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Ever tried sourdough cornbread? Your chili game is about to get legendary.

Go beyond kimchi, kraut and yogurt and discover a world of foods you never even knew could be fermented. Check out this new collection of recipes from cook, author and homesteader Shannon Stonger, and prepare to cultivate some favorite new dishes. This sourdough skillet cornbread will change your chili game forever.  

That crisp-bottomed golden loaf can only be had with a hot oven and a cast-iron skillet. While I grew up eating the sweeter Northern cornbread, which generally contains more wheat flour and sugar, this recipe is much more akin to a Southern cornbread. Made only with cornmeal and fermented overnight with sourdough starter, this bread is all about the corn. The fermentation only improves the flavor and texture and makes it easier on the belly.

How To Make A Sourdough Starter

Great bread, whether wheat or gluten-free, is made with simple ingredients, as is the sourdough starter from whence it is leavened. A simple slurry of flour and water come together to create a matrix for the bacteria, yeasts, enzymes and acids that will, quite literally, bring your bread to new heights.

Making a sourdough starter is a process, much like reaching the sweet spot for kimchi or kraut. I find that about a week, give or take, is all you need to create a sourdough starter that could last you a lifetime, if cared for properly. On the flipside, if all you want to do is a one-off sourdough bake, give yourself a week of daily starter care and you’ll have the bread you were looking for.

A quick note on flour choice: Unbleached all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, spelt flour and rye flour can all be used to make a starter for leavening wheat breads. Use the same guidelines for creating a gluten-free sourdough starter, but substitute teff, sorghum or buckwheat flour; other gluten-free flours are generally too starchy to create a good starter.

This week-long timeline will guide you through creating the gluten-free or wheat starter needed for baking.

Reprinted with permission from Traditionally Fermented Foods