Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Sourdough Bread with Ancient Grains

Some kamut and einkorn flours ready to go into a new batch of sourdough bread.

Many people throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to grains and bread, labeling them all as unhealthy food choices. While they certainly have drawbacks, and feature far too heavily in our diets, they can be used intelligently from time to time to provide us with some nutrition and pleasure.

To maximise nutrient uptake from store bought bread choose ones made from the less domesticated grains (such as spelt, kamut, and einkorn) which ideally have gone through a sourdough process with wild yeasts, or a long fermentation process with fresh yeast. Additionally, the ingredients on the packet should read : flour, salt, yeast. Nothing else needs, or should, be in there to make great tasting bread. Even better make it yourself with the recipe below and then you get to control the parameters mentioned above.



Ancient Grain Sourdough

•2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
•3 g fresh yeast (the size of a pea) or 1/4 tsp dried yeast
•2 tsp sun dried sea salt
•1 tsp unpasteurized honey
•1 handful fresh herbs or 3 TB dried herbs
•700 g ancient grain flour (choose one, or a combination, of Spelt, Einkorn, or Kamut)
•extra flour for folding
•1 oven proof dutch oven or ceramic pot/casserole dish

Place water in a large mixing bowl and dissolve yeast  in it. Add salt, honey and herbs and combine until well mixed. Sift the flours and add to the water mixture. Mix together until all is combined. Cover with plastic wrap or a piece of fabric and set aside to ferment at room temperature for 12-15 hours.
Prepare your work surface with a light dusting of flour. Pour the dough out on the flour covered surface and dust the dough with flour to prevent sticking. Then fold it 4 times. Take the first side and fold it onto the middle of the dough. Repeat this for the opposing side, then do the same thing to the top and bottom. Now place the folded dough into your proofing vessel of choice (proofing basket works best) and let rise for 2-3 hours at room temperature. With around 40 minutes left of the rising time, turn on the oven to 500F (250°C) and place your cooking vessel with the lid on in the oven. After 40 minutes carefully remove the vessel from the hot oven, using oven gloves. Unwrap the dough and place/drop it in. Slash the dough with a knife, then cover with the lid and place it back in the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the heat  to 445F (230°C), remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, let cool slightly, and turn upside down and place the bread on an oven rack to cool.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Homemade Energy Drink

One of the best decisions I ever made in regard to upgrading my athletic performance, and health, was to replace all store bought energy drinks with ones made at home.

Here is one I use regularly, before and after exercise, which includes one of my all time favourite fruits - the blood orange.

Blood Orange. A variety of orange with dark red flesh owed to the presence of anthocyanins (a family of antioxidant pigments) such as chrysanthemin.

The citrus family, of which blood orange is a member, are the perfect pre and post workout food due to their rich electrolyte content. Rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, they help replenish these cell salts which our bodies loose through the process of sweating.

For the perfect homemade sports drink try the juice of two oranges squeezed into 750ml of water with 1/2 tsp sun dried sea salt added. Shake it all up and you are good to go.

Healthier, tastier, and more effective than and pre-bought energy drink.