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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sourdough Molasses Bread




The IDEAL way to eat grain of any kind is either sprouted or properly soaked to neutralize the phytic acid. 


Jordan Rubin writes, in The Maker’s Diet:

“Before the advent of mass-manufacturing processes, it was common for long-lived peoples to soak their grains overnight and then allow them to dry in the open air until they were partially germinated or sprouted, or to go through an ancient leavening process.  From these grains they made bread and other foods.  We now know these processes effectively remove the phytates from the outer covering of the natural grains.  Phytates are substances that contain phosphorus in acidic form as well as powerful enzyme inhibitors that combine with (or “grab”) minerals in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.”1 


“Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all seeds (grain is a seed) that inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.”2


When choosing leavened bread, the IDEAL is one made WITHOUT commercial yeast.


Jacques DeLangre writes:

“When yeast (what we know as commercial yeast) was first introduced in France at the courts of Louis XIV in March 1668, scientists already knew that the use of it would imperil the people’s health, so it was strongly rejected.”3


And finally a selection from fiction that shows us how bread was made in the 1870/80s:

“But how do you make the sourdough?” Mrs. Boast asked.

“You start it,” said Ma, “by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours.”

“Then when you use it, always leave a little,” said Laura, “and put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water,” Laura put in the warm water, “and cover it”, she put the clean cloth and the plate on the jar, “and just set it in a warm place,” she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove.  “And it’s always ready to use, whenever you want it.”4


So we can see that the bread we are accustomed to is very different from the bread that was eaten for thousands of years in the past.  I am quite sure this is one of many reasons we have numerous ailments our ancestors didn’t.


Now that we’ve talked about IDEALS, let us remember that we here are ALL about BABYSTEPS!  We must remember that EVERY little thing we change REALLY does count.  Don’t be discouraged by the last article, just because we can’t balance junk food with healthy food or exercise doesn’t mean we don’t still move forward.


We need to think of food in the context of GOOD, BETTER, and BEST.  A whole-wheat loaf of bread is good, one that is whole wheat and has soured is better, and one that is soured AND made without any commercial yeast is the best.  Every little bit that we change in our diet counts.  It’s just like the principle of saving money, every little bit adds up.


So here I present a recipe for yeast bread that uses much less commercial yeast than the typical recipe AND it is soured by a long rising time, so that the phytic acid is neutralized.  So even though it’s not the IDEAL, it is BY FAR, better than the store-bought fare.  Plus it tastes delicious.  I toured the Great Harvest Bread Company recently and was happy that my homemade bread tastes so similar to the professional’s.  J


This is a recipe for the cook who is familiar with making his or her own bread.  If you have never made your own bread, a good recipe to practice on is my French Loaf.  Then you can move on to this recipe.


This bread takes very little of my time, it just has to sit and sour a long time (about 40 hours from start to finish).  It doesn’t taste overly sour, though.  My daughter and I made some a few days ago and enjoyed a slice fresh out of the oven with butter.  It is important to follow the directions and not vary.


A word on gluten - some people like to add gluten flour to their homemade wheat bread so that is doesn’t come out as a brick, but I wanted to keep this loaf as close to whole food as possible.  You will see with this loaf that you won’t need that gluten flour if you just let it sit for the prescribed amount of time.  But there is a breaking point I have discovered with gluten.  Gluten is the protein of the grain, by the way.  If it is developed properly it will give your loaf structure and allow it to rise nice and high, the strands are like 2-by-4s in your house that hold up the walls, they hold little rooms of gas.  Without proper gluten development, there are no rooms of gas bubbles, it’s just like a house that is fallen, it’s a pile of rubble, or densely packed wheat that tastes like rubble.  J  Anyway, back to the point.  I have noticed that the longer the dough sits, the better the gluten is developed, BUT if it sits too long, those nice strands of gluten break and you end up with the dense, brick loaf.  L  So the moral is, follow the recipe as I have set it.  I have tried to vary the amount of yeast or the souring time and it has flopped.


Now for the recipe, first I make a sponge; I usually do this in the evening, as I like it to sit for 24 hours.



1 cup warm water

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I’ve been using hard white wheat, but have also had success with red)

1/8 teaspoon yeast (I'm using rapid rise)




Stir together and let sit 24 hours, stirring a couple of times during that period.



Then the next evening I will put the following ingredients in my Kitchenaid mixer:


1/2 cup warm water

1 teaspoon yeast

2 tablespoons molasses or honey (black-strap molasses is packed with minerals, especially iron; honey is good, but it’s benefits are killed at 117°F5, bread is usually around 185°F when done baking)

2 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt – I prefer Celtic Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons millet (optional, for some crunch)


I stir this by hand till mixed and then add my sponge.  I let the machine mix it for me while I add another cup of flour or so till the bowl is clean.  See the picture.  I will then let it knead 10 minutes in the machine.









I then let it rise in a buttered bowl on counter for 90 minutes.  Then put it in the fridge overnight - I want the new flour I added to have a chance to sour.  The next day I'll set it out for a bit to warm up, from about 8am to 10am.  Then shape into a loaf, place in a buttered bread pan.











Let rise till it's nice and tall (last time I made it, this took about an hour and a half since the dough is still a bit cold).  Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes.  Enjoy your wonderful high and soft loaf!















If you would like to try baking a true sourdough loaf without any yeast, you might try this one.  I have not made it myself, but a friend has and says it’s good.


Want to learn more about phytic acid?  Take this free e-course, from someone who has done more research on this subject than I.





1The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin, pg. 138

2The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin, pg. 152

3Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, quote by Jacques DeLangre, pg. 491

4By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

5Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, pg. 536


  1. Your loaf is gorgeous! I'll have to try it!


  2. What is a sponge and how do you make it. Could I take store bought wheat bread and soak it overnight and get rid of the phytates? Is store bought sour bread free of phytates?

    God bless,

    Please let me know when you respond

  3. A sponge, or sourdough starter, or biga, is simply a runny dough that is allowed to ferment, or sour for a long period. It's too soft to be called dough, you wouldn't be able to knead it or shape it into a loaf. When you are ready to make a dough you add more flour to it.

    You wouldn't want to soak store-bought bread, because it would then be soggy and useless.

    It is the flour that is soaked to remove the phytates before the dough is made. Alternatively the grain can be sprouted, then dehydrated, then ground to be phytate-free.

    Store-bought products containing phytates - it depends first if it is a whole grain product. White bread does NOT contain phytates, that doesn't mean it's good for us, it is stripped of the bran and nutrients. If you can find a whole-grain bread product in the store that has been soured traditionally (without added artificial flavors to seem soured) OR is made from sprouted grains, like Ezekial brand, then I would say, yes, it is free of phytates.

    Hope this helps!

  4. yes, somewhat. I have seen sourdough bread in the health food stores; are some not soaked to take out the phytates or are they just like what you make by hand? I tried the Ezekiel bread and cereal and for some reason they made the fibroids in the belly grow. Weird, cause they say that it's sprouted. I don't know if you know that they connect fibroids to phytates, too.

  5. I can't really say how many phytates are removed in a store-bought sourdough loaf. My loaf is soaked beyond just the sponge stage, it could be that I soak mine longer than most.

    As far as the fibroids I think you should read Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD. It's available at www.guthealth.info.

    It may not seem to address your issue, but most issues revolve around the nutrients we absorb (or lack of), the toxins we're exposed to and our hormone levels being in balance. I firmly believe in getting to the root issue. This book addresses WHY our bodies won't absorb nutrients properly or detox toxins properly, WHY certain foods act like toxins in our bodies and thus mess up our hormone levels and cause major problems.

  6. Thanks for the help. I soaked some gluten free whole grain flour on the weekend and then made banana nut bread (without the nuts). It came out delicious and I couldn't believe how the bread or cake actually bounced when dropped on a plate. Very spongy like. However, the next day after eating, my belly seemed bigger. That's how I measure things..thru my belly. It seems as when I stay totally away from ANY grains (it used to be just the wheat and oat bran that made it grow) that my belly goes way down. It's amazing, but that's how I know fibroids shrink and grow with the phytates and other things I stay away from. I have looked 6 months pregnant yet when I watch what I eat, you can't really notice I have the fibroids.

    So as for the soaking not working, it must be that I need to soak longer. I gave it 12 hours. It still was soupy and when I added virgin olive oil and a little bit of milk with an egg, it was like running water. Yet I decided to try to bake it anyway and it worked! Do you think I should try for 24 hours? When does it become too long? After it ferments, then you put in the fridge to keep making new cakes or bread, right?

    Question, though - if you take your sponge (which is fermented) any you add flour (which still has the phytates), aren't you defeating the purpose. Doesn't the flour that has the phytates going to mess up your sponge? I don't understand.

    By the way, I'm a Jesus lover, too, and have read Dr. Rubin's book. I drink only goat's milk and boy does the goat yogurt, cheese and ICE CREAM taste delicious and no problem with mucous either!

  7. It may be that you need to stay away from all grains entirely for a while. You can read more about that in Gut & Psychology Syndrome, the book I mentioned above.

    As for soaking, the longer the better, usually not more than 24 hours, though.

    Your last question is correct, the flour you add to the sponge is not soaked, which is why my recipe calls for a really long rise time, to give the new flour time to sour and soak. This loaf I present here is not the IDEAL, but it is FAR better than store-bought fare or even non-soured homemade wheat bread. It may contain some phytates, I have not measured it.

    For some really great information on phytates, you should check out www.rebuildfromdepression.com.

  8. [...] Since the whey is acidic I can use it to neutralize the phytic acid in my grains (in the bran of grain).  The phytic acid, if left un-neutralized, will rob your body of important minerals.  For example, I know people like to eat Cream of Wheat for its iron content, BUT you won’t be absorbing that iron because of the phytic acid!  Ideally, we should be eating all whole grain foods, but only those that have been soaked or sprouted.  Read more here. [...]

  9. [...] toast, Health, Phytic Acid, Recipe, sourdough I tried something new today.  I made a batch of my Sourdough Molasses Bread, but instead of molasses, I used honey and then when it was time to shape the loaf, I rolled it out [...]

  10. Thanks for this great post Im pretty sure that many people are searching informative post like yours .

  11. For those who have digestive problems, do not use commercial yeast to make your bread with. This kind of yeast will indeed continue to grow in the gut.

  12. I was thrilled to find this blog, but then disappointed when I read you used commercial yeast for the sponge... This is not a true sourdough starter.... A true sourdough starter has nothing but equal parts flour and water.

    I agree with the other Sarah do NOT use commercial yeast to start your starter be patient and learn how to make a starter as it should be. If you want Healthy, then make your starter correctly...

    For a bit of history... Sourdough starter for bread use did not begin the 1700-1800's it began in biblical times long before Christ was born.