Naturally Fermented Bread: How To Use Yeast Water Starters To Bake Wholesome Loaves And Sweet Fermented Buns by Paul Barker
This book has taken my sourdough baking to a new & enjoyable level. This is the first I'd heard of using what the author calls "botanical water" or what I have started calling a "botanical ferment" to make a starter. If you are already familiar with doing cultures at home, it's really not much different. I've been making my own ferments for nearly 2 decades, so it's kind of second nature at this point. But even so, I do find myself learning something new here & there. For me, the hardest part is keeping everything far enough apart in my tiny log cabin.
Anyway, a botanical water is for example, sliced apples in water left to sit out & you got it, ferment. You then use this ferment with flour & start the sourdough starter. Running my own Eco farm, this has created a really fun way for me to experiment with different plant products to see what botanical waters I can create for any batch of bread. Ironically, or not, my first choice was to use apples because I have my own apple trees & still have apples on hand. This also happens to be what the author recommends starting with. I plan on utilizing elder flowers next year when my elderberry bushes are blooming. The author recommends adding a bit of honey to an elder flower water, but I'm planning on using dates. Time will tell how that works out for me.
I should also point out that the author uses exact measurements which is excellent. If you don't have a kitchen scale, I strongly suggest getting one. If you enjoy cooking &/or baking you wont regret it. You can using traditional measuring tools, but you will save yourself a lot of time & effort by using a scale instead.
Once your starter is ready, you are ready to bake. I haven't made many or the recipes yet as they do take time, but out of what I have made, they are delicious. Not as pretty as the pictures, but tasty to be sure. So far I have made French Baguettes utilizing the apple botanical water & the Stilton & Raisin Loaf which uses a raisin botanical water. As you might have guessed, the raisin bread goes great with a hot cuppa in the morning.
Side Note: If you are one of the many of us who follow a low FODMAPs diet, you'll definitely want to consider making your own sourdough as the natural fermentation process greatly reduces the FODMAPs.
The book itself is hard cover, slightly oversized but slim. The pages are glossy with plenty of full color photos & step by step instructions. It is somewhat involved & can seem pretty intimating at first glance, but once you start, you'll see how easy it can be. Naturally fermented bread is nothing like that boring mushy stuff sold in store. After all these years, I cannot even imagine eating store bought. Belch!
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