I made my first sourdough starter a few weeks ago. I have always had an interest in bread making and I LOVE bread. I can’t emphasize that enough. Me and bread – we are life partners. I can’t imagine a life without bread. With the uprise of the gluten allergy/intolerance many people have banished gluten from their life. Swearing never to have bread in their homes and avoiding anything that modestly resembles a golden fluffy loaf of leavened yeast. It’s sad really.
So I felt inspired to learn more about bread. I watched an amazing documentary on Netflix called “cooked” and it is one of those life changing kind of films. Especially if you live for food the way that I do. Well technically we all do. But, I mean passion and love for everything about food, nutrition and nature. I had actually started writing several pieces about our modern society and our relationship to food before I even watched the film. It was like everything I had written was being said in this film. Literally. As I was watching it I was like I just wrote those words. It was everything I feel about food and life. I also started writing a piece about the impact of that film. In case I never get around to finishing and publishing them. Go watch the documentary. It comes in 4 parts. About an hour-long each. There is a specific part that focuses on sourdough bread making and naturally leavened bread. It is very educational and inspiring. I can’t promote this film enough. Watch it. You won’t regret it.
Back to bread. With this newfound knowledge (for me) of using natural yeast as opposed to using commercial yeast, I set out to make some really good bread. I have watched countless YouTube videos and documentaries and researched the internet. I learned a lot and then I started implementing these ideas and techniques into my recipes. I tried several different kinds and ways to make a naturally leavened sourdough bread from my own sourdough culture.
I absolutely love making bread or anything that involves making a dough that has to be kneaded by hand. I love the way it feels, the way it smells, the way it looks. I LOVE it. Not to mention the small fact that you are creating life that will nourish other people’s lives. With two simple ingredients, flour and water, you can create abundance and life. BREAD is life. SOURDOUGH bread is super nourishing and rich. The bread is filled with completely safe, beneficial and natural bacteria. SOURDOUGH is actually one of the healthiest kinds of bread you can eat. If you don’t like the sour taste, there are ways to change the flavor. It is a glorious gift that we have been given and we should really revere it as such. I know Jesus and people for thousands of years know the great importance of a good loaf of bread.
The first loaf I made came out surprisingly good. I made the traditional slit that runs along top side of the bread, which allows the bread to breath and expand as it rises and grows. This loaf was probably one of the more flavorful loaves I’ve made yet. I used unbleached bread flour. Water. A tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of salt.
The second loaf I baked directly on my baking stone in the shape of the traditional round rustic loaf. I used half whole grain flour and half unbleached bread flour. This bread was a lot more dense, hearty and earthy. I wasn’t really satisfied with the flavor but, I won’t be giving up on this particular kind. I would like to make it again and make a few changes. I also think I would have had a better outcome had I made two smaller loaves and let them rise for a longer period. I do love whole grain bread and it is more nutritional.
The third batch of bread I made with my sourdough culture was a big batch of bread using all unbleached bread flour and was able to get two loaves out of the recipe. These guys were good but again I probably could have made three smaller loaves and they might have been more successful. These guys way over-rose. One of them came over the side and had to be removed and fixed a little. Even though they looked a little messed up they tasted pretty good. The texture could have been lighter. I did not use honey in this batch but used about teaspoon of salt for both.
The last batch I made came out really good. I made two loaves and opted not to cut the dough prior to rising. I left the loaf uncut like sandwich bread. That was my intention. I wanted to have good white sourdough bread loaves. I let them rise in the oven and just turned it to 400 degree F whenever I was ready to bake. They baked for about 30-40 minutes. The appearance and texture were a success. They smelled amazing and looked lovely. The flavor has been lacking a little in all my loaves. I added no more than a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of honey to all my batches for flavor. I heard that if you add too much salt it can retard the rising process but, I am not sure how to improve the flavor without adding more salt. If anyone can help me with this, I would be forever grateful. I really liked the way these came out. Now I just need better flavor and I would like to see bigger holes in my bread like the classic sourdough.
I have really been enjoying this process of making bread through trial and error. There will be more to come where bread is concerned.
I also love to bake delicious and yummy baked goods like cakes, pies, cookies and even cinnamon rolls – from scratch. About a year ago I found an awesome recipe that even has a lot less fat than most cinnamon roll recipes. I also started using coconut oil in my cinnamon roll dough instead of butter, which makes it even healthier (still unhealthy but, healthier).
I posted the recipe last year and you can check it out below
Meanwhile, here are some photos to salivate over should you decide to make these delicious sticky little buns. Really, don’t feel intimidated to make these. I always thought cinnamon rolls have to be the hardest thing to make but, in fact, they are super easy. Well, at least compared to what I imagined. I just ate one. Another one. I also took some to my grandparents, my husband took a couple to my mom and I sent one to school for my son’s teacher. A few others have found their way into someone elses mouth along the way. I gave two of those loaves of bread away. I love to share with the people I love. That is the best portion control. I bake all the time but, I always remember to share.
I had to make a double batch this time around. My cinnamon roll recipe only makes 8 per batch and that just isn’t enough when you share. : ) I do prefer to make them in the round tins. I feel like they rise better and they just seem to come out yummier when I do them that way. Regardless, they are heavenly both ways.
Last but not least, I would like to take a moment to send out some positive vibes and affirmations. I am a firm believer in positive thinking and the law of attraction and I would like to say that one day I will have a big warm and cozy kitchen to bake until I drop onto my couch that is conveniently placed in the conjoining den to my kitchen with built-in fireplace. It will be comfortable and spacious with more than enough seats for all my friends and family to come over and hang out with me while I bake and they eat. We all win. I have a teeny tiny kitchen. Not suitable for someone who cooks and bakes as much as I do. Forget the walk-in closet. Forget the big bathroom. Just give me a big ass kitchen. Also, I have wanted to own a cafe/bakery since I was very young and here is to fulfilling that dream as well. One day…
Happy Baking Kiddos