Sourdough substitutions for shelter-in-place bakers

A brief essay on making substitutions for sourdough baking if you’re living in a state with shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders: I ran out of semolina due to other people’s panic buying because of the pandemic. I’m at high risk for coronavirus complications so I’m avoiding shopping in stores. I was going through my food storage and realized I had blue corn atole, a type of roasted cornmeal. It works perfectly well for dusting pans. I also have some garbanzo flour and teff grain in my freezer. I have started adding small amounts of one or the other to each sourdough bread loaf to stretch out my supplies and spread out consumption of extra nutrients to maintain my health. I’m using olive oil to oil pans because I have more olive oil on hand than other oils and fats.

You can purchase my book, “Wild Bread,” in Kindle form if you want an instant download to avoid possible coronavirus exposure. Of course, paper copies are also available from Amazon and lisarayner.com. My friend Dan runs lisarayner.com and runs a considerably more sanitary operation than Amazon warehouses are experiencing right now. He only has one employee.

My gardening book, “Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains,” has a chapter on food substitutions—how to use local and home grown ingredients in place of imported foods. A sustainable future will require a relocalization of food systems based on small farms with permaculture polycultures.

Sourdough vegan pizza night at our house

Pizza. Yum. Photos from our most recent bi-weekly vegan pizza night. Lately, I’ve been making pizza sauce using cooked winter squash like butternut or kabocha in place of tomato paste. I add our favorite Italian herbs and spices just as I would for a tomato-based pizza sauce. On top of the sauce is eggplant sauteed in tamari. The pizza pictured has two different veggie areas: mushroom and red bell pepper, and zucchini. I partially melt a little Daiya nondairy cheese on top after the pizza is baked. Then I add steamed broccoli and let the pizza cool before slicing to ensure a good crust texture. There is more broccoli on the zucchini section of this pizza to make up for fewer kinds of veggies. The 100% whole wheat crust was absolutely delicious. I’m having so much fun with unlimited amounts of whole wheat flour.

Baking with flour from my new flour mill

Blueberry sourdough whole wheat pancakes. Yum.

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A fan’s sourdough creations

Becky Zavada says, “I made a sourdough nutella star using Lisa Rayner’s sweet dough from her book “Wild bread“. I really love that book. I also made crackers and batter bread from that book and they both turned out great.” Purchase a Kindle or paper copy of Wild Bread at the link.

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…… Mmmmmm fresh bread ……

Flatbread is the most flavorful kind of sourdough. That’s because there is a high crust-to-bread ratio. It’s also fast to bake. When the sourdough culture has been fed flour and water several times and is ready for baking, I first save 8 oz of the culture in it’s storage jar, feed it more flour and water, and let it sit on the countertop for an hour. Then I add salt, water and my hand ground whole wheat flour to the dough and knead for about five minutes. When I make flatbread, I give the dough a bench rest to relax the gluten. Then I flatten it out and moisten the top with olive oil using wet hands. To prevent pita pockets from forming I use my Uzbeki bread stamp to poke holes in the dough after it has risen and bake the bread. My Kindle edition of “Wild Bread” is only $9.99. Also, I now have a YouTube channel. More free videos forthcoming!

Blue corn pancakes for Christmas dinner

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Here in the Southwest, Hopi-bred blue corn is a staple food. Blue cornmeal makes the most delicious pancakes. Sourdough pancakes are very easy and the sourdough adds an even greater depth of flavor. Of course, my pancakes are vegan.

Saturday night (sourdough) pizza!

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Different toppings for different people!

The sourdough pizza crust

Adapted from Wild Bread: Handbaked sourdough artisan breads in your own kitchen.

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.

See my post on making pizza dough and rolling it out.

My pizza-making steps

  1. Preheat oven to 550ºF. Prepare pizza toppings. Steam broccoli.
  2. Half-bake crust at 525ºF for 10 minutes (at 7,000 feet).
  3. Spread on sauce. Add toppings except for broccoli, bake pizza another 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off oven, take out baked pizza, sprinkle on vegan cheese (I use Daiya Pepperjack), place back in oven a few minutes to melt cheese.
  5. Remove pizza from oven and place on cooling rack (I slide the pizza off a parchment paper-covered pizza pan).
  6. Place steamed broccoli on top.
  7. Allow pizza to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing to ensure that the crust finishes baking; as bread cools, the starches gelatinize, forming the final crumb (texture) of the bread.