Above: sponge after rising
Above: sponge before rising
Above: starter when bubbly
The sour flavor enters the Liver – according to Chinese health philosophies, but so does patience, which this recipe calls for quite a bit of – making it very healing for those with swollen stagnant Livers (easily angered, irritable or impatient). Patience is the key to this delicious, important component to any fantasy pizza, as well as a healthy flowing Liver.
The beauty with souring your own food in your house is that you draw on the natural bacteria in your own home, creating a culture that you naturally live with. As healthy bacteria are key to a healthy gut and immune system, this recipe, in essence turns the bacteria in your living environment into your immune system! Making your every breath in your home strengthening for your gut and immunity, rather than fighting the natural bacteria in your house – you turn it into you!! Be one with your home!!
Start by adding 1/4 cup of whole grain flour (I used spelt) in a CLEAN jar (remember, you will spawn whatever bacteria are growing in there) with 1/4 cup water and dropped in a raisin. Choose organic, cause harsh chemicals on the surface of the raisin (sprays) can potentially kill your bacteria – and the naturally occurring bacteria on the surface will be healthier (the bacteria are the white film normally seen on grapes, raisins, cabbage, etc). I also stirred in one capsule of a digestive enzyme to start the fermenting – but you can spit in it to get it started too. Haha.. just kidding… but really it works. I haven’t tried it. Gross.
Put a lid on the jar LOOSELY so you can draw bacteria from the air. Sealing it tight will do nothing.. maybe it will mold before it bubbles up and sours. Stir the starter daily and check on it. After a day or two, or three – depending on the warmth of the jar, it will begin to be bubbly, fragrant and sour! Fermentation!!
Quick! Feed it by doubling it, add another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and stir.
Let it bubble away again, this time it will be faster. Again, once soured, double the batch by adding 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Once that is bubbled up, you are ready for some crust action.
Dump the total of 1 cup flour starter into a large mixing bowl and add 3 cups of water and 4 cups of flour (the same as the starter, but others can work – actually, you can put anything in there, leftover rice, oatmeal, etc – it will get “eaten” up by the fermentation and look uniform once soured.) This sticky mush is called a “sponge” and acts as an in between for your final dough and the starter. Let this rise, covered (preferably with a damp cloth… and don’t have it open because if a fly falls in there, you will be culturing more than bacteria!) for 2 hours and up to a day or so.. just let is rise and get sour too.
Stir in another 3 – 4 cups of flour just until it’s soft and doughy and able to be kneaded. If it’s too sticky and sticks to your hands, add more flour. You’ll also want to flour your wooden board/surface you’re kneading on so that doesn’t stick too. Knead for about 5 minutes to work the gluten and get the air out.
Roll it out into crusts (or at this stage, roll it into loaves if you’re making bread) with a floured rolling pin, and set it on a floured baking sheet/stone.
Put it into a cold oven and let it rise again for about an hour, or more. You speed it up you can add a shallow pan of hot water in the oven to make it warm and moist for the lovely bacteria to spawn even faster. Bacteria seem to reproduce when the conditions are hot and sweaty.
After about an hour, but up to a day!!.. (although this can make the crust/bread tougher) turn on the oven to 350F without disrupting the crust (so it stays risen) and bake it for about 30 – 45 minutes (a loaf would be 375F for 60 minutes). Once it looks cooked through, take it out – dress it up and make a pizza, cooking for another 15 minutes or until your cheese is cooked or however you like it.
It’s alot of work, and I’m sure you’d be a little ‘crusty’ if your pizza is a flop after all that effort, but chances are it will turn out great (souring is pretty fool proof) and will taste like no other crust you’ve ever tried!! Delish!!
*As a note, after you’ve dumped your starter into the mixing bowl, leave just a little bit in the bottom of the jar, and you can add 1/4 cup of flour and water each to remake the starter, which will be quick.. you only have to start your starter once. Once it’s going, it just keeps on going and going and going and…..
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