Category Archives: Sourdough

Easy Sourdough Bread


 1 Sourdough Bread

Now that you’ve made your sourdough starter, have you tried making bread yet?

A lot of people have been making these sourdough crackers every week, and loving them.  They taste cheesy (but have no cheese in them), and most of the gluten has been broken down through the proofing time, and they have some lovely olive oil and sea salt crystals sprinkled over them.

I’ve been making our bread ever since we were married and received a ‘Country Loaf’ breadmaker for our wedding.  However, I’d only make it for when we had visitors or special occasions.   It was using the bags of bread mix (which I have since realised contain a whole lot of additives that I didn’t necessarily want/need in my bread – non-iodised salt, malt flour, mineral salt (E170, soy flour, emulsifier (E472), vegetable gum (E412), inactive dry yeast, ascorbic acid (Vit C), enzyme, Thiamine…. etc See here.).  Now we’ve been making our own bread for 2 years, and usually it’s the basic white bread (Thermomix recipe containing just Bakers Flour, warm water, yeast, salt, oil).  Since having the Thermomix we haven’t had to have store bought bread and I like knowing exactly what is going into my bread.  This has been the biggest saving for us as a family of 6.   With a large extended family and birthday parties and lunches/dinners with friends, we have been able to make our own bread rolls (white/wholemeal/seed loaf), bread loaves, scrolls for kids lunches (‘cheesymite’ scrolls, ham and cheese scrolls,  tomato and cheese scrolls, cinnamon scrolls, jam scrolls), danishes!, gluten free bread, fruit loaves, … and also loads of things like scones… for the cost of Bakers Flour (bought in 10kg bags) and a bit of yeast/salt/oil… Now, back to sourdough – sorry!

I have now started experimenting more with sourdough to decrease my gluten intake and increase the nutritious value of the bread I eat.  These HEALTH benefits are the reason why I’m starting to change my baking routines.

This sourdough loaf is slightly more time intensive than our usual white loaf (that takes 1 1/2 mins kneading time in the Thermomix, and 30 mins rising time, and 25mins baking time).   This sourdough loaf takes 5-10 minutes to ‘knead’, then it has to be left to rise or ‘proof’ for at least 8 hours (longer than this is preferable, as the gluten breaks down even more over time).  THEN it takes about an hour to bake.

This is how my sourdough ‘creations’ looked a year ago…

MY FIRST SOURDOUGH ‘CREATIONS’ – basic recipe – 1 cup sourdough starter, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sea salt, 3 cups flour (spelt, rye, wholemeal, any flour)


The sourdough loaves left to proof for 24 – 48 hours.


Sourdough loaf in the oven.


Fresh out of the oven, kind of like little bricks 🙂 but delicious.  Chewy crusts and a tasty, dense, healthy loaf.  I would cut (saw!) it into slices and pop into the freezer to use a bit every day.


However, only 2 people out of our family would eat this loaf.  So here’s the recipe for a different sourdough bread that my whole family (nearly!) eats.

After a bit of experimenting, my sourdough loaves now look like this (see below).


 I was amazed that all the kids loved it – even Charlie!  Now don’t expect a light, fluffy loaf like your usual bread.   It is a denser loaf, with a thick, hard crust.

001 Real Food Routines 2 - Tutorials

    Easy Sourdough Bread

  PREPARATION – 10 MINS (then left overnight to ‘proof’ or rise)

  1. Put the following ingredients into a large bowl

–         330g sourdough starter

–         15g (or 3 tsp) sea salt

–         420g warm water

–         40g extra virgin olive oil

–         150g rye flour

–         600g Bakers Flour


2.Using a rolling pin, hold it like a ‘dagger’ in your bowl, and move it vigorously back (towards you) and forth (away from you) to mix and ‘knead’ the sourdough bread mixture.   It is like ‘goo’ and you cannot knead it on the bench.  It will take about 5 minutes.  Keep going until you see the ‘gluten fibers’ coming together and it gets thicker – it really tones the arms!!             (Alternatively, you can pop all of the above ingredients in your Thermomix, mix on Speed 6 for 10 seconds, then Knead for 3 minutes).

  1. Plop it onto a lined baking tray and with floury hands, shape it into a ‘log’.
  2. Cover it with a clean towel, and leave it overnight (or all day) to rise.


1.  Preheat oven to very hot – 200 o C

2.  Cut slits into the top of your dough with a knife (to allow for more rising in the oven).

3.   Put in the oven for about an hour.  Test if it’s ready by tapping it and it should sound hollow.  Wait about 15 mins before slicing.

4.  Enjoy with butter and jam or melted cheese!

Print recipe  Blog Recipe – Easy Sourdough Bread      or         Blog Recipe – Easy Sourdough Bread – without header

Now, a few pictures of the sourdough ‘kneading’ process ….19-DSC_0819    11-2013-05-03_4880PortVicNetball 2013-05-03_4886PortVicNetball   2013-05-03_4895PortVicNetball  01-1 Kneading Sourdough

Enjoy !

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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Starting your Sourdough Starter – Where to Start!

Do you like sourdough?  Have you heard of the amazing health benefits of eating sourdough?

Did you know that you can make your own FREE yeast at home for your OWN sourdough starter?  and with just TWO ingredients – flour and water … and TIME !.

 Starting a Sourdough Starter in pictures

Why sourdough?

  • Sourdough is a fermented food.   Yes, that’s why it sits on my bench (and not in my fridge!)
  • Fermented foods are good for you.
  • Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria.  We need bacteria in our diets in a world that is now too sterile, where everything is pasteurised, and antibiotics are overused.  (Don’t get the wrong idea here – I work in a hospital – I know there is a need to wash our hands, pasteurise some foods, and the use of antibiotics can be life-saving – however, we are going OVERBOARD with all of the above).
  • In traditional societies, food was fermented to preserve it (as they did not have fridges, freezers, preserving jars! and chemical preservatives like we do now).   Think about wine, soy sauce, fermented fish sauce, kefir, yoghurt, crème fraiche (sour cream)…..  This article here is a great read about traditional foods and fermentation.
  • Eating fermented foods/drinks is a great (or the best) way to introduce PROBIOTICS into our diets (see my post on Kefir for more information on probiotics)
  • ‘Fermenting’ the flour (any flour) decreases the lectins, gluten, and phytates in the grain/flour making it easier for us to digest.   In a sense, the sourdough preparation ‘pre-digests’ the starches for us 🙂  So even if your are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, you may be able to eat sourdough because the gluten has been broken down (AND the taste, texture, and quality of the bread is so much better than bread made with gluten free flours).  Sources: here and here and here.  And I know I’m getting off track a bit, but this article from states that,
      "... sourdough isn't just good for making better bread. Recent studies show 
      that sourdough fermentation can also speed gut healing in people with celiac disease 
      at the start of a gluten-free diet."
  • Improved digestion means that more vitamins and minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus) are absorbed (ie because fermentation breaks down the mineral-binding phytates).  More information here.
  • Eating sourdough bread does not raise your blood sugar level as much or as rapidly as white bread ie it lowers your insulin response/improves glucose tolerance (source: here)

Do you agree it is a good bread to eat?    One of the blogs I read, Kitchen Stewardship, has collated a LOT of information and research that has been done on sourdough.  Katie, the writer, is convinced that sourdough is THE most nutritious way to prepare grains.  See all of her research here.

Sourdough starter is the traditional way of making bread. It’s how everyone used to make bread before they had commercial baker’s yeast.

Most bread these days is made with baker’s yeast.  I make bread/scrolls/buns with white Baker’s flour and commercial yeast nearly every second day to feed family and friends.  However, I’m starting to perfect the sourdough loaf, and my children at the whole loaf yesterday :), so I am going to try more sourdough recipes over the next few months because of the above many advantages to eating naturally fermented bread.

Now, to creating your own starter…..

Rye sourdough starter

  This is mine.  I have had many starters over the years.   I started my rye starter in January 2013.

Recipe for ‘Starting your own Sourdough Starter’

Feeding my sourdough starter




Grab a clean jar.

Put 1/4 cup flour (any flour) into the jar, and add about 3 Tbsp water to it.  Mix with a wooden spoon.

Cover with a loose fitting lid, or some cheesecloth.  Leave on your kitchen bench.

(12 hours later)

Add another 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered water to your jar.  Mix.

(12 hours later)

Add another 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered water to your jar.  Mix.

(12 hours later)


Do this for about a week, and your very own ‘sourdough starter’ should be collecting the ‘wild yeasts’ from the air, and making it’s own natural yeast, and bubbling like the picture below…..

Thriving sourdough starter!

You then use this starter to make sourdough recipes… pancakes, breads, sourdough crackers, pizza bases etc.

Notes about the tools and ingredients you use…..

1.   You can use any kind of flour, as long as it is a grain-based flour.  I use rye flour.  You can use rice flour, spelt flour, wholemeal flour, barley flour, bread flour.. you get the idea.

2.  Feed your sourdough starter with filtered water if possible.

3.  You can purchase established sourdough starters if needed (they are sold fresh or dried and powdered) – this will give your sourdough starter a boost and ensure you have bubbles!  I’d recommend first finding a friend who has a thriving sourdough starter and take 1/2 a cup of the starter, and begin feeding it yourself.

4. Your sourdough starter will grow – because you are ‘feeding’ it flour and water every day!

When you get a jar full of bubbly starter, USE some of it for a recipe (Google it to find a recipe that suits you), or put some of it in another jar.

5.  If you plan to only use your sourdough starter once a week, store it in your fridge.  Before you want to use it for baking, take it out of the fridge and feed it flour and water 12 hours before you use it.

6.  If you see a  brown liquid floating on top of your starter, simply pour it off.  It’s called ‘hooch’ and it is harmless, but it just means that you’ve probably fed your starter too much water in relation to flour, or you’ve left it a few days inbetween feeds (this happens to me all the time!)


Thriving sourdough starter!

Thriving sourdough starter  +    oil / water / more flour / sea salt

=>     leave to ‘proof’ overnight          => bake in the morning


Sourdough bread - you can make it in your Thermomix!


=     beautiful,soft, fluffy sourdough loaf of bread.


Next time I write, I’ll post my latest adapted sourdough bread recipe that I’ve been making.signed - hayley @ hills homestead


ADDIT –  Something I’ve been reading about….

What about STARTing a community garden… or a FOOD FOREST !  A guy in New Zealand has written a manual about how to start one and is getting funding to use public land for a community ‘free for all’ FOOD FOREST!!  Here is the link to the manual for ‘How to create a community Food Forest on public land’. 

What is a Food Forest?                           See here for a handout – Principles of food forests

 “Food forests have a very long tradition in many areas of the word. For example in the oases of the Middle East, Africa, Nepal, India, Vietnam. ….. It is definitely not a new type of food production.   A food forest is a young forest made completely from plants that a chosen (by) people.  Every forest, except the one in the hot humid tropics, are composed out of 7 layers of plants.
The keys to a well-functioning food forest are:
– a thick layer of ground cover plants that are:
   – not grass. Grass is useless in a food forest, it impede all other layers.
   – dense enough to suppress germination and growth of weed seeds.
   – as much additional uses as possible. Something like fixing nitrogen, edible, bee attracting, etc.
   – can take light pedestrian traffic.
– enough nitrogen fixing perennials/bushes/trees to feed your other plants.
– enough nutrient pumping plants like Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) that pumps up nutrients from  deep soil layers and makes them available to other plants.
– a high diversity of plants to get a balanced relationship of pests and predators.
– enough space between the trees for a productive bush, herb and ground cover layer.
– enough maintenance in the first 20 years. (Rapidly declining maintenance every year)
 If you carefully comply with all key elements you ending up with a carefree food forest that produce very high amounts of food and other useful products in 7 layers instead of just one.”  Source:  here.
Another source Edible Forest Gardens“,  states that “We can consciously apply the principles of ecology to the design of home scale gardens that mimic forest ecosystem structure and function, but grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, “farmaceuticals,” and fun.”
How cool are ‘edible forest gardens’ ?!!!
signed - hayley @ hills homestead

How to make Sourdough Crackers

They love them – Yea!


Recipe – Sourdough Crackers


1 cup sourdough starter

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter  (I used butter this time)

1 cup wholegrain flour (I don’t have any wheat left to freshly mill in my Thermomix, so I have been using plain wholemeal flour or spelt flour)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda (I now use an Aluminium Free baking soda – Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda – available at Foodland)

And for the ‘topping’ – some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and extra coursely ground Sea Salt

 Sourdough Starter on my bench


Combine all of the above ingredient (except for the ‘topping’ ingredients) in a plastic bowl.

It should form a stiff dough.

You can add the 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the bicarb soda now or after the 7 + hours of sitting on your bench …

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 7 hours on the bench (NOT in the fridge).   I prepare the dough in the evening to bake the next day, or in the morning to bake later that day for after school snacks.

When you are ready to make the crackers, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Dump 1/3 of the dough onto a well-floured piece of Baking Paper (or non-stick baking mat) on a baking tray.

Roll out as thinly as possible using a rolling pin (then use your fingers to push the dough right out to the sides)



Slosh some EVOO on top and spread it around with a pastry brush.  Top with a sprinkle of sea salt – sea salt has amazing flavour and you don’t need much.  I’ve also made  a few batches of crackers with chilli powder (from the Indian Spice Shop) sprinkled on top – YUM!!

Run a pizza cutter (or knife) along the dough to make shapes of your choice.

Pop into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.    After the baking time, you can turn the oven off and open the door to let them ‘dry out’ a bit more.


Once cool, store in an airtight container.

I’m sure they would last for weeks in an airtight container, but ours never last that long.  I’m now making these crackers every couple of weeks for snacks and lunches and to go with dips and cheeses.  They taste amazing and are very ‘morish’ and yet so healthy with the good stable and saturated fats, sea salt, and of course the SOURDOUGH STARTER.   When the sourdough starter is left over night mixed in with the ‘normal’ flour, it helps to break down the gluten in the flour, and the fermentation process removes phytates and enzyme inhibitors which makes the crackers far easier for us to digest.    GREAT for people who are intolerant to gluten, children, and ANY of us who have far too much gluten in our diet.

The above recipe is a modified form of a crackers recipe from a GNOWFLIGNS ebook “Sourdough A to Z” that I bought  – you can find it here.   This ebook is now on my desktop and I refer to it for ANYTHING to do with sourdough!  It contains information, instructions and recipes for …..

  • Starting a Starter, Caring for a Starter, and special section on Gluten-Free Sourdough
  • Sourdough Routines: An Interview with Three Bloggers
  • Tortillas & Tortilla Chips
  • Cakes: Chocolate & Spice
  • No-Knead Sourdough Bread with Many Uses: Pita Bread, English Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls and more!
  • Spelt Sandwich Bread, Dinner Rolls, Hamburger Buns, and Swirl Bread
  • English Muffins 
& Sandwich Ideas
  • Skillet Pancakes and Waffles
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Crepes & Crepe Cakes
  • Basic Muffins & Variations
  • Crackers: Plain, Cheese, and Variations
  • Honey Whole Wheat Bread
  • Gingerbread
  • Pizza Crust & Pizza Pockets
  • Pasta
  • Pocket Bread and Middle Eastern Pizza
  • Cornbread & Corn Fritters
  • Donuts
  • Biscuits
  • Pot Pie
  • Basic Scones & Variations
  • Dehydrating/Preserving a Starter
  • Cookies
  • Impossible Pies

I haven’t even tried half of the above recipes, but am keeping my sourdough starter alive and well (‘feeding’ it flour and water every day or so!) on my kitchen counter for the usual sourdough pancakes, sourdough bread, and crackers.


Here are some additional nutritional benefits of using sourdough in your cooking…..

  • it pre-digests starches, making bread/pastry/crackers easily digestible
  • it lowers your insulin response
  • it somehow protects Vitamin B1 from the damage of the heat of baking
  • it breaks down the protein gluten (which is difficult for us to digest), resulting in a bread that gluten-sensitive/intolerant  people can eat
  • it activates phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as:
    • zinc
    • iron
    • magnesium
    • copper
    • phosphorus

(Source: here)

” I am convinced that sourdough is THE most nutritious way to  prepare grains.  ”  Read more at

I’d really like to share just how EASY it is to start your own sourdough starter, because you don’t need to order packets of anything, you just need FLOUR and WATER and over a few days you will collect the WILD YEASTS (I’m sure that’s the technical term!) from the air to make your own starter!!!!!!   See here to ‘Start your own Sourdough Starter’…..  

So you don’t miss the next post, feel free to SUBSCRIBE to my blog via email  (just pop your email address in the box in the top right hand corner of this page) and my blog posts will come directly into your inbox 🙂

Bye for now,

Collages-002PS  Photo’s from the hail storm we had a week ago – the cousins raced over and all the kids filled up cups of hail to make ‘slushies’ !!!





My youngest, Max, has just turned 2 years old!  I was looking through his baby photos and found these ‘Winter Days’ photos from 2 years ago – featuring little baby Max… and my milk kefir and sourdough starter!!

2011VinceFamilyAlbum001… and my other son, Jake, turned 5 and we had a party last weekend….


BELOW – Abbey did a magic show for the young cousins….



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Bye (again!)… and don’t forget to subscribe via email to this blog, so that you get the EASY, FREE, HEALTHY recipe for making your own SOURDOUGH STARTER



Healthy Living eBooks

Healthy Living eBook Bundle Sale      Click here on Monday to buy the 34 eBooks for 87 cents each (and get $73 worth of FREE bonuses).  thanks toGNOWFGLINS     

Please have a look if you’re interested in real food and health, if you want to look further into why Palm Oil/Coconut Oil/Butter etc are GOOD for you, and why Canola Oil/Margarine etc are NOT!, what are the good fats/bad fats, if you want some ideas for herbal / home remedies, homesteading ideas for where to start  (Your Custom Homestead)- whether you live in the hills, on large or small property, in an apartment in the city, or in the suburbs…… lots of ideas, how to make a sourdough starter, how to make yoghurt (even if you don’t have a Thermomix!!)   ……..

It includes ebooks such as ……

Real Food Meals for the Whole Family

Real {Fast} Food by Trina Holden @ Trina Holden

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Baking, Snacks and Desserts

Smart Sweets by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

Healthy Snacks To Go by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

Sourdough A to Z by Wardee Harmon @ GNOWFGLINS

Homemade “Everything” (Condiments, Pantry Basics, etc.)

Restocking the Pantry by Kresha Faber @ Nourishing Joy

Easy. Homemade. by Mandi Ehman @ Life Your Way

Grain Free and Paleo/Primal Eating

Grain Free Meal Plan Cookbook by Cara Faus @ Health, Home & Happiness

Toadally Primal Smoothies by Todd @ Primal Toad

Simple Food {for spring} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days

Simple Food {for winter} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan @ The Clothes Make The Girl

Saving Money on Real Food

Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home

Plan It, Don’t Panic by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home

Don’t Compost It, Cook It by April Patel @ An Apple a Day Wisdom

Skincare and Beauty

My Buttered Life (Baby edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

My Buttered Life (Gift edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

My Buttered Life (Summer edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home

Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin by Leslie @ Crunchy Betty

Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skincare by Roxanne King @ The Holistic Mama

Homesteading, Gardening and Preserving

Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger @ The Prairie Homestead

Guide to Gardening and Preserving by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers

Healthy Lifestyle

Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott @ Loving Simple Living

Herbal Nurturing by Michele Augur @ Frugal Granola

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