For Your Reading Pleasure

For Your Reading Pleasure

1. 10 easy ways to incorporate incidental exercise into your day

2. Prebiotic fibers – Good for us, or a hidden additive?

3. How to buy “real food” from a mainstream supermarket.

4. 9 benefits of warm water & lemon in the morning.

Making & Maintaining Sourdough Starter
Making & Maintaining Sourdough Starter

I have wanted to learn how to make my own sourdough starter and bread for a very long time. Probably since I learned that sourdough bread without added yeast is low FODMAP. In September, I finally decided to put my money where my mouth is and I bought a starter from King Arthur’s Flour located in Norwich Vermont. I heard great things about the company and particularly about their sourdough starter. Plus, the idea of making and maintaining sourdough starter seemed daunting to me so I thought buying it would increase my chances of success. I was able to get it going and baked a loaf of bread from it, which was incredibly exciting but then somehow I killed it and could not revive my starter. After reading and asking a lot of questions, I learned that I made a couple of missteps that probably led to the demise of my short-lived hearty sourdough starter. This included, using too much flour (weighing your flour and water is the best method), using cold water from the tap (filtered water at room temperature is better), and where I placed my culture (above the refrigerator is a good trick especially on cold New England days).

However, this experience gave me enough confidence to try and make sourdough starter culture from scratch, which was my real goal. After keeping the culture alive for a month and baking many delicious loaves, I can happily say, I finally did it. The starter recipe I found is very simple and easy and perfect for busy people who still want to make their own bread. Below is my condensed version but you can find the full recipe with pictures, details, and tips at kitchn.com.

Ingredients:
1. 4 ounces or 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons if you do not have a scale of all-purpose flour
– Optional: a mix of all-purpose and whole grain flour
2. 4 ounces or 1/2 cup if you do not have a scale of water, preferably filtered at room temp
– Tip: I keep a bottle of filtered water on top of my refrigerator next to my starter

Equipment:
– 2-quart glass or plastic container (not metal)
– Scale (highly recommended) or measuring cups (metal is fine)
– Mixing spoon (not metal)
– Clean kitchen towel. You can use plastic wrap but I aim to be zero waste when I can

Time:
About 5 minutes a day for 5 days. The first day it took me about 20 minutes to figure things out but I got the hang of it eventually, which made it go faster. On Day 5, you should be able to start baking bread.

Directions:
Each morning weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container. Stir, making sure to scrape down the sides, and loosely cover the container with a clean kitchen towel secured with a rubber band or plastic wrap. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

How the batter will look each day (Descriptions from ktichn.com):

Day 2: You may see a few small bubbles here and there. At this point, the starter should smell fresh, mildly sweet, and yeasty. If you don’t see any bubbles yet, don’t panic — depending on the conditions in your kitchen, the average room temperature, and other factors, your starter might just be slow to get going.

Day 3: The surface of your starter should look dotted with bubbles and your starter should look visibly larger in volume. If you stir the starter, it will still feel thick and batter-like, but you’ll hear bubbles popping. It should also start smelling a little sour and musty. If your starter doesn’t look like this, give it a few more days.

Day 4: The starter should be looking very bubbly with large and small bubbles, and it will have doubled in volume. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and honeycombed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.

Day 5: It should have doubled in bulk since yesterday. By now, the starter should also be looking very bubbly — even frothy. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and be completely webbed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste even more sour and vinegary. If everything is looking, smelling, and tasting good, you can consider your starter ripe and ready to use.

Maintaining Your Starter (Taken from kitchn.com):

Once your starter is ripe (or even if it’s not quite ripe yet), you no longer need to bulk it up. To maintain the starter, discard (or use) about half of the starter and then “feed” it with new flour and water: weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container with the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter.

If you’re using the starter within the next few days, leave it out on the counter and continue discarding half and “feeding” it daily. If it will be longer before you use your starter, cover it tightly and place it in the fridge. Remember to take it out and feed it at least once a week — I also usually let the starter sit out overnight to give the yeast time to recuperate before putting it back in the fridge.

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

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5. 10 really important food documentaries every healthy eater should watch. I have seen five out of the ten and Fed Up also mentioned in the article. They were all great. I am looking forward to checking out the other five.

6. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. How to decipher egg carton labels: The truth behind what “cage-free,” “free-range” and other common terms mean (and don’t mean) for animal welfare.

2. Six essential oils to calm your skin

3. Want to cut down or quit sugar but do not want to give up wine, pasta, or chocolate. Good news, you may not have to.

4. New study links protein in wheat to the inflammation of chronic health conditions

5. Eight signs of FODMAP intolerance.

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7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. Just diagnosed with fatty liver? It might be sugar and not fat that is the problem.

2. Celiac disease in children or teens: The sneaky signs to watch for.

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4. Tax soda to fight obesity, WHO urges nations around the globe

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6. Hype vs. hope in medical research.

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo taken by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

A Low FODMAP and Gluten-Free Falafel
A Low FODMAP and Gluten-Free Falafel

There is a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brookline, MA called Rami’s that make huge falafel balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They then load them into a fresh pita and top with great veggies and tahini sauce. It is incredible! I have sadly not been able to eat their falafel since I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. Maybe one day I will take the risk and try it. However, in the meantime, I have modified a recipe I found on epicurious.com, taken from Joan Nathan’s book The Foods of Israel Today to make it onion-, garlic-, and wheat-free. I added it to a mix of kale massaged with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing and wild rice. I hope you enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:
Servings: About 20 falafel balls.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (If dried chick peas bother you, use one 15-ounce can)
  • 3-4 scallions (green portion only)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic infused oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • Vegetable oil with a dash of garlic infused oil for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
  • Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and green portion of the scallions in a food processor with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic infused oil, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and start with 4 tablespoons of gluten-free flour, and pulse. Add flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Transfer to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
  • Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
  • Add 1-3 inches of vegetable oil with a dash of garlic infused oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok. I used a cast iron pan and it worked well. Test with one falafel and if it falls apart, add a little flour.
  • Fry falafel balls for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  • Add to salads or gluten-free pita with tahini and vegetables.

Bon Appétit!

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. A Los Angeles Time Op-Ed article: The truth about gluten-free diets.

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4. An interesting article about a college student who spent two months at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal: How to eat croissants every day and still lose weight. 

5. Fungus in humans identified for first time as key factor in Crohn’s disease.

6. Can these cuisines help you live longer?

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo taken by Isidor Emanuel on Unsplash