As it turns out, baking bread can help soothe anxiety. The process is simple, yet requires patience, the gratification is far from instant. Being that these are qualities I’ve been grasping for with both hands and all ten fingers, I figured this would be a rather delicious practice in self improvement. I baked roughly 12 loaves before finally cracking the formula for the perfect loaf of sourdough. It was a task I focused on, thought of throughout the day, read about, and therefore successfully avoided other more unpleasant thoughts. And I ate a lot of bread. Win win if you ask me.
I should also note, I’m not a great baker. In fact, following a recipe (or directions for that matter), is not a strong suite of mine. But I can make this bread… so that’s really saying something.
And with November here, cozy dark evenings at home are upon us, which is the perfect time for cracking open a chewy loaf of homemade bread with those you love (or all by yourself in the closet… it just depends on the day I suppose. I don’t judge.) I chose sourdough because I’m all about that gut; keeping it healthy and teaming with good bacteria we call probiotics, which is what your starter is full of! Now go forth and make some bread… your gut, and your family, will thank you. I’ve also included a super easy soup recipe below that goes great with sourdough.
Sourdough Bread Recipe
First we have to make our sourdough starter. This is the leaven that will make our dough rise through the addition of wild yeast and the lactobacillus that will grow as the starter ripens. I make my start a week before I actually want to bake the bread. You will continue to “feed” the starter everyday for a week, and every other day after that to maintain it, and it will last for as long as you want it to.
-1 cup organic unbleached flour
-1 cup filtered water at room temp
-1 tsp of yeast
I use a 1 qt mason jar for my starter and I use my hands to incorporate the flour into the water. Let it sit covered by plastic wrap in a cupboard and feed it an additional 1/4 cup flour to 1/4 cup filtered water everyday for the next 7 days. It should get bubbly and grow each time you feed, then settle down by the next feeding.
Ok so after a week your starter is ready! Now it’s time to make some sourdough. Your starter should smell fermented but not rotten.
-Mix 1/4 cup of your starter with 1 1/2 cups of filtered room temperature water
-Add 1 tbsp of kosher salt
-Add 2 1/2 cups of organic unbleached flour + 1 cup of organic whole wheat flour
Incorporate but do not knead. Cover with plastic wrap and set un top of your fridge for the next 10-12 hours. After the time is up, you should notice a nice growth to your dough. Now we are going to “fold” the dough instead of knead it. Basically you just each side and pull it up and over the top of the dough in the bowl. It should be an easy and gently process. I fold for about 2-3 minutes making sure I still have a nice airy dough. Now transfer to your proofing basket (make sure to thoroughly flour your basket to avoid sticking dough. Let rest for about 45 minutes to an hour. While that rests, let your oven heat. Place your clay bread baker in the over and heat to 500 degrees. Once oven is hot and bread has risen, score your loaf down the middle with a razor to allow heat release, and place in HOT parchment paper lined clay baker. Put the lid on and bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then reduce to 450 degrees, remove lid, and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
Wild Rice + Vegetable Soup
-sautee onion and garlic in olive oil
-add mushrooms, diced rainbow carrots and parsnips
-add lacinto kale
-season liberally with roasted garlic and herb seasoning (I get mine from world market) and sea salt
-cook down and add vegetable stock
-add sprouted wild rice about two hours before serving and let simmer
-top with a drizzle of coconut cream before serving