An Old School Loaf

I recently resurrected my sourdough starter from the deep freeze.

I throw it in there from time to time when I feel like starving it for an extended period of time, or if I feel like being unusually cruel to it.

It never really seems to mind the solitude, and I’m always amazed how fast it springs back to life, hungrier than ever!

In the past I have always done a nice, simple water-based sourdough loaf or a slightly wetter ciabatta-type dough, which I bake in a ceramic pot in my oven.

Lately, though, I’ve been really craving a simple old school ploughman’s loaf to make and old school grilled cheese to go with my canned tomato soup. (It’s a winter thing, hehe.)

I don’t normally make this style of white bread, so not only was I breaking into new territory, I was breaking in with some aggro—a semi-deprived starter.

I based this recipe on an old chuckwagon classic that uses dried milk and eggs.

With little trouble, I’ve come up with what I think is the all-time best grilled cheese bread, or a simple vehicle to eat loads of creamy honey with! Remember to feed your sourdough and use it when it’s at peak activity for a reasonable rise time, unless you have all day to wait.

Either way, DON’T RUSH IT. Sourdough likes to rise when and how it wants. When it’s done, it’s done.

Cowboy Sourdough

Makes one loaf. Recipe can easily be doubled.


1/2 cup/125ml whole milk

2 tbsp/30g maple, birch syrup or honey

2 tbsp/30g butter

1 cup/250ml active sourdough starter

1 large egg, beaten

1¼ tsp/12g salt

2½ cups/280g all purpose flour (or more if needed)


· In a small sauce pan add the milk and butter. Warm until butter melts and small bubbles form on the side of the pan. Add syrup or honey and set aside while you gather the other ingredients.

· In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt.

· Add egg, starter and warm milk mixture to the flour. (Do not add the milk mixture to flour if it’s too hot—milk should be lukewarm.)

· Mix until the dough forms a nice ball. You may need to add more flour if your starter is on the runny side.

· Kneed in stand mixer for 10 minutes on the second speed setting or by hand until dough is smooth and elastic.

· Leave dough to rise in a warm, cozy place (approximately an hour or two.) Then punch it down and form into loaf and place into loaf pan. Cover the pan with an old zip top bag to increase humidity, and leave to rise again until it is plumping out of the pan.

· Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes. When you tap the loaf it should sound hollow and feel extremely light.

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