Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast : Recipes for Whole Grain Health
Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast” direct from the publisher Front Table Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Inspired to Read:
My inspiration to read and grow in my knowledge about yeast is twofold: I developed a fascinating addiction to bread from a very young age (I take after my Mum!) combining with the stories of my Uncle who was taught how to knead bread in order to reduce his stress levels (therein a curiosity to make homemade bread germinated in my mind) and through my research (in step with my Mum’s) into healthy living, eating, and the way in which foods affect us on a physiological level (and beyond) I have known for awhile there is a staunch different between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ yeast.
I wasn’t as sure if I had the resources I need to take on this particular project of mine, but I wanted to gain knowledge, as knowledge is the first step towards doing anything in our lives; including bettering ourselves in the kitchen! Therefore what surprised me (as you will soon see revealed) wasn’t a lack of an ingredient or a repertoire of baking items to use, no rather it was a more precise ‘issue’ I have no control over and thus, had to abandon my idea of creating my own natural yeast at this point in time. Meanwhile, the joy I had when I saw this book go on tour remains because I truly believe one way to change our lives is to effectively find better ways to nourish ourselves and broker an independence off what is quick and fast, for something that is more dynamically beneficial to our bodies, minds, and spirits.
As foresaid on my previous two blog tours for Front Table Books, my own journey towards living a healthier lifestyle is in a very unique stage at the moment — you can read my thoughts on where I am on either my review of Gluten-Free Made Easy OR The Secrets of Gluten-Free Baking wherein I speak openly and honestly about my quest for a healthier future. Part of my long-term goals are to provide more photo journals on my blog for each Front Table cookbook I am receiving from Cedar Fort. You will find my first foray into merging my joy of photography with my foodie heart’s quest to being a more well-rounded cook on my showcase for Gluten-Free Made Easy; if you are on Twitter you can easily favour or re-tweet the specific points of that post to your followers. It was the first time I hosted a live-as-you-bake sequence of photo journals on Twitter.
Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast
Subtitle: Recipes for Whole Grain Health
With allergies to commercial yeast on the rise, natural yeast is the easy and healthy solution to baking all the foods you love. Brush up on your techniques with Melissa Richardson’s newest book, Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast, with mouthwatering recipes like Soft Pretzel Rolls, Honey Whole Wheat Bread, and Lemon Chiffon Cake. Say goodbye to commercial yeast, and hello to a healthier body!
Read the Book Synopsis for The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast, the companion to this release and the first of the series. I decided to name the series myself as it felt as though it was implied but I am unsure if there will be more in sequence past these two books thus released.
Places to find the book:
Published by Front Table Books
on 31st September, 2014
On starting the process to create your own Starter:
Remember earlier I mentioned I had feared I was missing a key ingredient to create my own starter at home? Technically, this is still correct except it isn’t something that can be purchased, borrowed, or even procurable online! You see the ‘key’ ingredient I am MISSING is the very climate in which I live to be more agreeable and sustainable to natural yeast! Let me take you through how I sorted this out and why it took me a bit to realise it! For starters, as I have previously declared (on prior Front Table Books reviews) I entered into a passion for cooking and baking quite late as I was in my late twenties. I’m a thirty-something now, and my passion hasn’t wavered for uncovering ways in which I can start to build on the skills I have grown into mastering and taking my level of understanding savoury, sweet, and baking to new levels of depth and warmth!
Whilst it is true I received my copy of Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast around four weeks til my tour stop, I had quite a heap on my plate at the time, and had only just started to broach into the book in beginning of the week for my stop! I had previously taken an overview of the book — as this is part of my method from my school days, where I like to get a cursory look-see at what I am about to dig into and get a proper feel for the book in general. For non-fiction this especially applies as unlike a novel, I find non-fiction to take a bit more time to fully process and allow the information I am reading absorb to where I can talk about it. Therefore imagine my plumb SURPRISE in finding a FREE offer to receive a starter for Natural Yeast! Yes, on page 3 you are given the contact information for Ms. Richardson’s natural yeast partner in crime Caleb Warnock (of whom co-authored this particular book’s companion The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast).
I was given three options to receive my free starter and nearly planned to put together a SASE for the dry yeast starter (thinking of a start date in early 2015) until I read the step-by-step resource page on Mr. Warnock’s website; ergo the rub! If you live in a place of high frequencies of humidity and/or your indoor environment fluctuates (and whose doesn’t in the Southeast?) you have a higher risk for issues with your natural yeast! The first thing that ran through my mind reading that (even before it was mentioned) is “oh great – another mould issue about to strike me!” Herein I should mention if you leave store bought bread out on your counter or keep it tucked away in a cupboard — within two to four days you will have mould! I kid you not! So, yes, I had the full intention of extending my showcase on this lovely book beyond the initial tour stop, but due to climatic and environmental issues (clearly beyond any human’s control!) I am going to have to backburner this project!
This part of my review will remain open-ended to the day I get to greet myself in a place uniquely different from here as I do plan to relocate in the near future and thus, have the new chance of being without humidity and inconsistent indoor temperature variations for the first time! Let’s celebrate this thought! Go on! Clap! Cheer! Chant! Get giddy! I know I am!
Pretending I have a 9 day prepped Natural Yeast Starter in my Fridge:
Let’s fast forward to the day I have blogged and photographed my 9 day journey in curating my very own batch of natural yeast and have been happily feeding it (and talking to it – who knew yeast like water likes to have conversations?) to get to the very moment I can whip out my baking supplies and get to work on creating delish homemade and natural yeast goodies of delight!
My top 10 Choices of what I want to bake:
Cranberry Ginger Loaf – dear me! I positively love cranberry walnut bread or any bread which fuses my love of cranberries or other fruits (except for ‘fruitcake’) into a slice of bread loveliness! You can do so much with the final result it is not even funny! You can go from savoury by adding herbs and/or spices to the top of a slice with coconut oil slathered on top underneath OR you can do a mock desert by adding cinnamon! Talk about being ‘beyond yum’ and you made the bread yourself!
Simply Sourdough – I know, I know, the typical response should have been one of the Rye choices or even the Pumpernickle option as I seriously love both of them equally! However, when I learnt the benefits of eating Sourdough bread, I started to notice how much I was craving this particular type of bread! I think if my head tells my heart something is healthy, I form a proper addiction! Such as what happened when I discovered the beauty of making homemade gauc! Dear me! Best keep all available avocados away from me — I seriously will consume them wicked fast! You could put sprouts, gauc, cukes, a bit of hummus and a dash of grain mustard on these slices with a hearty heirloom tomato and I’m be over the moon happy!
Chia Flax Loaf – Have you ever eaten a vegan chia brownie? No. You must! Have you ever sprinkled chia seeds into your stir-fry dinners or fry ups? You seriously need too! You will find this little seed of goodness gets a savoury kick to your cooking and I can only imagine how I would feel if I baked with it! (the brownies were locally made – lest I digress before I share how many I ate over this past Summer) Flax seeds are my ‘seed’ if I were to pick a #1 favourite and combining it with my #2 the chia? You know this loaf is going to rock my world one day!
Orange Blueberry Pancakes – Ooh my dear sweet stars — if I could master the art of making my own pancakes, I can think of nothing sweeter for breakfast! I wouldn’t make this unless I could get fresh oranges and since technically citrus fruit is a ‘Southern thing’, I am not sure how I can pull this off in the future (as there is something to be said not to truck in foods if they are not naturally occurring in your area; maybe if they went by rail instead on a limited basis? compromise and all?) but least we not fret on the logistics but on the fact this recipe had me blissfully happy in seeing it on the page! Beyond yum!
Oven Pancakes – Did you giggle or laugh seeing the next recipe was a ‘pancake’? I am not sure how I had the will power to skip over mentioning the ‘pumpkin pancake’ but here I am talking about the ‘oven variety!’ Incredibly when you do not have the right fry pan to make pancakes you attempt the impossible and try to create the same effect in the oven! I’ve done this so many times it is not even funny, yet the results never looked like these did on page 68! I believe Richardson went fruity and added apples, cranberries, and walnuts but I would personally whip up some homemade homefries, add in those sweet onions that like to grow with strawberries (it is this giant white onion with a topper of green stalks of which once cut inside you find ‘scallions’), and a heap of garlic! A bit of a ‘skillet meal’ of a cake!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – I should have honestly mentioned these first because when I came across this on page 70, I quite literally wanted to magically find a starter inside my fridge so I could make them! I mean, homemade *lemon poppy seed muffins* — I can all but smell them baking and I can nearly taste them too! Ooh boy! The stack of three in the picture is a good ‘serving size’ don’t you think? Laughs.
Graham Crackers – Okay who knew you could make these yourself? Any hands going up? Anyone reading this and saying “I knew! I knew!”? No. Good. Neither did I! I never could find the right graham cracker I preferred and to know you can bake them with ingredients you put together yourself made this an instant winner for me!
Challah – The braiding technique for this one reminds me of why I never braided the hair of my classmates in school, but somehow I think dough might be more forgiving? It is a working theory of mine. My favourite variety of this comes with raisins inside it but even traditional Challah is a delicacy I think! Such a beautiful bread with such a hearty history of origin!
Toss-Up: AEbleskivers OR Teff Injera OR Indian Naan – On the one hand I love the fact you can make something between a doughnut and a mini-muffin but on the other hand I personally love eating Teff! Teff makes excellent hot cereal if you add in some raisins or currents along with a bit of wild flower honey! I have a feeling it would be hard not to try both at the same time! Now, when it comes to Naan, I am one happy girl! Who has gone to an Indian restaurant knowing that as soon as your order it taken, the mango lassi and the naan is soon to be deposited to your table! And, the joy of that moment! Warm naan to soak into your gobi marsala whilst enjoying your samosas? If only I could learn to make the rosewater sweets!
I loved all the little extras Richardson put into this baking book (as it is truly a book for bakers!), such as asking you if your starter needs to be fed or little bits of information pertinent to the cause of being homemade with natural yeast! The instructions are easy to read as she puts each step in BIG BOLD PRINT, all the ingredients are at the start of the recipe along with the yield ratios (brilliant I thought!). The photography makes you wish you did not live in the Southeast (if you were say, Jorie) because of the scrumptiously delish factor! Laughs. She also finds a balance between the recipes and the self-education on whole grains and what a health diet should consist of — if you want to get a crash course in finding your own balance for your own health pursuits, she gives you full pages of essay-style informative pieces to give you something to chew on and challenge the perspective you had before you picked up the book. If you walked in knowing what I knew, it is nice to have the refresher course as much as finding a few new things that perked your interest to boot!
On how I knew the differences between the former ‘Staff of Life’ and the ‘Modern’ variation:
My family has a long history of passing down ‘living histories’ and the legacies of who my relations were prior to when I entered the scene! Within this telling of tales, I started to notice an undercurrent of similarities when it came to talking about food and the way everyone in my family felt after they had eaten. I also started to notice the differences between when I was a child (when I had bang-on brilliant metabolism), a teenager (slowly noticed a descending decline of metabolism), a twenty-something (no metabolism to speak of), and a thirty-something (so frustrated to the hilt with regular foods I was thankful I turnt to vegan, vegetarian, and macrobiotics — the combination of how you balance what you eat by the ingredients in the foods themselves gave me the most change; not just in weight but in a mindfulness of knowing how well I truly felt inside and out) to a book blogger whose in her 2nd Year missing eating through the seasons as she’s an omnivore.
We all have seasons in our lives, we all go through adversities and we all go through life shifts that are either unexpected, planned, or needed (give or take the circumstances). The best we can do whilst we are living is to rise to meet what we are greeting with an attitude that does not takeaway the angst completely (how many of you can honestly say you’ve never had food angst?) but approach it with the hope of sorting out the problems by seeking out a better way of consuming what is needed to sustain ourselves over time. It isn’t even so much seeking the balance or combinations of foods as much as sourcing the raw ingredients and knowing where our food to fork to plate resources are being distributed. There is a murky water of food production vs food consumption and the methodological logistics to getting everything we need to a marketplace. I am pro-locavore as I highly believe in what is grown locally, using sustainable practices, non-chemicals and a way in which preserves both the land and the body who consumes the food is the best approach to keep us heading in the right direction.
I’ve sidestepped a bit, but what you can gather from what I’m trying to say is that the way in which we farm and consume our foods today is a far cry from the way my own great-grandfathers farmed the land themselves. I may or may not have previously mentioned I have a farmer’s past to my lineage, of late I muse about how this might be why farm grown fruit and veg are the ones I crave the most; not the pristine packaged products you find in your local supermarket. Those are the ones who are from some warehouse storage unit over 3,000 miles away and were shelved for over a year! So sad. Yet so true.
I knew a bit more about this side of the ledger prior to picking up Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast, because my family has always sought to gain the truth out of every facet of life. My own Mum has been the pioneer of changing our health through our diet and by giving us a mindful clue of how to listen to our bodies and know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to food or to the allergies that plague us when we have either eaten something out of sync with our natural process to accept it or knowing there was a process attached to that specific food that is causing the allergy to come to light. The forward thinking of my Mum, I am certain is part of our familial past coming out and giving her the dedicative spirit to understand the present and the future.
Mum was the one who initially started the conversations about ‘victory gardens’ (backyard gardens are going like banshees right now across the United States; we are turning back on what we once knew and re-defining how to survive with less than we had) and the lively debate about heirloom seeds vs the ones on the market today. I believe in everything old world – from arts, to culture, to music, to food, to green living practices — Richardson is right about the Industrial Revolution; not a lot of good came out of it, but not everything was horrid either. The one kernel piece of insight that went amiss is not to tempt to change what you cannot control — the Industrial Revolution had a catastrophic aftereffect on so many different industries and ways of living, it put us back centuries in some regards and forward by half in others. To every change we undertake there has to be a conscience choice to be mindful of what can be harmed and what can be saved through ethical practices and harmonic industries that do not seek to destroy more than what the Earth can handle.
On why it doesn’t surprise me this is more than a book about how to ‘bake bread’:
The one fundamental truth we all have is how food sustains far more than the body, it is a way of living as much as it is an ecological cyclic organisational tool. For each season that we live through, the foods grown on the lands or harvested from the seas have a unique position on the wellness of the plants, animals, insects, and the atmosphere. We live on a Biosphere where everything is interlocked and interconnected to each other. The way in which we approach how we are going to sustain ourselves by food is a direct correlation to how we may or may not affect the other living organisms who call this place home.
If by returning to the traditional practices of baking with natural yeast inasmuch as supporting locally grown fruit and veg from farmer’s markets within 100 miles of your house (or being harvested out of your raised beds out in the backyard) can make even a thumbprint of a difference, than I champion the cause! Let’s take back our health one baked bread at a time! Let’s determine how we want to live and thrive whilst we’re alive by choosing alternative methods of how our food comes to our plate. And, let us find a way to make living foods which contain life breathing properties to be given to families of all backgrounds even if the need is higher than the surplus to share. This isn’t about economy as much as it is about neighbours and community members uniting together for the common good for all mankind. This is about community outreach as much as community plots (gardens of produce) and a network of getting a basket of fresh foods to everyone who wants to eat outside of a tin. Let’s inspire change.
This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:
One thing I have wanted to seek out is a way to talk about what befits a book blogger’s soul – part of what makes our soul happy is the food we consume, which is why time to time I will be showcasing a healthy-minded cookbook or baking book to augment this side of my life into my book blog. For this reason, I am still quite grateful Front Table Books and Cedar Fort gave me my initial chance to feature a cookbook — as it marked a transition moment for me, as throughout December and extending into 2015 directly, I will be regularly featuring non-fiction titles as much as dipping into the Foodie Fiction section of literature which compels my heart to discover.
This post marks my third tie-in on my bookish blog where I am going to be highlighting both fiction and non-fiction Foodie delights! I have always appreciated “Foodie Fiction”, but I am also an amateur sous chef who likes to experiment in the kitchen with her Mum! I grew up with a keen interest in savory and sweet decadence from a Mum whose culinary wanderings spanned the world. We were always a family who were considered to eat ‘bland’ food due to the fact we limited our salt intact, and we never used black pepper! Ironically, it was through the herbs and spices my Mum always fused into our cooking adventures that first sparked my own interest in getting a bit more involved than merely developing a ‘taste’ for what I appreciated. I developed my own yearnings for Indian spices (i.e. Curry Powder, Garam Marsala, Turmeric, etc) and foods, as much as I always had a hankering for extra garlic cloves due to a high concentration of Italian foods I consumed growing up. I wanted to merge my bookish joy of reading ‘Foodie Fiction’ with my quest to uncover a healthier and more vibrant way to eat, live, and thrive. Therefore, I decided to begin featuring what I consider fit under this new Feature of Jorie Loves A Story: The Bookish Foodie! As I am *exactly!* what the title eludes — I’m a bookish girl who has a Foodie soul! Drop back and spend time with me to see where this Feature takes me!
SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Beyond Basics of Natural Yeast”, Blog Tour Badge and Cedar Fort badge were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. The Bookish Foodie badge created by Jorie in Canva. Cross posting Riffle badge created by Jorie in Canva.}
Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.
Tweets on Twitter in regards to “Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast”:
— Jorie Loves A Story (@JLovesAStory) December 14, 2014
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Go Indie