Santa Fe resident, vegan, and bicycling advocate Jackie Shane baked these sourdough whole wheat/rice bread loaves and took their picture. She says, “Got the idea from Sandor Katz author of Wild Fermentation, and the awesome starter from Lisa Rayner, who authored Wild Bread.”
A loaf of my whole wheat sourdough flatbread stamped with a bread stamp I bought from Uzbekistan. I bought the stamp on Etsy. Bread stamps prevent flatbreads from developing pockets like pita bread.; it’s the same principal as when I use a fork to keep pizza crust flat. You stamp the bread after it has risen, right before you bake it. Central Asian bread stamps are particularly artistic and come in many different designs, often with a floral look.
Sourdough pizza is healthier than pizza made with baker’s yeast. The lactic acid bacteria in the sourdough culture provide myriad health benefits. Our pizza crust is also part whole wheat flour (we’re moving towards 100%). Whole grains are also much healthier than refined carbohydrates. Furthermore, I hand grind my flour, so it tastes sweet. Freshly-ground whole grain flour is healthier than store-bought whole grain flour. Store bought whole wheat flour tastes rancid to me. It doesn’t matter whether the flour comes from the bulk bin of a natural food store or is a well-known national brand. The highly polyunsaturated oil in wheat germ goes rancid as quickly as flax and hemp oils do, within weeks.
The local Flagstaff magazine Mountain Living did a story on my sourdough bread and natural canning books for the Nov./Dec. issue. The magazine is distributed in the daily newspaper and around town. The editor used photos from my blog showing a loaf of my artisan bread and foraged urban apples. We just finished eating the last of the apples a couple of days ago. Now it’s time to start eating the applesauce we made.
I made a little extra whole wheat artisan dough (flour, water, sourdough starter) when I made a loaf of bread; sourdough starter is very flexible. After the bench rest, I used my bench knife to cut the dough into 12 pieces (I ran out of freshly ground flour and used unbleached flour for this part). I moistened my hands and carefully handled each roll, adding some olive oil to keep in the moisture in my arid climate. After letting the rolls rise, I baked them in my solar cooker with a black cover to help soak up additional sunlight. During the last third of baking, I removed the cover to lightly brown the crust and make it crunchy, like artisan rolls, rather than soft and fluffy like solar pull-apart rolls.
I brought some whole wheat caraway sourdough rolls to a lunch with friends (half hand ground whole wheat flour and half unbleached all-purpose wheat flour, plus active sourdough starter, water and salt). I had a lot of other things to do that day, so I chose to make some artisan “pillow” rolls, which are very simple to make. I planned to make a regular whole wheat loaf for myself the next day, so instead of putting 8 oz of active sourdough starter back into its jar, I put it into another bowl instead. After the bench rest, I used my bench knife to cut the dough into pieces. After less than an hour of rising time, I baked the rolls at 375°F for 30 minutes.
Artisan dough is a simple formula of active sourdough starter, flour, salt, and water. Artisan breads are baked without a pan to help shape them directly on ceramic tiles, bricks, cob or adobe. In addition to the rich sourdough flavors, free-standing artisan loaves baked at 500°F or more have additional depth of flavor and smell that isn’t present in loaf breads due to the chemical reactions that take place during the crust browning process, most importantly the Maillard reaction between amino acids (in the wheat protein) and naturally-occurring sugars.