat the oven to 475F. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat.
When the dough has finished rising, place it in the preheated oven, pour the cup of water onto the hot roasting pan and lower the oven temperature to 425F. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until brown.
Serve it with butter and your favorite cheese.
Most lovers of a sourdough claim that the older the starter is the better it is. Some Alaskan sourdoughs claim to be using starters that are more than fifty years old.