As I transition off the GAPS diet, I am really enjoying the addition of grains to my diet and especially breads! At first I began with non-gluten grains and then began adding sourdough bread. As I learn more about sourdough baking I am becoming more fascinated by the whole process.
Sourdough bread intrigues me because unlike breads baked with baker’s yeast, it relies on a lactobacilli based starter culture for the rising to occur. Remember Lacto Fermentation – What is it?
Yes, you need a starter for true sourdough bread. I was fortunate to obtain a sourdough starter from my daughter – who got hers from my daughter-in-law – who got hers from my affiliate partner, Cultures for Health. If you don’t know of anyone close by that makes sourdough bread, you can purchase several types - 5 to be precise through my affiliate partner. They even have, for those of you who are gluten-free, Brown Rice Sourdough Starter. Mine is the San Francisco and it has a wonderful taste.
The sourdough process effectively neutralizes the phytic acid which makes soaking or sprouting the grain for proper grain preparation unnecessary. If you remember, phytic acid is an anti-nutrient which actually binds with certain nutrients and especially calcium making them unavailable to the body. Gluten is the protein in bread which can be difficult to digest and during the sourdough process, it is broken down.
The sourdough process is a much longer process of baking bread but this contributes to the traditional taste of sourdough. It is also this lengthy preparation time of rising that makes it more digestible by breaking down the phytic acid and gluten.
One study done in England with celiac patients showed that most of them can tolerate sourdough bread without any problems. Granted, the test done was with a small number of patients, only 17, but it is still interesting.
First, the patients were given a bread containing 2 gm. of gluten and was either baked with yeast or a normal lactobacilli starter. 13 of the 17 patients showed negative changes in intestinal permeability which was consistent with celiac disease. The other 4 had no such changes.
Next, the 17 celiac patients were given true sourdough bread risen with a special lactobacilli culture able to hydrolyze the 33-mer peptide which is the primary amino acid building block that triggers an immune response in people with celiac disease. The bread was made up of 30% wheat flour and a mix of oat, millet, and buckwheat flours, No negative changes in intestinal permeability occurred! The researchers concluded:
“These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.”
Again, I realize that this study was done on an very small group, but it gives hope to those with celiac disease and even to the gluten intolerant that they can once again eat bread – true sourdough bread that is!
The following Sourdough Bread Bowls recipe does require a scale. Many sourdough bread recipe ingredients are determined by weight since it is more accurate than measurements so, I purchased from my affiliate the Cuisaid ProDigital Scale. While it is certainly not one of the more expensive digital scales, I am very pleased with it.
In the photos, you can see that I served a hearty, thick vegetable soup. Remember, I have growing boys – farm boys with BIG appetites and they each had 3 helpings of soup in their Sourdough Bread Bowls before eating them!
Sourdough Bread Bowls
Makes 6 medium or 4 large sized bowls
300g sourdough starter
850g unbleached white flour
1. Mix the starter, flour and water together. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
2. Add the salt to the dough and mix thoroughly using the stretch and fold technique right in the bowl. To do this simply stretch one side of the dough lifting it slightly out of the bowl but not allowing the dough to tear and fold it back to the center of the ball of dough. Pat down the seam and turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat stretching and folding until you have done the whole ball of dough. See “stretch and fold in the bowl” illustration for more detail. Allow the dough rest for 30 minutes.
3. Repeat the stretch and fold in the bowl on the ball of dough for 10 rounds. Rest 30 min.
4. Repeat the stretch and fold in the bowl again for 10 rounds. Rest for 30 minutes.
5. Put the dough on a lightly floured counter (you still want the dough to have traction on the counter top) and do the stretch and fold technique for 1 round. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Repeat the stretch and fold on the floured counter. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl. Leave the dough at room temperature until it has increased by 50%.
7. Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight – plans changed when I first began my dough and it ended up in the refrigerator for 24 hours and still worked great!
8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into six equal parts and loosely shape into rounds. Let rest for 60 minutes. I multiplied the recipe so I have more rounds of dough in the photo below. 9. Shape into round balls (or boules) and proof in baskets or supported by tea towels for 30 to 45 minutes. I don’t have proofing baskets – I think I used every clean kitchen towel I had! 10. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
11. Score the boules and place in preheated oven. Bake with steam for 30 – 40 minutes or until they are golden brown.
To bake with steam, place a metal (not glass) pan in the bottom of the oven while it is preheating. After putting the boules in the oven, carefully pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan and quickly close the oven door. Be careful not to spill any water on the glass window of the door as there are reports of shattered glass with this method. I did it so it can be done – just be careful! You can also put a towel over the glass of the door while you pour the water – just take it out before you shut the oven.
12. To make bread bowls, cut around the edge of the boules and into the bread but be careful not to cut all the way through. Use your fingers to tear the middle out forming a bowl. Serve the middle on the side for dipping. Enjoy!