Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Yeast Free Sour Dough Bread
from my sweet niece Beth
Note from Paula: I usually save my notes till the end but felt I had to make a disclaimer to my dented bread! My kids saw this bread sitting in the corner under a towel and felt compelled to 'test' it themselves. Did they lightly touch the sides? No! They tested my bread on the top! When you have a loaf that needs hours to rise, this is not a good place to test the bread. lol
3 cups 'yeast free' sourdough starter*(see recipe below)
2 cups hot water
4 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
4-5 cups whole wheat flour
Put all the ingredients except for the flour into the Bosch Universal Mixer and pulse to mix together. Add flour. With normal whole wheat bread, you stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides. But sourdough is a very wet dough, and it will be a nasty mess if you stop adding flour at this point. You have to keep adding flour until the dough is slightly sticky but still manageable with oiled hands.
Knead 8-10 minutes. It takes longer than ordinary wheat bread before the gluten is developed.
Divide the dough and put them in the desired pans. You can make the dough into dinner rolls; bread bowls; or regular loaf pan. The dough is very soft so it kind of spreads out if you put it out on a tray rather than putting it in a loaf pan to help it keep its shape.
Put in a dark, warm place for about 7 hours. That’s how long it takes for the phytates to break down in the grain. But you do want to watch to make sure that your loaves don’t overflow everywhere. Of course, if they are near overflowing, you would want to go ahead and bake.
When they are ready, bake 400 degrees for about 30 minutes for loaves and 20 minutes for rolls. The goal is a light golden, crackly crust, but not a hard thick crust.
Note: I’ve discovered that every step of this process is different every time. Some times it take forever to rise, and others it doesn’t. Sometimes I need way more flour or kneading time. I think that since this bread is made with a living starter, the weather really affects everything!
Yeast Free Starter
Note from Paula: This starter definitely takes longer to cure so if you are in a hurry, you will need to use my other 'quick' starter. If you have been looking for a 'yeast' free bread that you don't put commercial yeast in your bread, then this is the loaf for you!
Mix equal parts of flour and water together. The result is like a pancake batter. Put it in a mason jar or a crock. I use a big glass gallon jar so we have enough for our family. Every day, add another equal mixture of flour and water. You can add as much as you like, but never add more than is already in the jar. So if you only have a cup in the jar, then don’t add 2 cups to it. No more than 1 cup.
You can leave the jar uncovered to collect the wild yeast. If you have problems with flies or fruit flies, then you can use a coffee filter and rubber band to cover the top but the yeast will still get through. After a few days, it will start to sour. You’ll know it is ready to be used when it is sour and bubbly. When you stir it, it will start to bubble up everywhere. Once the starter is active, you can feed it every couple of hours if you are needing extra for a bigger recipe, etc.
Once it is very active, I say that it has a much higher “metabolism.” And it eats through the flour you feed it every day. You’ll notice that it will get a layer of brown juice on top. That is alcohol from the yeast. You can stir it back into the starter to create a stronger flavor or just drain it off. Either way is fine. Once it is super active, you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip feedings. It is like a pet. :)
If you need to go a while without feeding your “pet” then you just cover it loosely (where it can vent) and put it in the fridge. It will stay dormant in there. And then you can remove it and start feeding it again and it will become active once more.
It took about two months before my starter was strong enough to be able to leaven whole wheat flour. Before that, I could only use white flour. With white flour, the result is much like San Francisco style sourdough (except my starter is whole wheat.) With whole wheat flour, the result is still delicious and tangy, but the texture is a bit different. Both styles are good though!