Thursday, August 18, 2011

San Francisco Sourdough via Herman!

This is Herman. 

My mom first introduced us when I was just knee-high-to-a-grasshopper.  I didn't immediately fall in love with Herman.  But, after years of eating the delicious breads, rolls and cakes that he helped my mom make, I decided that we could, at the very least, be friends.  About a year ago, my mom helped me start my own Herman and now, I will share Herman with you!

Herman is a starter.  With Herman, you can make bread, bagels, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, and tons of other stuff!  You do have to take care of him though.  I feed him once every five days and stir him every day (let's be honest, sometimes I forget, but I try!).  He lives in a container in my fridge.

My mom knows a lady that had the same Herman for like 18 years!  Isn't that crazy / kinda weird / awesome?!  I have killed my Herman twice.  Once on vacation and again over our honeymoon.  But, I have had this Herman going strong a little over 4 months. yay!

Here is the recipe in case you want a Herman too!

Herman Starter

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast

Grab a container that you want Herman to live in. Mix all the ingredients well, in that container.  Cover loosely and let stand overnight.  The next day, stir and place in the fridge.  Stir daily.  On day 5, feed Herman 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar.  Stir daily for 4 more days.  On day 10, remove 1 cup of starter for baking and feed Herman as if it were day 5.  Repeat.

*Never use metal utensils to stir Herman - it kills him.  If fact, I have a special Herman wooden spoon.

I use Herman to help me make Chris bagels and whole wheat bread often, but a few weeks ago, I was feeling like doing something crazy and I used Herman and my mom's San Francisco Sourdough recipe to make sourdough bread. (My mom loves San Fransisco, so all sourdough has the prefix of being "San Francisco").  I dig it.

My San Francisco sourdough turned out to be super yummy.

This above picture is the sourdough before I let it rise.  

This is the sourdough when it was done. It was fantastic.

San Francisco Sourdough via Herman

*This recipe makes 2 loaves.

4 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cups Herman starter
1 tbsp water
3 tbsps sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tbsps butter, softened
1 extra large egg (or 2 small)
1/4 chopped onion or sesame seeds (if desired)

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, yeast.  Add the milk and softened butter.  Slowly stir in Herman.  Mix in up to 3 3/4 cups flour (you may need a little more).  Turn mixture on to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes (bicep / tricep workout - check).

Wash out your bowl, then cover the inside of the bowl with liquid oil (canola or veggie is just fine).  Place your dough in the bowl, then turn once so all surfaces of dough are covered with oil (so it doesn't stick!).  Cover the bowl with a dish towel and place in a warm area. (Not in front of an air conditioner or window - duh!).  Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.  Punch down, literally with your fist! (This allows extra air to escape.)  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 sections and shape into loaves.  Place into greased baking pans and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375.

Get a little bowl and your egg / eggs and beat well.  Brush the egg over top of loaves.  Sprinkle with finely chopped onions or sesame seeds (if you want!)

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

** You can also make 1 long loaf and bake it in a cake pan.

Wow your friends with your bread making skills.


Have you ever heard of Herman or something like it?  Do you bake?  Do you have any yummy starter recipes? 

I have some great ones for the holidays and can't wait to share!




  1. There are starters that have been living for over 100 years! You can even buy starters from companies and individuals all over the world - some of which are particularly renowned for their specific "flavor." Crazy!

  2. You make your momma proud. Once you became domesticated, I KNEW you would love Herman the way I do!