Labor intensive bread: Worth it?

I haven't bought bread off the shelf in over a month. I found out I could make bagels, bread, pasta and other grainy goodness with the help of my two hands. I'm a control freak, see, (sorry, Deleted Comment Assholes) so I want to know exactly what is in my food . . . whole wheat flour, wheat gluten, salt, honey, yeast and water. And the love of a slightly neurotic mother.

As we discussed yesterday, though, two parts of my formula need work, the yeast and the flour. I'm deciding to tackle this problem in stages and we're starting with the grain because that seems easiest. I love easy!

So what do I need to change? Apparently flour contains phytates which are actually very hard on the digestive system, which would explain a lot about wheat allergies. In order to combat these foes one must take up the ancient art of grain soaking. Usually when I make bread I put a tablespoon of yeast in a cup of warm water with a squirt of honey and wait about ten minutes. Then I add the dry ingredients, knead, do two rises and bake.

Grain soaking, however, requires an additional ingredient, rearranging of steps and an extra 12 hours. I had vinegar on hand for this experiment because supposedly any acid will work. So. I mixed one cup of water + a splash of vinegar + three cups of flour, kneaded it into a ball and let it sit overnight. The water/vinegar mixture is supposed to break down these evil phytates and make the absorption of the nutrients in bread that much better.

Wait, what about the yeast? It has it rise somehow! Natural leven used in sourdough breads is ideal, but like I said, I can only take so much change at once. For this occasion I added yeast to a wee bit of warm water, let it alone for ten minutes, then worked it into my dough in the morning. I then added my smidgen of wheat gluten and salt, kneaded, did my two rises and baked.

Whew! This has taken me since last night, but FINALLY this bread is ready to eat. I will tell you if a) it tastes any better (or worse) and b) if I feel any differently after eating it.

I'll be back in a jif. Tally ho!

So far it looks normal
UPDATE: After baking it still looks normal!
I can't tell if it's my imagination but the bread seems chewier. There is no trace of the vinegar and it is delicious as always. I have an iron stomach anyway, so I really didn't expect to feel any differently. I'll let you know if I sprout anything weird*.
Hm. Is this labor-intensive bread worth it? I'll give it a maybe.
*No I won't
Next post: Ugly Juice

Filed under: Crafty Stuff



Leave a comment
  • Good for you! I have a sourdough recipe I use about once/week, when I need to remove a cup of the starter and feed it. There's a lot of rising time involved...just like you're seeing with your bread, but it's easy. I'm working on a post for it, but if you want the recipe sooner just email me at I can also give you a cup of starter if you want. Your bread does look delicious!

  • OMG, really Jackie!! Can I please have some starter!??! Yay Chicago mamas! I'll email you now :) You are such a sweetheart!

  • I was rooting for your results, and after reading step by step, I'm sorry, but I have to say...
    I'm out

Leave a comment