Wednesday 1 August 2012

Sourdough Bread: Sunshine in the Tummy

A few weeks ago I was gifted a sourdough culture from a dear sweet friend and after procrastinating for a little while I decided to give her a "go".   There has been a lot of praise for fermented foods as well as scientific evidence in support of the health benefits for people, especially those with sensitive digestive systems.  I gracefully fall into this category, and over the years I have experimented with other fermented foods, such as kombucha and kefir, though this is a first for homemade sourdough bread.

One of the potential health benefits of sourdough is that the bacteria in the culture partially "digests" some of the starches and sugars in the grains.  As a result, sourdough bread appears to cause less of an increase in blood sugar than yeast breads.  It also causes much less bloating and indigestion than most other yeast and gluten breads.  Good to know.  Here is a link to some scientific evidence.

So for some reason I was having difficulty getting the project started, perhaps because of fear of failure and potentially wasting a whole lot of dough!  Apparently, it is a bit of a science to get it right.  Last Sunday I realized it was time for me to take the plunge, after trying some of my friend's bread.  My tummy was in heaven!

Much to my surprise, the finished product was lovely....okay, it was not as good as my friend's though he's been working on his art form for much longer.  The bread is dense and a bit sour, and is quite easy for me to digest.  I put in some oregano,  thyme, a bit of baking soda, salt and oil during the kneading process, and it seemed to work in nicely.

Here is a photo of my friend Michele, enjoying the fruits of my love and labour.

I have written the instructions below, though you will need to find someone who is willing to gift you a sourdough starter (culture), or research how to make your own.  I know it can be done! 

To me, making my own bread is simply another way to get more in touch with my food, and I find the process gratifying and nourishing.  It also took a ton less time than I thought it would.  I will definitely be making another batch soon. :o)

Instructions for Making Sunshine in the Tummy

1. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with 1/4 cup sugar(or any sweetener)
2. Mix in 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sourdough starter (culture)
3. Stir into a lovely uniform "sponge"
4. Breathe all your wonderful loving intentions into it and smile as the microorganisms smile back at you, swimming happily in euphoric bliss.
5. Into the jar of starter culture, add 1 cup flour, 1/4 sugar, 1 cup water, and stir
6. Let bowl sit overnight
7. Next day, add 1/2 - 1 cup flour to the bowl 1 or 2 times a day for each day after for up to 2 days
8. When the time is right, add all the rest of the flour you need to make a medium stiff dough
9. Knead that dough for 10 minutes or so until it's silky soft, all the while using proper body mechanics, breathing, and meditating on the joy of working in harmony with countless invisible creatures
10. Oil loaf pans or cookie sheet and place dough inside or onto
(will be enough for 2 loafs) to proof (rise)
11. Let proof for 3 - 6 hours in a warm place (no hotter than 100 degrees f)
12. Bake at 400f for 30 or 40 minutes
OR knead for 2 minutes and proof again for 3 - 6 hours and THEN bake (this can be repeated many times)
13. Revel in the glory of a warm, fresh sourdough loaf made from your very hands

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