For over a year now we have been making all of our own bread with natural yeast. When I say we I mean me and the kids. They love to help and do a pretty great job of it too. When I learned the importance of allowing bread to rise naturally with natural yeast I didn’t look back. The benefits of natural yeast are so beneficial you may also just want to use it exclusively too. Without getting to technical the natural yeast process triggers phytic acid to release all the nutrients in the grain it is holding onto so it becomes more available for us to digest. It doesn’t do this when it goes through a faster rising process, especially if dry active yeast is used. The bread must rise at least 6 hours for the phytic acid to get the message from an enzyme called phytase to let go of the nutrients. Once it does and once you eat it, it goes looking for free radicals in the body. So that’s pretty cool! The bacteria that have developed in the bread release spores when the bread goes in to the oven and then hatch and repopulate after it is baked. Our bread contains natural probiotics! It is also a low glycemic food so it won’t spike insulin for those with diabetes. Recent research has shown that when we allow our bread to rise for 12 – 24 hours it takes the gluten content down from up to 70,000 ppm to 12 ppm. In order for something to be considered gluten free it has to be under 20 ppm. The study can be found in the article below.
There are a few tips that will help your natural yeast experience be a positive one. First, do not feed your starter with water that contains chlorine, this includes filtered water from the fridge. If all you have is fridge or tap water leave the amount of water you need on the counter for an hour and then use. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me asking for another start because they killed their yeast due to chlorine poisoning. Second, always feed your starter with a little extra flour (yes I use white wheat flour for my start, it’s always happier) to make it thick enough for a spoon to stand up on it’s own in the jar. Always feed your starter right after you use it and then put it back in the fridge. Use flour that is free of glyphosate as much as possible. It’s just better for your health. The flour I use is the kind I sell on my website under the food storage tab. And finally don’t give up. Be patient with yourself and your starter. It takes time to build up the good yeast spores in your kitchen. If you need to jump start your starter take out a little (1/4 – 1/2 cup) and add 2 cups water and 2 cups flour in a bowl and leave on the counter over night. It should bubble up and have a pleasant smell to it. Then you are free to use it, feed again and place back in the fridge. I’m always open to questions if you have any!
Makes 4 loaves or 2 loaves sandwich bread and 2 dozen cinnamon rolls.
1 cup starter
4 cups purified water
4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup avocado oil or coconut oil
1 cup honey
7 cups spelt flour
7 cups whole white wheat flour (this is what I sell when I place my food orders)
In a large stainless steel or glass bowl mix together the starter, water, salt, oil and honey. Then add the spelt flour and mix with a Danish dough hook or other large whisk. Add the last 7 cups of flour and mix the rest by hand until everything is incorporated. It doesn’t need to be kneaded, the fermentation process does all the work for you. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and let rise for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. I have found that the longer the rise up to 24 hours the better.
Here you can see the bread has risen and more than doubled in size after 20 hours. Oil the surface of your counter with avocado or coconut oil and pull the bread out of the bowl. Cut the bread into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rectangle with your hands by patting and spreading. I don’t use a rolling pin ever. Roll up and place in a greased loaf pan, covered and allow to rise for 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
Once the bread has risen until doubled in size heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes and then pull our of the pans and place onto cooling racks. Bag up the bread when the loaves have completely cooled.
Cinnamon Rolls Option
For the cinnamon rolls you will want to cut the bread in half right after the first rise. Make two loaves of bread with the other half and roll out the second half into a large rectangle shape about 1/2 inch thick.
For the filling melt 1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil and add 1 cup of brown sugar or 1 cup coconut sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a bowl. Spread on the dough and roll up into a long log shape.
Cut into 24 slices by starting with a center cut and going out adding more from there as illustrated in the pictures below.
Place on a rimmed baking sheet and let rise, covered until double 3-4 hours.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the tops are a light golden brown color.
While the rolls are cooling prepare the cream cheese frosting by mixing together one 8 ounce block of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 cups powdered sugar.
Spread on the rolls and enjoy!