A word about leftover starter. There
should be some leftover. The leftover starter is your
start for next time: Put it into the jar, and give it
a fresh feed of a half-cup each of flour and warm water.
Keep it in the fridge; you'll have starter again next time.
To the sourdough starter, add the sugar,
salt, and butter.
Mix well, then knead in the flour a
half-cup at a time.
Knead in enough flour to make a good,
flexible bread dough.
You can do this with an electric
mixer, a bread machine on "dough cycle," or a food
You can also do it with a big bowl and
your bare hands.
Keep in mind that flour amounts are
approximate; flour varies in absorbency, and your
sourdough starter can vary in wetness.
Use your judgment; treat it like
ordinary white or French bread dough.
Trust your hands and eyes more than
the recipe, always.
Let the dough rise in a warm place, in a
bowl covered loosely with a towel (if you're using a bread
machine's dough cycle, let it rise in the machine).
Note that sourdough rises more slowly
than yeast bread; my starter takes about an hour or so,
but some starters take much longer.
Let the dough double in bulk, just
like yeast-bread dough.
When a finger poked into the top of
the dough creates a pit that doesn't "heal" (spring
back), you've got a risen dough.
Punch the dough down and knead it a little
Make a loaf and place it on a baking
sheet (lightly greased or sprinkled with cornmeal).
Slit the top if you like, and cover
the loaf with a towel and place it in a warm place to
rise again, until doubled in bulk.
Place the pan with
the loaf in your oven, and then turn your oven to 350o
Fahrenheit and bake the bread for 30-45
Do not preheat
The loaf is done
when the crust is brown and the bottom sounds hollow
when thumped with a wooden spoon.
Turn the loaf out
onto a cooling rack or a towel and let it cool for an
hour before slicing.
You can double the recipe for two large
two pound loaves.