Homemade Sourdough

by Ann Marie Michaels on January 20, 2008

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I have been feeding my new pet for a week. With fresh (so fresh it’s frozen) whole grain rye flour (organic, naturally) and warm distilled water. It’s been bubbling and growing happily in its gallon glass jar in the corner of the kitchen.

So today — I decided it was stable enough, and I fed it one last time and then mixed it into a dough. Using the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, I used spelt flour (whole grain, organic, also frozen — to retain freshness). I kneaded it for a good 15-20 minutes. Then I poured it into a Le Creuset stoneware loaf pan, slashed it with a knife, and let it rest in a warm oven.

Within about 5 hours, it had doubled in size! It looked like a proper loaf of bread, albeit unbaked.

By then it was 8:30 pm, and we had already given up and ordered take-out sushi (I had sashimi and ONE piece of sushi — since I’m low-carbing).

So I punched it down again and put it back to bed.

I’ll bake it in the morning.

I’m really excited! How silly to be so excited over a loaf of bread. But it’s more than that. There is something so comforting about baking real sourdough bread. It takes you back to your ancestors. This is the way people have been doing it for centuries.

I hope it tastes good. I’ll eat one slice only — since I’m low-carbing. I’ve decided to allow myself bread once a week. That’s reasonable! If it slows my weight loss, so be it. I may get hit by a bus tomorrow, and I want to eat some bread before that happens.

And yes, I’m going to put LOTS of butter on it. Or some good raw cheese. I just bought 3 French varieties from Whole Foods. And maybe some honey (a tiny bit — since I’m low-carbing). RAW honey, mais bien sur.

UPDATE: My sourdough bread came out great!

Sourdough bread

I know, there’s a big hole in the bottom. That’s because when I took it out of the loaf pan, some of it got stuck to the bottom.

I made it with spelt, so it’s denser than the typical loaf. We are used to that, though, since we love German pumpernickel and rye breads. I loved the sour, nutty flavor of my bread. It was so delicious slathered with butter. It would be good, too with cheese or liverwurst (and more butter).

I was good and only ate once slice. I promptly sliced it and stuck it in the freezer. I’ll have another piece next week.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

mommaofmany January 20, 2008 at 10:50 PM

I just found your blog today and spent all afternoon reading it! It took me through the NFL playoff’s! I have added you to my weekly reading! Thanks for all the good information and for challenging this ‘NT toddler’ to take another step or two!

I live in the Central Valley, probably three or four hours north of you. I wish we had something like Rawsome here! Have you any contact information on them? Maybe there’s one in Fresno…

I’m going to do the fridge meme this week. I have it drafted and need to take a picture. I am a co-op contact for Organic Pastures in the Visalia/Tulare/Hanford/Porterville area and we get it delivered tomorrow, so my fridge will not be representative of normal tomorrow. We don’t buy THAT many jugs of milk!

Anyway, thanks again for all you’ve written and I look forward to reading more!


Laurie Constantino January 21, 2008 at 4:51 AM

Having recently made home-made sourdough, and been amazed and gratified to see it rise-I know just what your’re talking about. Now the starter sits in a jar in the refrigerator, waiting for me to use it again, and I put myself in a good mood just by looking at it slowly rise up the side of the jar. Hope your bread came out well!


cheeseslave January 21, 2008 at 7:17 AM

Thanks, Laurie, I will post my results on here. The oven is now preheated — but per your instructions, I am letting it stay hot for one hour before I put the loaf in.

Mommaofmany, Rawesome is in Venice, CA. I don’t have contact info, although I should. I always find myself wanting to call and see if the chickens are in (we haven’t had chickens in about a week — which is fine, I have a stash in my freezer).

I thought about doing a co-op down here. Need to convert a few more raw milk drinkers! How many do you have in your co-op and how cheap do you get it?


Megan January 22, 2008 at 8:11 PM

I found your blog from your mentioning it on our waphb yahoo group. Really fun stuff to read here…..thanks.
I’ve been wanting to make real sourdough on a regular basis and would prefer to purchase a real bread and water starter. I think you said that’s what you did. If I’m correct about that, where did you buy yours? TIA


cheeseslave January 22, 2008 at 9:17 PM

Hi! I got it from GEM Cultures


Along with my kombucha scoby and kefir grains and fil mjolk starter.


Annette January 30, 2008 at 8:47 AM

So how do you make sourdough? Is it just flour and distilled water??


cheeseslave January 30, 2008 at 8:49 AM

You need a sourdough starter. I got mine from GEM Cultures. Then I followed the recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook (by Sally Fallon).

You can make your own sourdough starter I guess but it is easier to buy one or get some from someone you know who has a starter already.


Annette January 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

I wonder what the best strain of culture is? I heard Bulgarian was good, or will any starter, sy from a health food store, suffice?


cheeseslave January 30, 2008 at 9:41 AM

I am not sure. I’m not an expert on sourdough starter. I don’t know about “any old starter”. I trust GEM Cultures. But what do I know — as I said, no expert.


Shawn February 9, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Annette, there is no one best starter. The mix of yeasts bacteria and who knows what else will be influenced by your environment and the ingredients you are using. If you start off with a certian starter, most likely it will never be exactly the same as when you got it. It will adapt to it’s surroundings. However, it’s more stable using an established active culture than from scratch. Once you have been making bread for a while, the microbes will populate your kkitchen and increase the stability of the culture. Then you’ll have a strain of culture called annttes!


Alisue July 5, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Your loaf looks absolutely delicious!! Can’t wait to try some sourdough recipes!


LeahS July 11, 2011 at 9:24 AM

So it’s a rye starter? That sounds yummy in spelt! Rye is a different beast when it comes to sourdough starters. It was always my favorite!


Erica July 19, 2011 at 6:21 PM

I definitely want to try making homemade sourdough bread.


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