Friday, August 28, 2015

Three Natural Principles

Years of observation and reading lead me to believe that there are three basic principles of life that people have been taught to ignore. Our species would be a healthier part of the living world if we paid more attention to these principles:

1. Diversity - Since the first strand of DNA replicated itself in primordial soup, life has been served by inexact replication. Variations allow resilience as life adapts to ever changing conditions. From the cloning salps at sea to the fungus thriving on nuclear waste to businessmen in suits on the thirteenth floor, every form of life is built of variations of DNA, each slightly different than the rest. Whatever may come, it’s likely that some forms of life will be adapted to handle the changes.

Within human society, diversity is also a strength. Diverse intelligences compliment each other in any endeavor. Diverse cultures broaden our communication and understanding. Even though physical diversity among humans is less than most species (consider dogs), without the fearful prejudices of racism, this too could serve the whole.

Standardization of material items has been a key economic principle of industrial mass production. The error of applying standardization to living things has been immensely damaging to human opportunities for survival.

2. Symbiosis - We’re all in this together. The parasite that destroys its host also perishes. Evolutionary biologists tell us that symbiosis is selected for. Smart business people tell us that success comes to those who help others to succeed.

In fact the concept of the individual is flawed. Microbiologists tell us that complex organisms like people are in fact unique colonies of microbes. Fungus on our skin produces our pheromones and bacteria in our guts make the chemicals required by our nerves to communicate. Microbes greatly outnumber human cells in anyone. The functions of the cells are often too much to understand, but we know that each colony of microbes we call a person is unique and constantly changing. 

Microbes come and go, often interacting with other species in a great dance of life. We are like cells and tissues within a greater being with a singular will to survive. Objectively, we could say that the smallest independent life form yet identified is the entire ecosphere of Earth. It is also the only one we’ve positively confirmed.

When humans perform acts that deny the symbiosis of life, we become the cancer cells of Gaia. Toxic byproducts of war used against plant we’ve decided are weeds and insects we’ve labeled pests may undermine the very ecosystems upon which we’re dependent. Life will continue, but will humans?

3. Entrainment - This may be a principle of physics not unique to life, but it is at least as vital as the two previous examples. Put two pendulum clocks side by side and in time they will tick in a coordinated manner, either parallel motion or precise opposite motion. To my knowledge, though this experiment has been replicated, it has not been explained.

Rhythmic entrainment helps to explain symbiosis. Most living cells share a “circadian clock,” apparently derived from the regularity of the tides, themselves reflecting the orbital patterns of earth and moon. The human construct of time is itself born of these rhythmic patterns.

Industrialism has not denied rhythm. Every factory depends upon regular repetition. But when we try to create our own rhythm without regard to the natural patterns that surround us, we forget how to dance. Entrainment is a natural process, if only we remember that we are part of nature, not its director.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wash Cycle

This idea grew from the Corvallis Bicycle Collective at a time when we felt a need for a way to wash our greasy rags. It has developed into a companion for the EcoPot, but I must admit it hasn't been built yet, though I've seen prototypes of each of the elements.

The system begins with a hose or pipe carrying tap water into the lower opening of a solar batch heater built from the tank of an old electric heater. The tank is painted flat black and enclosed in a triangular box. The glass face is exposed to sunlight while the other two faces and both ends are insulated, as is the pipe leading from the top of this tank to the washer.

An old front loading washing machine must have all parts functional except the motor, which is removed. It sits on a pallet straddling an old bathtub full of stones, sand and topped with wood chips inoculated with oyster mushroom spores. The washer drains into the tub, whose contents will clean and filter the wash water, while producing edible mushrooms. Water exiting the drain can be captured for reuse. It should be drinkably clean.

The washer with no motor is driven by an old bicycle that has been made stationary by optionally welding the fork to prevent the front wheel from moving and elevating the rear wheel as on a track stand. The tire and tube are removed from the rear wheel and replaced by a belt that drives the washer pulley previously moved by the motor. Both bike and washer are anchored to keep the belt tight.

The person pedaling the bike can use gears as appropriate to maintain a steady pace. The washer should be run through a standard hot wash cycle before the clean cloth is hung out on a solar dryer (aka clothesline).


As global climate changes, we reconsider the inappropriate technological choices that have led us down this path. As a society, we need to stop digging up and burning fossil fuels and begin to efficiently utilize the natural abundance of sunlight. As individuals, there are three specific techno-mistakes we must, IMHO, let go of – cars, TVs, and flush toilets. This article describes a simple modern replacement for the third of these, the crapper.

Water is beginning to be recognized as a precious resource. Humans are the only land animal that routinely defecates in water, an innovation of urbanization in Europe that was foisted upon the world in colonial days in the name of sanitation. It doesn't make sense today. Besides wasting fresh water, this practice pollutes natural waterways and robs nutrients from the soil. A simple dry composting system restores the nutrient cycle while minimizing pathogens.

People have been crapping on the ground for so long that if we fail to squat for a minute or two each day, our lower backs get tense. The problem is when we live in dense communities, we tend to step in each others' poop before it has a chance to turn into healthy soil. Short circuiting fecal microbes can cause disease, biologically designed to limit our population.

Aerobic composting with an appropriate carbon to nitrogen balance can restore the vital bioculture in soil which can sequester massive amounts of carbon, repairing the damage done by humanity over the last century or so. If we understand this natural cycle and work with it, very little effort is required. A cubic yard of feces composting aerobically will naturally host thermophilic microbes that kill pathogens. Nested in straw, humanure can become soil with no muss or fuss.

I've been imagining the Cascadian Composting Crapper, a dry porta-potty with a strong, lightweight structure, designed to be put in the yard of any home where the residents don't want to use a flush toilet, but prefer to recycle their waste nutrients safely into soil. The CCC can accommodate any number of people indefinitely.

The framework is a welded lattice of 1/4” rebar (almost 50' total) based around a geodesic half of a dodecahedron – 18 edges 18.5” long support 10 triangular faces on a pentagonal base about 4.3' wide. A toilet seat is mounted on the top face. This structure is covered with a fine mesh (22 ft2) to keep insects in and bigger critters out. For privacy the dome is surrounded by a seven pole teepee (1/2” furniture grade PVC tubular poles range from 10' - 16') offset from the dome by 30” rebar ground runners, two of which are doubled to create an entryway. About 368.5 ft2 of light canvass covers the teepee in an involute spiral from about 1' above the ground to 1' from the apex. Two normal people should be able to lift the complete unit and plunge the 6” rebar anchors, which extend downward from each of the five outer poles, into the soil wherever they have prepared a nest of small sticks and straw.

Two of the 16' poles suspend a broad triangular waterproof sheet above the entire structure, which is roughly 12' wide by 12' high. The broad, sweeping roof funnels rainwater (or hose water in a pinch) through a simple mesh filter into a two gallon tank built into the south wall. The tank has a variegated, flat black surface exposed to sunlight to heat the water a bit and gravity feeds into a small wash basin inside the teepee, which drains through a hose fitting outside just tall enough to fit a five gallon bucket under it, so grey water can be stored or used for drip irrigation easily. At initial set-up the prevailing winds are taken into consideration while orienting the entrance, solar tank, and rainwater collection sheet.

The waste chamber is about one cubic yard, cross ventilated through insect proof mesh. The outer shell with no door provides constant airflow to prevent any smell or flies. Ideally, there is a nest of sticks and straw in the bottom of the chamber, which sits on top of the ground, no pit. The design will facilitate aerobic decomposition. Each time a person enters, optionally latching the string with the “occupied” sign, dumps a load, covers with straw, and washes up at the sink.

Besides the sink and toilet, there could be a baby changing hammock and three storage spaces inside. One is for clean diapers, cloth sanitary napkins, and assorted butt rags. There's a removable bin for used cloth (ask about design for the Cascadian Clothes Cycler washing machine) and a space for straw, which is used to cover each deposit in the toilet. Toilet paper is optional. Another option is a magazine rack and a fiber optic solar reading light, but we don't want to get carried away.

The unit is lightweight (probably less than 20 lb) so that when the chamber gets full, it can be lifted off easily. Just drain the water tank, lift the whole thing off the waste pile, sink the anchors around a new nest of sticks and straw, and hose it down if you want to. Within six months without any further attention the old pile will be usable topsoil. An attentive observer will note that the pile gets warm, similar to fever in eliminating pathogens. If dogs or other critters might dig in it, you could set a second mesh dome, without seat, sink, or teepee, (24.5 ft2 mesh + 30' rebar) around the pile as it works naturally.

The soil built with the EcoPot is ideal for no till permaculture. When you move the dome off, as weeds begin to set root, you can plant the pile with a collection of compatible vegetables seasonally appropriate for your location. For example, I might plant spinach, onions, beets, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, and tomatoes, mixing seeds randomly. Soil should always be covered with diverse plants or mulch. If you can see bare soil, the microbes in it are starving. Healthy soil will absorb floods, withstand drought, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but the microbes need a constant diet. 

Building and using a composting toilet is one important step toward a world that will provide for our progeny. Together we learn to grow our own food, pedal our own bikes, and care for our neighbors.


Here on Earth, energy flows from the sun and diffuses on a predictable pattern affected by the rotation of the planet and its revolution around that sun. Life has adapted to exploit this energy flow very effectively. Every green plant turns sunlight into carbohydrates. This process is so efficient that, over the centuries, stores of energy – so called fossil fuels – have built up below the surface of Earth.
Our diverse ecosphere had shaped itself an accommodating climate long before humans evolved. Fungi shuffle minerals to where they are needed, building up soil that supports levels of vegetation which exhale the oxygen upon which animals depend, as well as producing their fuels. As animals, we humans have vast stores of plant energy available at every turn to fuel our natural machinery.
We are a tool making species and we have had some remarkable successes. Look at the way a bicycle allows the rider to use her own body to propel herself at the speed of a cheetah. Marvel at our communication capabilities that allow people from around the planet to exchange multisensory experiences with minimal time delay. These great tools have been won only at great cost. Most of our experiments have failed.
People have taken great advantage of the planet that birthed us with little regard for the long term consequences of our behavior. For centuries human development has expanded inhospitable desert regions. We have covered vast areas of fertile land with impervious pavement, severely disrupting the hydrological cycles upon which life depends. We have dug toxic minerals from deep stores to spread them across the surface with predictably negative effects upon life. Worse yet, we have fabricated new toxins, even new elements such as plutonium, and allowed them to kill ecosystems.
I do not believe that people have the power to destroy life on Earth. We do have the wherewithal to make the planet incompatible with our own species and many others. Right now species are becoming extinct at a cataclysmic rate and it is not unreasonable to expect this trend to continue until the source of the disruption – humanity – is eliminated. But life will adapt and continue no matter what we do. Mushrooms, insects, and microbes will collaborate to utilize whatever mess we leave to them.
It would be fulfilling for humans to survive. To accomplish that, we must learn from our experiences. When a human system is at odds with a natural system, the human system must change. Natural evolution is generally slower than social, but much more definitive. When the balance is upset, cataclysm may precede the new equilibrium. If we ignore the balance of natural forces, we risk extinction. We play with forces beyond our comprehension.
Exploitation of fossil fuels is a failed policy. Yes, it has catapulted humanity through a series of changes, from which we can derive lasting good. But now that half of the oil is gone, we must realize we are burning it at a rate millions of times as fast as the planet can create it. This is not sustainable.
The industrial era was driven by fossil fuels and built upon a foundation of Cartesian logic. We dissected and examined every part until we finally developed systems theories that incorporate the synergies of holism. As our factories cranked out standardized widgets, we attempted to standardize our schools and farms, until we realized the strength of diversity. We sought to build an unshakable fortress until we learned to flow with the inevitable changes. We have learned, but can we utilize our knowledge?
It would be nice if world leaders saw the simple truths in this article, but that does not appear to be the case. We are in a car plunging over a cliff and the driver appears to be unconscious. While yelling at the driver, I say we jump out and roll before it’s too late. I write my observations to Members of Congress, executives in the Obama Administration, and CEOs of corporations every day, but I have lost all hope that they will respond in time.
Change comes down to me. How can I wean myself of petroleum? First step was to quit using cars. Living car-free has been extremely fulfilling, improving my health and allowing me room to travel more broadly. Surprise! It’s easier to get around without dragging along a ton of steel and vinyl. Refusing to own a car was the wisest decision I’ve made in my half century on Earth.
I’m not oil-free yet. Fossil fuels were used to manufacture my bicycle, which uses chain oil at about one ounce per thousand miles as it runs on impervious pavement. I still use plastics and depend upon items imported with fuel. But I’m so much healthier than when I owned a car!
I’ve become a bike-evangelist, promoting bicycles at every turn. Between cross continental rides with Bike4Peace, I’ve helped to organize the Corvallis Bike Co-op. I truly believe that bicycles are the transformative tool needed to save America from itself. Human powered transportation gives me hope for human survival.
Diet is also key. The primary human energy need is food. We must stop eating petroleum and develop our local plant resources – not through corporate monoculture farming, but through sensible permaculture. We can thrive by fostering an ecosystem to which we are naturally adapted. Imagine simply picking your meals where they’ve grown. A raw vegan diet grown within a walk of where I live is a goal toward which I strive.
Another great tool is the attached greenhouse or sunroom. Besides capturing free heat from the sun, thus reducing our use of electricity from non-renewable sources like coal and uranium, a greenhouse enables us to grow tropical plants in temperate climates. Humanity evolved in the tropics and our bodies appreciate these local extensions of tropical conditions.
It is tempting to be fatalistically negative about our prospects. It’s too easy to blame them for ruining our lives. But it’s more fun to dance among the ruins, learning from everybody’s successes and mistakes, while spreading the seeds of a brighter future. Dance with me!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Seeking Hope

Do you believe in redemption? Is it possible for a person who has made serious mistakes to turn a new leaf and live a worthwhile life? I suspect your answer to this question will determine your attitude toward poor people.
Bad things happen to good people. A medical emergency our economic shifts beyond our control can thrust any one of us into poverty. Science has established that poverty causes addiction and mental illness more than the other way around. There, but for grace, go I…
It’s easier to rationalize our participation in a system of oppression if we believe some people deserve to suffer. Rationally, we know that no good comes from kicking somebody who’s already down, but if I fail to see my own reflection in the face of my victim, I can justify exploitation.
Empathy, honesty, amends, and forgiveness are the signposts on the two way path to redemption. Religion is optional, but humane community is essential. Are some people a burden on society or is every person a well of undiscovered potential?

In theory, a social system facilitates people serving each other’s needs. In reality economic rewards often flow to exploiters. Each of us can honestly reflect playing all the roles.
We’ve been exploited. Got stuck paying some sleazeball more than deserved. Lost more than we could afford to systemic greed. Worked hard for less than fair compensation.
We’ve been exploiter. Even those of us who didn’t rape nature for raw materials certainly helped to consume the proceeds. Who among us is above accepting easy money from a sucker?
Some of us have been fortunate to discover the deep joy of voluntarily serving the genuine needs of another. Truly clever individuals have contrived to make a living through such service. More have justified exploitation with a veneer of service.
How can we collaborate as a community to build a system that discourages exploitation and encourages service? How can we honestly acknowledge past error, openly envision a healthier future, and carefully but rapidly implement systemic change? How can we inspire each other to live up to our highest shared ideals?

Our goals aren’t wrong. We want to raise healthy children, grow lots of good food, and craft fine art and tools from nature’s abundance. We specialize to suit our skills and desires and agree upon efficient processes to make our tasks less onerous. We seek wise leaders to guide our collaboration. We band together to protect ourselves from threat. It all makes sense. But we remain human, thus fallible.
Leadership can be corrupted to exaggerate threats and exploit people and the natural systems upon which we depend. Too many children stress social networks. Efficient profiteering rapes natural landscapes to produce worthless trinkets for dissatisfied consumers. The machine we built threatens to destroy our species as we struggle to establish control. Nobody has the power to stop everybody.

Today more than ever, each of us can see how we fit into the grand dysfunction. As we acknowledge the horror of our individual greed, lust for power, and lack of a healthy balance, we can begin to imagine functional human community that fits into the grand natural systems of life. If each of us does all we can, together we can still pray for our progeny.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Breakfast of Champions

G-BOMBS Smoothie
Use organic ingredients, locally grown if possible.
4 cups chopped, tightly packed kale
1 very heaping Tablespoon of peanut butter or refried beans
2 cloves garlic
3-5 Crimini or 1 Portabella mushroom
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon flax meal
Optional chunk of ginger or turmeric root
Stuff everything into a blender,
Fill to top of solids with live Kombucha or vinegar,
Liquefy, let sit overnight, & drink.

Serve with Daily Bread.

Greens - leafy vegetables may be the prime food

Beans - lentils, peanuts, and other legumes
Onions - garlic, leeks, chives & other alliums
Mushrooms - huge variety (most should be cooked)
Berries - little fruits that grow nearly everywhere
Seeds - whole grains, oil seeds, and nuts

Get enough of these satisfying foods and you won't want to eat things that aren't as good for you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Entropy is a powerful force pulling everything apart, from the big bang to energy radiating away from stars to your kitchen exploding from a crimped gas line. Creativity is an even more powerful force that brings things together in new way, bonding energy into the swirling galaxies and whirling dervishes, inspiring us to sing and paint in diverse contrapuntal rhythms. I don't pretend to understand the mathematical proofs of physicists, but my personal sniff test says every force in the universe boils down to one of these, creative power to build or entropic force to destroy.
As we move through the process from the lusty union of sperm with egg to the final decay of buried bones, we see these two forces wrap around each other like the fractal yin yang, each force dependent upon the other, entropy opening opportunity for creative direction of explosive force blasting out the resources to build a new form. As much as we pretend to serve only creativity, we utilize entropy to obtain that from which we build. Spinning through life, blasting and building, we wonder how our scores will balance. On which side of Shiva do we stand?

Life is creative force, binding together energy into ever more complex and diverse organized patterns. The green leaves gather energy from the sun, storing it in carbohydrates shared into the micro-rhizomes of the living soil. Complex cultures of diverse cellular structures collaborate symbiotically to shuffle all the earth's elements into the complex protein chains of DNA that allow your mind to understand the meaning of these contrasting squiggles on the page.

Death is part of the dance, allowing room for rebirth, for all that is to become more than it was. Even the apparent entropy of decay can be harvested by that living soil to serve the creation of new life. Constant evolution spins unique communities each with local color, from the fungus that thrives on the broken containment walls of Chernobyl to the springtails that lurk in the world's deepest caverns.

Does human society serve the force of creativity or that of entropy? Does our war mongering toxicity serve our desire to expand the symbiosis of life? Does the compulsion to control the creative process lead us toward species extinction? Do we flatter ourselves to think we might know?

Monday, November 03, 2014


This article is about baking the ultimate non-white bread, a sprouted sourdough that is very healthful as a daily staple. Accompanied by a salad, sometimes a soup, of fresh, local, organically grown vegetables, mushrooms, and a little seasonal fruit, it will keep you healthy enough to pedal your bicycle everywhere you need to go.
I’m going to give you a simple fifteen-step recipe for the bread, which you can easily adapt to your own situation. But I want to talk about the cultural considerations that go into perfecting bread, so I’m going to explore each of the six major processes involved in creating it. First, let’s talk about designing your home to bake bread.
It is not unreasonable to plan one’s home around the baking of daily bread. In cold climes, there is a great case to be made for putting a masonry oven – stone, brick, or ceramic – near the low center of the home as a heat sink. In hot places, you would want to move the cooking operations away from the core, perhaps even convert to a raw vegan diet, which is easier in the tropics.
If you plan to enjoy daily bread, you will want to consider your sources, as well as means of delivery, of the fundamental raw materials:
·      Seeds, whole and raw from a local, organic grower (you might even grow them yourself);
·      Water, pure and clean (absolutely essential and to be used sparingly); and
·      Heat, ideally from the sun, perhaps through an intermediary such as wood.
Balanced salts and cooking oil can also be nice, but are not absolutely essential.
Your home will need appropriate spaces for each of several processes, listed below in order of temperature. Besides determining how you will generate heat, think about how you will utilize it in varying intensity as it rises from the source.
·      40°F – Starter must be refrigerated for storage. If you cease daily baking for a time, you may want to freeze it (30°F). [Note refrigerating an interior space generally involves heating an exterior space. Use that heat!]
·      55°F – Storage of seeds should be cool and dry, while sprouting will be cool and moist. Both processes are better in relative darkness. [This is the mean temperature of the earth’s crust below frost line.]
·      75°F – There is flexibility in the range for sourdough to work, but this is the ideal average. Apparently some bakers prefer longer, cooler processes, while others speed it up with more heat.
·      85°F – Starter and water should be preheated to facilitate yeast growth.
·      350°F – Baking bread will require a hot oven for about an hour each time.
You are going to need quite a few tools for the process of making your daily bread. Each will need to be stored somewhere while not in use. Plan ahead for comfortable processes. Necessary tools include:
·      Appropriate containers for gathering and storing seeds;
·      At least five sprouting jars, one gallon is ideal, but at least ½ gallon, fitted with screen lids for easy draining;
·      A three cup water container (quart jar with a line marked will work);
·      A big catch basin for water, at least one gallon, bigger is better;
·      A grinder/mixer, ideally capable of course grinding cereals and kneading bread (you will make up for its inadequacies with physical labor);
·      A large breadboard for kneading & shaping dough;
·      Four large, steep sided, mixing bowls, five quart ideal, but at least ¾ gallon, with cloth covers (built in elastic is luxurious);
·      Two-cup starter containers with cloth covers and optional tight lid for freezing (if you plan to suspend operations for more than a few weeks);
·      Two or more bread pans;
·      Racks, one mounted in the center of the oven, one outside the oven for cooling cooked loaves;
·      A good slicing knife and a toaster are optional, but nice;
·      A breadbox made of tin with small perforations for air;
·      Means of cleaning everything regularly. While sterility is an impossible notion, we want to encourage symbiotic cultures and discourage intruding pathogens. Be alert to the culture of your kitchen.
MIX – The first process in making the ultimate non-white bread is selecting the whole, raw (preferably grown with organic techniques on a local farm) seeds. It’s good to change up this mix regularly, as long as you follow the main principles. I cannot overstress that the seeds must be alive, never roasted, rolled, cracked, or ground, or even too old or over-treated to sprout.
About three quarters of the seeds must be glutinous cereal grains, in order to allow the bread to rise properly. If you are intolerant of gluten, it may be because you’ve never had it prepared properly, but please don’t risk your health. Others know how to make gluten-free bread. This is not. 75% of your seeds should be:
·      barley;
·      kamut;
·      oats;
·      rye;
·      spelt;
·      triticale; or
·      wheat (I’m particularly fond of hard, red wheat).
The other quarter of your seed mix should mostly provide complementary proteins to the cereals. These could come from either of two groups.
·      Pulses: alfalfa, clover, fenugreek, lentil, pea, chickpea, mung bean and soybean (non-GMO).
·      Oilseeds: sesame, sunflower, almond, hazelnut, flax (linseed), peanut.
The oilseeds, except flax, increase the hassle factor because they have shells that must be removed, however, they also provide essential oils, which can be tough to get in a vegan diet. Plus they taste great! Make sure they are live, not roasted or salted, if you want to include them in your daily bread. Alternately, they can be roasted and made into a spread to be applied after baking.
There are several other varieties of seeds that add nutrition and flavor to your bread, but should be used in smaller amounts, because they are not as essential. These include the following groups. Play with different combinations!
  • Non-glutinous cereals: maize (corn), rice, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat (these last three are used as cereal even if botanically they are not). In the case of rice, the husk of the paddy will be removed before sprouting. The brown rice is widely using for germination (GBR - Germinated Brown Rice) in Japan and other countries.
  • Brassica: broccoli, cabbage, watercress, mustard, mizuna, radish, daikon (kaiware sprouts), rocket (arugula), tatsoi, or turnip.
  • Umbelliferous vegetables: carrot, celery, fennel, or parsley.
  • Allium: onion, leek, or green onion (me-negi).
  • Other vegetables and herbs: spinach, lettuce, milk thistle, or lemon grass.
SPROUT – The second major process in making the ultimate non-white bread is to soak and rinse the seeds to allow them to begin the growth process. This will bring out natural sugars and begin the process of breaking down the basic nutrients so they will be more available to your body upon eating.

Sprouting imitates the natural process that a seed follows when planted, but without that messy dirt. Generally we begin by soaking the seeds for 24 hours in cool (55°F), pure water. Then we drain the seeds for three days in the same cool, moist, dark space, rinsing with fresh, cool water daily. The seeds should begin to grow, but not produce much green. A little won’t hurt anything, but white stalks are easier for the next process.

You could just eat these sprouts now and forget the bread. That’s what a raw vegan would do, although she might first give the sprouts a day of sunshine to green them up and put them into a salad. You could add them to soup. If you get adventurous, you could grind them with more water and culture them with anaerobic yeast in a sealed container to make beer. But I’m presuming you still want bread.

GRIND – The third process of making the ultimate non-white bread is to chew (not with your mouth, yet) all the sprouted ingredients into tiny bits and mix them thoroughly with warm (85°F) water and culture, and optionally a little salt, to make bread dough. Use about three cups of water for a half-gallon of ground sprouts and two cups of starter. Use not more than 1 ½ T salts.

This grinding becomes a vigorous kneading process, which brings out the gluten web that will hold the little bubbles of carbon dioxide created by the yeasts in the culture. Dough must have the right texture to make edible bread. You may use a modern food processor with a bread hook or do it by hand on a breadboard dusted with cornmeal.

Once you get started, you will save a bit of the dough from each day to start the next day’s batch, thus preserving the diverse, symbiotic culture of yeasts and bacteria that make truly great sourdough. For the first time, you could make your starter from commercially available yeast with a dash of kombucha, or you could get some from a baker who makes particularly delicious bread.
As long as you bake bread, you want to maintain this healthy culture. Never let it get contaminated. If you suspend operations, it can be frozen. Any time it isn’t actively working, it should be refrigerated. Watch for opportunities to enhance your culture by trading and combining successful cultures with other healthy households.

Please let me share a bit of understanding about salt, an optional ingredient. People have an ideal combination of electrolytic salts in our bodies. We lose these, mostly through sweat, and must replace them in our diet. While all of these minerals are found in a healthful blend of vegetables, the standard American diet tends toward too much sodium and too little potassium and magnesium. I use this blend in place of table salt as much as I’m able.
Balanced Electrolyte Blend
30%  Chloride           20% Sodium
10 % Phosphate        20% Potassium
10% Bicarbonate         7% Calcium
                                      3% Magnesium

CULTURE - The fourth process of making the ultimate non-white bread is the most important and least demanding. Let it sit completely still in a warm place (70°-90°F) for three days. This will allow the microbes in your culture to spread throughout the dough. The yeast will digest the simple sugars and the bacteria will digest the alcohol the yeast produces. Acids and enzymes will break down nutrients to make them more digestible. Applied with appropriate timing, this culture makes good bread into great bread.

It is important not to shake or disturb this process. The gas bubbles caught in the gluten web are fragile. The microbes in the culture are sensitive. Put a label onto each bowl daily so you know how long the culture has been working, but don’t move the bowls around. Don’t let dust (mold spores) contaminate your culture.

You will remove about 10% of each batch of dough to start the next batch. Theoretically, you could have three different cultures going at the same time. This provides some protection in case a batch gets contaminated. It also gives you room to experiment with improvements in your culture. Play with it!

BAKE - The fifth process of making the ultimate non-white bread is to shape the dough into baking pans and set them in an evenly hot (350°F) oven for about an hour. Some combinations of ingredients will cook a bit differently, so test the loaves with a toothpick before turning them out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

It can be a good idea to coat the baking pans as well as the mixing bowls with oil. Any oil that imparts a good taste without smoking will do. I find avocado oil the ultimate cooking oil. Peanut or sesame oil each has a strong, but not unpleasant taste. Flax (linseed) or hemp oil is also fine. Be sure any oil you use is food grade. Olive oil is wonderful for salads, but often smokes when used for cooking.

EAT - The final process of making the ultimate non-white bread is to consume it. You may want to slice it and maybe toast it. You could spread it with berry preserves or nut butters or make a sandwich with both.

If it doesn’t all get eaten immediately, bread is best stored in a clean tin with tiny perforations for air. Observe how much gets eaten, how hungry people are, and adjust the amount of bread you bake each day to accommodate.

Okay, as promised, here is the step-by-step recipe for baking the ultimate non-white healthful daily bread.
1.     Check the breadbox to see how much is left from the last baking. Adjust quantities to match consumption.
2.     Remove sourdough starter from refrigeration and preheat to 85°F for an hour before mixing dough. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3.     Select seeds (¾ glutinous cereals) into a clean gallon jar with screen lid. Fill with pure water to soak for 24 hours in a cool (55°F), dark place.
4.     Pour off and keep water soaking seeds from yesterday, Set upside down in a cool, dark area to drain.
5.     Preheat 3 cups of water from sprouts to 85°F. Preheat oven to 350°F.
6.     Reuse remaining water to rinse middle two jars of sprouts, leaving them upside down to drain. Pour excess water onto a thirsty plant.
7.     Dump a gallon of grown sprouts, after 3 days rinsing, into grinder with 1 ½ T salts (optional).
8.     Grind to an even, course consistency, add preheated starter & water, and vigorously mix to doughy consistency. Hand knead if necessary.
9.     Oil 5 qt. bowl and put dough into it. Cover with a clean cloth to sit undisturbed for 3 days.
10.  Move #1 label to fresh bowl, #2 label to #1 bowl, and #3 label to #2 bowl without disturbing the working cultures. Remove finished dough from #3 bowl to breadboard with minimal disturbance.
11.  Wash empty gallon jar, #3 bowl, starter container, and bread pans thoroughly with a dash of Dr. Bronner's soap, preserving water for irrigation.
12.  Extract 2 cups of fresh dough for starter, cover with clean cloth, and refrigerate until tomorrow.
13.  Shape dough from breadboard into oiled bread pans.
14.  Bake ~1 hr. @ 350°F until done. Test with a toothpick
15.  Turn loaves onto a rack to cool. Set pans to soak overnight.