Tuesday Aug 08, 2023

True Food Bread: The Great Sustainer

Lisa Mucullogh-Roark is the founder of Topanga Grain Co.. located in Los Angeles, CA.  She is a conscious educator, purveyor, and lover of all things "true food bread" and baking the way nature intended.  

Bread as a food has been considered the great sustainer since the beginning of civilzation and has been key to human survival cross culturally.  In some faiths, bread has been considered the nourishment from God. We can find references and the symbolism of bread in the Book of Exodus when the Israelites where freed from slavery in Egypt - as they had no time to make leavened bread, they made flatbread - which came to represent the celebration of Passover in the Jewish tradition and was the bread which Jesus "broke" and utilized in The Last Supper with his disciples.  Other familiar religious references can be found in Christianity through the Lord's Prayer as bread being the spiritual manna or sustenance from Heaven: "Give us this daily bread" and in Jesus' teachings when he said, "I am the bread of life."  

Daily bread as a food, per references in the Old and New Testament can be seen as symbolic of our discipline, our faithfulness, the value of community, and of receiving Divine supernatural provision.  Sourdough bread, when made like our ancestors did and as many integruous bakers do today, can serve as great nutritional sustainers and the food of life. 

In this episode, we discuss such topics as: the nature and make-up of true sourdough, ancient grains and their value, the process of self-milling and properly storing wheat, a history on the commercialization and hybridization of wheat and the increase in digestive diseases, gluten intolerance, etc., understanding the types of flour, simple steps to making your own sourdough starter, and so much more.  



To learn more about Lisa McCullough-Roark, go to:


Here's a quick step by step on making your sourdough starter:

To make your own sourdough starter is a fairly simple and straight-forward process that involves cultivating wild yeast and beneficial bacteria to create a naturally leavened bread dough. 


  • Unbleached and organic whole wheat/whole grain/rye flour 
  • Clean pure lukewarm water (chlorine-free, filtered or spring)

Day 1:

  1.  Mix in glass bowl:   1/2 cup (60g) of whole wheat or rye flour w/ 1/4 cup (60ml) of water until a thick paste forms.
  2. Loosely cover the container with a clean cloth (cheese cloth is great) and let it sit at room temperature (approx. 70-75°F) for 24 hours.

Day 2:

  1. Discard about 1/2 of the mixture that you had from Day 1.
  2. Add a new 1/2 cup (60g) of your flour and 1/4 cup (60ml) of clean water to the remaining mixture.  Use your hands and mix well.
  3. Again loosely cover the container and let it sit (at room temp) for another 24 hours.

Days 3-7:

  1. Repeat the process above - daily discarding and feeding process, Make sure to discard about half of the mixture before each feeding.
  2. You should start the mixture is becoming active as you will notice bubbles forming in the dough. 

Around Day 7 or as the starter is now active:

  1. At this point, your starter dough should be bubbly and have a pleasant smell.  Within a few hours of feeding you may notice it doubling in its size as it expands.
  2. From here, you can start using your sourdough starter to bake your bread. Once you are ready to bake, feed your starter and let it become active before using it in a recipe.

How to Properly Maintain Your Sourdough Starter:

  1. If you're not baking daily, you can store your starter in the refrigerator and feed it once a week using equal parts flour and clean water to keep it healthy and alive.
  2. Before using your refrigerated starter for baking, make sure to take it out, let it sit, and feed it at room temperature for a day or two as needed.

Remember, when it comes to making a sourdough starter, this may require some patience and care, as it can take a few days or more to fully develop the desired yeast and bacterial cultures.  However, once your starter is mature and ready, it will serve for delicious, healthy, and nurturing breads and other delectables. 


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