My Sourdough Experiment

| 9/5/2014 8:56:00 AM

Lee AnnI have been baking bread for years, and it's one of my favorite things to do. I bake it for my family, for friends, and to sell. But I had never attempted making Sourdough, and had certainly never attempted gathering my yeast from the air. Well, thanks to the Advanced Botanical Medicine course I am taking through Vintage Remedies, I had the opportunity to complete an assignment doing just that.

As I have learned about the history of bread and the benefits of creating a slow, naturally leavened loaf, I realize that it is even more important than I thought for us to make our own bread. The modern day loaf made through the commercial baking process has removed virtually all of the nutrients once found in this staple food. By gathering yeast through the naturally occurring microbes in our air, and allowing our grain to slowly leaven and ferment, we are able to retain all of the nutrients and create a very nutritious loaf of bread. However, the process of gathering yeast from the environment, allowing it to ferment, then mixing a bread dough that takes 48 hours to rise was a little daunting. My loaf of sourdough literally took nearly a week to create.

To gather yeast from the air to make the starter was not difficult, it just took time. I started by mixing 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 cup water in a quart size mason jar. I whisked it together really well, then covered it with cheesecloth and a rubber band, set it on the counter and ignored it for 24 hours. The next time I looked at it, the mixture had begun to bubble on top, and some liquid (known as the hooch), had started to form. I knew it was time to feed my starter. So I mixed 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup water and whisked it into the original mixture, covered it back up with the cheesecloth and ignored it for another 24 hours. When I went back, there was about 1 inch of hooch, and the mixture below the hooch was bubbly. I fed the mixture one more time, and waited 12 hours, then I knew it was time to create my bread dough using this recipe.

sourdough experiment 

Slow Sourdough Bread

2/3 cup starter (mix it well before adding)
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups wheat flour
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1  3/4 cups water

9/7/2014 8:20:29 AM

Lee Ann, I love sourdough bread. I eat it whenever I can but I suspect the pancake house sourdough doesn't have a lot of nutrition in it. It does taste good though. Now that my grandson is living with his Dad and not with me, I can get back to some homestead cooking again. I may even get back to baking bread again during the winter months when heating up the kitchen isn't a problem but kind of nice. ***** Have a great sourdough bread day.

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