Thursday, April 29, 2010

Albuquerque sourdough turns one year old

Last year, Marc, Aaron and I headed to Tour of the Gila early and stayed a few days in Albuquerque. I was getting into bread making and had become interested in sourdough. While at our host house, I took a couple kumquats and mixed the juice with some whole wheat flour and let it sit out overnight. The subsequent days, I kept it covered and fed it each day with a little more flour and water. Sure enough, by the time we arrived in Silver City, I had wonderful bubbling and kicked off my first Tour of the Gila with a breakfast of sourdough pancakes. Yes, I know it might have been foolish to do a new food on such an important day, but I was confident and pancakes have always stood me well. I've not made pancakes any other way since. The flavor is just that much better.

A year later, a container of sourdough continues to be cultivated in a container sitting on my counter. Each day I feed it an equal volume of water and flour, building it up for a recipe. When I travel, I feed it and put it in the fridge. Try that with your kids or pets.  :D  

I use the sourdough for bread, pancakes, pizza dough, biscuits, muffins, pitas and tortillas.

There are lots of ways to get starter going. I used citrus and flour. You can also soak raisins in water and flour. That whitish color you see on black raisins contains wild yeasts. You can also order cultivated strains like that from San Francisco, the "mother dough"  has been cultivated since 1849.

My starter's flavor is mild in terms of sourness. I have considered making some with local wild yeasts to compare flavors, but haven't got around to it. I don't think it would be that different though. All the times of opening and closing the container have probably allowed enough local wild yeasts to take over the culture, but it might be a cool experiment.

If you have kids in need of non-screen entertainment, get them into the kitchen.

About sourdough from Wikipedia
A history of sourdough

Purported health benefits of wild yeasted over commercially yeasted breads:
from Jacques de Langre

Specialized sourdough tolerated by celiacs
"A double blind test was then conducted in which 17 celiac disease patients were given 2 grams of gluten-containing bread started with bakers yeast or lactobacilli. Thirteen of them showed distinct, negative changes in their intestinal permeability after eating the bread, and 4 of them did not show any negative effects. The specially prepared sourdough bread was then given to all 17 patients and none of them had intestinal permeability reactions that differed from their normal baseline values.

The researchers conclude: "These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.""

Lower blood sugar levels
"With the sourdough, the subjects' blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin," said Graham, whose findings are to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. "What was even more interesting was that this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted even hours after. This shows that what you have for breakfast influences how your body will respond to lunch."


Joshua Stamper said...

If you are a true sourdough junky I would recommend the self titled cookbook from the Cheese Board Collective in CA. My starter came from their recipe is approaching its 3rd birthday! They have some rockin vege pizza recipes as well.

sydney said...

Thanks for the tip. I may have to do that. Sourdough pizza crust is one of my favorite uses, tho it's time to move to the grill for that. The summer heat seems to have arrived.