Tuesday the boss called to explore some new blog topics. This was one of them and I had my doubts about it for sure, but you can see the results above with a 3-pound loaf on the left made traditionally and a 2-pound loaf made with nanosilver.
First, if nanosilver is good at killing bacteria, how will the Lactobacilli in my precious start survive an experiment like this? So to begin with, on Thursday I activated my existing start and four hours later I started a second to use as a levain but with ¼ cup Silver Support (nanosilver) and⅓ cup bread flour.
Active Nanosilver starter (2 hours is all it took)
I was quite surprised that it was ready in just two hours. So I fed it one more time before bedtime.
Once again it very active; much more active than my standard culture. Nearly twice the volume and had many more gas bubbles.
Friday I made a test loaf at room temperature that rose much too quickly to get a good ferment. I should have placed it into the fridge, but I had no idea that replacing all the liquid with nanosilver would foster such a quick ferment.
So fast in fact, that I was tensioning and shaping the loaf in just four hours. It was as if I had added baker’s yeast, which leaves me suspicious if the normal value of baking with sourdough was lost.
As I tensioned and shaped the bread, I noticed quite a few pockets of unfermented dough. But I went ahead and baked it.
As you can see here on here on the left the pockets of unfermented dough marbled the final loaf, leaving white, gummy steaks of dough.
The bottom line is that this worked for making bread, but may have spoiled the effect of fermentation, which is vital to gut health. The second limiting factor, just using two cups of nanosilver costs $17.50 to make a loaf of bread, but if you want to try, here is the recipe:
Nanosilver Sourdough Bread
- A few hours before baking mix a cup of flour with ¾ cup nanosilver.
- Stir in ¼ cup of active start.
- Allow the levain to activate in a warm place for two–four hours.
Make the Dough
- Four or more hours before baking, whisk all the levain together with 2 cups (480 g) of nanosilver.
- Stir in 4 cups (500 g) of flour. (My personal choice is a mix of two cups of bread flour combined with 1½ cups freshly milled whole wheat or einkorn and ½ cup freshly milled rye).
- The dough will be quite stiff but will benefit from some mixing with your hands until the flour is fully incorporated.
- Cover and let this rest for 30 minutes. This resting period is called the autolyse; it allows wet ingredients and flour work to form the gluten in the dough that hold gases during the long fermentation but before adding the salt. It will help produce a better rise and a more complex flavor in the finished loaf.
- After the 30 minute autolyse, mix 1 Tbl salt with 2 Tbl water or nanosilver and work this into the dough. Then let is rest for 30 more minutes covered
- After this rest, stretch-and-fold by taking a corner of the dough in the bowl with wet hands, pulling it up and then folding it upon itself. Rotate the dough, and repeat two more times, then cover. This develops the gluten and makes a smooth, elastic dough.
- Repeat this process every 30 minutes until it has been done a total of four times.
- After the fourth stretch-and-fold, cover the bowl with a damp towel.
- Let it rise overnight in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours.
- Because this dough rises slowly while you sleep, you won’t be tempted to rush the process.
- The dough should be doubled in size, but to be sure give it a test by poking the dough with your finger. If it springs back to the surface without a dent, it needs a bit more proofing. If it leaves a dent and doesn’t spring back, it’s maybe over-proofed. However, if it springs back just a bit and leaves a slight dent the dough is ready to go in the oven.
- In the morning place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
- To shape in a boule, start at the top and fold the dough over toward the center. Then roll the dough like a jelly roll, turn and repeat several times until the dough tensions.
- Using a dough blade or your hands, turn the dough in a flat circle until it shapes into a ball.
- Flip the dough over letting it rest for 5 to 10 minutes while dusting brotform or lining an 8-inch (20-cm) bowl with a towel dusted with flour.
- Cup the dough and pull it toward you one more time, in a circular motion to tighten its final shape.
- Using a bench scraper, lift the dough into the brotform or bowl seam side down
- Cover the brotform or bowl and let it rise for 30–45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 465°F (240°C).
- The dough is ready when it is puffy but has not yet doubled in size.
- Cut a sheet of parchment to fit the size of your dutch oven but leaving enough excess around the sides so you can remove easily.
Score the Loaf:
- Invert the basket or bowl onto parchment (I hold my hand under the bowl with the parchment on my palm).
- Dust the top of the dough with flour spreading it evenly.
- Using a bread lame or a razor blade, score the dough.
- Use the parchment to transfer the dough to the dutch oven.
- Bake the dough on the middle rack of your oven for 20 minutes, covered (or uncovered in an oven with a pan of boiling water on a lower rack, which is how I do it).
- If baking without water, remove the lid and continue to bake for 10 minutes to crisp the crust, otherwise total time with heat is 30 minutes.
- Then turn off the heat, but leave the loaf in the oven for another 30 minutes as the oven cools and the crust hardens.
- Transfer to a wire rack for final cooling before slicing.
My conclusion after balking this is to swish with the nanosilver after eating a traditional slice of sourdough—this is the single most expensive loaf I have ever made!
What do you think about baking with nanosilver? Tell us in the comment section below.
Author: Darryl Alder, retired Scouter and outdoorsman, who spent too many hours over a campfire using a dutch oven, and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire. You can read many of his outdoor recipes here.