Sourdough: My Nemesis

by Wendy

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I have discovered my elusive homesteading unicorn–sourdough.

Embarrassingly enough, I have thrown countless jars of sourdough starter to the chickens, and some that I didn’t even dare throw to them, went back to the earth in the compost pile.

For years, quite literally, to my great distress, I have tried without success, for one reason or another, to create a fabulous sourdough starter. Sure, there has been promise, even an ordered starter, which I promptly killed after several weeks of babying it along with my absent-minded neglect. Just when I thought I was almost there….

Sourdough is my nemesis.

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Well folks, I am persevering.  I am convinced that a fabulously rich and tangy sourdough is worth it in the end.  This time I’m serious.  This time it’s gonna work out.  I am giving it another go this week, gluten-free, for me.

I am living on the wild side.  Yes, I know that.

Sourdough and gluten-free don’t exactly seem the likely couple.  However, I have been intrigued by the idea, sparked by an article in Taproot Magazine, Issue 12: BREAD.  Excellently written by Tara Barker, a pastry chef with a celiac diagnosis, the unlikely union of sourdough and gluten-free, really caught my eye.  I even tried a starter, with substitute ingredients–white rice flour, instead of brown, but did not achieve an active culture, for various reasons, albeit my cold kitchen, or the over-processed flour being absent in good flora.  Whatever the reason, my sourdough hopes were dashed again.

Like I said, sourdough is my nemesis.

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Fast forward almost exactly one year later, after my failed gluten-free sourdough starter, I found myself struggling with feeling fabulous.  I understood my body’s need to detox, and immediately started eliminating things from my diet that were not elevating my health and wellbeing.  Processed dairy went first, then the gluten.  I began noticing that I was starting to feel well again, much more like my former self, whose vitality had been slowly slipping away, until it became un-ignorable.  I came to a place where I realized I really needed to stop and relearn how to nurture myself.

That was 9 months ago.  I have been gluten, processed dairy, and sugar free since January, since the new year.  My gut and my body has slowly been healing itself, with my attention directed at restoring my vitality.  I feel vibrant again.  I have energy in reserve, and the pain and inflammation that had taken up residence within my cells has vanished.  The hell I experienced monthly is gone, and the lifetime of severe migraines has come to a near disappearance, I feel more fully awake, fully alive, more fully myself.

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I am committed once again to the healing benefits of sourdough.  It’s beautiful, tang, and healing cultures are more appealing to me now than ever.  On this healing journey, sourdough seems to be the next step on the path to wellness.   I have let go of the old belief, that glutinous whole wheat bread is a health food.  Perhaps not for all.  Even when it is properly prepared and fermented.  I am ok with that.  I have made my peace.

I am embracing the new belief that whole grains, minus the gluten, when properly prepared and fermented, are the next level health food.  There is a whole diverse universe of whole grains out there that are gluten-free, and prime for the making of fabulous sourdough bread, I am so excited to explore.

So in great homesteader/pioneer spirit and courage, I begin again.

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My sourdough culture has been blessed, prayed over, and named, quite appropriately I might add, Violet.  I know she won’t let me down.  We are both all in, in this sourdough venture, Violet and I.  With my best intention, I lovingly ground the brown rice flour in my grain mill.  The extra boost of lactic acid the recipe called for was fulfilled by the last of my beautiful Coco’s keifer.  Her spirit lives on through the sourdough starter, which has the most beautiful sweet, tangy smell I have ever observed in all my sourdough experience.

Perhaps this is the culture that will cross oceans, generations, and live on timelessly as a living tribute to health and wellbeing in my family.  Perhaps, this is the sourdough that ceases to be my nemesis.

 

Link to back issues of Taproot Magazine, here.