In our family, we’ve had to deal with food sensitivities to eggs, dairy, gluten, and all other sorts of fun things. Thankfully, we’ve been able to work through most of these through long-term healing diets and overall dietary changes and by keeping as much processed foods out of our diets as possible. The last remaining sensitivity is gluten. My daughter and I have been gluten free for a long time and recently started testing out using ancient grains to see if we can tolerate the gluten content in those grains. So far, so good!
The thing we really missed is a good bread. Gluten free breads really aren’t very nourishing. Often, they’re made with high glycemic flours that equate to eating a bowl full of sugar…not exactly the best alternative! Even when they’re homemade, they use a lot of starches to create a bread that is similar to the favorite conventional white bread.
Einkorn is our grain of choice to reintroduce gluten. We’ve been culturing einkorn sourdough. I was very excited to purchase a grain grinder recently so we can have a truly nutritious, fresh ground whole grain flour. I’m loving working with the fresh ground flour and knowing I’m feeding my family the most nutritious food available.
Here’s my happy little bubbly sourdough starter. It takes about a week to nourish a true, healthy starter and I think she loves our house because we keep the wood stove going all winter long! I feed the starter every 12 hours or so, throwing in about 3/8 c. einkorn flour and 1/4 c. water. If I don’t have a need to build it, before each feeding, I dump off half so I’m not feeding so much, however we use it to make sourdough pancakes, bread, and all sorts of goodies, so I’m often building a larger starter batch. It smells so fresh and good! Mmmmm.
When grinding grains, it’s best to measure by weight for recipes instead of by cup because fresh ground grain is often fluffier than store-bought flour. If I have extra flour, I just store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This whole grain flour contains lots of fiber from the bran, as well as the healthy oils that grains naturally contain, and it’s naturally low-glycemic compared to white flours. Store-bought flour also has to be specially processed to treat the oils because they go rancid very quickly (not healthy at all!)
I use a very easy no knead method of making sourdough bread with Einkorn. This grain makes a very sticky dough, so the less you can touch it, the better! Using the right tools is also really helpful!
I weigh out 720g of flour, stir in about 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 c. starter, and 2 c. of warm water. I just roughly mix these ingredients together using my favorite danish dough wisk, cover it with plastic wrap (so the top of the dough doesn’t dry and get a “crusty” layer on top), and let it sit and sour for about 8-12 hours until it’s risen some. A true sourdough probably won’t double in size…mine usually grows by 2/3 or so. Einkorn dough looks far more “golden” in color than traditional wheat.
After the dough rises, I liberally flour the counter and dump the dough out onto the floured surface. A handy trick I’ve learned that really helps the sourdough action is to then sprinkle a tsp. of baking soda onto the dough. Fold the dough over (with liberally floured hands) about 20 times or so to mix in the baking soda, adding more flour as needed. The less folds, the better, but do thoroughly mix in the baking soda. Wrap the dough in a floured linen couche (the stick dough doesn’t stick to this genius linen cloth!) and let rest for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. and put your dutch oven into the oven to preheat as well. After approximately 30 minutes, pull the dutch oven out, flour the bottom and plunk in your rested sourdough. If desired, put slits in the top of your dough to give it a break point while it rises during baking. Reduce the heat of the oven down to 425 degrees F. Bake the loaf for 45min – 1 hour (longer for high elevations) or until the loaf is a dark golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. For a softer crust, wrap the loaf in a tea towel while it cools on a rack, but if your family prefers a crustier loaf, don’t wrap it.
The souring of the dough pre-digests the grains for you making them more nourishing to the body, not to mention that this bread tastes AMAZING! It’s really simple to make and really doesn’t take much hands-on time…just a little planning ahead. It’s soft and chewy and gives you all the nutrients of the whole grain. Let me know if you try it out…and if you’re in the area…I’ve got plenty of starter to share so swing in for some toast and tea and starter to take home!