About two or three years ago, I found out that my body does not love bread. I began having all kinds of issues. I was tested, and I am not allergic to gluten, but something was making me ill.
I have since figured out that it is wheat that makes me ill. Not all wheat, but that is a whole 'nother post. Today, I want to introduce you my very simple sourdough.
You will need:
1 half gallon mason jar with lid (plastic)
1 glass bowl with tight fitting lid (Mine is a large Pyrex with a white rubber lid, like this one)
1 cast iron pot with tight fitting lid (this is what I use)
To make a sourdough starter, you need a Mason jar, flour (I prefer organic unbleached wheat. I have tried with alternative flours, and it did not work for me), and filtered water. I use water from my tap, run through a faucet mount filter. It works.
Start by taking 1/2 cup flour, and about a 1/3 cup water and mix it on your mason jar. Put a lid on it, but do not screw shut. Now repeat this every 12 hours :)...yes, it is babysitting in the beginning, but it gets easier. After two or three days, you should see bubbles. On day four, take out about 1/2 cup and discard, and add your new flour/water. In 5-7 days, you should be able to smell the "sour" smell. It smells good, like beer, not stinky. The starter should start rising pretty dramatically around day 4-5. You can see I have a pan under my starter...that is because they can explode out of the jar, and often do.
Once your starter is ready, it is time to bake!
In a glass bowel, mix 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of starter, 1 tblsp of sea salt. Mix with a spoon, just until it is moist. Put an airtight lid on it! Let is stand 8-10 hours, no more. I usually make mine at night and let it stand until morning so we have fresh bread.
Preheat your oven to 450. The pot & lid should be in the oven. Once it is hot, take it out, put your dough in, close, and put it right back in the hot oven. My dough is always a bit 'runny', almost like cake dough. I do not fold it, knead it, proof it. Nope. Right in the pot.
Let bake 30 minutes. Take off your lid. If your bread is still "white", leave it in the oven 5-10 more minutes to crisp.
This is what you get:
This bread keeps very well if it is not eaten, at least 5 days. I put mine cut side down on the board, and wrap a thick cotton towel around it. This goes on top of my oven. When the bread gets too hard, use it as crumbs, cubes for soups, breadpudding.....
Every time I use starter, I put back 1 cup of flour and a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. You want it to be a bit soft. You should always have at least 1/2 cup left to mingle with your new flour. Sometimes, I feed it every day because I know my friends are coming over for some bread, and it is almost guaranteed that they want to make their own after that ;).
BTW...you may have noticed how I said I can't eat wheat :). Well, I can eat my own bread, not as much as I like, but at least 2-3 slices a day and I am fine. I get really good organic flour, and the ferment of the sourdough seems to help too. There you go, there are still miracles!
Have fun, let me know how it goes!