Sourdough for Gut Health (and deliciousness)

Sourdough Fresh out of the Oven


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
  • 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
  • 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!


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


  • 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)


  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!


  • Bake at 350* for 35 minutes


  • 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.









Meyerstead Animal Farm

What is SO adorable it physically hurts, weighs 3 pounds, has brown and white spots, is soft and fuzzy, and has 4 hooves? Okay, I’ll just tell you; baby Norwegian Dwarf goats! These are the most adorable creatures on Gods green earth and He sent 2 little doelings here just for us! They were born 3 days ago and we braved the wind and snow to go meet them this morning. Side note about the weather….I mean, will this Winter ever end? It’s March 5th, enough already. Who pissed Elsa off? I will find you…

Back to my VERY cute reality. My girls melted into puddles when we put these babies into their arms. And I melted seeing my babies holding such adorable babies. Obviously there was  a lot of melting going on, and we’re not talking about snow. Unfortunately. I know, I need to “let it go”.

I put a deposit down on these babies so they are officially ours in 6-8 weeks. I mean, it’s so for real now it’s almost painful. 26 days feels unbearable in only about 4 instances;

1. pregnancy

2. pregnancy

3. pregnancy

4. this move

Ok, ok, OKAY! Prepare for serious cuteness. Are you sitting down? Because there will soon be some crazy “aaaaaaawwwwss” and “ooooooohhs” and that can be distracting. So pull over if you’re driving. Turn off the oven if you’re cooking. This totally deserves your undivided attention. Ready? Set. SCROLL!

 My oldest daughter got her hands on that goat baby, who she has already named Astrid, and did not put her down the entire hour we were there. And my middle child well…she was up and down. But that’s so very “her”. And she desperately wanted Moonlight (her goaties name) to eat the straw she was shoving in her face😂

 This is how my ovaries will be surviving the emotions and hormones of “No more babies”. New babies every Spring? I think yes. And the answer is yes, ovaries have emotions. Trust me.You can tell it’s ovary emotions when you start having thoughts like “awww….I want another BABY!” or “Just ONE MORE and our family will be perfect” or “The newborn phase isn’t THAT bad and it’s so short”. Yep. Ovary emotional nonsense. Cure? More goat babies.

 Astrid, you are already so loved. And I think you felt the “special connection” Addison swears you created in the 60 minutes you were together. It’s love. True. Love.

 Moonlight, I think you two will be perfect for each other. I can’t wait to say “Remember when Moonlight wouldn’t eat the hay you tried to feed her, and you felt so sad? That’s how mommy feels when you won’t eat your dinner”. Good times. Good lessons. This is working out already.





 That is the face of a child that probably should not be holding a 3 day old anything. If you drop a baby goat, what happens? I mean…it’s a goat. Do they land on their hooves? Do they immediately start jumping around? Do they just straight BOING right back into your arms? Research is needed.

These babies will be coming home to join us in just a few weeks and there is a lot to do! Trust me when I say the obsessive pinning has hit a new high. So. Many. Goat. Houses. And things. All the goat things. If you want to see the best of the best goat things out there, feel free to peruse my board

We chose Norwegian Dwarf Goats because of their small size (adults are only about 18″ at the shoulder) and high milk fat (average of 7%). They have a great production rate for their size averaging around 4 cups (yes cups, because we’re American, and we roll in cups, not quarts or mils or anything silly like that) per day. Since we will have 2 in milk at a time (milk goals 🙌🙌) we should be getting roughly a gallon every couple of days. Whoop!

They also produce milk for an entire year, which means we only have to breed once a year to keep them in milk. Double Whoop! This has been a great day! Dreams are coming true folks. Stay tuned.

Record Keeping


I used to be so great about journaling every day. I have a fabulous record of all the years I want most to forget! Ha! I have really slacked on putting pen to paper since having babies and let me tell you something true: I miss it. Writing kind of feels like a luxury when I have 3 young children at home, homeschooling to keep up with, a house to keep clean, bills to pay, ect. etc. (I won’t bore you with my lengthy “to do” list, but you get it, eh?).

My hope is that, between blogging through our experiences here at the Meyerstead, keeping good records of all our growing, raising, and collecting going on, that I will fulfill the growing desire to get back into regular journaling. Writing has always been a soul outlet for me and I am excited to get after it again, even if in an ordinary way 😊

I have also been told that keeping accurate records will save me time, money, and trouble. You had me at money. Let’s do this.

Here are a few things, in no particular order, I have intentions of keeping records of

Record Keeping - Egg counting w pencilCRITTERS

  1.  For goats, pigs and rabbits; birth dates, breeding dates, pregnancies, and births (is it weird that it looks like I record “births” twice? you get it, right?)
  2. Cost of hay/grain/supplemental feed for goats, pigs, rabbits
  3. For Chickens and Turkeys; daily egg count and feed expense
  4. For Rabbits; feed expense, manure output, breeding dates, births
  5. Bees; age of queen, where bees/queen came from, type of bees, age of queen, amount of honey and when it was harvested.
  6. Guardian Dogs; birth dates, vet checks, health checks, etc.



1. Compost Piles, specifically when I have left one to sit without being added to…should be “ready” within 14-21 days using the “Berkley Method” which I will be attempting to use.

2. In the Spring;

  • when beds were fertilized and with what,
  • when seedlings are started in the greenhouse and the garden,
  • when they were transplanted outside,
  • how many of each seed was sown and how many came up

3. How many of each plant and production rate

4. Which varieties produced the best and which ones tasted the best

5. Seed collection:

  • when they were collected,
  • how they were stored
  • how well they sprouted the following Spring

6. When mulch is applied, how much, what type

7. Will also be tracking what time of the year is best to do different gardening chores such as:

  •  injections to kill aphid eggs,
  • oil to prevent coddling moth on fruit trees,
  • when best to release ladybugs and praying mantis’s, etc.

EQUIPMENT (Not that we have much! But want to take good care of what we do have!)

  1. Maintenance schedule
  2. When new tools or equipment are bought and where from
  3. A place for receipts, warranties, and manuals

Some will think this list far too ambitious, others that it is definitely lacking. To each I say; correct! I have no idea what is actually going to prove worth the trouble of recording just like I’m not sure what I am missing. What I can say, is that I am excited to find out!

So, tell me, do you keep records of what’s going on in your garden or homestead? I’d love to hear how you organize your system and what you track! Have you found it makes a difference in your year to year planning?

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT*** Our baby goats were born 2 days ago!! We will be heading out to Dayton to see them tomorrow!! We are SO. EXCITED. Stay tuned for some crazy cute baby pictures!😍🐐

How To Sourdough Starter

When I dramatically switched from a 10 year run of a vegan diet to a nutrient dense Weston Price Diet (more about Dr. Price here: everything seemed so overwhelming and intimidating. There was work to do. Research to do, and I had very little time with a 5 ½ year old and one year old baby. Luckily, finding information was much easier than it was 10 years ago when I went vegan, thanks to the Internet and my ability to use it. After being vegan her entire life, and relying heavily on grains, my eldest daughter had two large problems; a heavy reliance on and love for bread and tooth degeneration. See how that works? Ahem…

Getting back to the point. Bread. Glorious bread. Seriously, who doesn’t love it? It’s the mother of all comfort foods! Luckily for me, and you, and definitely my daughter, I learned about the magical powers of fermented bread! Sound unappetizing? Ever tried sourdough bread? LOVE IT??? Bam. Fermented bread. Oh the wonderful, glorious, beautiful stroke of luck that is fermentation. The process breaks down the gluten in the wheat, and also causes the bread to rise sans yeast, for an incredible explosion of deliciousness WITHOUT the horrible side effects of bloating, indigestion, mineral stripping, and all the other ugliness of “modern” quick bread and gluten-y side effects. In fact, did you know that sourdough bread (and other fermented foods like sauerkraut, Keefer, wine, etc.) have incredible health benefits?  It’s true!! Couldn’t you just shout from the rooftops! A BREAD that is REALLY (in moderation, of course) good for your health! Here’s a partial list of the benefits of fermented foods (and sourdough bread is a fermented food! I just have to keep saying it because I still can’t believe it…):

  •          Reduces lectins, gluten, and phytates in grains
  •          Breaks down the lactose in milk
  •         Makes more vitamins and minerals available for use (such as Vitamin K2 in raw milk cheese)
  •          Introduce helpful probiotics to the gut
  •          Aids digestion by helping absorb food more efficiently
  •          Helps preserve food

This is by no means a complete list, but you get the idea. I wanted to also make clear that I am not a huge advocate of stuffing my face with bread all day every day….but if you must have your daily bread (or just WANT to, because you’re a grown up and you CAN!),then make it long fermented sourdough.

Okay, okay, you’re dying to find out how you can make your own, right? I knew it! I was pretty intimidated by the whole process, which is why it took me almost a year to finally walk through the process and just DO IT. This walking off the cliff, per say, was definitely helped by the fact that it is hard, no impossible, to find truly GREAT sourdough bread. Don’t even bother trying to find long fermented sourdough, unless you live somewhere super cool (San Francisco maybe?) and there is actually a market for it. The best I have is my local Whole Foods. I can get fresh sourdough there BUT…sigh…they have soy in the ingredients. WHY? WHY? CRUEL WORLD OF SOY AND CANOLA OIL WHY?? Sometimes life is frustrating and overwhelming and causes me to channel my inner two year old. Moving on…

I ordered several varieties of dehydrated sourdough starter from Cultures for health, you can shop their marvelous selection here:

I ordered the Desem wheat, gluten free (uses brown rice flour), and the New Zealand Rye for some variety. And I really wanted to LOVE the gluten free sourdough because…gluten free. Hi buzz word that makes my heart happy. Unfortunately, it just did not perform. Sad face.

Here’s my step by step comparing the Desem wheat and Brown Rice starters side by side (I didn’t do the Rye starter because I didn’t have any Rye flour! Make sure you have the same flour as the starter you order to activate it! Also, don’t be intimidated by all the steps to activate the starter like I was. This is a classic “lots of steps but EXTREMELY simple once you’ve done it once” situation. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you. IF you are lucky enough to know someone who has an active sourdough starter already, go here to find out what to do next!

Step one:

Your starter will come to you dehydrated and look very much like flour. Make sure you use a clear container, like a quart size mason jar, so you can see what your starter is up to. That’s right, another thing to keep an eye on, feed, and nurture. Why not, right? Go ahead and dump that starter right on into your jar.

Step two (feeding #1):

Add ¼ cup of whatever type of flour your starter needs (whole wheat and brown rice for the two I did here) and ¼ cup filtered water. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to make sure you get it nice and mixed up and lots of air circulated throughout the mixture.

Cover with a loose fitting top (think coffee filter, dish towel, double layer of cheese cloth). Leave in a warm spot (65-85 degrees) for 12 – 18 hours.

Step three (feeding #2):

Uncover your starter and feed it with ½ cup filtered water and ½ cup of the appropriate flour. Set back into warm spot for another 12-18 hours

Step four (feeding #3):

At feeding #3 things change a little from the previous feedings.

  • Dump out all but ½ cup of your starter
  • Feed with another ½ cup of the appropriate flour
  • Feed with another ½ cup of filtered water
  • Re-cover and place back in warm spot for 8-12 hours

Step five (feeding #4 – ?)

Repeat the above steps every 8-12 hours until your starter is nice and bubbly and doubling in size within about 4 hours. This could take anywhere from 7-12 days.

Step six:

Once your starter is doubling in about 4 hours, feed it 2 more times. Congrats! You have successfully activated your sourdough starter! That wasn’t so bad, right??  Now you’re ready for the wonderful world of sourdough!! Bring on the bread, pancakes, waffles, cinnamon rolls, cookies, pretzels, tortillas, crackers and whatever else you can imagine up!
If you’re still scared….I have some bubbly and ready to go starter right on my kitchen counter! We can have some tea, chat, and I’ll send you home with your very own!

Meyerstead Up Ahead!

Ash Canyon

I was 9 the first time I remember going to a nursery to pick out flowers with my mom. We lived in the mountains and grew a decently lavish flower garden in pots that year and many years to follow. I loved picking out all the colors and varieties of flowers and plants and then arranging them in each container, nestling them snug into the soil, and watching them grown and thrive through our short Summers. I so looked forward to it every Summer! It is one of the memories of my childhood I cherish and attribute to my current love of gardening, albeit may look very different now.

My love of gardening has evolved into a desire to grow and produce as much of the food for my family as possible. We have lived in the suburbs for the last 10 years and done our best to nurture and grow the desire of self sufficiency and sustainability right where we were. We had some successes; a decent sized backyard garden of raised beds, a small flock of chickens, and some moderate success with winter hoop houses, cold frames, and a make shift greenhouse we build in the garage. Needless to say, we were still pretty far off from achieving our “self sufficiency” status! What we needed was more land! Room to spread out, grow and learn.

We have been praying, and seeking, and searching, and hoping….and then it happened! God literally opened doors that weren’t even there to open and our dreams are coming true. In just 29 days we will be moving our 3 girls, 1 dog, 4 chickens and 2 rabbits to a rural property just under 3 acres! I still can’t believe that it’s actually happening. After all the dreaming, planning, hoping, searching and disappointments….it really did just come down to waiting for Gods perfect timing to fulfill the desires He has placed in our hearts. And, of course, He always does so much more than we could ever do or hope for ourselves. He’s such an over achiever 😉

The busyness of selling and packing and moving has not dampened the OVERWHELMING excitement that has been building and building over the last few months. Our escrow period has been quite long, we had an accepted offer for the property we will be moving to December 24th and will be closing on that property March 31st (I know, it has felt as long as you are imagining it would and then some!). Still, I have to say that I am, again, grateful for God’s sovreignty in all things…this time has been needed. In that time we have celebrated all 3 of my girls birthdays, sold 2 houses, and had time to say goodbye and emotionally detach from our current home. The home I had 2 of my babies in. The home we have been in since my oldest child was only 22 months old who is now 8. The home we have grown as a family, couple, and individuals in. The home we have learned innumerable skills and lessons in. The home we transformed into exactly what we wanted. That’s a lot of home. A lot of heart. A lot to detach from. A big goodbye. So, all that time has been the salve on the sadness of goodbye. Goodbyes are funny that way….no matter how wonderful the coming “hello” may be, there is still a sadness in goodbye, isn’t there?

That being said, you can follow along here if you want! I sure would appreciate your company, wisdom, experiences, and anything else you’d like to offer. We know we have a lot to learn! Many things will be first time endeavors (goats and pigs anyone?) and much will be building on some of the basic knowledge we have gained over the past 6 years at our current residence. Our family is so excited for this new adventure to begin and to see where God takes us through it. If you’re looking for us, we’ll be growing, building, raising animals, milking, collecting eggs….over at the Meyerstead! #29daysandcounting