We eat a lot of sourdough, the only bread we eat was naturally leavened by Pharmakulur, Lillian St. Bread, Forest Creek Farm, or in our kitchen. I believe in fermented foods. The fermentation process seems to make wheat more digestible for many people and it taste fantastic.
One of my favorite basic bread recipes is over at The Clever Carrot for the beginner there are very detailed instructions with photos all along the way, and for everyone else it serves as an example of one of the longest pages on the internet. Mostly due to unpruned comments. Pruning is important in nearly all things, not just ornamental and fruiting trees.
This recipe and method is easily adapted to all kinds of other flours. We keep whole grain hard white wheat hard red wheat, a 7-grain oat cereal, and rye to swap in and out at different proportions to make a wide array of textures and flavors. One rule I use when doing this is to keep 50% or more of the grain investment as any kind of hard wheat or bread flour. This is due to it’s higher gluten to lend stretch to the dough and chew to the bread. If you’re watching your salt, unless you know what you are doing don’t lower the salt in a sourdough recipe. The salt helps regulate the rise of the dough and without it a bread will rise and fall unpredictably. Predictable is good when dealing with bread.
For a video that I enjoy, watch Patrick Ryan show take you from starting a starter to baking a great loaf.
If you’re on a path that includes sourdough, watch for another post in this series for some other fermented cakes and flatbreads which are great for using up “discarded” starter.