Starter Info

Congratulations! You have sourdough starter. The next thing you need to do is feed it. The label on top will tell you when to feed it. Feeding times are approximate, not exact. The idea is to feed it at roughly the same time each day, so you don't forget. Feed it once a day using the following formula:

5 grams starter
20 grams flour
20 grams water

Discard the rest of the starter. (I've given you a little more than 5 grams.) Now, what flour do you use to feed it? Use what you have. What do I use? I use 50% whole wheat and 50% whole rye. If you have those flours available, great. If not, the starter will eat what you have. Use wheat and/or rye flour, not other grains.

If you're not going to use your starter for a while, you can refrigerate it. Here's how. Feed it. Leave it at room temperature for 60 minutes. Then put in fridge. Once it's refrigerated, you should feed it once a week.

When you want to bake with your refrigerated starter, take it out, feed it, let it ripen over night, then use as specified in the recipe you're using.

To bake with your room temperature starter, use it 8-12 hours after feeding, or after it has risen.

One more thing. It is very hard to kill your starter. If you forget to feed it for a day or two, just resume feedings and things will be back to normal in a day or two. If you neglected it for longer, it may take a couple of feedings to get it back on track.


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What is sprouted grain?

Wheat is a seed. Like any seed, you could put it into the ground and it would become a plant. In ordinary bread, the seeds are milled into flour. In our bread, the seeds are allowed to begin the process of germination. This unlocks a cascade of enzymes that begin the seed's transformation from a seed to a plant. In order for a sprout to grow, it digests starch from the seed, using energy it creates to break the sprout through the bran, or shell, of the wheat kernel. This makes sprouted grains lower in starch and higher in nutrients. The nutrients that would feed the growing plant are now available for human nutrition.

What does sprouting do for flavor?

Our bread tastes amazing. The sprouting process transforms long-chain carbohydrates into simpler short-chain  starches. This gives our bread a slightly sweet profile, with a distinct clean wheat flavor. When the bread is raised by our natural leaven (sourdough starter), it tastes like the grain, plus a thousand other flavors that make this the most complex bread you've ever tasted.

What about nutrition?

Sprouted grain provides more basic vitamins and micronutrients than ordinary flour. The enzymatic activity also disables phytic acid, which, when active, binds with nutrients in the grain in a way that renders them unsuitable for human digestion. With this "anti-nutrient" out of the way, the nutrients in the grain become available to human digestion. For some people, this bread will be easier to digest than ordinary bread.

Most of our breads are whole grain. Food like this is very high in fiber, which is vital to a healthy diet. For people who have eliminated or reduced grain products in their diet, the reduction in dietary fiber is difficult to replace with other foods. This unintended consequence can be harmful.

Because whole grains flours are difficult to transport and store (they go rancid), and because they're difficult to bake with (you can't make beautiful, tall, crispy white loaves with whole grains), most bakeries don't use them. They use refined flours to make their loaves beautiful. The result is an overall reduction in the the availability of a class of high fiber foods that our society needs to thrive. Our whole grain breads make a small dent in that wall of refined flour products.

How we make our bread

We start with whole organic wheat berries and ancient grains. We sprout and dry the berries. The day before we bake, we make a levain, by mixing a small amount of our starter with water, whole wheat and whole rye flours. The next day, when it's time to make bread dough, we mill the wheat. Milling wheat on demand like this gives us fresh sprouted flour. Fresh flour is in a league of its own compared to pre-milled flour. It's sort of like the difference between fresh-ground pepper, or coffee, and the pre-ground stuff. We combine the flour with filtered water, the levain we made the day before, and salt. It rises twice over the course of a day, then we bake it.

If you can find whole grain breads in bakeries or stores, they're often fortified with things like honey, dates, or other forms of sugar, along with dough conditioners to make them behave more like white flour. It's unusual to find bread like ours that's made with water, whole grain flour, salt, and nothing else.