Sourdough and Spelt, Soaking, bread (food)

I put my original sourdough culture in the fridge the other day, as well as a small batch of some from that which I had started to add only white spelt to. They both seemed to be going along fine, so into the fridge with them was my choice.

I was reading further in my sourdough book (by Ed Wood, and he basically says that Spelt is perfect for sourdough bread) and in the section that goes over different flours he gives directions under the Spelt section on how to convert any existing culture to “only spelt” over a period of several 8 hour cycles: Taking 1/4 cup of culture and adding 1 cup warm water and mixing well, then adding 1 cup of spelt, mixing well. Sit in warm place for 8 hours, do it again, then again, at least 4 times, or more.

I started doing that Spelt conversion on Wednesday night and so completed two FULL cycles by Thursday afternoon, but I did slack off — I’ll look at it in the morning to see what can be done.

Not liking to just “throw stuff away” I did take some of the original culture when I last fed it (directions are to discard a cup and then feed the water and flour) and put that in a different container and am adding spelt to it as well. I’m keeping it out, to see what happens, to see if it’s useful to use in bread or something soon. (I find I don’t like the fragrance of the Rye culture, so I’m just leaving that in the fridge to work with seldomly since it was my original, not wanting to lose a place to “start from” at this point.)

The other day I did add some of the Rye culture to a batch of pancakes I was making. I didn’t thin the batter to my desired texture before adding some baking soda, so the batter was thicker than I wanted, but it did make super rising pancakes that the children liked, they tasted different.

The pancake batter I make is one that I developed from NT between the Pancake recipe and the Waffle recipe. I put things together however I want to each time, but do it basically the same for either with good results, and this allows me to choose which cooking method at the drop of a hat anyhow. My main difference is “to separate the eggs or to not separate the eggs” which means I either put the whole eggs in or I separate them, put the yolks in first and whip up the egg whites and fold them in at the end. This also means I put more or less baking soda in, which is the last thing I do when Not Separating, and the second to last thing when Separating. I prefer to use some baking soda with the fluffy egg white addition, I just do not use as much as when I don’t use the egg white fluff for leavening.

The NT way for Pancakes, or any grain based thing, is to soak for 12 to 24 hours, with the best results obtained with 24 hours of soaking, and I agree. The best way to soak is with cultured things, to ferment the grain, which breaks down the properties of the grain to make them more digestable, and the texture is wonderful and it feels so good to eat those products (whole grains done this way are so filling yet not that over-full-bloat feeling, it’s a natural, “that really satisfies me” sort of thing.)

Sourdough does the same sort of thing, sort of, but it’s a basic “yeast replacement” thing. I’m toying with my bread recipes, trying to figure out if I want to “sourdough them” or just do what I have been doing of late: soaking my Spelt flour in at least water over night when I am making bread, that produces a nicer loaf in the bread machine. The other day I started using yoghurt to soak it in, and it got to the point using the bread machine yesterday that I just “had” to take the dough out and knead it by hand and treat it by hand from there on out. I later shaped it and put it into a large breadpan and baked it, but I didn’t quite bake it long enough, it needed longer than usual loaves, though it looked and sounded done, pretty much. When I cut into it there was a small part in the center near the top that was a bit gooey still … so that is Toast Applicable bread. Tomorrow morning I have the same set-up to start with, spelt flour soaking in yoghurt and a bit of water in the bread machine, with a few other ingredients on the sides, then about a 1/4 cup of white spelt covering the soaking dough. In the daylight AM I’ll start the machine, and add an egg, then some more white spelt as needed. I’m sure I’ll just take the dough out after awhile and finish it off by hand. I do like the bread to be a whole loaf and if I feel like doing it, I do like doing it by hand, and this way just makes it a tad easier, to let the machine fool with it more than me to a certain point. (what I meant by ‘whole loaf’ is that bread machine bread has a hole in the middle of the bottom, and isn’t shaped like my hand made loaves at all … though it’s valid bread and does work out fine to use.)

In order to “sourdough” my bread I’m going to have to come to a place where I sacrifice a recipe to the method or a combined method, or a few loaves with different methods, to determine yeast or no yeast with what, and more. Right now I’m not at that point and prefer to know that what I make will be eat-able by humans such as me and my family.