1) The starter works better if your 1:1 ratio is by weight, not volume, which means when I feed it 1 cup of flour in the morning, I need to add about 2/3 cup of water.
2) When I make my starter this way, I don't need to add water at all to the bread recipe.
3) The bread rises slightly better when you add less salt.
4) It also tastes much better (read: the kids actully like it, rather than just suffering through it) when I add a little honey.
So, without further ado, here's my revised recipe:
2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground is best)
1 tsp salt (sea salt is best)
1/4 cup honey (can be omitted)
1/4 cup olive oil (can be omitted - lard also works well)
2 cups sourdough culture*
Mix all together and knead well (I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer). Don't forget to save at least 1/4 cup of starter and feed it!
Place in a greased loaf pan and let rise until doubled (this will take a while - anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on your culture and your room temperature (it usually takes closer to 4 in my house). You can also put this in the refrigerator (covered) to slow it down (if you'd like to go to bed and finish in the morning!) but make sure it's at room temperature and fully risen before you bake it.
When fully proofed (risen), bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (it will be lightly brown; if you stick a meat thermometer into it, it should read at least 200 degrees)
My kids prefer a softer crust, so I cover the bread after it comes out of the oven until it's cooled. If you prefer a crisp crust, tip it out of the pan onto a rack and let it cool that way.
This bread is a great "keeper." It will last at room temperature for almost a week.
*As I mentioned, I feed my starter 1 cup flour and 2/3 cup water at each feeding. I feed once in the morning, bake with it at noon, and feed it again after I take some out to bake with. If I want to build it up for a larger baking, I'll also feed it the night before I bake, or double the quantities at each feeding.
I've also found that you can put your starter in the fridge for a few days (if you're gone for the weekend, or just don't want to bake as often). Just get it out at least four hours before you want to bake (so it can "wake up" and get back to room temperature) and feed as usual.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.