I have a new love and I can't control myself from sharing.
I wasn't even going to write about this yet, but I have to, because it is that awesome.
Don't worry, you can always rely on me to bring you the greatest news ever. Not that this is new news, because it's been around, well…since, probably, Moses. People have been making this for a long time. That is my point.
Sourdough bread, baby.
Well this sourdough goodness is both of these wrapped into a tasty little package. I am sure many of you are familiar with sourdough bread, but may not be familiar with how the bread comes to be. Sourdough bread, in essence, is fermented flour and water. Bacteria works to break down the flour and the result is a bubbly, smelly, deliciously sharp concoction.
My Mom recently purchased a sourdough starter packet and we agreed that I would start it, split the results, and give half back to her. We both thought we were getting the better end of the deal. She doesn't have to worry about babying the starter the first day and I get a starter for free! Booyah.
So here we go:
Starting your sourdough. Using a starter packet (this ensures that we get a nice, bubbly, healthy fermentation process), we mix the starter goodies, flour, and warm water (85-90 degrees) together in bowl.
Then, four hours later, we remove a cup of the mixture from the bowl, throw it away, and add a half-cup of flour and a half-cup of warm water back into the mixutre. Then, four hours later, we remove another cup of the mixture, throw it away, and “feed” the mixture a half-cup of flour and half-cup of warm water again. Then, we let it sit overnight so that it can sour.
And sour it does. All those good, delicious bubbles let you know that the bacteria is doing it's business. Souring the flour helps break down the gluten, making it much easier for our bodies to digest. Souring also pre-digests the starches, breaks down the phytates (thus freeing up minerals for easy digestibility), and even lowers the insulin response to eating gluten. Souring is also noted for it's beneficial affect on the flora of our intestines (as all fermented foods are).
Here's how it works:
1) You establish your starter
2) You feed your starter every day to keep it healthy and alive
– If you don't want your starter to get too big, you remove some of it before you feed it. For example, take out 1/2 cup of starter and then add a 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup warm water back in. This will keep the starter from mass producing itself.
– If you want to share your starter with friends, by all means, just feed the bugger and give some to a friend.
3) When you want to use it in a recipe, you take out the amount you need from the starter, and then add that amount back in (50% flour, 50% warm water)
Sourdough is alive. It's movin' and shakin'. If held at room temperature, your starter will need to be fed every day. Take out some of the starter (throw it away or make something with it!) and then add equal parts flour and water back into the mixture. If you aren't going to be using your starter a lot, keep it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process. Kept in the fridge, you will only need to feed your starter every four-seven days. You must remove it though and allow it “activate” before you bake with it.
I just keep mine at room temperature, that way, I always have motivation to keep on baking! Somethin' should always be brewin' on the homestead.
ALL THAT TO SAY….
I made sourdough crackers. They rocked my socks off.
I will post the recipe in the next few days, because I am going to be making a few more batches. And then you will make them too. Because you will want to. Because they are delicious. Really. Delicious. The perfect salty, tasty munchie. I also have a sourdough spice cake in the oven as we speak! It's for a dinner tonight with some lovely people from Church – kinda risky to try a new recipe when you are making dessert for fifteen, but I like to live on the edge.
I love sourdough for multiple reasons:
1) It's delicious.
2) It helps my guts feel good.
3) You can use it for salty things (crackers, breads, pizza doughs) and sweet things (pies, tarts, etc.)
4) It has flavor. And it's not from fat, salt, or sugar.
5) Having a freshly baked homemade sourdough treat handy makes this homestead the cool place to hang out. Now only if we had friends to come and visit us. Did I mention that the rockin' crackers would probably be reeeealllyy tasty with a homemade brewskie?
Go to your health food store and pick up a starter – let's create and bake together! Come on, I know you don't have anything better to do than make crackers and cakes with me. Oh, you do? You have friends to hang out? Children to raise? A house to clean? A job to go to?
Some peoples' priorities. Sheesh.