Heavenly Sourdough Bread - Slow Sundays
If you follow my Instagram you might know that I'm a fan of food swapping. The concept of food swapping is simple and brilliant: You agree with friends or local people to exchange goodies. This is how I come to be able to enjoy the most beautiful sourdough breads every week, baked with the finest organic flours. I used to live for a few years in small ecologcial community on the dutch coast line. That's where I got to know natural builder and baker Christo Markham. This amazingly talented bread magician was born and raised in California, where he helped out in the family bakery from an early age. And now he masters baking like now one else I know.
The philosophy of co-op that existed in the liberal Californian small towns during the end of the sixties and the seventies is a spirit that he carried with him growing up and moving to the Netherlands. Sharing food creates a sense of small and personal community and it's a lovely way to enrich your life with quality eats. The time and love that it takes to make whole foods staples such as sourdoughs, jams, and preserves can be divided within a group of friends, and that's a really smart thing when you think of it. Every week that Christo delivers his bread to me, I give him something tasty and wholesome in return. Last week he got a loaf of the banana bread that I posted on the blog recently, and a jar of harissa and carrot hummus!
Healthy whole food cooking can require a little more time and love than the quicker weekday making of food. And that is why I'd like to introduce a new serie of posts here on the blog, that I'll be running until I dry out of subjects.
I'm calling this serie "Slow Sundays" and I'll focus on making healthy foods that uses special techniques, like sourdough baking, preserving, sprouting and brewing for example. In my idea Sunday is the perfect day to putter around in the kitchen and starting projects that can linger over time. It's not always enough time and space to start making jams in the middle of a working week. But investing some time for slow cooking is gonna pay off good in health and enjoyment. Also the feeling of achievement when you made a lot of your own food from scratch is great. Slow cooking like baking your own breads also connects you with what you eat on a deeper level. A mindful way of cooking.
For the debut post in Slow Sundays I've asked my favorite baker Christo for the recipe of his sourdough bread that I get to enjoy every week. I love it so much, and it goes fantastic with everything! We usually have a soup dinner on the day we get a bread from Christo so that we can eat extra bread, all soup needs good bread! We also eat it with goat cheese, hummus, baba ganoush and other delicious spreads. And if by any chance there is a bit left of the loaf, getting dry, I 'll make croutons in the toaster that elevates any regular salad to the perfect meal.
Eating sourdough bread is a really good idea for taste and health reasons. Due to the slow process and the fermentation of the sourdough starter, it adds good bacteria that gives a healthier gut flora, and you know the gut bacteria rules our allover health so it's a really good reason to go sourdough. It also has a lower glycemic index than regular breads and can be easier digested by gluten sensitive eaters. Another pro is that the sourdough process breaks down phytic acids through soaking and the slowness in the making of it. Apart from it being tremendously wholesome it's the Rolls Royce of breads in my opinion. It tastes so much more and richer, a real contrast to the fluffy supermarket breads that are overly glutenized and with poor nutrition.
To make this recipe you need a sourdough starter. You can get that from a baker of a friend if you don't have it. There will be a post on makingsourdough starter coming soon in the Slow Sunday serie, so keep an eye out for that. Inspired to make your own sourdough bread? Here is Christos basic recipe:
Christos heavenly sourdough bread
gives a loaf of 1 kilo
150 ml sourdough starter
350 ml water, lukewarm
1 tbsp fine salt (Christo uses Celtic grey salt)
300 gram organic white flour
240 gram organic whole wheat flour
Mix the starter with lukewarm water and add salt and flour in a big bowl. Mix really well. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and set aside to rest and rise for 12-18 hours in room temperature. A warm and sunny spot is good.
Your dough is ready when it's almost double in size and. Punch down the dough and turn out on a flour-dusted counter top. Knead it well for 3-4 minutes until it feels elastic. Form the dough into a loaf and put into a flour dusted banneton or bowl. Let it rise for 30-60 minutes. Dont let the second rising be too long, it should be puffy than that's it. Preheat the oven and a dutch cast iron pan with lid, in 230 ℃.
Take preheated dutch cast iron pan out of oven and remove lid. Turn the loaf into the pan and score the top with a knife. Put the lid back on the pan back in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool on a rack. Bon appetit!
Thank you Christo for sharing the recipe.
A note, if you live in the Netherlands you can join Christos workshops in Sourdough baking and oven building. Contact Christo for more information, you'll find him at @knead_more_bread on Instagram, or contact me.
Have a lovely slow Sunday