Tag Archives: wild yeast

Consistency Kills The Joy Of life

consistency kills the joy of lifeConsistency Kills The Joy Of Life

A yoga teacher once said that the best thing we can do for our backs is to get rid of chairs. We are not meant to sit on chairs. When we sit on floors we bend and turn and change positions. Just watch children playing on the floor or drawing. Their bodies are flexible and stretching all the time. No wonder so many people have back problems today.

Then she said something else quite profound “We have smoothened out the world. God did not create it that way. He created it with valleys and hills and uneven paths and paths of grass, gravel and pebbles.”

Consistency kills the joy of life: Standardization is inconsistent with nature

I will take it further to say consistency kills the joy of life. We have created a life of consistency in the name of security. We have an ordered existence. We work a set routine from 9 am to 5 pm daily. We have pension funds, social security funds, list of medicines and foods we must and can consume and occasionally we break our routines with something interesting to do over the weekend.

This set routine of life has crept into our food. It is slowly draining the life out of us. Society today is defined by allergies and sicknesses that do not discriminate with age.

consistency kills the joy of life

The way it has done this is by harnessing or subduing nature to fit into our comfortable or greedy schedule. Nature is slow. Nature is risky and commercialism can’t afford to play with variables. So we interfere with genetics to get faster and bigger crop (we do this with livestock too), feeding cows with antibiotics and contaminating our milk supply.

consistency kills the joy of life

We cut out the fermentation needed for grains before we consume them. And to guarantee our results or profits, we need to replicate the same result over and over again. So our food looks and tastes the same. Consistency kills the joy of life.

If you see a naturally grown orange, it has blemishes and different shapes, but not the ones you buy from the supermarket because society needs consistency to feel secure in our purchases. Nature is never the same and that is where we are missing out on nutrition and diversity and richness in taste.

oranges all natural

Commercialism dictates that we need to standardize everything. Commercial greed does not want to work with nature because it takes time and patience. Mass production also is contrary to Nature’s nature. This is why people who are starting to get health enlightened seek out artisan bakers and small farmers who don’t mass produce.


Standardized Flour

Here’s a quote from Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book “White flour mills have laboratories that test the flour for gluten content, enzyme activity, baking quality and other variables, and they make adjustments either by blending the flour or by treating it in various ways so that it is just the same from bag to bag to bag. Whole wheat flour that comes from the giant white-flour mills may be blended in the same way, but whole wheat flour is made from one kind (usually one crop) of grain, ground up. period. No blending, no stabilizers, no enzymes, no conditioners.”

This revolution to standardize flour began only 150 years ago. Before the health conscious movement gained momentum all anyone knew about bread is that it is white, puffy, uniform and undistinguished.

Today we are experiencing the delicious flavours of different freshly milled grains and understand how rewarding it is to patiently work with nature through slow grinding and fermentation to bring out not only the rich flavours but wholesome goodness of the grains to enrich our bodies. It’s good to have this rich variety as consistency kills the joy of life.

Dog at the office

We have been conditioned to accept sub-standard food. Long working hours at the office and quick stops at fast-food joints to quell hunger or late night cravings make us put things in our mouths without thinking.

While we are so focused on preparing our business proposal or the next presentation to win a lucrative contract, food is only something to fill our stomach out of necessity or to enjoy as a gastronomic entertainment. Not something that enriches our body.  We have also swallowed the lie that healthy food is not tasty.

I love working with wild yeast to produce fermented food and sourdough bread and cakes. The taste is not consistent due to many variables such as the yeast in the air and on the grains, climate, environment, water, how the grain was grown and the flavour of the flour also changes over time like wine. Yet the taste is rich and rewarding, unlike the bland, know-what-to-expect, uniform commercial breads and cakes. Part of the joy of healthy cooking is the quest to find the right farmers or source who patiently co-operate with nature to bring you the best raw materials to work with in the kitchen.


Contadino Olives

Bruno Morabito from Contadino Olive Farm in NSW Australia expressed, “The flavour of our extra virgin olive oil varies every season due to the natural Australian climate and environmental factors every year.”

Even my soap maker said to me “As I use only natural ingredients each batch of soap I make turns out different.”

The commercial world wants you to believe different is bad. Different is not bad because it is how nature works. For sustainable living we need to work with nature and ditch this attitude of trying to control and subdue nature to suit our taste, time, fast-track lifestyle. This consistency kills the joy of life.


Vendors who mass produce find working with variables too risky. They want the same uniform products.

An entire marketing commerce has been built on standardization and consistency. If you get something not as advertised you can complain. Quality control really means consistency control.

There is nothing wrong in quality control if it really was about quality. I can make 10 bottles of eggplant pickle from the same batch of eggplant and when I use a different variety of eggplant or spice from a different source/farmer then the pickles may not taste the same. Yet the quality is just as good and both batches are deliciously different.

Truth be told we are beings that exist to work alongside nature and in harmony with it. Yet mankind has sought to harness, control and subdue it and the result in this modern day is serious health problems. Consistency kills the joy of life.

consistency kills the joy of life

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get,” echoes the wisdom of Forrest Gump’s mamma. Life is like that when you work with nature. Sweet surprises.

Nothing changes the fact that box still contains chocolates.  All that is good. Different flavours but still, all good.

Baking with sourdough starter

Baking with sourdough starter

Sourdough starter is just wild yeast. As most bakers would use commercial yeast for baking, I use sourdough starter instead. Whether you bake professionally or at home, you will be familiar with commercial yeast usually sold in dried, powdered form. This yeast is saccharomyces cerevisiae, a strain of yeast, man-made in a laboratory to control the activity of yeast so as to produce a consistent result at all times.

sourdough pizza base
sourdough pizza base

The problem with this is that our bodies are missing out on the variety of bacteria and wild yeast that are made up of many different strains and not just one. This rich diversity cannot be replicated in a laboratory.

Many people use both sourdough starter and commercial yeast but all my bread recipes use ONLY sourdough starter. I also use starter in some of my cakes and anything at all that requires grains/flour [Please read “Why Sourdough?” to learn the health benefits of doing this].

To bake with sourdough starter, obviously you need to have some starter. Click here for guidance to make your own starter. If you don’t have the time or find it is too much trouble, you can buy a starter from those who have already established theirs. I will be giving out my starters FREE to those who sign up for bread-baking classes with me. Otherwise you can purchase the starter.

sourdough starter
An active starter should look like this. Bubbly with some holes and about double in volume after feeding

For loaves that are about 800 gm to 1 kg, use about 200 gm of dough starter. Dough starter is a starter that has one part water to two parts flour. It is more stable, stores longer between feedings and develops more fully in taste over time. As it is also stronger, you get a better rise in the bread.

Using the sourdough starter

Once you own a sourdough starter, you will need to maintain it with regular feedings. Click on the same link above on how to make a starter to learn how to maintain one. The starter should remain in your refrigerator when not in use. I would say a dough starter can keep comfortably for a month or month and a half without feeding in the fridge. Having said that it takes a lot to kill a starter[but that’s another article in itself 🙂  ]

There are techniques to knead a bread properly to get the best rise. I will teach this in my classes or you can watch video tutorials posted by others online.

For all the sourdough bread recipes I give you on my website, these are the key things you need to remember:

1. As this is a website for healthy food I never combine commercial yeast with wild yeast

Nutrients in Wheat

2. All my flour is freshly milled as grains quickly lose their nutrition from the moment they are milled. The milling process is also very important. Commercial milling usually heat the flour destroying vital nutrients. They also remove the bran and germ which contain valuable nutrients because it gives the flour a longer shelf life. The flour you buy commercially that has been transported over days weeks and sitting on supermarket shelves has actually very little, if any, nutritional value.GrainParts_300x338_WGC

3. You start every bread recipe by mixing the starter with the liquid and then add the flour. Just loosely mix without turning it into a dough yet. Leave it to sit for an hour before you add salt and then knead into a dough.

4. Dough should be allowed to prove for a minimum of 4 hours. Advanced bakers like to extend this period through what is called retardation or slow fermentation in a fridge overnight for longer hours to develop the complex flavors of the bread.

5. Contrary to popular belief, sourdough bread need not be sour at all. Only if you leave it to prove for a long time will you get this sour taste.

6. You can bake bread quite successfully in a conventional home oven but ensure you have a tray of water in the oven just above the bread to allow for steam and moisture while baking.


Orange Raisin Bread

 Orange Raisin Bread 4

Orange Raisin Bread


All my bread uses only wild yeast. So please read Baking With Sourdough Starter if you are not familiar with starters before you follow any bread recipe on this site

Mix sourdough to orange juice
Mix sourdough to orange juice

200 gms active sourdough starter

250 ml orange juice ( 1 cup)

125 ml water (1/2 cup)

600 gms wholemeal flour (4 cups)

150 gms chickpea flour (1 cup)

1/4 – 1/2 cup raisins as you prefer


Mix orange juice and water together. Add active sourdough starter to this. Knead the dough. Incorporate the raisins into the kneading until it is properly distributed into the bread. Leave at least four hours to prove. After proving you are ready to shape it. Leave the shaped dough anywhere from 30 mins to an hour [depending on how warm your kitchen is] for the final rise. Upon the final rise, place it in a very hot oven with a temperature of 230°C for 10 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 200°C and allow to bake for a further 15 – 20 mins. Bakes an 1 kg loaf.

Orange Raisin Bread 2