Thom's Recipe File
Healthy baking starts with all organic ingredients both dry and wet. I
have changed my baking to include sourdough in almost everything I bake.
Why do I use sourdough?
Commercial baking yeast is a single kind of organism that belches a lot of
gas really fast and transforms grain into something that's even less good
for you. Sourdough is two organisms, wild yeast and bacteria, in
symbiosis. Together they transform the grain to make it more
healthful, more digestible, and also resistant to getting moldy or stale.
Many people with wheat allergies or yeast allergies have no problem eating
real sourdough. And It's free!
Here is a definition of "Natural Leaven": "Wild
multi-micro flora are the natural air-borne ferments that are
generated or seeded in a dough left exposed to a clean and cool atmosphere
under specific conditions of moisture and temperature and the exclusion of
larger specimen. Within that fertile medium, lactic bacteria of the
various beneficial types are found: B. Pastorianum, B. Delbrucki, B.Ternoas
well as saccharomyces such as S.Pastorianus, and S. Cervisiae. This
type of microflora consumes little energy and multiplies quite slowly.
Its growth duplicates the cycle of human breathing and that of wheat embryo
germination. Wild yeast also naturally enriches the bread, due to an
additional development of nutrients by the beneficial enzymes and ferments."
With sourdough, you are keeping and feeding a population of friendly yeast
and bacteria, called a culture, or a starter. The population rises and
falls, depending on where you keep it and what you feed it. When you
make a load of bread, you are carefully managing a population explosion.
The sour flavor comes from chemicals made by the yeast and bacteria, and
when it gets really strong, that does not mean the sourdough is strongly
active, but that it is depleted, that the population has already eaten its
food and collapsed.
To make sourdough you only need flour, water, a glass jar, and a glass bowl.
I have a very simple sourdough starter recipe that I will share with you
here. I use a quart jar to put one cup flour and one cup water loosely
cover it and let it sit in the kitchen for two days. Walla you have
your starter. The recipe is to the right under recipes.
What can you bake using sourdough? How about waffles, pancakes,
tortillas, pie crusts, biscuits, soda breads, pizza, cinnamon rolls, pan
bread, cornbread, and sourdough breads. I use sourdough for all these.
One of the main values of sourdough baking is digestibility. Bread and
grain-based diets, especially at the beginning, give the illusion that they
do not readily digest. Natural leaven bread, because of its inherent
beneficial ferments, slowly recreates the population of friendly
lactobacillus digestive bacteria in the absorption tract. The end
result is a recovery of digestion and proper elimination by the effective
action of friendly bacteria. Natural leaven bread provides more stable
nutrition than that obtained mechanically by non-fermented (and thus non-
pre-digested) bran and other raw or cooked roughage diets, since these only
succeed in physically abrading and irritating the colon.
| Lactic fermentation is a proven traditional
of preserving foods. This kind of preservation is the only
one that preserves all the natural substances of the vegetable.
By lactic fermentation you preserve the food and at the same
time improve its quality. It allows the flavors to fully
Nutritionists recommend this kind of fermented vegetable.
Thanks to fermentation it cannot only be preserved for a long
time and has a delicious taste, but it also prevents a number of
illnesses typical of an industrialized society.
Fermented vegetables are essential for a healthy diet.
Natural fermentation is one of the oldest known preservation
methods. Lactic acid bacteria ferment the vegetables and
they preserve longer, have a pleasant acidic taste and a rich
contents of vitamins and minerals.
Sauerkraut is probably one of the healthiest foods, "writes
vicar Sebastian Kneipp. James Cook introduced sauerkraut
for ship crews. Thanks to its high contents of vitamin C,
this fermented vegetable protected quite a number of sailors
against the plague of the seas--scurvy.
The latest scientific studies confirm the age-old experience of
natural and popular medicine fibers keep a healthy digestion
going and lower the cholesterol level. Lactic bacteria are
important for the build-up and maintenance of a healthy
intestinal flora. Secondary plant substances prevent
cancer, protect the body against infection and inhibit the
growth and reproduction of fungi. The anti-ulcer factor
protects the digestive system against stomach and intestinal
ulcers. And then there is also a natural anti-depressant