Sourdough

Focaccine:

Wonderful plain but also very special when stuffed with any sort of ham, cheeses or salads. Can also be stuffed with marmalade, nutella custard and so on.

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Focaccia Genovese

The real thing!

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My sourdough brioche bread. From before the oven to the final result! Another wonder of my sourdough.
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From a variety of pink/purple organic sweet potatoes produced at Tablehurst, here is my last new entry in sourdough pizza dough.

What makes my products very special is my exclusive use of my wonderful natural sourdough yeast as the only natural raising agent in my traditional recipes. It is the most wonderful and natural baking agent in the world, which unfortunately has become rare to find. It requires a lot of patience and effort to achieve a quality product and today unfortunately no one wants to work too hard.

When I was little to be a baker meant to go to work at 10 pm and spend the entire night preparing the dough for the morning. In those days the only raising agent known was the natural sourdough called ‘Pasta Madre’ in Italian.  The taste and the impact in our body and stomach is different when cooking with live sourdough as opposed to the dry yeast which uses chemical agents.

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My sourdough culture is 100% natural.  All my sourdough treats are naturally leavened and shaped by hand. I do not use any additional yeast. No colors, preservatives or emulsifiers to enhance my products like industrial bakeries do. A couple generations ago, in much of Europe, bread was made at home and without industrial yeast. Instead, every household would save a piece of “mother dough” from the previous batch of bread which was then fermented for at least 2 days before being used again in a new batch.

Below are some technical facts about Sourdough and some notes regarding a study which was done at the Imperial College in London:

Today, fermented foods like naturally-leavened bread are growing in popularity as research on the probiotics that are allowed to grow during fermentation show they could be good for your health. A 2008 study by Imperial College London, partly sponsored by Nestlé, found that not only did probiotics help mice break down fats, but as lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Nicholson explains, “We have established that introducing ‘friendly’ bacteria can change the dynamics of the whole population of microbes in the gut“.

Along with growing interested in naturally fermented yogurts, cheeses and chocolate, industrial-yeast-free bread is experiencing a comeback. Slowly fermented bread is known by many names: in the U.S., it’s often called sourdough; in France, “pan au levain”; and in Spain, it’s bread   Sourdough has several advantages over commercial yeast:

▪    Sourdough is the most natural and traditional method for leavening baked goods.  While commercial yeast is manufactured, sourdough is perpetuated through a natural process.

▪    Sourdough naturally provides a more complex taste to baked goods.

▪    Sourdough is more versatile.  Depending on the amount of time you ferment the sourdough (see below), you can achieve a bread ranging from no hint of sourness to a very sour bread.

▪   With a sourdough culture, you never again need to buy yeast.  A small amount of flour and water each week will keep your sourdough culture fed and healthy.

from “masa madre”, or “mother dough”Fermented foods are oft lauded for their massive health benefits, including beneficial bacteria to balance your intestinal flora and easier digestion. Lactic acid fermentation not only helps to preserve food but also increases the nutrients available for our bodies.

We’re told daily via advertisements of the probiotic health benefits of one of my favorite foods, yogurt (see directions for easy homemade). This fermented dairy product is popular in the United States, while so many other fermented foods just haven’t caught on. Because of that, if you’re a standard American eater, your taste buds may take some time to adjust to the tang of sourdough. It is just that tang, however, that gives sourdough grain preparation all its nutritional might. Sourdough preparation improves nutrition by:

▪   pre-digesting starches, making the bread more easily digestible

▪   lowering insulin response/improving glucose tolerance

▪   protecting Vitamin B1 from the damage of the heat of baking

▪   breaking down gluten, which may result in a bread that gluten-sensitive people can eat

▪   activating phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as:

▪                     zinc

▪                     iron

▪                     magnesium

▪                     copper

▪                     phosphorus

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Here in England you call these wonderful treats DOUGHNUTS. In Italy we call them BOMBOLONI or KRAFFEN. Sourdough Bomboloni/Kraffen excel in flavour, lightness in texture and are easy to digest. The resting time for this recipe is around 6 hours.
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Rose cake TORTA DELLE ROSE. A wonderful brioche bread enriched with custard cream mixed amongst its rose layers…heavenly in texture and flavour. It requires a good 4 hours resting time.
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Milk Bread – Pane al latte

3 Comments on “Sourdough

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