The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sharonk

Most people associate pancakes with maple syrup, butter and fruit. Since I have had to stay away from sweets I have begun to use pancakes in a different way. I use them as a savory grain side dish to accompany soup, beans, and stew, sometimes even tearing them up, putting them right in the soup or stew. I use them as part of a snack with unusual toppings and spreads like peanut butter, tahini, chopped liver, salsa or gravlax (home cured salmon).
The high proportion of nutritious ingredients makes these pancakes a substantial part of a snack or meal.

We normally flip a wheat pancake when bubbles form around the edges. With gluten free pancakes we need to wait another few minutes after bubbles form because the extra moisture and density of the batter takes more time to cook properly.

Allow at least 7 hours of fermentation time after feeding the starter before using the starter in cooking. This will ensure your flours are properly soaked before cooking and eating.
So that means if you feed the starter in the morning the batter will be ready for pancakes for dinner. If you want pancakes in the morning feed the starter the night before.

 
Sourdough Pancakes – Basic recipe

For pancakes: prior to cooking, have the last feeding of the starter be ½ cup of buckwheat or gluten free oat flour and slightly less than ½ cup of water. Let ferment 7 hours. A pure rice flour starter tends to be on the thin, soupy side and buckwheat or oat flour will give the pancakes some needed density.

For 4 pancakes:
1 cup mature brown rice flour sourdough starter (including the last feeding of buckwheat and water)
1 tablespoon oil, melted butter or fat
A large pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed (grind in a dedicated coffee grinder)

Mix oil, salt and ground flax seed into starter
Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flax to thicken the batter. The batter should be like a thick cake batter.
If the batter is too thick whisk in a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency
 (The batter can also sit for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The finished pancakes will be thinner and lighter)
Oil pan or griddle and heat to fairly hot
Spoon or ladle out the batter onto the pan
These take longer to cook than wheat pancakes so flip a few minutes after bubbles show up or the edges start to dry out.
Cook another 1-2 minutes and serve.

You can also cool them on a rack and refrigerate in a container for a 3-5 days. Just reheat them in the toaster.

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sharonk

I see a lot of sourdough starter recipes that call for commercial or dried yeast. For those of us who chose not to use yeast it is possible to create a starter without it. Before the invention of commercial yeast all sourdough starters and breads relied on the natural yeast in the air for leavening. I’ve made many successful wheat and rye starters with just flour and water. They fermented easily and made wonderful breads. After I learned I was gluten (and dairy) intolerant I tried to make gluten free starters using the same technique I had grown accustomed to for the wheat and rye breads: a 7 day sourdough starter. With gluten free flours 7 days did not work well. The starter turned a moldy shade of bluish green. I experimented, searched the webs and learned that gluten free sourdough needs to be fed 2-3 times a day unlike wheat/rye starter which can be fed as little as once a day.

I was able to create a brown rice starter in about 4-5 days using only brown rice flour and water but it smelled almost spoiled and the bread was unpleasantly sour. (one wonders why I would go forward and bake something that smelled almost spoiled, but I was determined to follow through so I could learn all the ins and outs of this) Someone suggested that I try a small amount of Water Kefir, a non-dairy fermented drink, to give the starter a boost. This made all the difference for me because it cut the fermenting time down to 3-4 days and never moldered. I have come to greatly depend on this success-every-time starter.

Fermented drinks are an important part of my diet. They have helped me repopulate my digestive system with probiotics and enzymes enabling me to fully recover from health challenges. Water Kefir culture is a colony of bacteria and yeast that, when fed sugar, creates lactobacillus into the liquid which then becomes available to us in the form of a drink. It can also be used to soak grains and beans before cooking. It then boosts the predigestion process that happens when grains and beans are soaked. It does the same for the flour in the starter making the finished bread more digestible. It also speeds the fermentation process.

Kombucha Tea is another fermented drink I make at home, that can be used to boost a starter, although I find the fermentation time to be slower than with the water kefir. For people able to eat dairy products, Milk Kefir or active Yoghurt could be used to boost a gluten free starter. Just add 2 tablespoons of any of these fermented products to your starter when first mixing it up. I save a bit of this starter to start the next batch and store it in the refrigerator. If I haven’t used it after 2 weeks I take it out, let it come to room temperature, feed it with rice flour and water, let it sit (and ferment) for 4 hours and store it back in the fridge. Creating a new starter with this bit of previously fermented starter cuts the fermentation time from 4 days to about 2 days!

I make a quart of water kefir at a time and use it to soak grains and beans before cooking. I also drink it in small amounts as a digestive aid before meals. It becomes effervescent and is very refreshing. I bought my first batch of water kefir culture for under $30 including shipping. With care these can last indefinitely and as they add probiotics into my diet I save money as I no longer need to buy bottles of probiotics.

Here are very succinct directions for making Water Kefir:

Nearly fill a wide mouth quart jar with water.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring to dissolve, 20 raisins and a slice of lemon or lime.

Add the contents of your bottle of water kefir grains into the quart jar.

Cover with a paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band. 

When raisins float to the top, scoop them and the lemon slice out and discard.

Ferment the water kefir for 6 more hours on the counter with the paper towel.

Then store in fridge and use as needed.

When you have used the liquid down to about an inch in the jar start a new batch in a new jar and pour the water kefir grains plus the liquid their in right into the new jar, cover and ferment.

You can order water kefir culture (as well as kombucha and kefir culture)  at www.culturesforhealth.com. They send dehydratedwater kefir grains with instructions for rehydrations.

 

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sharonk

 

 

 

Why Boosted Brown Rice Starter?

 

When I first had to give up gluten I had successfully been making seven-day sourdough rye bread (unfortunately full of gluten) using 100% dark rye flour. This goopy no-knead bread had an easy starter routine: once a day for seven days. The starter bubbled quickly and was quite beautiful to watch grow. I thought I could transfer my rye bread sourdough baking knowledge to gluten free baking but after many failures (that ended up in the compost pile) I realized I had to experiment. A plain brown rice flour and water starter took almost 6 days to start showing signs of activity and often by that time it was molding. The heaviness of the rice flour causes the starter solids to sink leaving the liquid on top. It seems hard for the bacteria to make their way through the heavy solids. I consulted with a knowledgeable gluten free sourdough baker who suggested I feed the starter every 8 hours and use a fermented drink called "Water Kefir" right in the starter on the first day.  Water Kefir is a culture that is used to make a dairy free drink much like lemon soda. I purchased my grains and made the water kefir using water, sugar, raisins and lemon. It fermented in less than 48 hours and I put a few tablespoons of it into brown rice flour and water. I built the starter gradually feeding it every 8 hours until I had the amount I needed. I was happy to see activity beginning shortly after 48 hours. Each subsequent feeding created increasing activity with large and small bubbles and hissing sounds when I stirred it down. This very live starter easily leavened the bread recipe without the use of eggs, commercial yeast, baking soda, or baking powder which was of prime importance to me being allergic to eggs and sensitive to the other ingredients.

 

 I call this starter "Boosted Brown Rice Starter" because I have boosted its activity with Water Kefir.  I find I can get a dependable starter every time when I use water kefir as a booster.

 

Here are very succinct directions for making Water Kefir:

Nearly fill a wide mouth quart jar with water.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring to dissolve, 20 raisins and a slice of lemon or lime.

Add the contents of your bottle of water kefir grains into the quart jar.

Cover with a paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band. 

When raisins float to the top, scoop them and the lemon slice out and discard.

Ferment the water kefir for 6 more hours on the counter with the paper towel.

Then store in fridge and use as needed.

When you have used the liquid down to about an inch in the jar start a new batch in a new jar and pour the water kefir grains plus the liquid their in right into the new jar, cover and ferment.

 

Water Kefir is a good tonic that strengthens the digestive system. Drink in small amounts before meals.

2 tablespoons is enough for bread starter. Water kefir gets fizzy with time and reminds me of super healthy 7-Up! It's a good tonic being full of probiotics and enzymes.

 

Water Kefir grains are available at Cultures for Health.

 

Good Luck,

Sharon

http://glutenfreesourdough.com

 

 

sharonk's picture
sharonk

I created these breads and bread recipes to cope with my own multiple food allergies and sensitivities. After mastering and enjoying old fashioned sourdough rye bread I learned I was gluten intolerant and could no longer eat rye. I learned I was also allergic to eggs and dairy products.

Wanting to continue eating bread, I looked at the ingredients in retail gluten free breads and found there was at least one ingredient I needed to avoid in each one. If I was going to be able to eat bread I needed to be able to control the ingredients.
I began experimenting with the sourdough techniques I had mastered for the rye bread.

Sourdough baking is a time tested bread baking technique that was used exclusively until the discovery of modern commercial yeast. It utilizes the natural yeasts and bacteria present on the grain and in the air to leaven bread. Sourdough bread becomes highly digestible because the flours are "soaked" in the starter and in the long rise period. Some people may remember their grandparents soaking oatmeal the night before cooking it for breakfast. Soaking neutralizes natural enzyme inhibitors in the grain, begins breaking down the tough cellulose fibers, fosters the formation of probiotics and enzymes and releases vitamins. All this makes for a more nutritious finished product that is easy on the digestion with many nutrients available for assimilation. Sourdough breads have a robust taste, long shelf life and freeze well.

For those of us who are gluten intolerant and have other food allergies these sourdough bread recipes can be a welcome addition to our diets.
The recipes in my gluten free recipe package are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, yeast, sugar, baking powder/soda, and xanthan and guar gums.
It can be purchased at: http://glutenfreesourdough.com

Free starter recipes on my personal blog: http://glutenfreesourdough.blogspot.com

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