Friday, August 10, 2012

Natural Leavening....

Natural Leavening....what is that?  Well, I have been attending classes to learn more about it.  Initially, as I learned about this, I was reminded of "sourdough". However, it's not.....there is no yeast.  That's right, no yeast.  You may wonder how it works.  Well, I will try to give you a simple answer as I have learned about it.  Grains have bacteria on them, and; by essentially fermenting the whole grain flour, you too can have Natural Leavening.  There is more to it than that, and I will give you links and information to you later in the post.  

The above photo shows the starter that has been 'working' on my counter for about 12 hours.  See the bubbles in my 'starter'?   

Here is a 'lovely' view from the top of the jar.  I really like symmetry and 'clean' photos, but I figure you need to see it for what it is....just bubbly.  It smells pretty sweet with a tinge of sour.  I decided to make pancakes for dinner.  I used a recipe from Natural LeaveningHere is the recipe from the Natural Leavening Website...

Initially, you put a measure of leavening in your bowl.

Add some sweetener (I chose to use Xagave).  See the starter in the bowl?

Add some Oil,

Add salt,

Add Baking Soda,

Next, add the egg.  I chose to use my "ReddiEgg".  This is not required, just what I chose to use.

Spray your griddle or pan.

Look at how pretty the bubble-up and cook. Really fluffy.

Now this is the best part....the tasting.  

Now think....what did you 'not' see me add?  What is traditional?  Okay....let me help you.....I didn't add flour.  That's flour.  I used the starter that is feeding on freshly ground whole wheat.  I fed these pancakes to Rooster Sr.  He said they were really good....which is high praise for a guy who really doesn't go for pancakes!

Now, here is the rest of the story....

I have 2 different jars with starter in them....from the same source but just prepared differently.  The jar on the left was created from dried starter which was fermented for 3 days before feeding it.  The jar on the right was made from a fresh-wet start that I received from my class last night.  I fed it this morning and let it sit on my counter all day.  The levels are the same.  Please note the residual amounts on the sides of the jar.  This shows how high the starter can get.

Know that if you don't have time to use the starter after you get it all nice and worries!  Just put it into your refrigerator.  It seems to stop the process. When you are ready to use it, just pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on your counter for about an hour before you use it. It has to warm.  

These courses I am attending are taught by Dr. Matt and Amy McClean.  He is a Chiropractor and she is a Registered Dietician.  Here is a quote directly from their site:

"During the 1800s and before, grain was usually fermented using a natural leavening process.  Natural leavening is several strains of yeast and several strains of beneficial bacteria that grow harmoniously together in an acidic environment.  Around the early 1900’s most of society began baking bread using isolated yeast strains.  This yeast isolation was ideal for the bread industry to reduce leavening time and improve reproducibility.  However, the absence of the bacterial portion of the leaven has been detrimental to our health.  Yeast works very well to create a tall airy loaf of bread, but beneficial bacteria in the natural leaven neutralize phytic acid to release minerals.  The bacteria also break down enzyme inhibitors, gluten and difficult to digest substances.  Amino acids are altered to produce flavor and aroma; and B vitamins are produced.  Many of the nutrients released are found in high quantities from whole grains when naturally leavened.

Although our ancestors ate whole grains in abundance, it is important to note that they usually soaked or fermented grain before making breads, porridge, or cakes.   Avoid the harmful effects of grain by using natural leavening in your whole grains."

The McCleans have a book that reportedly coming out in the Fall.  Please go to "Natural Leavening" site to learn more and to see their products.  You can purchase dried starter made from a variety of grains.  The McCleans also teach that this process if very beneficial for a number of Gastro-Intestinal issues.  

I plan to finish the series of classes and also let you know about my experience with this product. Just so you know, I work a bigillion hours a week...and have found time to do this.  Don't let time be your barrier.

Please go here:  Natural Leavening link 

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