Bake / Breads / Cook

Keep Calm and Barm On – Truly Scratch Sourdough From Our Brother


In the last shipment of smoked salmon we received from our brother, there was an extra special treat – an awesome sourdough starter – or as Anthony calls it – barm!  Of course, the box reeked like booze when we opened it due to the formation of liquor on the barm.  Okay, we’re in!

Anthony has been keeping this barm alive, dividing, flouring, whisking, watering and caring for it for some time now.  He originally got the barm from his awesome neighbor, Vicki Mayer, who has patiently imparted all of her bread making wisdom to him, as well as a few tools to help him out along the way.  The result?  A sourdough bread any Alaskan would be proud to call their own!

Awesome neighbor Vicki…

IMG_0121 anthvicki

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And, as he imparts that same wisdom to us, we did what any self-respecting food bloggers do – we put it on the internet for all, for free!  Enjoy – I know the recipe is pretty lengthy but it’s totally worth the wait.  But if you don’t like to wait, Trish did you a solid and offers her lazy sourdough loaf hack at the bottom here.

Stir together 9 ounces unbleached bread flour and 16 ounces barm in your stand mixer bowl until it forms a firm ball add no more than a tablespoon of water at a time. Mix on low speed 4- 5 minutes or until a firm ball forms.  There should be nothing left on the inside of the bowl. It is okay if it’s a little sticky but it should not be stiff or dry.

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Knead dough on lightly floured board until it comes together.  Tuck under and roll into firm ball. Lightly grease a glass bowl with vegetable or canola oil (do not use olive oil). Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours or until the dough nearly doubles. Cover well and refrigerate overnight.  This is now the “intermediate firm starter”.

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Remove intermediate starter from refrigerator and set on the counter for about an hour or until room temperature.

To make the bread:

Punch down firm starter and divide into 6 pieces.


Add 2 cups cool water 70 degrees to mixing bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon 0.75 oz salt and 1 1/4 teaspoon 0.25 oz malt.  Add pieces of firm starter to water, salt and malt mixture.  Mix together on medium low speed and gradually add 6 cups (27 ounces) unbleached bread flour.

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Mix in stand mixer with a dough hook for 7 to 8 minutes. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead by hand 3 to 4 minutes. The dough should not be too dry or too sticky. If you dough is mixed and kneaded correctly it should pass a “window pane” test – take a small ball and gently stretch it out. It should stretch without breaking.


Place kneaded dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap leave at room temperature around 4 hours.

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After 4 hours divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces and shape into baguettes, boules or batards. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds, tucking it overhand into itself. At this point your dough should feel like a baby’s butt and spring back when pushed on.


Divided loaves…


Place balls in to lightly floured batons or shape into baguettes. Place them in floured proofing baskets, mist the top with vegetable oil spray, cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours until one and a half times their size.


One dough has doubled in size again place back in the fridge over night.

Time to bake!

Before pre heating oven, place water pan under upside down sheet pan.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Remove loaves from refrigerator and rest covered on counter for 1 hour.

Lightly sprinkle semolina flour on parchment paper.


Prepare 1 cup hot water and place in a mister bottle.


Score top of loaves about one half of an inch on a 45 degree angle. I use a flash utility knife blade because they are always sharp.  If your bread starts to flatten don’t worry – it will spring back in the oven.

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Mist the top of the loaves the inside of the oven. Pour 1 cup hot water into lower pan and transfer loaves with baking peel on parchment paper into the oven and bake at 475 for 2 minutes reduce heat to 450 degrees bake for 30 minutes rotating halfway through if necessary for even browning.

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Remove loaves from oven and allow to rest on cooling rack for 1 hour before slicing.

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Keep calm and barm on.  It goes best with Irish butter !!!!!!

Thanks Anthony and Vicki for sharing with us!




Lazy loafing….Trish’s hack

Sorry, I had to have fresh sourdough without all of the waiting, so here is my recipe for a loaf using Vicki’s magic sourdough barm.

Lazy Loaves

2 cups room temperature sourdough starter (barm)
3 ½ cups flour
½ stick unsalted butter (softened)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in your stand mixer affixed with a dough hook.  Mix on medium low speed for 5-6 minutes.  Place dough onto a floured board and knead a few more minutes or until soft like skin.  Divide dough in half and place in 2 greased bread pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot until the dough has doubled.  Using a sharp knife, score the tops of the loaves.  Brush with melted, unsalted butter.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the top.


Let rest at least 20 minutes, cut and enjoy!

Eat Well!


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