I baked bread! Real, traditional sourdough bread. From scratch! It was a week long journey that had its highs and lows. There was the horrendous stench of fermentation, a small infestation of fruit flies, the peculiar bubbling and frothing, moving the bowl from the window sill to the counter depending on the weather... But after seven days, I baked myself a delicious loaf of sourdough bread.
This recipe for starter and bread both came from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. Don't expect spongey, fluffy bread. When a recipe calls for only freshly ground grains, water, a dash of salt and the yeast and bacteria naturally found in the environment, you know you are getting dense wholesomeness. Really dense- brick like even. This natural fermentation process greatly increases its digestibility.
For breakfast this morning I sliced up my loaf of bread and enjoyed it with two poached Everdale eggs, Ontario field cucumber and carrots, local organic mixed greens and the most delicious Wild Rose Farm tomatoes that were hand delivered to me yesterday by the delightful proprietor Catherine Carpenko.
For my second batch, I threw in some flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and some whole rolled oats.
Brave enough to give week long bread a try? Let me know how it goes for you.
- Sourdough Bread
- Ingredients (2 loaves, or 1 loaf/12 buns)
- 1 cup freshly ground rye flour (I bought rye kernels and ground them in my magic bullet- though you can always just get rye flour)
- 1 cup cold water
- cheesecloth (available at your local health food store or hardware store)
- 3 cups (more) freshly ground rye flour
- 4 cups of sourdough starter
- 6½ cups of fresh ground flour (I used spelt, can also try kamut or hard wheat)
- 1¼ Tbs sea salt
- 1¼ cups water
- Grind 1 cup flour and let sit to cool.
- In large bowl, mix flour with 1 cup of cold water (mixture should be soupy- like pancake batter).
- Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band (or braided grass if you want to get real earthy).This allows yeasts and bacteria to get in but will keep bugs out.
- In warm weather and if you live in an unpolluted area (I suppose Parkdale doesn’t cut it), you can keep the bowl outside in the shade (though bring it in at night).
- Otherwise keep in a warm open area inside - really open because it does get ‘aromatic’.
- Every day after for the next six days, transfer starter to a clean bowl and add another ½ cup of ground flour and enough water to keep it soupy.
- Cover and let stand.
- After a few days it will begin to bubble, get frothy and a wee bit stinky.
- After seven days you are ready to get baking. You will now have about 6 cups of starter.
- The sourdough bread recipe requires 4 cups. Take the remaining 2 cups and store in the fridge or freezer for later.
- To start a new batch of starter, place the 2 cups of leftover starter in a clean bowl. Add ½ cup freshly ground rye flour plus water each day, changing bowls until 6 cups are obtained (about 3 days).
- Starter should be at room temperature and gone through the frothy stage.
- Place starter, salt and 1 cup of water in a large bowl and mix until salt is dissolved.
- Slowly add the flour. Towards the end you will have to roll up your sleeves and dig in with your hands. You may also need to add a touch more water.
- Knead the dough in the mixing bowl by pulling and folding over for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut or shape loaves into desired shape or place into two well buttered or oiled loaf pans.
- Cut a few slits in the of the dough.
- Cover and let rise for 4 -12 hours depending on the humidity outside.
- Bake at 350 for about an hour. Allow to cool before slicing.
- Bread will keep for up to a week without refrigeration.