This Home-Baked Bread Can Help You Rise Above Industrial Food
By Alexandra van Alebeek
As more home bakers rediscover how to capture wild yeast and turn it into nourishing loaves of bread, they are part of a growing kitchen movement standing up to the industrial food system.
Step 1: Capture Wild Yeast and Make Your Own Sourdough Starter
Sourdough bread begins with the starter, made by capturing wild yeast from the environment and using it to ferment flour and water. Because yeast cultures vary depending on where you are, every sourdough starter tastes a little different. Here's how to make your own sourdough starter using an ancient grain.
- A quart mason jar with lid
- All-purpose einkorn flour
- A scale
Day 1: Mix 60g of flour with 60g of water, and let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature. (Do not sterilize your jar. Your starter uses naturally occurring and varied yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria from your environment.)
Day 2-5: Repeat the flour-water feeding. You should notice bubbles around day 2 or 3 (exciting — your starter is alive!). Once this happens, store your starter in the refrigerator to slow fermentation.
Day 6: At this point you should have an active starter. Give it a name! Throw out half of your starter and give it a hearty meal of 100g flour and 100g water.
To keep your starter alive, you'll need to feed it equal parts water and flour every third day or so. I usually recommend 60g of water and 60g flour. If you're not planning to bake bread at the feeding time, throw out half the starter before feeding to keep your starter at a manageable size. It can take two to three bread-baking cycles before your starter is strong and yields predictable results. Professional bakeries have had their starters for generations.
Step 2: Make Bread With an Ancient Grain
I chose einkorn wheat for this recipe. Einkorn was domesticated around 9000 B.C. Little about the grain has changed because it nearly became extinct and was never hybridized for industrial markets. Einkorn is noted for higher protein and nutrient content as well as gluten that is more digestible than that in industrial wheat. Emmer and spelt are also ancient grains that work for bread baking. You can experiment with different types and ratios of flour as long as the total added flour equals 500g. For example, if you're looking for a denser bread try a higher ratio of whole wheat flour.
You might want to consider adding a couple of tools to your toolbox. Only the scale is absolutely necessary, but all will make bread-baking considerably easier.
- A scale
- A cast-iron Dutch oven with lid
- A banneton (or an 8-inch bowl with a heavily floured tea towel inside)
- A lamé (or a razor or sharp serrated knife)
2.5 hours plus a 12-hour cold bulk fermentation.
- 100g mature sourdough starter
- 350g room temp. water
- 400g all-purpose einkorn flour
- 100g whole wheat einkorn flour
- 11g salt mixed with 20g water
1. Add the starter, water, and flour in a bowl. Mix well so that no dry flour remains. The mixture will be quite sticky — do not worry. Let sit for 10–20 minutes.
2. Add the salt and water mixture to the bread dough. Incorporate, mixing only as much as necessary. Let sit 10–20 minutes.
3. Folding: In the bowl, grab the bottom of the north side of the dough. Stretch until just before it rips and then fold the dough towards you three-quarters of the way. Take the south side of the dough, stretch, and fold all the way over. Repeat this process with the east and west sides. Let the bread rest for 20 minutes. Then repeat this folding and resting step three more times.
4. Shaping: Lightly flour your work surface. Take the dough out of the bowl, and shape it so that it's rectangular, arranging it so that the short side faces you. Take the south side of the dough, stretch it, and fold it up three-quarters of the way. Take the east side of the bread, stretch it, and fold it up and to the left. Repeat this with the west side. Then take the north flap and fold it all the way over the bread. Roll the dough so that the folding seams are underneath, touching your counter.
Use your hands to push the dough away from your body and then tuck it back toward you, creating surface tension along the outside of the dough. Rotate the dough with each push and tuck and continue this motion until the boule is a uniform shape with strong surface tension. This is not kneading, but shaping. Most sourdough, including this one, is actually a no-knead bread. We want the natural yeast to do as much of the work as possible.
5. Place your bread seam-side up in a lightly floured banneton. Cover with a tea towel and place it in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
6. Next day, preheat your oven (with the Dutch oven in it) to 500 degrees. Take out the Dutch oven, and gently roll your bread into it directly from the refrigerator. Sprinkle some flour on the top and score the dough by slashing the top. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and bake the loaf for 25 minutes. Then take the lid off, and bake for another 15–20 minutes.
7. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing, sharing, and enjoying!
Reposted with permission from YES! Magazine.
A tornado tore through a city north of Birmingham, Alabama, Monday night, killing one person and injuring at least 30.
- Tornadoes and Climate Change: What Does the Science Say ... ›
- Tornadoes Hit Unusually Wide Swaths of U.S., Alarming Climate ... ›
- 23 Dead as Tornado Pummels Lee County, AL in Further Sign ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Konisky
On his first day in office President Joe Biden started signing executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies. One sweeping directive calls for stronger action to protect public health and the environment and hold polluters accountable, including those who "disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities."
Michael S. Regan, President Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, grew up near a coal-burning power plant in North Carolina and has pledged to "enact an environmental justice framework that empowers people in all communities." NCDEQ
- Report Urges Biden to Reverse Trump's Environmental Rollbacks ›
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ›
- Biden's EPA Pick Michael Regan Urged to Address Environmental ... ›
- Biden Faces Pressure to Tackle 'Unfunded' Toxic Waste Sites ... ›
By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.