Spring cleaning and no-knead sourdough

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 3/20/24

Sidonie Maroon, Culinary Educator for the Food Co-op


My inner spring cleaning happens while at the sink with soapy hands, hanging up a pot, or grabbing the milk bottle from the …

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Spring cleaning and no-knead sourdough


Sidonie Maroon, Culinary Educator for the Food Co-op


My inner spring cleaning happens while at the sink with soapy hands, hanging up a pot, or grabbing the milk bottle from the fridge. In all these unspectacular, yet contemplative moments of just being, I come to terms with realities and the necessities of change.

Our need to declutter, decide, and revitalize is natural during transitions. Sometimes at the turn of season and sometimes in a new season of life. Recognizing when to switch gears, remain consistent, or both is a type of deep clean.

My cooking plays a significant role in how I show up for others. It’s where I express care, gratitude and connection. I’ve used it to teach, explore, earn a living and write recipes. As the cook, I’m the gatekeeper for my family’s health, and provide the social structure of mealtimes for us to gather around. It is the creative way for me to get the necessary done. Cooking is a good fit for my talents, or so I thought.

I’ve come through a successful parathyroidectomy, and while grateful to be alive, on the other side and eager to regain my health and energy — hyperparathyroidism has left me with osteoporosis. I’m putting myself through intensive self-study on how to rebuild and keep my bones healthy, and while we already eat lots of fresh produce, good protein sources and little processed foods, I still need to make shifts that disrupt our usual ways of eating.

Instead of cooking farmhouse breakfasts every morning, my husband now cooks his own big breakfast for his high caloric needs. (He’s thin and works physically hard all day.) I, for the first time, am drinking homemade smoothies packed with bone-happy ingredients. My eating patterns and hunger signals have also changed, and so it takes more to motivate everyday cooking.

Surprisingly, it’s ok. My partner leaped forward as I stepped back. He didn’t love me just because I’m a good cook, although I know he’s grateful. Over the past five years of coping with an unknown illness, I’ve had to get smart about my kitchen systems. I’ve pared back, paced my energy, asked for help and let others take on some of my duties.

I still make Instant Pot yogurt and sourdough bread every week, because they’re easy and take little effort. I haven’t had to change my cooking-from-scratch commitment because our systems were already in place. It’s helped that my skills are second nature, so there is something important about building competencies for all circumstances.

As spring begins and I continue to reassess my cooking life, I’m making more conscious decisions about what to keep and let go.


Let Go

● Making multi-course complicated meals every day.

● Feeling guilty and obligated about anything, ever.

● Trying to make others happy at my expense.


Keep and Begin

● I’d like to restart my worm composting system.

● Commitment to growing more brassicas like kale, collards, cabbage and broccoli. I have an easy go-to way to make daily salads with them. www.foodcoop.coop/blog.

● My delicious easy homemade no-knead, gluten-free sourdough made with quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, lentils, chickpeas, flax, psyllium and sunflower seeds is a necessary, daily and much appreciated part of my diet. I can have toast with my tea.



Sidonie’s Gluten Free Sourdough

Makes one large loaf


An easy gluten-free no-knead sourdough with whole seeds and legumes with no separate starter! It tastes like a quality whole grain sourdough and makes excellent toast.


Special equipment needed:

11-cup capacity food processor or smaller if you grind in two batches.


Notes: You can substitute other grains or legumes, but keep the same water-to-solids ratio. Weigh both your water and solids to figure this out. Use filtered water and don’t rinse the ingredients. The beneficial yeasts and good bacterias live on their skins. That’s why you won’t need a separate starter! You don’t need to knead this bread because there isn’t any gluten to develop. It’s held together with the flax and psyllium. Be sure to add the flax and psyllium after you’ve ground the soaked materials in the food processor, otherwise it’ll gum up.


For soaking:

3 cups filtered water

½ cup each dry organic bulk of the following:

Quinoa, pre-washed

Amaranth seeds

Buckwheat groats

Hulled sunflower seeds

Lentils, any type


Add to the batter:

½ cup ground flax seeds

¼ cup psyllium seed husk powder


Final ingredients:

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 tablespoons molasses


1. First day: Add soaking ingredients to a large mixing bowl, with the water, and soak 8 hours (overnight), or up to 12 hours. The quinoa should be pre-washed, so it doesn’t make the rest of the batch soapy tasting, but don’t pre-rinse the other ingredients because the inert yeasts and good bacteria are on the plant skins. I make up and store 12 separate baggies of dry soaking ingredients at a time, so I only need to grab one when I’m ready to make my next loaf.


2. Second day: After soaking, add the soaked ingredients and soaking water to a large food processor and grind into a batter. I allow the processor to run for the time it takes to grind the flaxseed in a coffee grinder and get out the psyllium seed husk powder, about 3 minutes.


3. Put the batter back into the rinsed soaking bowl. Add the ground flaxseed and psyllium husk powder to the batter and stir it in. Cover the bowl with a plate or towel and allow it to ferment at room temperature 65 to 70 F for 8 to12 hours. The fermentation and soaking times are flexible as long as you don’t go over 6 hours of the recommended times. The batter should taste slightly sour when it’s fully fermented. It needs to be sour, but too sour and the yeasts have a hard time surviving, and they are the ones who make the bread rise.


4. Third Day: After the batter, which is now a dough, ferments, add the salt and molasses. I work it in with my hands until I can’t see any streaks of molasses. I keep my hands wet with water when working with this dough, as opposed to oil or flour.


5. Shape, proof and bake: With wet hands, pick up the dough and slap and turn it, working out all the cracks on its surface. Set it down on a parchment lined baking sheet, and press into a 9-inch round. Other shapes are possible, but start with the round so you’ll get a feel for how thick the dough should be. Score the top and allow it to proof at 90 degrees F or in a warm place for 3 hours. I use my oven. It works to turn your oven on at 250F for 10 minutes and then turn it off and allow the residual heat to proof the bread, but make sure it isn’t hotter than 90F. Anywhere warm will work, like the top of the fridge. You’ll know it’s ready to bake because the score lines will widen and it’ll look larger. Don’t expect white bread results.


6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 50-60 minutes. Take it out, and off the baking sheet and allow it to cool before slicing. It’s great fresh, but I love it toasted. To store, I keep it wrapped in a towel on the counter or in a covered casserole. This bread freezes well, and can be dried for croutons or breadcrumbs.