I have a kitchen scale and I weigh out four ounces of flour. I have a water filter and dispenser that removes chlorine from my tap water and from that I get four ounces of water. I mix the two together in a glass vessel. I put a cheesecloth over the top, fastened with a rubber band. Every day I add four more ounces of water and four more ounces of flour.
After just two days there are big bubbles forming in the mixture, they are easily seen through the glass sides of the container. By the five day point the sourdough starter will be ready for it’s continuous life as the source of yeast for my home made breads. This yeast will not be the same variety of yeast as the Fleischman’s yeast you get at the store. Typically bread recipes call for you to add sugar to your flour. The purpose of the sugar is to give that store yeast something to eat, so that your bread can rise with gasses trapped in the dough.
My bread will not have any sugar added. The yeast will be the kind that can eat glucose instead of fructose. When you add sugar you are encouraging a kind of yeast that does not eat what your flour is made of. The starch in wheat flour is glucose. When you do not add sugar but your bread rises anyway that means that the yeast is actually eating the carbohydrates in the bread. My bread will be lower in starch than a bread that is leavened with quick-acting yeast. Not only that, because my yeast is wild and eats glucose starch it will produce different waste products, meaning that it will create different vitamins, it will have a different flavor. It will be sour, aromatic, healthful unlike any bread you can get at the market. It will be less fattening, because it has less glucose left in it. Eating it will not give me the same insulin reaction that eating white bread or hamburger buns might.
What I will be making will be Fermented Bread. By just adding water and salt to my bread, and a pinch of my sourdough starter, my bread will be more like sauerkraut than your bread. The vitamins and minerals in my bread won’t be added back in because they will be created right there by the same microbes that create vitamins in the supplement factories. My vitamins though will not be processed and of unknown quantity and quality. By being fresh and natural my vitamins will be surrounded by natures vitamin helpers, immediately available to my own microbial hitchhikers.
I am really excited about this new leg of my food journey. Every time I have discovered how to do something for myself that I used to count on some distant food factory to make for me, it has been a revelation and a relief to find out how easy it really was. It has been a revelation to find out how much of the stuff in my foods are absolutely extraneous items, only added to make the food last forever, and have nothing to do with actually making food. Bread is a picture perfect example of this. In bread, the required ingredients are: Flour, water, salt. Read your ingredients on your store bought bread. Nothing else on the label is required to make bread. Instead all of those extra things are either to make it last for a week, make it possible to make a loaf in a fraction of the time, hide the flavor of the other ingredients, or to re-add back in the nutrients and vitamins that were stripped in the processing of the various raw ingredients.
I will be honest with you as I write about what it takes to really make my own bread. As I learn how to streamline my own processing of this staple food I will honestly report what I know in these pages. I will take pretty pictures along the way, and some of them will be very pretty indeed. Unfortunately I will not be able to adequately photograph the differences in the way my bread smells, or the way that my bread tastes. My words may fail me when I try to convey to you the new tastes and odors. I may not know the actual biological benefits of my bread, because I am not replacing processed bread with real bread. I had given up bread completely as a lost cause. I am happily re-inviting real bread back into my life, to give me something that commercial bread can not give me.
“And give us this day, our daily bread…”