We’ve got another guest blog for you today from Annemieke of Plastic-Free Tuesday, which she launched in 2014 “to create more awareness about the adverse impacts of our plastic consumption.” Today she shares instructions for making sourdough.
I love sourdough bread. It’s delicious. No other bread can beat the deep, distinct taste of sourdough bread. It’s Slow Food. Rather than being produced in a rush, as happens with most bread you find in bakeries and supermarkets nowadays, authentic sourdough bread takes days to make. And even after baking, the taste will continue to mature.
Besides the unique taste, sourdough bread is also beneficial for your health. Did you know that our bodies contain more bacteria than human cells? In fact, there are ten times more bacteria than human cells in our body! 100 trillion bacteria live in our intestines. In order to stay healthy, we must help the benign bacteria to thrive. Fermented foods such as sourdough bread feed these benign bacteria. Eating some fermented foods daily helps keep you healthy.
Real sourdough bread and #BYOB
You can of course try to buy sourdough bread at your local bakery or supermarket. I say “try”, because –at least in my home country, the Netherlands– it is not uncommon that bread sold as “sourdough” is made with regular yeast and only has some “sourdough powder” added to it. So if you do buy, please always inquire whether the bread contains yeast. If it does, it is not authentic sourdough bread.
If you happen to find real sourdough bread at your local bakery or supermarket, make sure to refuse the plastic or paper bag. Instead, just #BYOB. #BringYourOwnBag. While this feels awkward the first time you ask the shop assistant to put your bread in your own bag, very soon it will feel perfectly normal. I have never received negative comments on my reusable bags. People always say things like “so environmentally friendly,” “such nice material,” and “where can I buy these bags?”. #BYOB is a great conversation starter.
Making your own sourdough takes only 5 minutes!
If you can’t find real sourdough bread or simply enjoy making your own food, you can easily make it yourself. What you need is a high quality starter. Of course you could purchase this online or elsewhere, but in order to avoid any waste, best is to make the starter by yourself. All you need is water, flour (I use rye or buckwheat, but you could also use whole wheat flour), kitchen scale, boiled water, thermometer, and a jar.
For plastic-free flour in Dahab, you can buy your flour from the bulk bags, for example at 1,000 Items, using your own reusable bag or container. The shop carries all purpose and semolina flour. You can also purchase whole wheat flour in paper sacks from Chef’s.
Before you start, make sure to wash, rinse, and dry the jar thoroughly. Put the jar on a kitchen scale. Turn the scale on. Pour 100 gram flour in the jar. Be careful, you must be precise. Boil a little bit of water. Leave the water in a large bowl if it is chlorinated to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Blend the hot water with cold water until the temperature drops till 23-26 degrees Celsius (73.4-78.8 F). Add 100 gram of the water to the flour. Stir with a spoon until smooth. Put the lid on the jar, but don’t close it because air should be able to flow out if needed. Leave the jar outside the fridge. It takes about a week for the starter to be ready for baking. Make sure to stir the paste at least once a day with a clean spoon. I use a wooden one.
Feed it like a pet
After two or three days you will find bubbles in the jar and it will start to smell sour (yet fresh). In order to keep your sourdough alive, you must now feed it regularly. The first time you feed it, best is to add 300-400 grams of both water (23-26 degrees Celsius) and flour. After this, you should feed your sourdough every two days. Add water (23-26 degrees Celsius) and flour in a 1:1 ratio (i.e. as much water as flour) and stir. Once your sourdough is bubbling vigorously, it is ready to be used in bread and other delicacies. In my next blogs I will share how to use it to make pancakes and bread using your own home-made starter. Much more on fermented foods can be found in Sandor Katz’s “The Art of Fermentation.”