Saturday, March 26, 2016

DIY Baking: Yeast-Free Bread


“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” --Matthew 4:4.

I read about this product on a number of blogs while researching an easy way to make healthier bread in bulk each week (for my family and I also make extra for friends or colleagues that could use a casserole and a bag of bread when life gets difficult.)  What I found was  "Bread for Life" sourdough starter for making bread from Azure Standard (link information at the end of the post). I had at that point already been on a quest to incorporate more cultured/fermented foods and beverages into our diet, so this was a blessing to find. This starter is yeast free and works great with hard wheat flours. Plus - it bakes bread for about 10% of what it costs to buy specialty breads at the store and you won't have to buy commercial yeast ever again.

No doubt, we have all heard of increasing numbers of people suffering from gluten intolerance and other gut-related ailments. Grains in particular have been getting a bad reputation. On the other hand, the Bible speaks very highly of bread, and the Lord's prayer teaches us to ask for "daily bread." So what is the best way to eat if we don't have Celiac but find that eating too much yeasted bread causes other issues with our health?

Enter naturally leavened bread in the form of sourdough. Unlike bread made from fresh, non-fermented and/or non-sprouted flour, it is very gentle on the body, while having a much higher nutrient content thanks to the living enzymes, plus a whole host of other benefits. So instead of being concerned about the carbs and gluten in bread (an issue if you have Celiac disease, which I don't) I now have bread daily and embrace it as a healthy staple.
Commercial baking yeast is related to a number of health issues, especially candida growth in the body and inflammation. This natural bread starter (with no commercial yeast) is aerobic and probiotic causing carbohydrates and gluten to be predigested, turning them into a more usable form for the body.  If you don't have true Celiac but find that too much bread causes migraines, allergies, skin problems and other issues, this is the bread for you and it's so easy to make you can make enough bread for the week in about 30 minutes, not including rise time.

Not only is sourdough bread more nutritious, it also greatly reduces the amount of phytic acid found in whole grains. It's been noted by many health professionals  that consuming large amounts of whole grains that have not first been properly prepared by either fermentation or soaking and sprouting can have detrimental health effects, mostly in the form of mineral loss, which could impact bone loss as we age.
The starter after its first week at home.

All you need to get started is a "starter", unlike traditional sourdough starter, which is left out and covered o the counter, the bread for life starter stays in the refrigerator, is not nearly as temperamental and only has to be "fed" (water flour mix) every couple of days.

Some tips: (or how I baked a door stop)

Make sure you store it in a clean glass (periodically putting starter in clean bowl and give the container a nice wash and vinegar rinse.)

Only use wood utensil to stir.

Let the starter sit out at room temperature for a couple hours before you mix it. (while you have coffee and breakfast).

Do NOT use chlorinated  or tap water unless you want to kill it and don't use really cold water.

You'll also want the room or oven it rises in to be at least 70 degrees (our gas oven  with door closed and pilot light on is perfect).

Other than that it's pretty bullet proof .  It also has uses NO oil and has a sweet light fluffy texture that's great for toast or sandwiches.  You can keep several quart mason jars, using your first jar to make little starter jars, or  use a gallon jar if you bake in large amounts.

World's Easiest Loaf of Bread (Recipes from Azure)

Throw in a cuisinart with a blade or a stand mixture with bread hook (or you can hand mix and knead five minutes).

1 cup starter
1 tsp. salt (optional if on a salt restricted diet)
1 cup pure filtered  non-chlorinated water (not cold, above room temperature)
3-4 cups whole wheat flour (I use 3 and a 1/2)
I happened to have Fiji in the cupboard from a clearance sale - any non-chlorinated water is fine.

Mix for 5 minutes, put in oiled bowl, and let rise 5-7 (yes!) hours in warm place (70 degrees +) Punch down and put in lightly oiled bread pan and let rise 1-3 more hours.  Bake at 350 25-30 minutes or 325 F. for about 40-43.
To make dinner, sandwich, and breakfast rolls that are lighter and slightly sweeter do this:

1 cup starter
1 cup milk or nut milk (room temperature)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoons sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 and 3/4 to 3 and 1/4 cups hard white wheat flour (not whole wheat)

Put in cuisinart with blade or a stand mixture with hook or mix and knead by hand for five minutes (should be nice and stretchy). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 5-7 hours (depends on how warm the kitchen is).  Form the dough to desired shapes.  Let rise 2-3 hours more hours.

Bake at 375 for around 20 minutes for buns and rolls and 40-50 minutes if you want to make a big loaf of bread, as pictured. If desired brush warm bread with butter as soon as it is removed from the oven for a soft crust and a nice sheen

Click here for a link to all the information you'll need if you wish to try this.   There is even information for making your own, capturing spores from your garden with a simple jar/cloth method, Though I've not tried it, it would work in an emergency situation where you had the means to bake but no commercial yeast in your prepping supplies.   In the following link there is another link to the Azure instructional video.

If you wish to place an order, go to "home" on the page and then enter product code  BP317 or use the search words Bread for Life.


Note:  Azure does not traditionally ship this refrigerated product via traditional economy ground shipping.  They deliver this (and other refrigerated products) via semi truck, to a local drop off point, acting as a middle man to connect you to independent growers and food producers, shortening the distance your food travels from farm to table.  You'll find a huge selection of products you won't find at smaller retails  If you are buying a product such as this, you place your order and put in the zip code of where you are at and they tell you where your drop off day and time in (Mine was only a 20 minute drive).  A drop coordinator keeps you in the loop on the process.  Plus their prices on grains, whole and ground are SO good, I'm going to make it a regular source for organic goods.