Think you can’t eat bread? Maybe it’s just modern bread you have a problem with…. Try this age-old recipe for homemade sourdough bread, and see if it makes a difference.
Oh bread, how we love thee! Unfortunately, bread doesn’t always love us…. Or at least, so it would seem. The modern problem of gluten intolerance has always seemed a bit strange to me, since we humans have been eating bread for, well, just about forever!
Did the ancient Romans have gluten intolerance? How about the plains Indians?
The problem is, the bread we eat now is nothing like the bread we ate then. In order to make grain truly nutritious and digestible to our human digestive tracts, we need to do a few different things to it:
- Sprout it
- Ferment it
- Cook it
Modern breadmaking techniques only take step 3 into account, and some have suggested that this is the reason for our recent problems with this ancient grain-based food. (Check out this interesting article for more information.)
Actually, sprouting is a form of fermentation, so you could really just do one or the other, and this recipe utilizes fermentation without the sprouting, to make the process a bit easier.
Don’t let bread making intimidate you! It’s actually quite easy, and not that time consuming, except for the rise part, which it does just fine on its own, so you can spend that time doing other things.
Before you make your sourdough bread, you will need to create a sourdough starter. Here’s a quick rundown of how to do it, from Rodale’s Organic Life:
How To Make Sourdough Starter:
Day 1: Mix ¾ cup of flour and ½ cup warm water* together in a large jar with a wide mouth. Use a whisk, as that will help get lots of air (and the airborne yeasts and bacteria you want) into the slurry. Cover the jar loosely with some cheesecloth or an inverted sieve—something that will keep bugs and objects out but allow air to circulate. Place it in a room-temperature location, and ignore it.
*If your tap water is chlorinated, you either need to let it sit in an open container for a day to let the chlorine evaporate, run it through a filter that takes out chlorine, or use bottled water. Chlorine inhibits the yeasts and bacteria you want to encourage.
Day 2: Add another ¾ cup of flour and ½ cup warm water to the mixture and whisk it vigorously. Cover loosely and keep at room temperature.
Day 3: By now you may notice some small bubbles in your slurry; this is good! If not, just be patient. Add another ¾ cup of flour and ½ cup warm water to the mixture and whisk it vigorously. Cover it loosely and keep it at room temperature.
Day 4: Pour out about ½ of the slurry and either feed it to your compost pile or use it up in something else…. Add another ¾ cup of flour and ½ cup warm water to the remaining mixture and whisk it vigorously. Cover loosely and keep at room temperature.
Repeat the Day 4 instructions daily until your slurry becomes a spongy, bubbling mass that doubles in size by the next feeding time. This usually occurs in about 5 to 7 days total. It should smell and taste a bit sour and a bit yeasty, but pleasant. If it does, congratulations! You are now the proud steward of your very own sourdough starter!
(If you have any problems with your starter, check out this article for some helpful tips.)
Now it’s time to bake! If you prefer a multi-grain or lighter bread, you can substitute some white flour, or some rye and/or other grain for part of the wheat flour. (Personally I like a mixture of bread flour and Trader Joe’s White Whole Wheat.)
Easy-Peasy Wild Sourdough Bread
Prep Time: 15 min
Rise Time: 8-9 hours
Bake Time: 40 min
2 c. wild sourdough starter
2 c. filtered or non-chlorinated water
1 1/2 TBS. salt
5-6 c. whole wheat flour
- Combine all ingredients in a mixer & mix until dough cleans sides of bowl (roughly 5 minutes).
- Place in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise 5-6 hours or until doubled in size.
- Divide dough into two sections.
- Knead dough and form into loaves, then place in greased pans.
- Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.
- Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
Learn more about this recipe at WeedEmAndReap.com.