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Sourdough Queen? – not!

March 19, 2010

I love sourdough bread – especially real sourdough bread as opposed to pseudo “this is good marketing to the health fanatics” sourdough bread. Real sourdough bread has been slow fermented and feels good all the way through you – i.e. you don’t get that bloated feeling that lots of people get from eating bread and other grain products that haven’t been properly prepared. What’s properly prepared?

Grains contain anti-nutrients: phytates and other enzyme inhibitors designed to protect and preserve the grain until conditions are right for germinating. Birds have adapted and developed a synergistic relationship with grains – hence the seeds that rely on being consumed and pooed out by birds in order to spread and germinate or chickens that have a crop in their neck where the seeds are germinated before going into their stomachs. Humans haven’t genetically adapted to grains yet. We don’t have a crop for a start.

In most traditional diets, grains are pre-soaked and/or fermented. The pre-industrial harvesting method for grains was also very different to today. For example, the wheat was harvested and left in bunches (can’t remember the correct word) on the fields where they would have started the germination process before threshing and grinding. Grain was also stone-ground which doesn’t heat the grain like modern rapid steel grinding processes so the enzymes weren’t destroyed. Before industrial yeast and rising agents, the process of baking bread took time – the kneading, the rising, the kneading, the rising. Bakers then left their bread to “prove” overnight before sale which also helps to improve the digestibility of the bread.

Modern bread takes diddly squat of time to produce and with all the blooming additives like the rising agents and soy waste, it’s little wonder Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestive issues are rampant, plus all the gut related health problems like reflux and eczema.

Grains are addictive – they have an opiate effect on our brains so it’s little wonder that the modern Food Pyramid recommends so many servings of grains a day (part of maintaining the sickness industry?). Typical western diets have toast or cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. Grain and anti-nutrient overload. Anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors cause de-mineralisation of the body. They bind to important minerals in your body and leech them out of your system. They also cause food allergies by penetrating the lining of the bowel and getting into your blood stream where your body’s immune system attacks them. Digestive damage leads to a gamut of potential health problems from reflux to eczema to pyschological problems (yep!) to cancer.

So next time you are trying to decide between the $1 industrial loaf at the supermarket or the $6 organic sourdough loaf at the bakery – just pause to consider: how many more loaves of toxic grain is it going to take before your body says “I can’t take this anymore? I can’t protect you anymore? I give up?”. And if you really can’t afford the $6 loaf, cut out bread or experiment with making sourdough which is what I’m doing at the moment.

I don’t have the time or the patience for all the kneading and rising but lately I’ve come across some “wet, no knead” recipes. My most recent attempt in the photo turned out very …. flat (mind you I didn’t use a tin but just shaped them and put them on a tray) but they were delicious! I have a couple of friends who are very successfully making no-knead sourdough so I’m off for a couple of lessons. Stay tuned….

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy Harvey permalink
    March 19, 2010 11:01 am

    Filippa – I haven’t eaten bread for years and noticed an amazing difference in my health – even though I am not celiac. Grains are a recent addition to our diets in terms of evolution – for millions of years we ate nuts, fruits, herbs, meats etc -, no grains. If you are going to eat grains particularly the gluten ones ie wheat, rye definitely the best way is to ferment and make sour dough. Good blog, many thanks.

    • March 19, 2010 3:22 pm

      Yes siigghhh and the best I ever felt was when i went grain free for about 6 months but you have to be feeling pretty unwell or just very committed to give grains up. Bread is just so … well… yummy! But I always advise people to give it up for a while if they’re complaining of any ailments.

  2. March 19, 2010 1:09 pm

    i love the idea of no-knead bread. one of my favourite bloggers ( posted this article and recipe

    she makes it successfully, i have yet to give it a try.

    i love sour-dough bread too, and your’s looks pretty yummy to me!

    • March 19, 2010 3:19 pm

      Thanks Pen! Thanks for the recipe too. I’ve always been too lazy to persevere with sourdough bread making but it seems to be growing in my consciousness so time to tackle the task and make friends I think.

    • March 24, 2010 10:42 pm

      Had a chance to look at the NY times recipe – in my books this one is what I term “pseudo sourdough”. It uses yeast (although some say the long fermentation time converts all the yeast) and she also adds flour just 2 hours before baking – this would not be enough time to convert the phytates etc to a more digestible state. I will post a no knead recipe when I can really call myself the sourdough queen! Or maybe someone could claim that title for me – pass on the recipe though!

  3. Bec permalink
    March 20, 2010 10:01 pm


    I found out today there is a Sourdough class sometimes held in the Gold Coast Hinterland
    It is run by Nic 0402655793. Not sure when the next class is.

    I would not mind doing something like this over uni holidays. It is $60 for the day including a wood fire pizza lunch, recipe booklet, sourdough starter. The last sourdough I made was very dense and strong tasting.


  4. March 24, 2010 10:39 pm

    Sounds good Bec. There will be a sourdough workshop here in the Ecovillage in May. Email me if you’d like to join and I’ll send you the details.

  5. isla permalink
    March 25, 2010 1:13 pm

    Hey Filippa, I was given an old sourdough bug from a friend about 6 months ago, have probably bought 5 loaves of bread since then, not bad for a family of seven! Not only does it taste delicious John can eat it without being affected (as commercial bread leaves him feeling lousy) but it has also saved us a heap of cash! We make pizzas with it, pancakes, loaves, buns, fruit loaves, scrolls, pitas, its uses are endless. We don’t use yeast and I don’t kneed it. Just add water and flour of choice leave for 8-12 hours put in bread tins raise again for an hour then yummmm beautiful fresh sourdough for lunch or brekkie or with dinner!!. I uploaded some photos to facebook, check it out! The bug is a very old bug and is amazingly active.

    • March 25, 2010 7:00 pm

      Hi Isla ;–)) how’s that divine baby of yours? Care to post your sourdough recipe and method? It sounds fabulous!!! x

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