sourdough
food, health, home

To Sour A Dough

The uptake of families using their pandemic down time to create things at home, has led to shortages of essentials in stores in some places.

It is as if we have rewound the clock, to an earlier time, when takeaway was unknown and we prepared all of our own food. Which is such a better way to eat than packaged, pre-prepared foods that are preserved beyond comprehension and have a shelf life that Cro-Magnon man would envy?

Repressed Baker or Bakeaholic?

In my house, the baking frenzy – and the #onecakeaweek has been in full swing during the length of the Covid pandemic. Yet, I still bear the title of ‘Repressed baker.’

Or, perhaps it was likely that I was a baker in a former life?

I venture to say the joy of kneading bread dough borders on the therapeutic, for me at least. Kneading, folding, creating and then of course the joy of eating. It is almost blissful.

It is not the first time, this lapsed baker has made bread, but it has been a while.

When I turned 21 years old, I decided it was time to hang up my bread-making apron for other pursuits. Not only was the process of making bread time-consuming, but good yeast was hard to find and quite expensive. As a 20-something, the novelty of making my own varieties of bread quickly wore off.

Like others, the enforced leave from work, with adult kids who have (mostly), left the nest, means the urge to bake all kinds of things has returned with gusto.

Sourdough Mother

Now in the midst of lockdown, I returned to the kitchen to make sourdogh bread. I have already made loads of different kinds of cakes and sweet treats and was growing a sourdough mother under the expert tutelage of my blogger friends and bread-baking mentors, Sandy and Peggy.

Once I was able to secure some wholemeal flour, which was a feat in itself, given the shortages under Covid, I tended the sourdough starter lovingly for days and made a pancakes out of the discard.

The Final Result Sourdough Rolls

At the end of the week, I produced these wonderful Wholemeal Sourdough bread Rolls from Peggy‘s recipe.

bread rolls

I had enough to give some to my son and a friend. Surprisingly, the friend who happens to be Danish, so is used to beautifully cooked bread, raved about my sourdough rolls.

I was a little surprised she liked them, as I found them quite dense in texture and sliced them thinly to toast them. But then compared to Rugbrød, the Danish Rye bread, they are most likely light and airy given that the Danes like their bread really heavy and solid.

Danish Rugbrød or Ryebread

The Sourdough Mother has now gone, so I will have to start the process over again, which is a lot of fun.

Next time, it will be with Rye flour and linseed, just like the Danes, I think.

A Home by the Sea
memorial
building, food, health, home

Day 4-6 Sourdough Starter

The weather is getting cooler at the Home by the Sea. Could this affect the number of bubbles I see in the starter?

Sourdough Problems or Not?

Since I attended one of those slightly cringeworthy Tupperware parties of the 80’s, I always store my white flour in the fridge. I never get weevils or pantry moths in my flour due to this storage method. However, I got to thinking that this might make the sourdough more sterile, due to a lesser number of bugs. So I ask the break making veterans: Would this make a difference?

Day 6

The Starter seems to have run out of steam, a little and I am looking for explanations. I do have a confession to make:

I added the morning feed quantity at the evening feeding and the following morning it was very liquidy on the top.

I may have overfed it!

I may have killed it?

I continued feeding the batch I was intending to keep and use, and left aside this ‘to be discarded if it doesn’t do anything’ batch, for a day but it didn’t seem to improve.

Not many bubbles, compared to day 2, which is seen below.

I have no idea as to whether it is still alive, or if I am flogging a dead sourdough mother.

autumn leaves japan
food, writing

The Mother of Sourdoughs

Beginning the Sourdough Journey

Day 4 – Creating a Sourdough Starter

After being late with the P.M. feeding of my starter last night, I was a little concerned that it may not be fermented enough by the time the morning feed was due, but comments from supportive fellow bloggers and my Sourdough mentors, Peggy, Sandy and Chris, relaxed me about the process.

A Forgiving Dough

Mary from Mary’s Nest Sourdough website, states that you can change/swap or alter your sourdough starter as you go along, from white to rye, or wholewheat. What flexibility! [Happy Dance]

I started this process using a mix with half whole wheat flour and half white flour, as this is the mix most of my family and me, prefer. This excludes the fastidious Moth, of course. He is a committed, refined-bleached- white flour man, who likes his bread ultra-fresh and soft as a baby’s bottom. That is a bad comparative metaphor for bread, but you get my drift.

So Day 4 Dawns, and I feed this mother of all sourdough mixes.

Some exponents, including Sandy, prefer using equal parts flour and water, by weight in their starter mix, and I might still do that. I guess I can change it up as I go along, with this ultra-flexible sourdough mix.

After all, as Chris pointed out in a previous comment, people have been making bread this way for millennia, and most likely didn’t have clocks, timers or accurate scales to measure ingredients.

More tomorrow from the Home by the Sea.

duck pond
food, health

Day 3 – Caring for Sourdough Mother

Day 3 dawns and I finally get to engage a bit more with my Sourdough starter.

It’s been sitting for two days. Like a child, it must now have a morning and evening feeding – twelve hours apart.

I raised the lid on the glass container and there were bubbles, loads and loads of them.

Maybe too many?

Mary from Mary’s Nest said a wide glass jar allowed for better fermentation. I did place it on the benchtop near the, oh so warm, slow cooker all of yesterday, and it WAS a warm day weather-wise. Perhaps it was too hot for the yeast?

Have I killed this sourdough baby before it has even had a chance to grow?

Would there be bubbles and fermentation if I had indeed, killed it?

Some many questions and doubts arise in my head.

Peggy and Sandy? Is this okay?

The mix smelt really yeasty, but perhaps too yeasty. I did a quick image search on Google. It didn’t look like mould but maybe it smelt like it? I decided to feed it and see if it would grow. If it was dead, it wouldn’t grow, would it?

More tomorrow.

And I will feed it at 8.20 pm tonight.

sunglasses on a rock
food, health

Day 2 Sourdough Benefits

As nothing much is happening on Day 2 apart from stirring the sourdough. The little yeast organisms can does their job fermenting on the benchtop.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share some abridged snippets of useful information.

Preservative and Chemical Free Bread

Sourdough is free from other types of breads that have oils, sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals in their ingredient list.

Besides affecting the flavour of the bread, chemicals and additional ingredients are often added to other breads because they can’t stay fresh as long as sourdough can or fend off mould as well. The presence of bacteria, due to sourdough’s unique fermentation process, improves sourdough’s nutritional profile. This allows for better nutrient absorption, improved gut health, and some studies have even shown fermentation alters the structure of carbohydrates in the dough for better blood sugar control and a lower score on the glycemic index.

Bread for Gut Health

Sourdough’s fermentation means it is gentler on our digestive tract and may be tolerated by those with a sensitive tummy. This is possibly attributed to the breaking down of a carbohydrate in wheat called fructans which can mimic gluten intolerances. Phytic acid, also present in bread and wheat products, causes digestive issues and sourdough bread neutralizes the effect of phytic acid on the body.

The long fermentation process involved in making sourdough has shown to improve digestion of gluten-forming proteins, known for causing wheat intolerances and allergies. Research has also shown the presence of fructans, a carbohydrate found in wheat, causes digestive issues similar to gluten intolerances and are now thought to be the cause of many self-diagnosed “gluten intolerances.” However, sourdough fermentation breaks down fructans, making them easier on the digestive system.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15631515

As varieties of wheat have changed over the years, it is possible the changes in composition of the grains, may be the reason some people assume they are gluten intolerant.

Shortcut to Making Your Own Sourdough

This Whole-Wheat Bread recipe recipe only takes 12 hours, compared to almost a week. Probiotic-rich yogurt and vinegar mimic the tangy flavor of sourdough without the need for a starter.

http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/whole-wheat-sour-faux-bread

Sourdough requires very little in the way of ingredients and have many health benefits.

Variations to Sourdough Starter Mix

I used a blend of half wholewheat flour and half white flour.

Do you add salt to your sourdough starter?

What flour do you use?

Whole wheat, white, rye or a blend?

More updates on my starter on Day 3.

kitchen design
food, health

Starting a Sourdough

At the moment, fresh food is in short supply and it looks like we will have to find alternate methods of ensuring we have access to the wonderful array and choices of food that we have all grown accustomed to having in our pantry. Such as basics like bread, pasta and toilet paper…

D.i.Y is on the rise! Hopefully not with toilet paper but D.I.Y bread is very popular.

I have an idea to make my own bread, but I never had much luck with using dried Yeast.

Many years ago, I use to cook my own bread -it was a blend of whole wheat and white bread, something that you could not obtain in the shops in the 1980’s. It was delicious, albeit with large airholes in the bread but the taste was fantastic when it was just out of the oven!

I made this bread using compressed yeast. This method worked really well and I often made whole wheat fruit buns and fruit loaves and they all turned out fine. They looked a bit like this.

I don’t have any photos of mine to show. Clearly I wasn’t the shutterbug that I am now!

It seems you can no longer get compressed yeast – trust me I have asked around. Even the Bakers themselves, do not seem to use it any longer, so a sourdough starter maybe an alternative bread raising agent.

Plus sourdough is good for your gut biome as the information below indicates. (I know M-R will totally disagree if she reads this!)

Vitamin and Mineral-Rich

Sourdough is a great source of several minerals such as iron and selenium. Iron and selenium helps protect our immune system, cells, and tissue. Sourdough is also a great source of many B vitamins, which assist in proper nervous system function and help regulate our metabolisms.

https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/is-sourdough-bread-healthy

Prebiotics & Probiotic-like Benefits

Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fibre that keep your gut healthy by feeding the good bacteria, called probiotics, that live there. The presence of prebiotics in sourdough is thought to make it easier to digest than many other breads and the presence of probiotic cultures have shown to increase vitamin and mineral absorption. The probiotics themselves don’t survive the baking process, but the lactic acid bacteria produced during fermentation remains and provides the benefits. The presence of lactic acid bacteria in sourdough has shown to also contain antioxidant benefits, safeguarding your body against illness.

https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/is-sourdough-bread-healthy

I have researched the YouTube videos and I’m ready to begin making a starter.

It may be a complete failure but let’s see how we go.

This is day one – April 19

Sour Dough Starter

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup White Plain Flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat Plain Flour
  • 1/3 cup water – leave tap water to sit for an hour to remove any chlorine

That is it.

Now it is left to sit for two days in a warm place in a container with a loose lid.

I simply have to stir it tomorrow.