I have a new sourdough cookbook that I haven't used before. It is written in a very straight forward, sensible language that is easy to understand and follow. There are also some great stories and good humor. I appreciate an author that doesn't make any bones about the fact that flops will happen when you make bread. They even have recommendations for brick bread, you know, when it doesn't rise and is ultra heavy. They make bread crumbs or crackers from this very heavy bread which I think is a great idea!
I chose a recipe with 100% whole wheat flour and no sweetener. Frank and I are changing our eating habits and trying to limit the carbohydrates we eat. Some of the sites I have researched explain that the process of fermenting, or proofing your dough allows the lactobacilli in the sourdough starter to predigest the carbohydrates in the wheat, thus lowering the production of insulin when we digest the bread. Another benefit of using whole wheat is the fiber and nutrients it includes. This cookbook also has some very good information and explanations about using whole wheat for a variety of bread recipes.
The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast recommends you proof your dough for a minimum of six hours to allow for the dough to autolyze, or predigest, which "neutralizes harmful enzymes, breaks down the negative aspects of gluten, and frees up vitamins and minerals for human digestion" (page 43). I ground my wheat and fed my starter last night so I would be ready to make bread this morning.
This simple recipe includes:
1/2 cup starter
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. coconut oil (I used olive oil)
5-6 cups whole wheat flour
One of the recommendations I found in this book was to let your dough rest for 30 minutes after mixing. This allows the fiber in the whole wheat flour to absorb moisture and make kneading easier and more effective. There are many tips throughout the book that I found very useful. As you can tell, I would recommend this book, especially for beginners with sourdough, like me.
I let this dough proof for seven hours before I made up the rolls. Then I let the rolls rise for another two hours before baking.
The recipe I used makes two loaves of bread. We chose to make rolls this time. This dough does not look like regular whole wheat yeast rolls. It doesn't brown or fluff up as much, and took a little longer to bake. But you know what? We like it. One of the reasons we do is because we know how much better it is for us. It is another step toward trying to improve our health.
Until next time - Fern