and I am very happy about it.
I have not been very active and consistent updating my baking blog and I am really sorry to the ones who actually come here. Last year in September I enrolled in a course to be a qualified Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach. Mainly to improve and deepen my knowledge what I teach in my baking classes and to communicate to my audience and hopefully further afield. There was always that niggle if bread is good or bad, too much carbs or gluten etc. So many information is out there which is confusing to everyone. So I wanted to know from the experts and learn the newest research from the scientist. Well, not just about bread and the magic of sourdough.
Bread is a staple food worldwide and has been for thousand of years. Made only with flour, water and leavened with yeast or bacteria, namely sourdough. And it is the lactic acid bacteria in sourdough which is so good for our health to keep our microbiome happy with all those microorganisms. Have a look at all the good bacteria in a sourdough.
Lets just take one example: Lactobacillus reuteri has been found to be a super bacteria to improve immunity, suppress tumor development, reduces weight gain and speeds up wound healing. Even though the live bacteria is killed in the high oven temperature, new research discovered that particles of dead bacteria create the same benefits as the live bacteria. This shows us how much we still have to learn about our microbiome and our health. And of course it is the LONG fermentation of the dough adding to our health. The dough is bloating away not the quick baked bread in your tummy.
There is much more to say about the qualities and benefits of sourdough. Okay, we all have been told to eat wholemeal bread as more fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Wholemeal flour consist of the whole grain including all the vitamins and minerals in comparison to any other flour where it is sieved out in the process of milling. By UK law it needs to be fortified with Niacin/B3, Thiamine/B1, Iron and Calcium.
But what about the phytic acid which is in the whole grains and inhibits our mineral absorption and therefore called anti-nutrient? Well, here comes the sourdough to the rescue! It is scientifically proven that sourdough and its long fermentation breaks most of the phytic acid down. The newest article you can read here.
To combine all the above health benefit I leave you with a bread recipe including all those. Hopefully you will discover a new sense of taste and feelgood for this very nutritious staple. Please do let me know.
Mittersill – 100% Wholemeal Sourdough
A 100% wholemeal bread and it's also 100% sourdough reminding me of my time in Mittersill / Austria.
I used half rye wholemeal / half spelt wholemeal and added a soaker with psyllium husk which binds lots of water so that the finished loaf is very moist and takes longer to dry out.
The usual considerations apply here
- temperature is key
- rye flour does not need lots of kneading - not much gluten
- spelt flour has a weaker gluten structure but is stretchier
- flour is different from season to season and miller
- wholemeal flour absorbs more water
- salt slows fermentation
The recipe make about 1.5kg dough so you can split in 2 or 3 tins and put some in the freezer.
Sourdough - 12 hours before main dough
- 300 g Wholemeal Rye Flour
- 300 g Water 25 degrees C
- 60 g Sourdough starter active Rye or Wheat
- 5 g Sea Salt
Hot Soaker - 4 - 24 hours before main dough
- The day before baking - best in the evening. 1) Mix all ingredients for the Sourdough in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Your sourdough starter can be rye or wheat and should be at the active stage. (if not sure put a small spoon in water and it should flow on the top). The salt will slow fermentation which is better when using wholemeal. Cover and leave at room temperature. 2) Mix psyllium husk with water in a bowl and cover with cling film.
- In the morning of your baking day Main Dough In a bowl of your mixer (or a bowl using a strong handheld mixer) measure spelt flour, water and salt and mix for at least 5 minutes at low setting. The dough should have a soft consistency. Add sourdough, soaker which should be like a jelly, wholemeal rye and barley malt. Mix at low setting for 5-7 minutes. When you scrape with a spatula all dough from the bowel to form a ball in the middle it should hold well together. If your dough is too stiff mix more water but be careful not to use too much. Cover and leave at room temperature for 60-90 minutes - it should increase 1/3 minimum. Grease your tins with oil or use greaseproof paper. With two spoons transfer the dough into the tins. I would recommend 2 tins fitting 900g as you do not want it as high as a regular toast bread. With the back of the spoon which is wet level and press your dough. See photo. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave at room temperature for 90 minutes.
- Pre-heat your oven to 220 degress C. Put an empty tray on the lowest rail of your oven. This is for creating steam with either 4 ice cubes or 50ml of water after you have put your bread in. So there should be the oven rack above the tray. After proving you dough should look like on the photo - again 1/3 to 1/2 bigger in size. It should not be completely to its final prove - that will happen in the oven called oven spring.
- Bake with steam at 220 degrees for the first 15 minutes, then open the door to let steam out and lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for another 40 minutes. It should be golden brown and some cracks would naturally appear. Take out of the tin and let cool completely.