FERNANDOUGH

He’s basically the star of the show right now. I wish I was joking when I said we are in a relationship… it’s pretty serious. I love checking on him every morning….”look at you sir!!” “you are so bubbly and happy this morning!” “you’re doing such a good job… all rising and stuff!!” “you smell terrific!!”

I’m so proud of him. He is strong, active and reliable. He’s a workhorse really…. I get great results with him. We get each other….when I am consistent with him…and he is consistent for me. He lives in my microwave, this is a safe space for him. Draft free and consistent temperatures. I feed him daily. Some people keep theirs in their fridge…and feed less. And that works too! It’s all about what you want!

What even is sourdough starter? Basically it’s a natural leavening (yeast) made from fermented flour and water. It’s been used for centuries to make bread. But it has been found to be SO HEALTHY….and can do SO MUCH MORE! It’s quite the adventure.

I started this sourdough journey this past year right after COVID hit. Trying to be self sufficient and also working on my own gut health. This is where the path started. I created Fernandough from scratch on my own….it wasn’t pretty. It was hell if I’m honest. I didn’t know what I was doing and MANY times I thought I had killed it or I “wasn’t doing it right”….nothing was happening!! The truth of what I have learned so far is that there’s no right way to do sourdough. There’s just YOUR WAY.

Natural “wild” yeast is found all around us. In our environment. And basically, we trap it in a jar. That in itself is fascinating to me. So your starter won’t be the same as mine. Even if I sent you some Fernandough…(which I can do!) it would adapt to your environment and become YOUR starter. My humidity level is different than yours, my water is different than yours, our flour is most likely different. It’s ALL different. So yours is perfect for you and mine is perfect for me. So no starter envy ok?

I have posted “how to make a starter” videos on Instagram and Facebook, (I will post videos here eventually) that take you step by step for the first few days and then everyday after… after you see bubbles… is basically the same to care for it daily. Unless you’re building your starter amount up for baking days. I’m trying my best to keep things simple and easy to understand…which is what I wanted when I started. So hopefully it doesn’t feel overwhelming….because it can easily feel that way. I promise….overall it’s very simple. Sometimes….it’s time consuming and messy… sometimes what I make ends up in the trash. But keep trying! Eventually you get something that comes out of the oven that blows your own mind! I MADE THAT!

Not everything on this blog will be made using sourdough starter….I love cooking with all the earthy things!! But lets just clear up one thing… shall we? Sourdough starter…isn’t sour. When people hear the word “sourdough” they think of the typical sourdough bread with a sour twang….that is not sourdough starter. (there are ways to make it twangy if you want) I actually prefer the term “natural yeast” and use that frequently…just because it gives the correct context of what we are using. It’s fermented yeast that has been used for centuries to make bread! It can be used it SO many things! Any recipe that calls for flour and water can have natural yeast added to it!

Just a few health benefits from using natural yeast:

  • It breaks down enzymes in grains and maximizes natural vitamins, minerals and fiber…all while converting the grain into an easily digestible food.
  • Reduces blood sugar spikes
  • It’s both a pre-biotic and a pro-biotic (there is 5 billion pro-biotic cultures in 1 teaspoon!)
  • Natural yeast slows digestion so you feel fuller longer
  • It lowers your glycemic response to carbs
  • It can help reduce heartburn and reflux
  • It can reduce inflammation in the gut
  • And so many other health benefits!

Creating and keeping a natural yeast starter is time consuming…..it’s messy….it’s not convenient…it’s a commitment….but aren’t you worth all of that? I think so.

I have SO enjoyed getting back to the basics of cooking, of creating and SLOWING THINGS DOWN. It was what I needed at that time…and it awakened me in ways I didn’t even know existed. All day to make bread? Why is this fun?

The truth of the matter is that out of the hours it takes to make 2 loaves of bread….you are literally only hands on for maybe just a few minutes of that time. You are letting the yeast do it’s job and allowing the magic to happen within your creation. So timing really is everything. On work days…I wake up early and it takes MAYBE 10 minutes to get an english muffin dough or Everything muffin batter going. I head out the door and 8-10 hours later it’s ready to go! On my bread baking days… usually Sunday…. I get one batch of dough going in the morning…..and then 2 hours later I get another batch going. That will give me 4 staggered loaves for the day. Its basically just a little preparing the day before to build up your starter….and then cooking day I set a bunch of timers because I’m old and I forget what I’m doing. Where am I?

p.s. If you want some Fernandough…I have learned how to dehydrate him and send him safely to your house! For $10, it comes with 3 Tbsp of Fernandough flakes, directions for how to revive him, some of my favorite recipes….and a whole lotta love. You can contact me at kristis.kitchen5@gmail.com or on any of my social media accounts. My social media links are here —–> Facebook or Instagram.

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