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Irresistible Sourdough Bread Rolls: Grandma's Recipe is Worth Sharing

Before Thanksgiving I posted photos of my sourdough bread rolls made from my grandma's sourdough starter. I've had numerous requests for the recipe so here it is.

I have sourdough starter that originated from my grandma's sourdough starter. She began to make sourdough bread when she retired so we believe that the starter is nearly 50 years old now. It could be even twenty years older than that as she always made sourdough hotcakes or waffles and her hotcake recipe is dated 1954.

How I wish I could ask her questions now, but she was thoughtful enough to give me several sourdough recipes when I was newly married, copied, but each in her own handwriting and signed by her as was her way to sign everything.

In the evening, I combine 1 cup starter and 2 1/2 cups flour with 2 cups lukewarm water. I stir it with my danish whisk, beating it until smooth. I cover it and set it in my oven that has had the oven light turned on for about ten minutes. (Remember to turn off the oven light as it can be too hot and cook your batter before you even begin!) I leave a cup of hot water inside the oven with the batter for extra humidity.

In the morning, remove 1 cup starter.


I dump the batter into my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl and add:

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 Tbsp cooking oil or melted butter

4 cups flour

I mix it thoroughly and knead it with the dough attachment for approximately 8 minutes. Put the dough (it will be sticky) into a well-greased bowl, turn it so the top is then also greased. Cover, and let rise until double in size. Depending on the house temperature, air humidity, the time this step takes will vary. But is is usually betwee 2-4 hours. If it doesn't double in that time, just give it more time. Once I let it rise for close to 6 hours. I thought the dough was "dead" but I still ended up with beautiful loaves of bread!

Punch down and divide the dough into two parts. Rest briefly.

Shape into loaves. This is a part that I do not spend a lot of time on. I'm not a master sourdough baker and this dough is super forgiving. My loaves have always turned out. Place the loaves into well greased bread pans. I grease the bottom but not the sides so the dough can use the sides to climb up and rise.

Let the loaves rise until almost as high as you want them. Again, the time varies, but usually 1-2 hours. I'm so thankful I have a business right here on the farm so I can continue to work and check in on the status of my sourdough. It doesn't take a lot of effort on my part but it does take time.

Now the next step is different from my grandma's recipe. I place the bread pans with the risen loaves in my oven BEFORE its preheated. Then I turn on the oven to 375 degrees. Not only does this reduce my baking time by ten minutes, it also gives my loaves an extra lift at the very last.

Bake for 40-45 minutes til the loaves are golden and shrinking away from the sides of the pans. Remove from the oven and let cool about five minutes before removing the loaves from the pans. I then butter the entire top of the loaves.

FOR DINNER ROLLS: So for Thanksgiving, I wanted dinner rolls instead of sliced bread. Instead of shaping into two loaves, I divided the dough into 32 pieces and formed them into rolls. I placed the rolls into glass casserole dishes and then let them rise until double in size. It didn't take quite as long as the bread loaves did. Then I baked them at the same temperature but for about 30 minutes instead of 40-50 minutes. It will depend on your oven so just keep an eye on your rolls. I did not want them too crusty but also did not want any gummy rolls either! There's only so much homemade peach jam can cover, let's be honest.

Let me know if you try this and leave me a comment. Happy Sourdough Bread baking!


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