September 4, 2008

Kitchen Adventures

I'm working on my first sourdough started this week so that I can start baking some of my own bread. We don't eat a ton of bread right now, so it shouldn't be too hard to keep up. In case anyone wonders how that works, let me tell you:

I found a recipe for a starter. It's really simple- 2 cups of rye flour and 2 cups of water. I bought whole rye at a local health food store, ground it up in my beautiful wheat grinder, and mixed it with the water. Then, you just let it sit in a warm place. Everyday, you go back, transfer the mixture into a clean bowl, and add 1 more cup of rye flour and enough water to make it soupy. After 7 days, you have your starter!

Sourdough starters replace yeast in bread. It takes longer, and makes a bit more dense of a loaf than with bakers yeast, but it's much better for you, and who doesn't love the bite of a good sourdough bread? I won't be able to make my bread until Sunday, but I'll write about how it goes. I'm not a huge fan of rye bread, so I'm only using rye for the starter because it has lower phytate content than wheat, which I guess makes it easier to ferment and helps it get more light and bubbly (in layman's terms...).

I just find it fascinating every day when I pull my bowl down from the fridge and it's bubbling all over the place. How does it work? And how did anyone ever figure this out... Our ancestors were so much smarter than we give them credit for.

I'm also making some fruit spice muffins with spelt flour, which soaks in buttermilk for 24 hours before you actually mix up the muffin batter. To quote the book:

"Because they are acidic, buttermilk... activate(s) the enzyme phytase, which works to break down phytic acid in the bran of grains... Soaking increases the vitamin content and makes all the nutrients in the grains more available. This method has the further advantage of so softening the whole meal flour that the final product is often indistinguishable from one made with white flour."

FASCINATING. To me at least. More to come!

1 comment:

Megan said...

Yes, it is fascinating! I'm so excited to hear how your bread turns out. Talk to you soon!