Sourdough for Gut Health (and deliciousness)

Sourdough Fresh out of the Oven

***SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE***

If you love bread, but hates what it does to your gut, waistline, and over all health, I might have some good (no great, it’s absolutely great) news! Sourdough bread takes care of the majority of the issues most people have with eating regular ol’ store bought bread. First, a little recap as to why regular ol’ bread wreaks such havoc on your health;

  • all bread (yes, even “whole grain”) spikes blood sugar levels, which leads to a laundry list of health issues
  • All traditional bread grains (wheat, spelt, rye, barley) contain gluten which can lead to damage of the intestinal wall, pain, tiredness, bloating, and a slew of other more serious issues
  • Most commercial breads and flours are enriched and contain excess iron, which is bad, bad, bad (this is an excellent article for more info on this important issue http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/iron-dangers.shtml)
  • Bread is actually very low in available nutrients and, in fact, contains ANTI-nutrients, called phytic acid, that strip your body of important minerals (like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium). And the minerals and vitamins is DOES have, are bound up and cannot be absorbed by the body

Wasn’t that fun? And that was, honestly, just breezing over the tip of the ice burg. I will do a more thorough post about the danger of grains with articles and sources to back up everything that I’ve stated here. However, that is not the intention for this post.

OKAY! Moving on to that “GREAT” news I promised. Here is what happens when you put bread through the process of fermentation, or “souring”;

  • Blood sugar spikes have been shown to be significantly reduced when sourdough bread is eaten over all other bread types, including whole wheat (I am sourcing this because I think keeping sugar levels stable is SO important to overall health http://www.sourdough.co.uk/sourdough-and-blood-sugar-response-and-diabetes/)
  • Through a long fermentation process, the gluten in the flour is, at least, partially broken down and reduced. **This is not a green light to gorge on sourdough bread if you have true celiacs disease (or even if you don’t!).
  • Fermentation produces phytase, which effectively breaks down phytic acid, meaning all of those minerals that were previously bound up and unusable by your body, are now bio-available and can be accessed and appropriately used (HIGH FIVE!).
  • If you make your own homemade sourdough bread, you can be sure that the flour you are using is NOT enriched and only ingredients you actually want in your body will be going into the bread.

The best part? Homemade, long ferment, sourdough bread is so. easy. to. make. And so affordable. And actually kind of therapeutic. And delicious. So roll up your sleeves and get to the kitchen! There actually IS a recipe at the end of all this torture!

SUPER EASY PEASY LONG FERMENT SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE

Makes 1 loaf and about 6 rolls or 2 small loafs (assuming you are using a standard loaf pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water (I use reverse osmosis water with minerals added back in)
  • 1 cup starter fed roughly 8 hours before
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use olive or avocado)
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I use REAL salt or Celtic)

Directions:

  1. Mix the water, starter, honey, and oil in a bowl (okay, I mix all of my sourdough by hand. My friend thinks I’m crazy and mixes everything in a standing mixer. I say tomAtoe she says tomOtoe, either way is fine)
  2. I then add 2 cups of the flour and mix until combined
  3. Add another cup and mix well
  4. Add 1/2 cup and mix well
  5. Dust the counter with the final 1/2 cup of flour and roll dough out onto the counter. Knead until everything is well mixed.
  6. Let sit for roughly 10 minutes
  7. Add 2 tsp of salt and mix thoroughly (about 2-3 minutes)
  8. Place in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a dishtowel and let rise in a warm spot for 5 hours
  9. After the first rist, take your dough out of the bowl and fold it over once or twice.
  10. Portion 3/4 of the dough into your prepared bread pans
  11. The remaining dough can be portioned into rolls placed onto parchment paper on a cooking sheet or in a glass baking dish
  12. Let rise, uncovered, 2.5 hours or until it reaches the rise you want

    Sourdough Ready to Bake
    I let my dough rise slightly above the rim knowing it will rise MORE in the hot oven!

FOR BREAD IN A GLASS BREAD PAN

  • Bake at 350* for 35 minutes

FOR ROLLS

  • Bake at 350* for 20 minutes

 

Tips and Tricks

  1. I always use glass or stone ware for baking. Because otherwise teflon. And aluminum. And fluoride. Yuck.
  2. If you are trying to get your bread to rise in Winter or on a cool day, turn your oven on, wait for it to hit roughly 100*. Put your rising dough inside and shut the door. Don’t open it again until the completed rising time is up!
  3. To keep bread from sticking, I grease the sides and creases with coconut oil and put parchment paper down on the bottom of the pans.
  4. I always AT LEAST double this recipe. A double recipe will split evenly to give you 3 nice finished loaves.
  5. Always let the bread cool completely before removing
  6. If the bottom of your bread feels moist or doughy, simply pop the loaf out of the pan and let it air dry, upside down, for an hour or 2 until the desired texture is achieved.
Drying out the Bottom
Finished loaves drying upside down

Ideas for Add in’s and Alterations

  1. After the first rise, you can roll your dough out and cover the surface with 2 TBSP melted butter, 2 TBSP coconut sugar, and 2 tsp cinnamon. Roll the entire thing up (like you would with cinnamon rolls) and put it into the bread pan for your second rise. OR slice into rolls and place in a glass pan for the second rise. Bake them like you would regular rolls (350* for 20 minutes) or a regular loaf (350* for 35 minutes)
  2. After the first rise, section half of one of the dough balls into 3 pieces. Roll them out long and thin and braid them. Baste with butter and sprinkle with garlic for delicious braided garlic bread.
  3. After the 2nd rise add your favorite herbs (I like basil and rosemary) to the dough you will make rolls with.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I have no problem explaining anything in more detail or if I missed something I can add it in 🙂

 

***UPDATED 5/29***

I have been experimenting with a faster and more fully fermented method of making sourdough bread. I love our homemade bread but it’s pretty time consuming with the double rises and actually the 7 hour fermenting time is NOT enough for a “long” fermentation, which is better for digestion and your gut. 18 hours is the minimum for what is considered a long fermentation sourdough bread. Armed with these new bits of information, I have been experimenting with a SINGLE rise, 18-24 hour ferment sourdough bread, that will still be mild enough for a sandwich bread. Here we go…

I now mix all of my sourdough in the electric mixer. I didn’t realize that my mixer was malfunctioning and that is why it would never work for mixing my sourdough. Now that I have it figured out, the process is MUCH faster. Follow all the same directions above, just use the mixer 😉

Once mixed, section out your dough LIKE YOU WOULD ON THE SECOND RISE. So, if you were to do a double batch, you would section them out evenly and put each 1/3 directly into it’s own prepared bread pan. **Another change here…I now use parchment paper to line the ENTIRE bread pan (thanks to an amazing tip by my sister, who gets the credit for this fantastic id18817707_10213136109982083_691098614_oea!). This method has a lot of bonuses;

1. No more mushy bottoms

2. No more cleaning bread pans

3. No more holes in the sides of my loaves from scraping down the sides of the pans

And don’t throw those parchment paper liners away! I re-use mine over and over again!

I do my mixing and portioning the night before, let is sit for 18-22 hours which puts me baking the following afternoon/evening. It has made this entire process SO MUCH easier! The flavor and depth developed with longer rise is OHmazing without being over powering, so it still works as a sandwhich bread. It is also less crumbly and stays together much better than the previous methods bread. The bubbles are slightly larger as well…but it’s the smell that gets me more than anything. You can actually smell a hint of sourdough. YUM! 18789301_10213136116942257_1792008880_o

This is after rising for roughly 20 hrs. Ready to go right into the oven! JUST ONE RISE!

*This has completely changed my bread baking life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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