This recipe is for homemade breads made from Lea’s family’s yeast starter which has been passed down from homemaker to homemaker for many generations. Used to make loaves of bread, dinner rolls, and even glazed cinnamon rolls, as long as the starter is fed regularly, it will deliver light and fluffy textures that delight the whole family.
Living Yeast in Quart Jar
8-9 cups flour
2 cups whole milk, scalded (very briefly boiled)
1 1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cooking oil
hand or stand mixer
To Maintain and Use the Living Yeast Starter:
1. Remove the yeast starter from the refrigerator. Fill the jar to 3/4 full with lukewarm water (NOT hot!), and stir until the starter is smooth. Empty the contents into a mixing bowl
2. Add 3-4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture breaks when spatula is lifted
3. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for about six hours
4. Meanwhile, scald two cups of whole milk, and set aside to cool to lukewarm
5. Remove enough mixture from the bowl to fill the quart starter jar 1/2 full
6. Place 1/3 cup sugar on top of starter, and set aside uncovered
To Make the Bread or Rolls:
1. Add remaining sugar, eggs, salt, shortening, scalded milk and 1 cup flour to the bowl
2. Mix with hand or stand mixer until consistent
3. Add 5-6 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture thickens and mixer bogs down; continue mixing by hand, adding 1/2 cup flour at a time, until dough is stiff enough to be kneaded
4. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and pour dough on top and knead with hands, flouring frequently to eliminate stickiness. Knead until well exercised and consistently smooth
5. Meanwhile, coat a large bowl with cooking oil, dip the top of the dough in the bowl, turning over to get oil on all surfaces, and place the dough in bottom center
6. Cover the bowl with a dish towel, and set aside, out of drafts, until dough has doubled in size
7. Remove the dough from the bowl, onto a floured surface, and punch down and knead until all air bubbles are worked out
8. Divide into two equal portions and place into greased loaf pans; press the dough down to fill the bottom area of pan; oil the top of each loaf (If making rolls, shape into balls and space evenly in large cake pans with sides barely touching, oil the top of each roll.) Cover with kitchen towel and place out of draft to rise until baking size (usually 3-4 hours)
9. Place in preheated 350 degree oven in middle of the oven; bake 45 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. (Rolls need to be a little darker to ensure that they finish between rolls)
10. Remove loaves from pans and allow to cool on their sides on a cooling rack (Rolls may cool in the pan) Butter the tops while still hot for a softer crust
11. Cover the yeast starter with sugar and refrigerate
This yeast starter goes back to my great-grandmother, and probably farther back in our family, handed down to the next generation. Today, two of my sisters-in-law continue to use it to the delight of all who savor the flavor. The more you use it, the better it tastes!
Make your own wild yeast bread starter!
Sister-in-law Barb Tate has been baking bread with a starter taken from the original starter for many years. She has developed a little less detailed process for making bread, and splitting her starter. Her notes are shown here below.