“The future belongs to nations who have grains not guns.” Dr. MS Swaminathan
Many of the people who live with an allergy or intolerance – let it be gluten, dairy or egg – believe that a good loaf is out of their reach…Whilst traditionally the idea of beautiful bread has been based on the trustworthy, reliable work of gluten, modern-old practice shows: free from perfect sourdough bread is really possible. Though sourdough wheat bread can be tolerated by some gluten-sensitive individuals as the fermenting process makes wheat and gluten easier to digest, others who can’t tolerate any wheat, are still able to enjoy sourdough fermented bread’s tangy flavor, thanks to the wide variety of gluten-free flours now available made with everything from corn to quinoa, through buckwheat, rice and all.
Investigating the nature of long-fermented, old-fashioned bread in its gluten- and dairy free form is an exciting journey. Bread, especially that of sourdough is a living being. A simple dough, made in the right ratio of flours to starter to water to salt, achieves the most amazing transformation when left undisturbed for a pleasant night. Witnessing that creation magic is an honour, a heartwarming activity that somehow connect one to her roots.
Sourdough can easily be created with glutenfree flour and it indeed produces beautiful bread. During the quest for my own real sourdough story, I had found that feeding the glutenfree starter with fruit yeast achieves the gratest result, in terms of both rise and taste. To capture and cultivate fruit yeast sterilize the glass jar by boiling both jar and lid for 5 minutes, then leave them to cool. Fill the jar with fresh fruit and spring water, and leave it until it starts fizzing and small bubbles could be seen. Closed the lid on the jars loosely, giving the jar a shake once a day and opening the lids so to let the yeast breathe. Check after the three days, so to avoid over-fermentation (optionally move the jar into the fridge).
Bringing a glutenfree sourdough starter to life with fruit yeast is relatively simple, only needing some careful attention, patience and love.
Using the starter as a basis and baking good free from bread also depends on simple rules: adopting a reliable mixture of locally accessible flour, respecting the live yeast and allowing ample time for the dough (to rest, to rise, to bake, to cool).
150 g free from sourdough starter
200 ml water
120 ml fruit yeast
1 tsp honey
1 tsp psyllium husk
1 tsp dried potato flakes
350 g glutenfree flour mix, plus some for
1 tsp Himalaya salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the starter, the water, honey and fruit yeast stirring vigorously until well incorporated. Fold in the psyllium husk, potato flakes and flour gently, then let it autolyse for 2 hours. After the autolysation, knead in the salt and oil and let it rise in the mixing bowl covered for 4-5 hours. After the first rise pour it on floured surface, gently fold 3-4 times (by turning the sides into the middle), then form and place it into floured proving basket. Allow 6 to 8 hours for the final proof on the kitchen worktop (fridge proving seems to give less elevated results). Bake it in preheated 230 degrees C oven on hot baking stone for about 50-60 minutes. Before starting the baking throw a couple of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” John Muir