Yesterday we discussed grains and improving their value in your diet be mitigating the effects of phytic acid, a naturally present antinutrient found in whole grain which binds minerals in your digestive tract preventing your body from fully absorbing them. (Remember: if you missed a day, you can always check out the archives).
One of the most effective methods to mitigating the effects of naturally present phytic acid in your grains is to sour them. Traditionally, most classic artisan breads were leavened through wild yeast found in sourdough starters rather than in active dry baking yeast. Sourdough starters are easy to prepare at home and to keep alive, with active maintenance and use, which made baking leavened breads easy and effective in home kitchens.
The active components of sourdough starter are naturally occuring wild yeasts as well as beneficial, lactic-acid producing bacteria. The wild yeasts account for sourdough bread's ability to rise while the lactic acid producing account for sourdough's pleasantly tart flavor. Either way, the slow rise time required of sourdough breads is effective in reducing phytic acid and thus enhancing your body's ability to better absorb the nutrients in flour and whole grain.
While you can produce a lively sourdough starter withought a starter culture by cultivating the wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria naturally present in the air of your home, I find that using a starter culture results in more reliable results. You can find sourdough cultures from a local bakery or even online (see sources).
So your task, for today, is to start a sourdough culture, and you'll need to keep that culture healthy by feeding it and caring for it every day for a week to ten days before it becomes suitable for baking.
Tomorrow we'll continue our discussion on whole grains before moving onto the value of wholesome fats.
So you cleaned your pantry, added a few wholesome real foods to your cupboards and made your first soaked grain recipe, now it's time to start preparing your sourdough starter from which you can prepare not only sourdough breads, but biscuits, pancakes, noodles and other satisfying real foods.
Equipment: Two 1/2-gallon mason jar or other glass containers, cheesecloth, twine or a large rubberband
Stir together two cups of whole grain flour with two cups of filtered water until well-blended. If using a starter culture to boost your sourdough, mix in the sourdough culture into the mixture of flour and water.
Cover with a cheesecloth and secure with a bit of twine or a rubberband.
Allow the starter culture to sit at room temperature for twelve hours and then briskly stir in an additional 1/2 cup flour with an additional 1/2 cup of water.
Continue to do this for three days, then change the feeding schedule by adding 1 cup flour and 1 cup filtered water every 24 hours for four days.
Your starter culture should become bubbly and fragrant with a faint, yeast beer-like aroma.
Your starter culture should fill its container to about the half-way or three-quarter mark, if itexceeds this mark remove about 1 cup of culture from the jar and discard it or use it in sourdough pancakes or sourdough noodles.
Next Thursday, we'll bake our first sourdough loaf.
If you're strapped for cash, or need help prioritizing which wholesome foods you choose to purchase first, consider reading these posts: