Ingredients for sourdough bread

Foaming sourdough bread starter.

Ingredients for sourdough bread are really very simple.

This is part two of a series entitled dough has a mind of its own.

Two weeks ago I extolled the merits of what, in the United Kingdom, is being called real bread; using 100% wholemeal flour and a sourdough starter. Today we look at the ingredients.

I will not again belabour having your own grinder, but do keep it in the back of your mind for the future. The best flour I have found is from a mill nestled in the foothills of the Drakensberg. It is also refined; they will not tell me how much of the bran and germ they remove, but it probably is the best on offer, though a four times mark up on the wheat berries. Store it in an air-tight container in the freezer.

By Bernard Preston

The sourdough starter is easy to make yourself, or get it from a friend. See the link at the bottom of this page for more details. It consists of rye flour, unchlorinated water and raw honey. It contains the wild bacteria and yeasts that ferment your dough thoroughly, making it edible even for most of those with a serious gluten intolerance.

You will need to experiment; it will need a long fermentation time if you have Crohn’s disease.

The sourdough also improves the taste of your bread immensely. It is so good that you have no need of jellies and processed meats; I usually have it just with butter and perhaps half an avocado. The good wife enjoys hers with our raw honey and cheese.

Purists would sneer at using dried yeast, but we use half the generally recommended amount for a light and delicious loaf.

I have yet to be convinced that using added yeast detracts from the bread in any way.

Then, of course, for the basic sourdough bread recipe, you need more honey for the yeast to feed on, salt and water.

Commercial bakers add a protein flour to improve the shelf life and texture of the loaf. It is a good idea, though I do not personally like soy-flour, so we use a tablespoon of homemade hummus made with chickpeas. The added protein and olive oil lower the glycemic index, so your bread has less of an effect on your blood sugar; that is very important.

About six months ago, we had a very experienced professional chef to stay. He makes all his own bread every day from first principles; it was very delicious, though a little heavy with no yeast, and it took quite a lot of time to knead. What I did learn from him was to add 2-3 tablespoons of butternut soup to the dough. That was a big step forward in the making of a light and tasty sourdough bread.

I said you could make your own real bread for about R5 per loaf; that was perhaps a little misleading. If you have to buy flour at supermarket prices, then you can double that figure; it is still cheap for a delicious sourdough loaf which generally retails for R30 or more.

Finally I have a word on banting. I have done Tim Noakes’ course; it was profound and very challenging, and I have a suggestion for those of you who cannot see yourself totally eschewing all carbs, including even real bread, and adding a large amount of animal fat and meat to your diet.

Instead, cut out all the refined carbohydrate from your diet, which should include that from the supermarket, look to adding more olive oil and avocados for fat, and include more legumes for protein instead of all that red meat; then you can enjoy your homemade sourdough bread.

Remember, it takes less than ten minutes to prepare the dough for the very best real loaf in the world; and another five hours in the little oven.

Ingredients for sourdough bread

Ingredients for sourdough bread are just wholemeal flour, unchlorinated water and raw honey for the best loaf in the world.

Sourdough bread recipe shows you how to make the starter.

  1. Bernard Preston
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