I've already confessed my love for fermented foods. We make kefir and sauerkraut on a regular basis, but there is usually one more ferment that hangs out on my countertop, happily collecting the yeasts of the air.
And that beloved ferment is called sourdough.
Sourdough is a way to ferment grains, so that the nutrients are more readily available for digestion. The "souring" process helps to break down the anti-nutrient called phytic acid that is found in the bran of a whole grain. The natural bacteria in sourdough helps to predigest the starches in the grains and the resulting product also usually has a lower glycemic index. Just like other fermented foods, sourdough is a gut healing food, because it provides the body with beneficial bacteria.
Basically, if you're going to eat grains, it is best if they are first soaked or fermented.
I learned how to make a sourdough starter on a website called GNOWFGLINS about five years ago and my starter has been thriving ever since, becoming better with age. We use it to make pancakes, english muffins, bread, cake, brownies and even doughnuts!
Sourdough is the way Ma Ingalls made bread. Those handy little packets of yeast that you find in the store today weren't available back then. She relied on the yeasts of the air to rise her baked goods. And if its good enough for Ma, it's good enough for me.
You can make your own starter, if you've got that DIY spirit, or, you can order it from a good company called Cultures For Health. If you're local to me and you want to get started with sourdough, hit me up and I will give you some. I take very good care of it and plan to pass it down to my kids and grandkids. :)
For the doughnuts, you will need:
2 cups whole grain flour (We grind ours fresh in a Nutrimill.)
1/2 cup fed sourdough starter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (organic cane or coconut sugar)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil for frying
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
The night before you plan to make the doughnuts combine the flour, starter and water in a bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let sit overnight.
The next morning add the sourdough mixture and the rest of the ingredients to a mixer and combine.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Only use as much flour as needed because if you add too much these tend to get dense and bready.
Next use a doughnut cutter to cut them out. We used a cup and a smaller bottle type cup to cut the center, since we don't have a doughnut cutter.
That little finger there is trying to point out which one he wants to eat.
Cover the doughnuts with a tea towel and allow them to rise for an hour or two.
Next, heat the frying oil over medium heat until it sizzles when something is added.
Add the doughnuts and turn the oil down to low. The goal is for them to still sizzle, yet not cook so rapidly that they become done on the outsides and not the insides.
Flip once and cook on the other side.
Toss the freshly fried doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar topping mixture.
Pour yourself a large mason jar of fresh milk and serve immediately.