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Healthy Habits; Sourdough

Sourdough Bread

Did you know that bread makers didn’t begin using baker’s yeast until about 150 years ago? Before that, most breads were made with a sourdough starter. You really only need 2 ingredients to make your own homemade starter: organic flour and filtered/non-chlorinated water.

Baked goods such as breads, pizza crust, crackers and even cake can be made with sourdough starter, and are healthier and easier to digest because the sourdough starter breaks down much of the gluten. Almost any recipe can be adapted for sourdough starter!

You can use unbleached all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bread four, or rye flour (to name several) for making your own sourdough starter. I’ve read that rye flour is the best to begin your initial starter with.

Also, adding a few organic caraway seeds is very helpful to get it active. You can use a combination of flours, or experiment with other types of flour. There are even starter recipes for gluten-free flour. Whichever one you choose, make sure it is organic and unbleached for the healthiest result.

As you begin using your active sourdough starter for baking, you may want to have several, such as: one with white flour for a fluffier result for biscuits, one with rye and whole wheat flours for breads, and one made with kefir for cakes, cupcakes and muffins.

There are recipes that use plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt, kefir, milk, or buttermilk in place of the water. One popular recipe I found used crushed grapes in the initial phase, wrapped tightly in cheesecloth.

Other recipes only require flour and non-chlorinated/filtered/distilled water. You may want to experiment and find your favorite method. You can even use fresh, unflavored kombucha in place of water! I’m trying this with mine because I make my own kombucha (see my previous columns on how to make homemade kombucha in 11-9-2022 & 11-16-2022 editions of The Hancock Clarion).

I found a really good tutorial video for making your first sourdough starter that I think you will love. Go to the YouTube Channel: Survival HT, and watch/listen to her video titled: “Easiest Sourdough Starter!

Survival HT

No Measuring! No Discards!” I really like her method because it doesn’t require discarding – which, in my opinion, is very wasteful and unnecessary. However, if you want to do the discard method, there are plenty of recipes for using your discarded sourdough starter, such as for pancakes & waffles.

Here are some of the health perks of either leavening your own baked goods with sourdough starter, or just choosing organic sourdough baked goods over ones made with baker’s yeast (not to mention that they store longer and are delicious!): easier to digest, low-carb/lower glycemic index/supports healthy blood sugar levels, safe alternative for those with Celiac Disease & IBS, provides natural probiotics/promotes healthy gut bacteria/boosts immune system, neutralizes phytic acid and makes un-absorbable nutrients more available/aids in absorption of nutrients/more nutritious, antioxidant/anti-cancer, and can help with lowering blood pressure.

Be Well and God Bless You.

Jennifer Wimmer

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