“But how do you make the sour dough?” Mrs. Boast asked. “You start it,” said Ma, “by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours.” “Then when you use it, always leave a little,” said Laura. “And put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water.” Laura put in the warm water, “and cover it,” she put a clean cloth and the plate on the jar, “and just set it in a warm place,” she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. “And it’s always ready to use whenever you want it.”
~ By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Bread. It’s been a staple in the human diet since the beginning of recorded history.
The production of bread remained virtually unchanged from ancient times until the time period of the American settlers. Mixing dough and setting some aside to catch wild yeast and bacteria from the air was part of the rhythm of life up until the modern industrial age.
Throughout history what we call “sourdough bread” was simply “bread.” For millennia cooks have been mixing flour with water and setting it aside to rise before baking it. Historical records show that both the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Israelites depended on bread for over half of their daily caloric intake. (see: The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread by Jessie Hawkins)
Sadly, more and more people cannot eat modern bread or choose to avoid it because they find that they are healthier without it.
Why is that?
Recently, my church started including two types of Communion Bread options for the Lord’s Supper: regular and gluten-free. Last week, the pastor announced that all the bread was gluten-free. Apparently those in the church congregation who are avoiding gluten are now in the majority, so it’s easier just to provide gluten-free Communion Bread for everyone. A walk through the grocery store reveals that my church is a representative sample of the larger population. Gluten-free labels are everywhere.
Is gluten the problem?
For some people gluten certainly is the problem. A small percentage of people with Celiac Disease can be harmed by gluten and must avoid it completely. For many people, however, it may not be the gluten that is the problem. In fact, many detox diets call for the complete elimination of grains. Paleo, Keto, and Carnivore diets assert that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and lived on meat and vegetables exclusively. These diets promote the avoidance of all grains. This makes me wonder if this trend continues, will people in the church congregation skip the bread part of the Lord’s Supper? Will the church leadership need to find some kind of bread-substitute? I’m being a bit facetious. I am certainly not mocking those who cannot tolerate grains. I have family members with food allergies and intolerances and I understand the dilemma that we face as much as anyone. I am just questioning how we got to this point.
A review of grain recipes throughout history reveals that many cultures ate grains. Grains that contained varying amounts of gluten were a significant part of the human diet in many historical cultures. Spelt, rye, barley, and numerous varieties of wheat were consumed as porridges and also ground into flours which was made into bread. Bread was such an important part of life that in Hebrew the word for “bread,” lechem, was the same word used for “food.” (see: The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread by Jessie Hawkins) Our ancestors not only survived but thrived on bread. There are many theories as to why more and more people find themselves unable to eat bread. It may be that the causative factors are many. The ingredient list on a modern loaf of bread gives us some clues.
Modern industrialized bread has virtually nothing in common with the traditionally prepared bread that our ancestors ate.
Historically, bread was made with natural yeast and beneficial bacteria obtained from the air, flour, water, and salt. One look at a modern-day bread label demonstrates that what is sold as “bread” today is truly an imposter.
The problem is that just about every ingredient in modern, so-called “bread” is unpronounceable and undigestible.
Modern bread is full of chemical additives designed to decrease dough fermentation time. In addition, chemical additives increase the volume and uniformity of production and prolong shelf-life. Most industrially produced bread includes genetically modified ingredients, such as yeast, and corn syrup. Note, the above label has a warning that the bread contains “a bioengineered ingredient.” More likely, it contains several. (GMO corn, soy, yeast, and enzymes) Even organic bread may contain ingredients such as genetically modified “enzymes” that are considered catalyzing agents but not final ingredients and therefore not required to be labeled as GMO. (see: The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread by Jessie Hawkins)
Modern industrially produced bread is really not bread at all, but chemical-laden Frankenfood! It’s no wonder that people feel healthier when they avoid it. On the other hand, traditionally prepared sourdough bread is a delicious, nutrient-dense food that many people can enjoy. It truly is a “health food” that provides nutrients that support every system in our bodies.
One of my goals for this blog is to never waste your time.
Most people think that keeping up with homemade sourdough bread is way too much work. While bread-making can be time-consuming, simple sourdough bread can be almost effortless.
Let’s face it…none of us are looking for something else to add to our “To Do List.” But what if you could add something to your routine that would check off a box that is already on your list? And what if you could add something to your routine that would check off multiple boxes?!
Yep, now I’ve got your attention!
Busy mothers have no time to waste. Even when a busy mama has her “down-time,” she usually finds herself multi-tasking…checking Pinterest while watching the kids play on the playground…listening to a podcast while driving or folding a basket of clothes…checking Facebook while waiting for a pot of water to boil…reading a blog post while the kids are playing in the tub. I get it! But sourdough bread making is one of the simplest and easiest traditional skills that you can learn.
I saw remarkable improvements in my family’s health when I transitioned away from highly processed foods.
For the last 25 years I have been dedicated to sourcing high quality ingredients and learning traditional methods of food preparation. Sometimes this was a lot of work….like raising our own meat chickens! We were only able to keep up with chicken raising for a season, but I have been able to make sourdough bread consistently for many years and I believe my family is healthier for it.
There are many recipes for old fashioned sourdough bread and over the years I have tried a lot of them. I eventually settled on the most basic of recipes, with just three ingredients: flour, water, and salt.
So here is a recipe that will check off multiple boxes on your “To Do List.” This is a sourdough bread recipe that you will actually be able to keep up with!
Here are 5 reasons why you need to make sourdough bread a part of your life and the corresponding boxes on your “To Do List.”
Reason # 1: Add more healthy food to your family’s diet: √ check!
We all want to feed our family well. Sourdough bread is a simple way to incorporate nutrient-dense, naturally-fermented, microbial-rich, foods into your family’s diet. The gut is the seat of the immune system and sourdough bread helps to promote a healthy gut microbiome by providing beneficial probiotics and life-giving nutrients. Amazingly a kernel of grain is a perfect food storage system. Within the grain kernel are many life-giving nutrients including:
- complex carbohydrates
- Vitamin E
- A broad spectrum of B Vitamins
Freshly ground flour is full of these naturally occurring nutrients. But organic, unbleached, non-bromated, all-purpose flour will yield a delicious and nutritious bread that surpasses the quality of any bread that you purchase at the store. For years, I made bread with store-bought flour until eventually, I was able to begin grinding my own.
Reason # 2: Limit unhealthy foods: √ check!
Making sourdough bread for your family will help them to avoid toxic additives and processed foods. Modern industrial made bread contains some of the most toxic ingredients known to man.
- synthetic vitamins, including dangerous folic acid instead of natural folate
- bromated and bleached flour
- additional gluten
- GMO corn syrup
- GMO soybean flour and soybean oil and soy lecithin
- GMO yeast
- GMO ascorbic acid
- Oxidizing agents such as potassium bromate, calcium peroxide, potassium iodate, and calcium iodate (known or suspected carcinogens)
- Emulsifiers such as mono and diglycerides (not known to be harmful but who knows really?)
- Chemical preservatives such as sulfates and others
- Numerous unpronounceable ingredients use by the industry to maximize bread production
- Even the packaging contains questionable chemical gases that act as a preservative by removing oxygen
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow and teach our children to follow:
Eat food that is as close to the way God made it as possible and eat only what you can pronounce!
Reason # 3: Save money: √ check!
Ok, this one is a no-brainer. With only three ingredients (two if you don’t count water) you will save a TON of money making bread at home. The better quality breads at the store will cost you upwards of $6-$8 a loaf whereas homemade bread can be made for pennies a loaf especially if you buy your grain or flour and salt in bulk. You absolutely do NOT want to save money on the family budget by buying cheap bread. What you save on the grocery bill you will lose in medical bills down the road.
Reason # 4: Teach and train the children: √ check!
- Teach the children healthy habits- Even very young children can help with feeding the sourdough starter each day. The process is so simple. Simply feed the starter once a day with 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water. Then stir and cover. This can become a daily chore and can even be listed on a chore chart for older children. This task can become as much a daily habit as making the bed or feeding the animals. Children can count down the days until the starter is ready for breadmaking day.
- Teach the children new skills and creativity- Bread dough is more fun than playdough! Allow the children to experiment with different sized and shaped loaves. Show them how to roll the dough into ropes to make pretzel shapes or shape the letters in their name. Children will love experimenting with bread dough and will quickly begin looking forward to bread baking day each week.
- Teach the children appreciation for the food they eat- When children help out with food preparation they take pride in their accomplishment and look forward to enjoying the culinary creations that they helped to prepare. No more will children leave the bread uneaten on their plates. Instead, they will watch the clock and wait by the oven with anticipation as they smell the scent of the delectable bread that they helped make. You will see that they can hardly wait for the bread to cool before they take that first “dream bite” of their delicious homemade bread.
Reason # 5: Help your family to grow spiritually: √ check!
Baking traditional bread will help your family grow spiritually by allowing them to experience bread in a way that explains Biblical references and types. Here is a list of bread references in scripture that you can discuss as a family devotional or as a casual conversation starter while making bread.
- Genesis 1:29 “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”
- Leviticus 26:26 “When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.”
- Proverbs 31:27 “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
- Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”
- Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread”
- Matthew 4:4 “But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”‘”
- John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'”
- John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
- Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump”
Breadmaking is a Biblical concept intended to be understood throughout all generations. It is a fundamental of life intended to communicate greater spiritual truths when rightly understood. Clearly bread is associated with blessings and the lack thereof with curses. It is a sad state of affairs that bread has become something to be avoided in our modern world. Incorporating bread baking into your family routine can restore profound blessings of physical health and spiritual understanding.
Bonus Reason #6: Fresh baked homemade bread warm out of the oven is pure joy!
The smell of fresh baked bread is aromatherapy. It conjures up feelings of warmth and security. The first bite of a slice of warm homemade bread slathered with butter or olive oil is heavenly.
Tips and Tricks:
Water – be sure to use a good quality water that is filtered and free of cholorine. If you don’t own a water filter, then purchase spring water from the store.
Salt – use a fine, all-natural, unrefined sea salt, such as Real Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt. Our bodies need the minerals that a high-quality, all-natural sea salt provides.
Flour- it is extremely important that regardless of which type of flour you choose, it must be organic. The most nutrient-rich breads will be from flour that you grind yourself. But organic, unbleached, non-bromated, all-purpose flour will yield a delicious and nutritious bread that surpasses the quality of any bread that you purchase at the store.
Grease the bread pan – I prefer palm kernel oil, which is solid like shortening at room temperature. But an all-natural cooking spray like avocado oil or olive oil works fine too.
Free form versus bread pan- It is a lot of fun to play around with different shaped loaves. My son prefers a crusty free-form loaf, whereas my husband prefers a loaf made in a bread pan because it results in a softer and fluffier sandwich style loaf. My grandchildren like to make mini individual sized loaves that they can bite into without slicing!
Basic Sourdough Bread
- 1 heavy-duty mixer with dough hook Optional - dough can be kneaded by hand, but a good electric bread mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid) makes it much easier to keep up with home-made bread making
- 2⅓ cups fresh sourdough starter
- 3⅓ cups whole grain flour (we prefer freshly ground hard white wheat flour)
- 1 cups water
- 1 tbsp sea salt
Basic Sourdough Starter
- ¼ cup flour each day for about 7 days
- 1/4 cup water each day for about 7 days
- In a large mixing bowl, mix sourdough starter, flour, and salt together. If too sticky add more flour. If too dry add more water.
- Knead dough with heavy-duty mixer and dough hook or by hand. If using mixer, knead for 5-10 minutes (adding small amounts of flour or water) until dough begins to "ball up" and clean the sides of the mixing bowl. If kneading by hand, mix ingredients in mixing bowl (adding small amonts of flour or water) until dough begins to "ball up" and clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Then remove to a floured cutting board and fold and press dough for about 15-20 minutes.
- Tip: I like to start kneading my dough with the electric mixer and finish it by hand, to ensure that it has the right amount of elasticity.
- Dough is ready when it passes the "window pane test." This is when a small piece of dough will stretch between four fingers without breaking, thin enough to allow light to pass through .
- Shape the dough into a loaf. Place in a greased bread pan or on a greased baking stone.
- Allow the dough to rise for 4 - 8 hours.
- Optional: You can slice the loaf down the center or make an X shape in the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife. If my loaf naturally splits during the rising process, I omit this step.
- Bake at 400° F for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
- It's best to cool the loaf before slicing...but you might not be able to wait!
Basic Sourdough Starter
- To make the starter, add 1/4 cup flour to a 2 quart mason jar.
- Add 1/4 cup filtered or spring water to the jar. Do not use water with chlorine in it.
- Stir with a long spatula or wooden spoon. Batter should be the consistency of cake batter.
- Cover the jar with a cotton cloth. You can secure it with a rubber band if you are concerned about gnats or other bugs getting in.
- Leave the jar on the counter at room temperature. Ideally the starter prefers warmer temperatures between 70°-80°F If your house is colder than about 70° F, you can store it on top of the refrigerator. If your house is warmer than 80° F, you can either feed your starter twice a day and make bread more frequently or keep your starter in the refrigerator while feeding it daily. When storing sourdough starter in the refrigerator, you will need to pull it out of the refrigerator, feed it and then let it rest on the counter at room temperature for about four hours before returning it to the refrigerator.
- Every day for 5-7 days, add an additional ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup water, stirring to blend and replacing the cloth cover By the end of this time, you will have a bubbly, yeasty-smelling concoction, your sourdough starter. It is now active and ready for baking day.
- Before baking with your refrigerated sourdough starter, allow it to come up to room temperature, feed it, keep it on the counter for at least four hours. At this point it is at its most active and is ready to be used in the sourdough bread recipe. You can do this step the night before use, so that you are ready to make the bread recipe first thing in the morning.
- If you want to bake more than once a week or you want to make more than one loaf of bread, you can build up a lot of sourdough starter by feeding your starter equal parts (a 1:1:1 ratio of starter to flour to water), and build up a large amount in just a few days.
- Signs of brown liquid on top (called hooch) means that your starter is burning through its food source. This can happen if you forget to feed your starter. This will happen quickly over a couple of days at room temperature and over a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. As long as you haven't let it go longer than a day or two on the counter or a week or two in the refrigerator, you can carefully pour off the hooch and replace it with equal parts flour and water plus enough extra water to make up for the discarded hooch. No need to measure precisely. Just be sure the refreshed starter has the consistency of cake batter.
Some final thoughts about food-intolerance:
I personally know several people who were able to overcome various food-intolerances with the help of homeopathy and colostrum. Of course a nutrient-dense diet free from toxins is foundational to good health. But homeopathy can help overcome damage and susceptibilities that already exist in the body. Homeopathy is an all-natural form of medicine that operates according to the principle of “Like Heals Like.” If you would like to learn more about how homeopathy can help the body overcome food intolerances, you may be interested in my upcoming Good Gut Bad Gut Guided Study Group. I will be leading the study group through the Good Gut Bad Gut course by Joette Calabrese in January. We will thoroughly cover all the course material in 5 classes over 5 weeks. Contact me for more information if you are interested in the Good Gut Bad Gut course. https://motheringstrength.com/contact/
If you would like more information about how Anovite Colostrum6 true 6-hour bovine colostrum can help balance the gut from food intolerances, you can start here: https://motheringstrength.com/colostrum/
Also feel free to reach out to me to discuss whether or not colostrum is right for you. https://motheringstrength.com/contact/