I love sourdough! A good sourdough starter is a masterpiece of living organisms. Recently I have been curious about working with Einkorn flour. I heard about all its wonderful health benefits so I started experimenting a bit. I had some leftover starter from my bread baking and I thought I would make some sourdough waffles to stash in the freezer (our family loves them and they are much healthier than the commercial frozen waffles!). As I read the recipe, I thought it would make a great base for muffins and quick bread which we love for tea time and breakfast as well. A few friends had made quick breads with einkorn flour which looked amazing, so I thought why not try a sourdough quick bread! The sourdough process helps break down protein strands for easier digestion and is the precursor to commercial yeasts and baking powders that we now use to leaven baked goods with, I thought it would compliment the fact that Einkorn is an ancient grain. So after a little of this and a little of that…I bring you Sourdough Einkorn Breakfast bread!
The additions to the batter can vary. This time I used raisins, apples, orange oil, and slivered almonds; but the sky is the limit so feel free to be creative!
Sponge (feeding the starter)
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed
2 1/2 cups Einkorn Flour
2 TBS sugar (honey or maple syrup will work as well)
2 cups liquid (I used whole milk, but milk kefir, nut milks, or even water will do)
Mix ingredients together and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for about 8 hours. No more than 12. Einkorn sourdough “dies” quicker than regular wheat flour. Mine sat overnight. After everything is mixed, it is about the consistency of a thicker pancake batter. After 8 hours, you should see lots of surface bubbles. Don’t expect the starter to double in size or really “grow”.
All of the Sponge
2/3 cup einkorn flour (I get mine here)
2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1 apple, grated
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup melted butter
10 drops of Orange Essential Oil (I get mine here)
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into 2 8X4 (medium sized) loaf pans that have been greased. Bake in a 350 oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. You could also pour into prepared muffin tin and have muffins. Allow bread to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto cooling rack and let cool. Slice and enjoy plain or with some butter!
What flavor enhancer would I be putting in my precious breads? I promise it is all natural and tastes wonderful when used in baking. Give up guessing? It is Orange Essential Oil!
Orange oil has many uses around the house including uses for cleaning and aromatherapy. However one of my favorite uses is a flavor enhancer in baked treats. I feel confident baking with small amounts of Young Living Oils because they are high quality therapeutic grade. And while Cranberry Orange Bread often conjures images of holiday gatherings I love to enjoy it year round. This bread is very lightly sweetened and full of flavor and makes a mean French toast!
Recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread (makes 3 loaves)
1 cup warm orange juice
1 cup warm water
5 tsp. Active dry yeast (I use this one)
6 Tbs. Organic sugar (this is what I use)
1 stick of butter (the best) OR
1/2 cup coconut oil (my favorite)
2 tsp salt (you can find it here)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (find it here)
15 drops orange essential oil (I only recommend this brand and you can buy it here)
6 1/4 cups organic white flour (this is a good one)
In a large bowl or stand mixer combine liquids, sugar, and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes to proof yeast. Add butter, salt, and orange oil and then flour. Mix to form shaggy dough and add cranberries. Knead on lightly floured surface or in mixer until dough is smooth and elastic. In stand mixer it takes about 5 minutes, by hand almost 10. Let rise in a lightly greased bowl until double in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Divide into 3 loaves and let rise once again about 30-45 minutes. While waiting on second rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. When bread has risen, bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Turn loaves out onto cooling rack and cool for at least 30-45 minutes before eating.
What is your favorite use for Orange oil? I’d love to know!
By now ya’ll know that I love to bake bread. For me it is therapeutic. The act of kneading dough is a great stress reliever and the smell of it baking in the oven is the best aromatherapy ever! It’s relaxing to me, that when I am busy running around and chasing kids that I can go into the kitchen and create something that has been made for thousands of years. In this day of gluten free and paleo diets and the whole low carb craze, bread often gets a bum wrap. However, many people in the past survived on bread. Yes, I believe it was very different from what we have now in many cases, but it was a household staple.
During the 1900s our country commercialized bread. We started ingesting bread that was made by machines and with GMO grains that were chemically bleached and enriched. The bread that was once a healthy staple in our homes quickly became a very unhealthy one. As the obesity epidemic continues in our country I sometimes wonder how. Most people I know eat whole grain breads that they buy from the grocery store. Some restaurants offer whole grain buns and breads instead of white flour. Several people I know eat the low calorie, low carb, whole grain breads on the grocery store shelves. What gives? They still battle their weight and they aren’t all that healthy. My theory- it’s the commercial process of baking bread. Even the “good” breads last way too long on the shelf. I don’t see that as a good sign. When I bake homemade bread I am lucky if it lasts 1 week without spoiling. I have had commercial bread (whole grain, reputable brands) last weeks in the pantry!
When I make sourdough bread at home there are 4 ingredients I starter, Flour, water, and salt. The ingredients in commercial sourdough breads is usually many more. For example here is the ingredient list for a popular brand of sourdough bread taken from that brand’s website :
|ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, YEAST, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: SALT, SOYBEAN OIL, ACETIC ACID, VINEGAR, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, MONOGLYCERIDES, XANTHAN GUM, CELLULOSE, TAPIOCA STARCH, WHEAT STARCH, ENZYME, CALCIUM PROPIONATE AND CITRIC ACID (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS)
High Fructose Corn Syrup? Tapioca starch? soybean oil? Why? Because how else would it last through cross country transportation? Gone are the times where there is a neighborhood bakery. Most bakeries in my area specialize in cakes and cupcakes. Beautiful and yummy, but not for everyday consumption.
I have to say that since I have been making my own breads, I have less digestive issues than with commercial breads. Personally I feel it’s because I focus on buying organic flours from reputable companies that don’t contain GMO grains. I don’t have any scientific proof, but believe it is because my body isn’t stressed by processing unnecessary chemicals and toxins on top of the bread. My husband says there is nothing quite like coming home to the smell of fresh baked bread. He says if I could bake bread around the clock for the aroma he would probably never want to leave. I take it as a compliment. Of course he doesn’t mind eating the bread either 🙂 Bread is a labor of love. There is the mixing and the kneading and the waiting for it to rise, but the reward is great. Nice beautiful wholesome bread for a fraction of the cost of store bought.
I love baking my own bread. I started probably about 5 years ago out of sheer desperation to lower my grocery bill. I believe in eating good bread and it can be very expensive at the store. After reading the ingredients on the budget-friendly stuff, I decided there must be a better way so I got out an old cookbook and gave it “the old college try”. It was very successful and the family loved it! So I obsessively continued. Then I got lazy when we moved to our current home where decent bread is affordable so I quit. The other day while I was decluttering my cookbook shelf I found my favorite bread cookbook, Beautiful Breads by Margeaux Sky, and got inspired. I didn’t realize how much I missed it! I even made it a family affair this time and got the kids to help out. The whole wheat bread (which if any of you have ever baked it know it is quite tricky) recipe is the very best. No extra gluten to buy, it rises, and it tastes good. The kids and husband loved it. As a matter of fact as I write this I am baking 2 more loaves. For those of you that don’t own the book, but would love a great whole wheat recipe here it is.
Best Whole Wheat Bread Ever Recipe:
- 2T yeast (or 2packets)
- 5c. warm water
- 2c. warm milk
- 2c warm half and half
- 3/4c packed brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 3/4c honey
- 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
- 18c whole wheat flour (approximately)
- 3 1/2T salt
- 1 egg
- 2T water
- Generously grease a large bowl and set aside.
- In a VERY large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, milk, and half and half. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Add the brown sugar, butter, honey, and vanilla to the yeast mixture and mix well.
- Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. If you’re using a stand mixer, knead for 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a floured countertop or board, and knead for 4 to 7 minutes. Keep the dough moist for a soft, tender bread.
- Place the kneaded dough in the prepared bowl. Place the bowl in a warm, dry place and let the dough rise for 60 minutes.
- Punch down the dough with your fist and divide it into 4 portions.
- Generously butter four 9-inch loaf pans, form the dough into loaves and place them in the pans. Let them rise another 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the dough and bake the loaves for approximately 1 hour.
- Carefully remove a loaf from the pan and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. If not, continue to bake, checking the loaves every few minutes. When a loaf is done, return it to the pan, remove all pans from the oven, and let them cool for 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack. Cool for another 30 minutes before slicing.
Please note: This recipe makes 4 loaves and requires a VERY large bowl. I usually underestimate the size of bowl needed for this recipe. My largest bowl, which I thought was VERY large, isn’t big enough. I actually get 6 nice sized loaves out of it to help stretch your pennies a little further!
Now I know that eating carbs is no longer trendy, but I believe there is a reason people have been eating whole grain bread for so long-it really is good for you! But I also believe all things in moderation. I have used a bread machine, but very much prefer to do it the old-fashioned way so I can better stock the pantry for the week. I use good ingredients, but not the most expensive and it really is less expensive than the bread I was buying. I estimated that this recipe costs $3 to make. That is the price of one loaf of “quality” commercial whole grain bread. I highly encourage anyone trying to be self-sustaining or attempting to eat cleaner to bake their own bread. It may seem like a daunting and laborious task at first, but just go ahead and do it once. I don’t think you will be disappointed! What is your favorite type of bread to make or eat?