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How to make real bread

How to Make a True Sourdough Starter

Your starter will be your best friend in the kitchen. Treat it with love and care and you will have a trusty helper...

  1. Mill 1 cup of bio-dynamic hard winter wheat or rye or spelt or kamut
  2. Mix thoroughly with 1 cup of purified water
  3. Place mixture in a wide-mouthed jar so that it is a quarter full
  4. Place outside in a warm place away from direct sunlight and strong smelling plants and flowers
  5. 24 hours later, mill 1 cup of wheat and mix it with 1 cup water in a bowl. Add the starter mixture the bowl and mix thoroughly
  6. Wash jar and place mixture in it
  7. Repeat every 24 hours for 4-8 days to establish your starter
  8. When starter appears ‘bubbly’ and ‘rises’ rapidly, it is active and may be placed in the fridge when you don’t want to bake immediately. It now only needs to be fed once or twice a week and 12-24 hours before baking
  9. Don’t fill the jar more than half way to allow for expansion.

How to Feed a True Sourdough Bread Starter

Starter can be used for loaves of bread, fruit loaves, steamed buns, fluffy pancakes, Christmas puddings and other baked goods.

Sourdough starter makes grain products more easily digestible. Some, not all, people with wheat and other grain intolerances may be able to enjoy products made with a true sourdough starter.

  1. Mill one cup of bio-dynamic hard winter wheat
  2. Immediately place it in a bowl, preferably ceramic, and add three quarters of a cup of cold, purified or spring water. Mix well so there are no dry patches. You may add a small amount of extra water to achieve this but mixture should be fairly stiff
  3. Add established starter to this mixture. You may skim off the top of it if it smells very vinegary which may happen if there has been some time between feeds
  4. Mix together evenly and pour into a clean glass jar with a wide mouth. Leave half the jar empty to allow for rising
  5. Wipe any flour or starter that may have accumulated around the edge of the jar as these can serve as a breeding ground for undesirable bacteria. Cover jar with cheesecloth or a loosely woven tea towel
  6. Place in a fairly warm, room temperature environment away from direct sunlight, fluorescent lights and microwave ovens
  7. After many bubbles have appeared and the starter has risen, you may carefully skim the hard top layer (do not disturb starter too much) and place in the fridge until the next feeding. Put a lid on the jar before placing it in the fridge. If you are going to bake, this is the time to do it.

Points to Remember

  • Use only freshly ground flour, preferably ground in a stone mill. After an hour the volatile oils in the flour start to decay, leading to rancidity. Old flour is more acidic and may be mucous forming
  • Never add any yeast to stater ‘to get it going’ - flour, water and air is all you need!
  • 1-3 grams of blue-green algae or spirulina may occasionally be added to the water when you feed an established starter
  • feed at least once a week and at least 24-36 hours before baking
  • feed as soon as possible after baking
  • always have at least half of your mixture comprising of the established starter
  • Your starter is the key to a perfect loaf, treat it with care!
  • Enjoy!

Baking a Loaf

  • Bake when the starter has activated, has risen and is in its prime
  • Mix 200 - 250 grams of active starter with 280 ml of pure water
  • Add 650 grams of freshly milled bio-dynamic hard winter wheat
  • Mix well, ensuring there are no dry patches. You may need to add additional water to achieve the desired consistency. Do this slowly so that the dough does not become too wet
  • When you have the desired consistency, with no dry patches, add 7 - 11 grams of Celtic salt
  • Mix well
  • Cover bowl with a damp towel and leave for 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Place dough on a slightly moistened surface and knead for several minutes
  • Place dough in a 450 gram baking tin, lightly coated in sesame oil
  • Allow to rise 4 - 7 hours in a warm place
  • If dough is not rising after 2 hours, place in oven on pilot light
  • Place a bowl of cold water in the bottom of the oven. The steam will ensure an even, browned crust and help prevent cracking
  • Heat oven to 205 degrees Celsius
  • Place bread tin in oven and bake for 10 minutes
  • Lower temperature to 190 degrees Celsius and bake for 30 minutes
  • Lower temperature to 177 degrees Celsius and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove tin from oven and take bread out
  • Lower oven temperature to 149 degrees Celsius and return bread to oven without the tin.
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Allow bread to cool on a rack in a light breeze
  • Slice when cool
  • Enjoy!

Fruit Loaf

  • 250 grams of freshly milled, bio-dynamic, hard winter wheat
  • 200 grams of mixed dried fruit, eg apricots, raisins, sultanas, currents, prunes, preferably organic and sun-dried without sulfur chemicals. These should be soaked overnight. The soak water can be added to the loaf
  • 200 grams of active starter
  • 280 grams of water (no more)
  • 7 - 9 grams of salt
  • 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, grated raw ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon clove.

Super Variations

  • For a delightfully different taste and texture, other flours may be incorporated into the basic recipe
  • For best results, I always use at least 3/4 whole wheat flour as this ensures a loaf that rises as expected, however you can experiment with substituting up to 1/2 of the whole wheat flour with another grain flour
  • 1/4 millet or rice flour yields a lighter dough
  • 1/4 barley flour gives a nutty texture
  • 1/4 oat flour gives you a sweeter loaf
  • 1/4 whole corn flour (not corn starch) gives a nice coloured and very healthy loaf.
  • 1/4 corn flour and 1/2 cup fresh, toasted walnuts is delectable and, according to Chinese medicine a very powerful kidney rejuvenator

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Copyright © 2001 Ilanit Tof, All Rights Reserved.