I love making bread with sourdough starter not because I want to impersonate ANCIENT EGYPTIAN (yes….I actually tried to wrap myself to become a mummy…hahaha..joking), but it just tastes natural. I LOVE NATURAL, and once you started a starter, you can make bread WHENEVER YOU WANT (JUST LIKE BUYING ACTIVE DRY YEAST IN THE SUPERMARKET). I got referred to this recipe by my teacher at George Brown Chef school. It is from Chad Robertson, the owner of Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco. I did some changes to what works for a Canadian, Extremely Cold Home Kitchen.
You will need all-purpose flour and lukewarm water. You can also use bread flour and whole wheat flour as well. I am not too sure about pastry flour and cake flour because they contains less gluten content than all-purpose, bread and whole wheat flour. In addition, I am using lukewarm water because increase in temperature increases the rate of fermentation.
- Put 0.5 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup of lukewarm water in a bowl and mix until there is no lumps. You can see some bubbles at this point and this is okay.
- When mixed, cover the bowl with a dry clothes and leave it in a cool place. Because a final sourdough bread tastes sour, so keeping your sourdough starter wet and cool would make your final product less sour. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR BECAUSE FERMENTATION OCCURS MUCH SLOWER IN COLD TEMPERATURE.
- When you start to see bubbles occurring on the surface of the starter, it is time to “feed” your starter. You may have to wait 1 to 3 days before you “feed” your starter. Just put 5 tablespoons of your original starter, 0.5 cups of flour and 0.5 cups of lukewarm water in a new bowl and mix until there is no lumps. Then cover the bowl with a dry cloth and leave it in a cool place.
You can see this is a cycle and you have to keep “feeding” your starter everyday. This is what the starter looks like after about 2 weeks:
Bubbles are forming and you see a crust. Once your starter form a dark crust and floats in warm water, you are ready to make your sourdough bread. That would take about 3 weeks to 1 month. I also find you get a better result by using whole wheat flour (probably due to the milling process of flour).
BUT WHY? WHY ALL THIS WORK WHEN ACTIVE DRY YEAST WORKS TOO?
Professor Terry Graham from University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario (a small town just outside Toronto) did a study on four types of breads to determine which had the most positive health effects. He used white, whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and sourdough white breads to examined how subjects (who were overweight and aged between 50 to 60) responded just hours after eating the bread for breakfast and again just hours after eating a standard lunch. Professor Graham found subjects’ blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin with the sourdough. In addition, this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted even hours after. As a result, Professor Graham concluded the fermentation of the sourdough changes the nature of the starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread.
In fact, some people suggested sourdough bread is more digestible and more nutritious as well because the lactic acids in sourdough starter make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body. In addition, the acids slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream and lower the bread’s glycaemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in insulin.
Have you tried sourdough bread before? Do you or how do you make your bread at home? You have a bread recipe you want to share with us? Post your comments below. Till next time!