I never know what to say in situations like this. “Hey, I wrote a cookbook!” sounds a bit highfalutin or terse or simply not long-winded enough to be a part of my usual modus operandi.
(Boy, I’m socially awkward. If you want to just get on with buying the cookbook you can skip ahead to this enthusiastic site Stewart created while basking in the glow of the seemingly never-ending rye sourdough breads and treats I was testing.)
How about a story?
It was not long after we moved off-grid that I purchased my first 50 pound bag of rye flour. When we made that trek across the country some of the few items that we did hold onto were the buckets full of beans, oats, and spelt. With plenty of physical labor to be done, a growing family, and a baby on the way; it wasn’t long before the spelt – our favorite bread grain – was nearly used up.
So I searched around online for a source of spelt flour and was shocked at the prices. Apparently those 50 pound bags I had been buying from our food coop were a good deal. I dug around a bit and found organic rye flour to be half the price. I hadn’t done much in the way of rye baking but I figured for that kind of savings, why not give it a go?
With 50 pounds of rye flour on the way I began doing some research; what exactly could I make with rye flour besides fluffy loaves filled with white flour and caraway seeds? Turns out, there weren’t a whole lot of recipes on the internet for 100% rye baked goods. There were a few loaves – delicious in their own right – but I was looking for some variety.
Without much in the way of outside information I took to the kitchen and churned out some pretty sad, gummy, and unappetizing baked goods, at first. After some practice and some research on the properties of the rye grain we started with a No-Knead Sourdough Loaf. Then there were Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes. A Sourdough Rye Pie Crust soon followed and then some Biscuits, Noodles, Tortillas, treats, and more sourdough loaves. All of these were made with my beloved sourdough starter. As I later found out, the acidic properties of a sourdough starter are helpful in taming the gumminess inherent in the rye proteins.
A collection of 100% rye sourdough recipes was beginning to take shape and we thought maybe I’d put together a cookbook of core recipes for the home cook. In the time since there has been illness, a sweet new baby, a broken laptop, and then a broken camera. That was a year-and-a-half ago; it seems I was not to finish this book then.
While my husband Stewart recovered from severe adrenal fatigue, and sweet baby Ruthie grew, I kept preparing these breads for our family. I found new tricks and recipes that worked for our hectic, unpredictable off-grid life. I developed a few honey-sweetened rye sourdough treats for our family and community celebrations. We replaced the camera and computer, baby Ruth just marked her first year, and Stewart is up and around and back-at-it in a way I thought I’d never see.
We worked on other ways to bring you these recipes – through a publishing deal or maybe in a larger collective further down the road. But it just didn’t seem to fit these recipes, our life, or how we’d like them to be brought to you.
And so we give you this book of core recipes that can get you baking everyday loaves, honey-sweetened treats, and wheat-free snacks. All of the recipes are soured or soaked and have all been tested with a longer 12-24 hour fermentation period. There are also options for skipping those steps, in case you’re simply interested in baking with 100% rye flour and conventional leavening and preparation methods.
This is a collection of well-loved recipes from our home kitchen, part of a larger collective of recipes to encourage the eating of fermented foods every day, and a stand-alone resource for you to use to nourish your own family.
It is my sincerest hope that this book aids you in feeding yourself, and others, well.