Baking in the time of Covid

Sometime towards the middle of the ‘Covid shutdown’, I realised that the gluten-free bread I was buying regularly at the local health food store was not made from organic ingredients plus the local baker added sugar, which I didn’t approve of. I made a point to meet the baker and ask him. His reasoning for adding sugar was that it was helping the dough bind and raise better. I knew nothing about sourdough baking, but being a Gemini that wasn’t an excuse not to explore it further.

Conveniently during the lockdown, whilst business was quite and the phone was mute, I had plenty of time to play around. I even thought to myself that if tourism will come to a dead-end I could become a baker. HAHA

Laura the Mermaid, one of our best therapists was baking sourdough bread for years. Laura was on a sabbatical break from work nursing her second baby. I happened to run into her one morning at Ocean beach, and got straight to the point, asking her if she can help me out baking my very first sourdough bread. Laura was quick to respond saying “ come by later on and I’ll give you a Rye starter.”

“Terrific.” I said, and my journey with bread making had just begun. Laura was so supportive; by the time I got home, I had three video clips waiting on messenger, taking me step by step through the whole process. It looked so easy, but I already knew that I would have to tweak her recipe. I also needed to convert the Rye starter into a gluten-free starter, which I had zero idea of how to do. Thank god for Youtube. Hours of info and demos were just a click away.

My first go wasn’t that bad; the bread smelled and tasted good, but it was a bit too moist for my taste and it was slightly on the heavy side. Lalita insisted that we should knead it versus using a wet mix. I agreed and we tried her version one afternoon. She did a loaf of organic Spelt and I did a mixture of buckwheat, Brown rice, Tapioca and banana flour.

It was way too much work for two loaves of bread and the end results were nothing to rave about. It took me extra four more weeks till I found a formula, which came close to desirable gluten-free sourdough bread, which was light, airy, tasty and most importantly healthy! I guess all of you gluten-free fanatics want the winning recipe.

I almost felt like teasing you saying “next time!” but hey I love sharing. I liked the simplicity as well as the ease of remembering it. SO, get your pad ready?

  • 2 cups each of starter, buckwheat and brown rice
  • 1 cup of tapioca
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoon of salt

The original recipe specified 5 tablespoons of olive oil, but I only apply 2 spoonfuls (Lalita doesn’t like cooking olive oil)
Pour the mix into a tray lined with baking paper and place it in a nice warm place, for at least 8-10 hours before baking. Decorate it, if you like (I used black sesame seeds).

The Recipe was calling for 50-55 min at 180c. Mine took about 70 min. I was told to tap the bottom and look for a hollow sound.
I still need a few more months to perfect it. Now that the regional restrictions have been lifted and Aiyana Retreat is in high demand again, I will need to make a point to continue to fit baking into my daily routine.

Good Luck everyone!