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by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt

Flour, water, and salt is all that is needed to make a natural sourdough bread with a wonderful wholesome flavor. During the process of making the bread, the protein in the wheat flour, called gluten, sucks up moisture. When the dough is kneaded the gluten proteins stick together and become 'rubber like. The gluten can then hold little pockets of gas given off by the sourdough as it breaks down the starches in the wheat. This ability of the wheat to hold these gases is what "leavens" the bread. During the baking process, the gluten hardens while the starches keep moisture in the bread. The result is a light, airy wonderful tasting and nutritious bread. A whole wheat sourdough bread will keep fresh for weeks if kept in a dry cool place. When the bread is a few days old individual slices can be steamed and will taste like newly baked.

The protein in the wheat is what creates this special gluten, That is why wheat usually is used in sourdough bread making, however other grains can be used successfully as well. How the bread turns out also depends on the quality of the wheat, the amount of starch and protein in it,  the quality of the water, and salt, the climate and the season, and especially the strength and quality of the sourdough. Sourdough bread making is a beautiful art and requires tender loving care.

To make sourdough starter:

A good sourdough is "alive" and needs to be taken care of. It needs to be kept cool at all the times and should have a sweet/sour aroma. To begin a sourdough from scratch try this simple process.

Day 1. Mix 1 cup of fresh ground wheat flour with 1 cup of spring water in a jar. Cover it with cheese cloth.
Day 2 and the next 2-6 days the sourdough will need to be "fed" once a day.  Pour the sourdough into a bowl. Mix 1 Tbsp flour and 1 Tbsp water in a cup, and add it to the sourdough. Clean and dry the jar before returning the sourdough to it. Keep the jar cool all the time, so that the sourdough can develop strength and aroma. There should not be a grayish liquid on top, nor should it smell of vinegar. The finished sourdough smells pleasantly sour and sweet. It may be kept in a refrigerator until it is to be used for baking.

Every time you make a bread with your sourdough, remember to take 1 cup dough aside for use next time making bread. The sourdough can be sprinkled with a little flour or salt and kept in a jar in the refrigerator. Feed the sourdough with a cup of water and a cup of fresh ground flour once a week if not used in baking bread.
If a sourdough is well taken care of it will remain strong endlessly and create wonderful bread for generations.


1 c sourdough           

3 1/2 c-4 1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 c warmed spring water       

1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix the sourdough with 1 c water, add 1 c flour, stir well. Let it sit covered with a wet cloth  for 8-10 hours. It will make bubbles on the surface and have a pleasant sweet and sour smell. Add the salt and the rest of the water and flour. The dough should be moist, but not firm and have a consistency like an earlobe. Kneed the dough well. Use water instead of flour on the kneading board if the dough is too hard. Cover it again and let it sit for 2- 3  hours. Take 1c of the dough aside, which is the sourdough for next bread making, and store it cold in a jar. Kneed the dough again before placing it in an oiled baking pan. Let it rise until almost double size, about 4-6 hours depending on the temperature of the room. Make a cut in the middle of the bread and bake it on high heat (400 degrees) for 15 min. Then lower the temperature to 325 degrees, and bake it for another 30 min. Let the bread cool before slicing it. The bread will taste deliciously sweet, not sour. Store the bread in a paper bag (or cloth) inside a plastic bag in a cool place for several weeks.

*Variation: Use different kinds of flours with the wheat. A finer textured bread is made by adding sifted  flour, and a more substantial bread is made by adding cracked or whole soaked or cooked grains. Try also adding some seeds, nuts, raisins etc. to the bread dough.

Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt is a Waldorf class and kindergarten teacher, biodynamic farmer, author and nutritional counselor. She has taught nutritional cooking and counseled for 25 years in her homeland Denmark, Europe and the United States.

She trained as a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor and studied the principles of oriental medicine and the research of Dr. Weston A. Price before embracing the anthroposophical approach to nutrition, food and cooking.

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