Sourdough bread is made using the naturally occurring wild lactic acid bacteria called lactobacilli and yeast cultures in order to ferment dough prior to baking. The mixture of naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts have a symbiotic relationship within the process of sourdough in that the lactobacilli metabolizes sugars and proteins that the yeast can’t, while the yeast metabolizes the byproduct of the lactic acid fermentation process. Due to the incorporation of a stable lactobacilli culture in concert with multiple strains of wild yeast, the breakdown of protein, most importantly of gluten, an edible and delicious product is possible. Without this complex chemical reaction there are numerous problems that one encounters. Gluten, which has become a decade long Boogeyman remains intact throughout the processing of wheat with baker’s yeast and is known to not be digestible by human beings. However, with a lactobacillus culture the complex proteins undergo a chemical reaction that creates edible sugars that are then caramelized via the Maillard Reaction during baking. The whole process is not to this simplification, however the breakdown of gluten typifies the necessity for a true sourdough bread.
In our bread we use this process in every step of baking and in various methods that are best suited for the different wheat varieties available e.g. cold fermentation for Rye breads. Additionally, the sources of the raw ingredients is paramount. Fully researching the farms that grow your food is something that we developed the habit for doing while starting Dr. Cowan’s Garden. Fully researching means 100% traceability and in many cases actually visiting the farm itself. There are however substitutions for this in depth process such as Demeter certification as well as recommendations from organizations such as the Weston A. Price Foundation. Combined, the assurance of the highest quality raw ingredients and an ancient technique of preparation yields what I would consider to be real food. This combination is the bare minimum that we start with at Cow & Clementine and is the cornerstone for our company.
Emmer Farro – grown as far as the Middle East and by Egyptians as well as other Mediterranean cultures Emmer Farro is a hulled wheat that is the genetic precursor to semolina flour and was one of the first types to be domesticated. With a nutty and complex flavor the original unmodified version has many properties that made it highly desirable for a developing population. Firstly, it was relatively easy to cultivate and secondly it is very high in simple proteins that are easily fermented by a sourdough culture.
The Emmer Farro that I use is grown Biodynamically by Bluebird Grain Farms in Washington State. If used in large percentages, Emmer is very difficult to make into something that resembles bread. However, at 30%, which is what I use, it adds a flavor, texture, and color that is remarkably unique. The nuttiness and sweetness are highlighted in a medium of familiar bread texture, crust, and crumb. We will be featuring Emmer as our Ancient Grain for most of the summer months.
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Cow & Clementine