When I started eating grains again I wanted to eat the ones that were most easy for me to digest. One way to make grains more digestible is to ferment them first. My favorite way to ferment them is with a sourdough starter.
The best starters are those that have been around for a while and have collected wild yeasts out of the air. They tend to be the most robust, because they have a large variety of yeasts. If you have a friend who’s been making sourdough bread for some time you can always get a little to start yours. But since I like mine to be completely gluten free I make it myself. It is really quite simple.
- Take a clean quart sized mason jar
- 1 cup of flour of your choice (my favorites are buckwheat, teff, millet, rice, gf oat, blue corn)
- 1 cup of warm filtered or spring water
- a hand full of blueberries, a couple plumbs or other fruit that has the white powdery yeast on the outside or a bit of starter from a friend
- stir it all together
- cover it with a piece of fabric secured with a rubber band ( linen, a clean cloth napkin, even a piece of paper towel will work)
- let sit over night
- add 1 Tbs more flour
- repeat 7-9 for a week or until the starter is nice and bubbly and smells sour
- scoop out the fruit
Now you can use it to make your favorite recipes. I’m a fan of pancakes and injera made directly from the batter, but it’s a great base for breads and muffins too.
Each time you use it replenish the jar with equal parts flour and water.
If you’re not going to use it for a few days you can leave it out on the counter, just make sure to stir it daily so no mold grows on top. If mold does grow you can usually scoop off the top layer and keep going, as long as what is left in the jar doesn’t taste moldy.
If you are not going to use it for a while just add a little extra flour or cooked whole grains, put a regular lid on it and stick it in the fridge. When you are ready to use it again bring it out, replenish it and let it warm up to room temperature.
Most recipes will call for a small amount of starter that has been mixed with a larger portion of water and flour and then left to ferment for 24 hours. Seems to have the best taste and texture then.
Check out Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats or Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture FoodsReclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture
for lots of great recipes.
I like to take mine with me when I travel and bring home a little that has been inoculated with whatever local yeasts it may have picked up in foreign lands.