Homemaking

Fermenting Part 1: Sourdough

     I’ve read and heard about the benefits of fermenting, and about sourdough. I have fond memories of a starter I had in high school that was started with Baker’s yeast, and have thought several times about starting one with wild yeast. 

      Since we are gluten free, I sadly assumed sourdough couldn’t be for us. I had no idea that gluten free flours will ferment just the same as wheat flours will. 

     Thankfully, I received The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread: Unlocking The Mysteries of Grains, Gluten, and Yeast from my mom. This book is full of almost everything one would want to know on the subject, including both gluten and gluten free sourdough starters, and baking with both. Also included is a guide to all grains, recipes, and history of modern bread and baker’s yeast. 

     After getting my starter going, and trying out a few recipes, I wanted to branch out farther. I wanted more then just the few recipes in this book. 

     Finding wild yeast based cookbooks for sourdough wasn’t easy. Most books also use baker’s yeast right along with the starter.  

     I found one book that looked promising, Classic Sourdoughs, but it only covered breads.  I kept looking. I wanted to also use my starter for quick breads, cakes, cookies, and desserts. 

     It took some looking, but I finally found what I was looking for: Adventures in Sourdough Cooking and Baking.

     Both books are very good. I’ve tried several recipes in each, all very good.

     So far, I have stuck with basic recipes. I’m wanting to try the flax bread recipe next. There is even a challah recipe, but I’ll wait on fancy stuff until the children are a little older and I can devote more time to my bread.

     I use my starter almost everyday. When I’m not making breads, its easy to mix up a batch of pancakes for breakfast the next morning.

     Last week, I realized that one quart jar of starter isn’t quite enough for our needs. I put half of my starter in a second jar. Now I use each on alternate days, sometimes skipping a couple days each week.

     I’ve tried using whole wheat flour for bread, and John hasn’t had any negative symptoms so far from the gluten. For desserts, quick breads, and anything that doesn’t proof overnight, I’m sticking with gluten free flours for the time being.

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