|Sooo amazed at this commercial yeast-free, soaked grain whole wheat! |
Made with tibicos (apple water kefir) as its soaking agent!
Sound mundane? Ho-hum? Oh, but you don't know!
I have been working with a good soaked grain recipe for quite some time now...tweaking here and there...not that it wasn't a good recipe, but there were a few things about it that I felt should be improved in order to make it the best it could be. I referred readers to this recipe in THIS POST, in case you may now want to review it. I will, however, give my revised recipe version here.
The revised version gives bakers a much more soaked grain bread...reducing nutrient-blocking phytic acid to a greater degree and thereby making the final product much more nutrient-dense and digestive system friendly! The original recipe required the addition of at least 5 cups of non-soaked grain, and often mine required more, even when I removed as much 'hooch' as possible from the sponge after the grains had soaked.
The newest twist to the recipe and the reason for this post, is the use of tibicos/water kefir. The results I am getting from this have made me feel the recipe is at last at its best. (But as always, there's room for your preferences!)
Baby, this is the NEW 'sourdough'...Haha!...and I came upon it quite by accident when I came to the point of adding vinegar and found I was freshly out of my Bragg's brand. I had regular white vinegar which I use for a variety of projects, but tend to shun for cooking, so I contemplated whether to take the time to go to the store for the good stuff...or was there something else I could use? I had some kombucha but had used that in the past with unsatisfactory results. (My kombucha was so active that it started to create a new culture/'mushroom' right on top of my soaking grains!) I was out of whey and didn't want to take the time to make more from my yogurt, nor did I need more yogurt 'cheese', and even buttermilk was not to be found in the fridge. But I did have tibicos, which has become our fermented staple...almost always, it can be found in the fridge or at the very least, working on brewing.
It took only seconds for me to decide this could be an experiment with a happy ending.
I didn't realize at the time just how right that thought was. I went about mixing the ingredients for the 'sponge' that would be the base for the bread recipe, using the tibicos in place of vinegar. As usual, it sat overnight to soak.
This morning, it had risen to just under twice it's size...without commercial yeast! I had much to do, and pleased with what I saw, decided to give it more time. Because I have changed the recipe, there was no excess of liquid 'hooch' in the bowl and the surface of the sponge was just beginning to show signs of drying. Knowing it would be several more hours before I could actually get to the second stage of the bread-making, I added about a quarter cup more of the tibicos, worked it into the sponge, covered the bowl with a towel and went about my business.
Several hours later I returned to it and it had again risen beautifully. As this was never the case in prior batches, I was thrilled, but now faced another decision...The recipe calls for the addition of commercial yeast. Did I dare omit the yeast and risk the possibility of flopped bread results? Or did I just add the commercial yeast, ensuring good results? In the end, I did both...I couldn't stand the idea of not knowing if it would work without commercial yeast, nor could I stomach the idea of wasting my precious grain...not to mention, my efforts. This way, I deducted I would at least get it half right...right?
But to my delight, both rose splendidly, although, as with true sourdoughs, the no-yeast version did take a tad longer. When I was satisfied with the size of the non-commercial yeast batch after its second rise, (just about doubled), I took it out of the bowl to shape and was ecstatic with what I found. After working with breads a while, you come to know if the dough 'feels' right when worked, and this felt marvelous! Elastic, but wanting to rise so badly that as I tucked and turned it, shaping one into a traditional loaf shape and the other into a round, I could feel it straining to grow beneath my hands. Cutting the slits into the tops, the bread beneath nearly sighed with relief as it quickly rose to meet the gaps. My experimental batch was alive and healthy and growing...all without commercial yeast! I don't understand, exactly, the joy this sort of thing brings to my soul, but joyous I was. I wasn't physically dancing on the counter-top, but in my heart, I was.
Part of the reason I'm so excited about this is due to some research I've done in the past regarding the appeal of slow-rising, non-commercial yeast breads as opposed to the faster yielding commercial yeast breads. Advocates of non-commercial yeast breads would swear on a stack of Bibles that commercial yeast robs bread of taste. Most of the population is so used to store-bought breads that baking bread, any bread, at home is a far cry above what the palate is used to anyway, so to most of the population, this subject is moot. But me...well, I want to know. I already know sourdough, the real deal, tastes different...actually a bit sour. But, will this bread be different in taste from it's sister, made at the same time with everything else except the commercial yeast being the same?
I'm going to find out. The first batch, using commercial yeast, is out of the oven and cooling. The second batch is in its third rise, (rises are very important for soaked grain breads) and will hopefully be oven-bound within the next 20 minutes.
My next post will let you know how everything turned out...See you there!