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The Scoop on Grains: Our Sourdough Adventure Continues!

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You’ve probably gathered that I’ve been experimenting with sourdough for the last few months.

I’ve made my own bread and baked goods from fresh-ground flour for years, and I’ve been aware of the benefits of soaking or sprouting it for several years also. In January, I decided we needed to try switching all instead of just part of our grains to soaked and/or sprouted, mainly because of my husband’s struggle with psoriasis, but I was hopeful it would be beneficial for the rest of us also. I started experimenting with converting my everyday bread recipe, and before long I decided to try my hand with sourdough.

Did you know that sourdough bread is much lower on the glycemic index than typical bread products, is easier to digest, and that the fermentation process makes essential trace minerals and elements more bioavailable? Most of us have some trouble digesting grains, whether we realize it or not, and sourdough provides a great alternative to giving up grain altogether. If you or anyone in your family has allergies of any type, or has any metabolic or autoimmune issues, this is something you should seriously look into!

Eight months later we’re still going strong with it, and we’re definitely seeing health improvements! We’ve replaced all our baked goods – even cakes, cookies, and other goodies – with sourdough versions. I just can’t believe the versatility! I knew you could make bread, biscuits, and pancakes, but over the last several months I’ve also made sourdough pie crust, cake, cookies, and even donuts!

Delicious Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious sourdough chocolate chip cookies!

Apple pie with a sourdough crust.

Apple pie with a sourdough crust.

The only disadvantage I’ve found is the length of time it takes the sourdough bread to rise. The wild yeasts are bit more unpredictable than when you’re baking with commercial yeast. Sometimes my bread rises in only a few hours (which decreases the positive health benefits of the fermentation), and other times it takes two or three times as long. When I’m running errands and in and out during the day, it’s easy to miss the peak and end up with deflated loaves. To get around this issue, I’ve been making regular bread less frequently and we’ve been using English muffins and biscuits for most of our sandwich and bread needs. They’re quick and easy to make, super versatile, and there’s no worries about the rise time.

Beautiful sourdough loaves

Beautiful sourdough loaves

Rather than reinventing the wheel with my own explanation of the benefits of sourdough, I’ve compiled some of my favorite links here so you can investigate them for yourself. If you’re concerned about the negative impact of grains on your health but don’t want to give them up completely, sourdough may be your answer! And it’s not near as intimidating as you would think. I’ve worked my way through the Sourdough eCourse at GNOWFGLINS and *highly* recommend it!

Links on the health benefits of sourdough:

Some of my favorite sourdough recipes:

Again, I can’t recommend taking an online course that guides you through the process highly enough! I’ve found the GNOWFGLINS course invaluable, the free videos at Cultures for Health are fantastic, and I’ve heard great things about Cheeseslave’s course also.

More resources:

Sourdough is worth investigating! Don’t be intimidated, give it a try!

Click here for more “The Scoop on Grains” posts. 

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The Scoop on Grains: Kamut

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my “Scoop on Grains” series! In past weeks, I’ve shared my family’s journey and we’ve discussed whole grains in general: their history and health benefits, and then moved on to look specifically at wheat. This time I want to take a brief look at kamut. In future weeks, we’ll continue looking at different types of whole grains.

Kamut is one of the most ancient grains. It originated in the Fertile Crescent and is probably a distant relative of our modern durum wheat (durum is the wheat generally used for pastas). The wheat in biblical times may have actually been more like kamut than our present common varieties of wheat. It was rediscovered and transplanted to America in 1949.

In 1949, a US airman stationed in Portugal was given 36 grains of kamut, said to have come from Egypt (some say it was found in a tomb!). He sent them to his father, a wheat farmer in Montana, who planted them. Thirty-two of the kernels germinated, producing more than 1500 bushels of the grain in less than six years. They were shown at a county fair as “King Tut’s Grain”, but the novelty soon wore off and the kamut was sold as cattle feed.

In 1977, Bob Quinn, a plant biochemist, remembered seeing the wheat at the county fair when he was young. He managed to collect a pint of the grain and began to do research on it. The results were promising, and by 1987 his family began producing the grain commercially.

Kamut is genetically part of the wheat family, yet it is tolerated by many people who can’t tolerate wheat. It’s 20-40% higher in protein than ordinary wheat, slightly higher in 8 of 9 minerals, considerably higher in magnesium and zinc, up to 65% higher in amino acids, and significantly higher in all the major fatty acids. Because of the higher protein and fat content, it’s considered a higher energy food, although it’s highly digestible compared to ordinary wheat.

The kernels are significantly larger than ordinary wheat, and a lighter, yellow color. The baked goods produced by kamut are lighter in both color and texture than ordinary wheat, a plus for those who are used to white flour rather than whole grain.

It can be used just like wheat in any recipe, substituting cup for cup. It has a unique, “buttery” taste and works well for both yeast and quick breads, but I especially like it for cookies and muffins. I’ve also been told that it makes excellent, light pasta.

Our family really enjoys kamut in a variety of items, from our favorite muffins and waffles to our ordinary yeast bread. We use kamut in a rotation with regular wheat and spelt, or I sometimes use it half and half. I mentioned before that rotating the types of grains your family eats is a good safeguard against developing intolerances or allergies. Kamut is a bit pricier than ordinary wheat, but not as expensive as spelt. I’ve ordered it both from Bob’s Red Mill and Breadbeckers.

Here are a few recipes that have worked great with kamut for me:

Try it in your favorite cookie or muffin recipe and see what you think!

Next we’ll take a look at spelt, another great substitute for ordinary wheat.

In the meantime, don’t miss the rest of the series:

  •  My Journey Part 1
  • My Journey Part 2
  • How Did We Get Here? (A Brief History of Whole Grains)
  • Whole Grains: Nutritionally Speaking
  • Wheat: Hard, Soft, Red, White, What’s the Difference?
  • What’s in the Works at Home With Purpose…

    It’s been an eventful few days! I wanted to quickly update everyone on what’s going on here at Home With Purpose in the near future. I had several posts written and scheduled for the end of last week and beginning of this week, but they all disappeared when Blogger had it’s “issues” a few days ago. With the Dancer and Peanut’s recital over the weekend, I haven’t able to rewrite them yet.

    We’re busy wrapping up the school year and preparing for camp and other summer activities and I’m also working on content for the family discipleship class we lead at church, so it may seem a little slower than normal for the next week or two. But…I’ve got some great stuff in the works! Here’s a partial list:

    • Some fun new “real food” summer recipes
    • I’ll slow down on the weekly Texas Adventure updates until August, but we’re hoping to visit several more historical sites during our “break”, so be watching for pictures and updates from those!
    • I have a fantastic new e-book full of information and recipes for soaking grain to share with y’all! It features one of my recipes and a ton that I can’t wait to try. As soon as I’m able to get things set up, all my readers will have an opportunity to download this awesome 80+ page resource.
    • Monthly installments in The Scoop on Grains series.
    • I’ll be sharing plans for the upcoming school year: what I’m using, how I’m organizing everything, and how I’m hoping to schedule things.
    • Starting in June, watch for reviews of some great home education products, since I’m now officially part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew!
    • More book reviews…I have some really great books to tell you about over the next few weeks!
    • Christ-Centered Families series. I’m hoping to find time to put some of the material from the family discipleship class we’re leading into a series of blog posts to share with those of you who can’t attend the class with us!

    So keep an eye out in the coming weeks! If you haven’t already, why don’t you subscribe by email or in your feedreader so you don’t miss anything?