Wild Yeast Starter and Millet & Flax Sourdough Baton

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Recipes | 0 comments

So if there is one thing I love to do in the kitchen more than anything else, it is baking. I could spend days making all sorts of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, you name it.  Delicious, but not necessarily the healthiest of passions. 

However, it has only been recently that I’ve tried my hand at anything other than pre-packaged gluten-free bread mixes or carefully followed recipes.  Mainly because bread making is not the easiest thing at the best of times and gluten-free bread making can be downright intimidating. 

Before Christmas I tried my hand at a number of batons and failed miserably.  Although they rose nicely, they were far too dense and therefore edible for all of five minutes before they became stiff as a board.

When I got back from Australia I was watching a Julia Childs cooking show on PBS, where she visits another chef to learn about their specialties. In one episode she visited a baker of artisanal breads, who demonstrated how to make a wild yeast starter using grapes.  That was all I needed to try my hand at it again. 

I mixed together about 2 cups of millet flour and 1 ¾ cups of water, wrapped a pound of grapes in cheesecloth and put them in the mix and then let it all sit in a covered container on my counter for a week.  A couple of times I gave it a stir, added a touch more water and flour and drained off the accumulating alcohol. 

When it was done I had a beautiful smelling and very tasty wild yeast starter that was very much alive and bubbling away nicely

 The first thing I baked was this millet, rice flour and flax seed baton.  It rose beautifully, baked evenly and tasted amazing!

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

I used a thermometer to triple test its “doneness” (in addition to a golden brown crust and hollow sounding tap on the bottom} and when it reached 200 degrees Fahrenheit, pulled it from the oven. It has a nice crispy crust, a perfectly soft but chewy center, and even some air bubbles in its crumb!  Success! 

So good I couldn't even wait to take proper photos!

So good I couldn’t even wait to take proper photos!

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups millet flour
  2. 1 ¾ cups water
  3. 1 lb black or red grapes
Instructions
  1. In an airtight container, mix together flour and water.
  2. Wrap grapes in cheesecloth and add them to the mixture.
  3. Pound grapes a few times to break them up a bit.
  4. Cover and let sit for at least seven days.
  5. Give the starter air for an hour or so a day.
  6. On day 4 or 5, drain off accumulated alcohol, add a bit more flour and water.
  7. On day 7 remove the remaining grapes, drain off any excess liquid, and your starter is good to use!
  8. To maintain a healthy wild starter, keep it in the fridge. Take it out about once a week to feed it by adding more flour and water and give it a bit of air.
  9. If properly maintained, a wild starter can last more than a century!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Millet & Flax Sourdough Baton
Serves 6
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Cook Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 min
Levain
  1. ¼ cup wild yeast starter
  2. 1 cup rice flour
  3. ¾ cup of water
Bread
  1. 1 cup millet flour
  2. ½ cup garbanzo bean flour
  3. ½ cup tapioca flour
  4. ½ cup flax meal
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp xanthan gum
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
  8. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  9. ½ cup + 2 tbsps water
  10. Seeds for sprinkling on top (optional)
Levain
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together wild yeast starter, 1 cup of rice flour and ¾ cup of water.
  2. Cover with a tea towel and let sit for at least four hours, but preferably overnight. Before you use it, you should see lots of little bubbles in the mixture.
Bread
  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Put an oven-proof pot or pan with water on the bottom tray to let it steam and add moisture during cooking.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  3. Mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Add levain, olive oil, maple syrup & ½ cup of water and stir either with a stand mixer or a spatula and a strong arm until you get a nice soft, but firm and workable dough. If too dry or firm, add water a tablespoon at time. This should only take a minute or two.
  5. Once your dough forms a nice ball, take it out and place it on a board sprinkled with rice flour.
  6. Knead just a little to smooth it out and then begin shaping your baton on the board.
  7. Transfer it to the baking sheet and roll it a few times to lengthen.
  8. Make four or five diagonal slices across the top of the loaf.
  9. If using seeds, brush with a tiny bit of water and sprinkle seeds on top.
  10. Place the baton into the oven.
  11. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.
  12. After 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 425 and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  13. The bread will be done when it is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow if you knock on the bottom, or a thermometer inserted into the bread reads about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and comes out clean.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
I should have let the bread rest about an hour before slicing into it, but I couldn’t wait that long. After about 30 minutes, I dug in and made these yummy tartines, with some Kite Hill cheese (best ever vegan cheese) & the Regal Vegan faux gras (so rich and delicious), and of course avocado and sprouts. Yum!

Tartines!

Tartines!

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