An Ancient Process
Sourdough bread involves an ancient process that came into existence thousands of years ago, satisfying man’s nutritional requirements ad infinitum without inducing the gluten intolerances and indigestibility that contemporary culture experiences with unfermented, chemical-laden, industrial breads.
Combining flour and water and then letting it stand for a period of time, allows naturally-occurring wild yeasts and bacteria in the grain and air to ferment and sour the mixture. Microorganisms derived from fermentation promote metabolic gut health:
– Pre-digesting anti-nutrients, such as gluten and phytates that may cause gut irritability;
– Slowing the speed at which glucose is released into the bloodstream, and;
– Improving the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, folic acid and other B-vitamins.
When baked, the fermented dough, bubbling with living organisms, gives rise to a bread of varied sponginess and tantalizing flavors that excite the palette, making true sourdough bread a superior stand-alone food as well as a delightful accompaniment to other wholesome foods.
The following points will help maintain a thriving leaven (also known as sourdough starter):
(1) Remove your leaven from the glass container as soon as possible to prevent the ferment from forcing spillage.
(2) Pour your leaven into a larger glass container, filling approximately half of the container. Cover with a flour sack or other cloth and affix a rubber band or fabric strap around the jar to keep the cloth from moving about.
(3) On the day you receive the leaven or, at most, on the following day, feed the leaven with ¼ to ½ cup of whole wheat or rye flour and equal amounts of water.
(4) Continue to feed the leaven in the same manner daily or at least every other day.
(5) Refrigerating the sourdough will slow down the fermentation process. Leaving it on the counter will speed the process.
(6) Besides making sourdough breads, leaven is also excellent for making pancakes, waffles, crackers, pies, and cakes. Search the internet for recipes.