The idea of sourdough bread is appealing, but I had the misconception that it would take too long to make the starter. The starter for this bread (and the next post) only required 24 hours to create, which is perfectly doable in a weekend. My loaves turned out dense, and I'm going to attribute that to accidentally using a portion of the wrong starter. Lesson learned: sourdough and whole wheat starters are extremely difficult to accurately scoop out of a recipe when you use the wrong one.
1 cup warm water, between 105ºF and 115ºF
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Cover tightly, and let stand 24 to 36 hours, until the starter is bubbly and has a sweet-sour aroma. Cover and refrigerate for storage or use immediately. Replenish after each use with a mixture of half water and half flour. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 2 hours, until bubbly. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
2 tsp. yeast
2/3 cup water
1 1/3 cups sourdough starter
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups oats
2 1/2 cups bread flour
Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and room temperature sourdough starter. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add salt, oats and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.
Add remaining bread flour. Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Divide dough into two pieces, and shape each into a round loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Using a sharp knife, slash the top of each loaf. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden.Cool on a wire rack.