Chef Jana here to share a recipe for your gluten- free guts, and fans of the salty-savory. I chose this recipe to coincide with my own Alaskan experiences. Only being a resident of the state for four years, I have been granted the title of, “Honorary Sourdough,” since surviving an animal attack and a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. This esteemed title usually takes 30+ years, yet my local friends and family have generously granted me this title, and I humbly and gleefully accept (If you want more details you will have to have me over to cook dinner sometime).

There are studies that focus on the health of our inner eco systems and the benefits of including fermenting and cultured foods. Some even go as far as to say that fermented grains in our breads are easier for the body to digest. As a fan of the pickle and its fermented friends, I will not counter these studies with anything but excitement. I covet the benefits of these foods and I truly enjoy the flavors of them. I am most definitely a connoisseur of the salty and the sour, which is why I chose to share this particular recipe.

What’s great about this recipe is, it features pantry items that can easily be repurposed to celebrate the changing of the season and make room in your kitchen for the abundance of fresh Alaskan produce and fish. As for great local treats be sure to check out Barnacle Foods Pickled Kelp. It is a unique pickle and definitely carries the taste of the sea.

A Gluten- Free Alaskan Sourdough

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used 1 for 1)
  • 1 cup almond fFlour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 Birch Syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 packet or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup Sourdough Starter (see below, for recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (do not use cold butter)

1½ cups plain kefir plain unsweetened or full fat milk warmed to above body temperature (I fill a mug with hot water and place a jar with plain unsweetened kefir into the hot water to bring up to temp)

Chef Jana with a lovely loaf of Ak sourdough

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then cut in the room temperature butter, and. Follow with all the wet ingredients.

I like to keep the starter on the counter for a few hours to warm up, that way it doesn’t shock the yeast and prevent it from activating.

Once all of your ingredients have been combined you should have a mixture that is creamy like muffin batter.  It will not look like bread dough because the recipe is missing… you guessed it …However, once you place your dough in a greased bread pan or a bread rising bowl it will grow. Make sure it stays warm and cover with a moist towel for at least 1.5 hours.

Bake your bread in the bread pan for 45 minutes at 400 degrees or free form the bread into a round boule shape at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

Once the bread is golden brown and delicious, hold back your human urges to slice into the hot bread.  You will enjoy your results much better once the bread has completely cooled.

Enjoy with beets, marinated eggs, butter and pickled kelp like I did or save your sourdough for an epic grilled cheese that will not disappoint.

How to make Sourdough Starter

Mix together:

1 cup ground Spelt Flour

1 cup water room temperature

1 cup kefir plain unsweetened

1 tsp sugar or syrup

2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used 1 for 1)

Mix together until there are no lumps. Place in a glass jar with a lid on the kitchen counter. Leave for 8 hours then refrigerate. Fermented foods are fussy and not to be neglected. The mixture should smell sour, but not soured like spoiled milk. Gluten free Starter has less sugar for the culture to feed on so it can not live in the refrigerator for more than a few weeks.

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Food has been my deep seeded passion since I was young. Visiting international markets, along with hosting students from around the globe exposed me to a variety of cuisines. It sparked an interest to learn and a need to devour cultural flavors. Cooking is now a hefty part of my life in social and professional circles. I have been paid to cook for over 18 years but before that I cooked for trade; firstly, because I was under the legal working age but also to gain experience. Typically, I would trade my prepping efforts for the opportunity to go to a type of restaurant I had never been to. Other times, I would babysit just to learn about another family’s culinary culture. During my early professional development years I was scrubbing vegetables, washing dishes, and working cafeteria style shifts to earn my spot as an apprentice. After completing a culinary program at Colorado Mountain College and while completing my ACF program, I gained experience working in several different venues and restaurants. I was now in need of finding my own style of culinary art. I landed with Whole Foods Market. This was where I learned about the big picture of food, from politics to fair trade. Working for a large corporation provided room for me to hone my skills in the realm of healthy and unique alternatives for classic international cuisines. Whole Foods has a broad set of clients and events that made it possible for me to embark on a personal journey of culinary discovery. There I found my puzzle master and problem-solving skills truly being utilized with creating recipes that fit different health lifestyles yet also soothed the soul. As a private chef, I am able to share what I have learned about so many dietary struggles, by helping clients find the list of foods they can enjoy while building vitality on the plate.

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