<img class="aligncenter wp-image-3024 size-medium" src="http://www.sunseed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NETTLE-300×300.jpg" alt="Nettles are delicious!" width="300" height="300" srcset="http://www.sunseed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NETTLE-300×300.jpg 300w, http://www.sunseed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NETTLE-150×150.jpg 150w, http://www.sunseed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NETTLE-50×50.jpg 50w, http://www site link.sunseed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NETTLE.jpg 700w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />
Our sourdough starter has now been alive for 6 months! Sebastian, our Dutch volunteer who split his time between Organic Gardens and time with fermentation projects with Sustainable Living (and his own), began the starter and we have been experimenting ever since. The last bake was on Sunday with Alder who has a little experience of sourdough although she has experience with regular breadmaking (using instant yeast).
In brief, cultivating a wild yeast for the bread will enable us to have delicious and wholesome bread…without reliance on nipping to the supermarket for yeast. I came to Sunseed with a little experience of using sourdough starters but with an enthusiasm for practising. After all, practise makes permanent! So, I’m still adding a little instant yeast to the recipe (1 tbsp per 25 cups of flour) until I gain more confidence to go fully wild.
Studies show the fermenting and souring the wheat in bread pre-digests the tough grain and allows it to be much more easily digested by us…even 100% wholewheat, which many people find difficult on the stomach. What’s more, the wild yeasts that fermentation cultivates are reputed to have highly beneficial effects on the health of the beneficial flora in the intestines.
One obvious reason that sourdough went out of fashion for a while is because the industrialised process of breadmaking is super fast, allowing us to munch on fresh bread within less then a couple of hours of making it. Sourdough bread, on the other hand, even though is much less labour-intensive, requires consistent care over the day. While this is inconvenient if you live alone or have a small working family, for a community like Sunseed who get through more than 25 loaves a week, the whole process if perfect!
We make 2 types of bread – an 85% rye and a 50/50, which is 50% wholewheat, 50% semi-wholewheat. We avoid white flour for health reasons because it is incredibly energy intensive for industry and any food product that we consume which is devoid of its wholeness robs from the body what it lacks. This can lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. So, if we can make a delicious loaf that taste great, lasts a bit longer and also is a tonic for the digestive tract, why would we do anything else?