Cultivate Wild Yeast to Make Almond Flour Sourdough Biscuits From Scratch

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About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

Several weeks ago I received a few emails from my husband which were quite unusual for him. I had to chuckle because all of them were recipe links! His doctor has him on a very restricted diet and at the time I was not very concerned because I don't buy a lot of processed food items and assumed the list was food items he could not eat. It wasn't until we went grocery shopping that I realized the list consisted of food categories he could eat.

We see his dietitian about every 6-8 weeks and receive a new recipe to try each time we go in. Unfortunately we have not liked very many recipes she has given us, especially the bread! The textures were often gummy, eggy,crumbly, and had a long list of ingredients.One time the bread was purple!

After baking several bread recipes he could eat but did not like, I decided to do some research that would help me understand a little more about the diet restrictions preventing him from devouring a tasty bread recipe. The research paid off larger than I had expected. Follow through and I will share how this sourdough biscuit recipe was born.

Step 1: Lectin Free Flours

Foods containing Lectins are one of the things causing my husband's health issues and unfortunately almost all types of grains and seeds contain lectins. So my first search was to find lectin free grains. Dr. Gundry's website was at the top of the list. I learned as much as I could about which grains were lectin free, sorghum and millet were two that were lectin free as well as gluten free. Cassava flour was recommended as an alternative flour substitute and of course there are coconut and almond flours.

Dr. Gundry says sourdough bread is the healthiest bread you can eat because the yeast is what’s necessary to ferment and destroy the lectins but the type of yeast sold today contains transglutaminase which is very harmful. Here is an article explaining it in detail. Wild yeast contains healthy bacteria that benefits your gut and helps develop the authentic flavor our grandparents achieved so many yeas ago.

I wanted to make sourdough bread using a grain flour and was leaning towards sorghum because it was listed as a great substitute for rye in texture and flavor and is used for fermenting beverages. I could not find sorghum flour in my town but I did find a bag of whole grain at Farmer's market. It was my best option for the types of flour I could use to make the first batch of sourdough starter and bread.

I needed a back up flour in case the sorghum did not work out so I decided to try almond,coconut, and cassava flours after reading that most people combine at least three flour alternatives when making a bread recipe because each one has certain characteristics that are needed to help make a good loaf of bread. I did not have many choices to choose from that my husband could eat and the main ingredient would have been the almond flour. I could not find any recipes where someone had actually made an almond flour starter. and I expected a challenge to do so.

Natural yeast grows in the soil and lands on plants,leaves,and fruit and can also be found on organic red cabbage and red grapes at the grocery store. If you look at the last picture you will notice the whitish film on the cabbage which can be used to make a natural yeast starter.


Step 2: The Starter

I watched Erick's video and followed his instructions and amounts to make both starters with exceptions.I used dole pineapple juice: no sugar added and not concentrated which is also non GMO. GMO'S are high in lectins. I exchanged the flours and added the red cabbage to the almond flour mixture as I have described below. Erick gives credit to Debra Wink, a chemist and accomplished baker,in his video for the starter recipe. He has a link to a pdf file that you can download and read how she spent many hours developing the recipe for the pineapple juice method.

I made the sorghum starter by grinding the grain in a coffee grinder only because it was the best thing I had to use but after making the biscuits I realized the coffee grinder did not grind the grain into a small enough powder and it made the biscuits a little grainy. A seed grinder or vita mix would be a better choice.

I read a lot of discussions about tap water being OK to use for a starter but I disagree with those people who said this because the statement is too general. It is best to use spring or filtered water. Distilled water is void of minerals which are important in the process of making sourdough.

I broke off a couple of leaves from the red cabbage to put into the almond flour starter container to help encourage the yeast to grow but after doing this I did not like the results because it was messy and caused the mixture to turn purple. The next time I make a starter I will gently wash the cabbage and carefully remove a couple of leaves and place them into a bowl of filtered water and swish them around before adding the water to the flour.

Step 3: Sourdough Biscuit Development

The first time I made the sough dough biscuits I decided to use half almond and half coconut flour and added 1 tablespoon of cassava flour for starch and reduced the amount of butter and added the starter. As you can see from the pictures the dough was more like a cookie in texture and thickness but the flavor was spot on~

The second batch I made from sorghum flour and the results were very similar except the texture was grainy because of the poorly ground grain and the thickness was about the same. The flavor was not as distinct as the first batch. My husband and I came to the same conclusion.

Step 4: Troubleshooting

Patience is a virtue when making a wild yeast starter which I learned the hard way. It is easy to give up and start over when making a starter the first time around.

Apparently 40% of a sourdough starters fail and the pineapple juice starter recipe helps reduce this number.It is the citric acid in the juice that also helps prevent mold from growing in the starter.I might try using fruit fresh or citric acid in my next batch to avoid using pineapple juice (less sugar content).

When I was adjusting my recipe for the flours and the addition of the wet starter, I had to consider the liquid measurements exchanges to the the dry measurements exchanges as well as the inclusion of the eggs in relation to the dough rise. I also had to consider the different flour replacement and what characteristics they offer for baking bread. Almond flour is heavier and coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquids. As it turned out later on for the final batch, I made the right decisions. I decided to add egg relying on a roll recipe I used for making dinner rolls.The eggs were used to rise the dough and create the texture.

Consistent room temperature, drafts, and humidity, plays a big part in making bread. A seedling heating pad was suggested on a video I watched on youtube about baking bread. She mentioned it was the perfect temperature to help the starter development and to keep the bread dough at a constant temperature. You can purchase them online for about fifteen dollars.

Elevation plays a part in the length of time your starter will fully develop.

In the final recipe I used a large muffin tin because I added the eggs and it made the batter wetter for a thicker cake like batter consistency.

Some bakers suggested a second rise when making sourdough bread for a more complex flavor profile. Some even suggested placing the starter in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process to enhance the flavor. It might be worth googling.

After I purchase a better seed grinder I am confident it will make a beautiful and tasty sourdough bread

using sorghum flour.

Step 5: Sourdough Ingredients and Utensils

Please note: I found this article online about almond flour and yeast. Please take a moment to read the article"How to use it" to understand why I only used the starter for the flavor and not for the rise.

I did not use the cabbage for this version.

Pre-heat oven 425 degrees F


The Recipe:

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon organic blanched almond flour

1/2 cup ( unfed) starter the sour dough in this recipe is used for flavor and not for leaven. It is great to use up the starter that you would normally give away, while you are waiting for the fermentation and leavening process to develop .I used the floating method to test the dough for this recipe. Fill a glass of water and add a dab of the starter to the glass, if it floats it is active, if it sinks it is unfed. Unfed starter is not suitable for all recipes though.

3 large egg whites (pastured omega-3 eggs) ( eggs were added for a better crumb and greater volume ) .

2 Tablespoons cold organic grass fed butter ( I grated it while it was very cold and put it back in the refrigerator until I was ready to add it to the mixture.

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder.

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

coconut oil for oiling the muffin tin.

Utensils:

Lined muffin tin optional or use coconut oil for oiling the muffin tin, measuring cups and spoons, mixer, seed grinder or vita-mix, pot holder, cheese grater, and spatula.

Step 6: Separate the Egg Whites and Whip Into Stiff Peaks

Step 7: Combine Ingredients

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder,and work in the butter into pea size bits, and stir in the egg whites.

Step 8: Pour Dough Mixture Into the Muffin Tins

Place the biscuits on the upper 1/3 section of the oven and bake

for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the biscuits from the pan promptly and serve warm.

Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

We were very pleased with the final batch of sourdough biscuits and are excited we can eat sourdough bread and biscuits again~

Thank you for stopping by and do have a safe and happy 2019!

sunshiine~

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    6 Discussions

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    M.C. Langer

    2 months ago

    These biscuits look absolutily delicious, and I love all the process you followed to get this result! It's a fantastic work, Sunshiine!

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    sunshiineM.C. Langer

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks so much for the comment~ It was hard work but it certainly paid off! Yum!

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    audreyobscura

    2 months ago

    This Instructables is awesome! It was cool to read about the different methods you explored while you were trying to get the right flavor and texture. Way to become a kitchen scientist! I'm wondering how it would do in a loaf pan as part of a big bake vs. biscuit size? I imagine to keep the bread from getting too crusty, you would have to steam the oven as you baked it.

    THanks for the inspiration!

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    sunshiineaudreyobscura

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank-you! Oh how I wished I had paid more attention in science class! I was very tempted to bake a loaf rather than biscuits and spray the oven but decided to avoid making too many changes in the early stages of development. I am fairly sure a person could achieve good results baking a larger batch and spraying the oven, although extra egg whites might be needed. I was tempted to add a little water to the mixture in my last batch but decided not to.
    If you look at the tops of the first batches I made, you will notice the tops are smoother although the rise was not sufficient. That is why I decided to use a large muffin tin, thinking that the pan would provide walls to support a higher rise and add egg whites to increase the rise. The tops of the first batch were smoother because I rolled them out. I noticed the muffin tin biscuits had a texture on top and I had to decide if I should add water to the batter or an extra egg white to make a thinner batter that would form a smoother top but decided the uneven top might brown beautifully. I was happy with the decision. I will be giving these methods a try and hopefully share them on instructables. Thank you for your comment audreyobscura and do have a safe and happy 2019~
    sunshiine~

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    Pavlovafowl

    2 months ago

    These look really good and the texture is fantastic. I'll definitely try your recipe as I love almond flour and use it a lot particularly in North African biscuit recipes but unfortunately these contain potato four which wouldn't work for your husband. However there are quite a few alternatives, sweet potato, arrowroot and chestnut spring to mind. I also really like the way you set this instructable out, showing the progression and your research around the topic, it's a very thorough piece of work. Good Luck in the competition Sylvia and whilst I'm here all the very best for 2019. Hugs from Normandie, Sue

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    sunshiinePavlovafowl

    Reply 2 months ago

    Hi Sue,
    I was surprised how much research was required to develop a recipe with (yes) ingredients. Not to mention understanding how imitation flours like almond flour will react to wild yeast. I appreciate your suggestions for alternative flours I might try. I will probably have to order the ones you suggested because stores here have a limited variety to choose from.This journey has been a very challenging one! Thank you so much for the comment, it made my day~
    sunshiine~