All about Sourdough
What is Sourdough?
Sourdough is a bread made from the natural occurring yeast and bacteria in flour. In traditional sourdough recipes, you’ll find three natural ingredients: sourdough starter (which consists of flour and water), salt, and flour. There is no yeast, no milk, no oils, and no sweeteners. The yeast itself is what helps the sourdough rise instead of using brewers yeast.
The starter feeds off of the bacteria in your environment and air.
What are the Benefits of Sourdough?
Sourdough has many nutritional benefits. You enjoy better digestion due to the lactobacillus and yeast present in this bread. These organisms help to break down complex sugars into simple ones which lessen the digestion process. They also aid in easier and fast absorption of the nutrients resulting in this. You may have eaten whole grain products and didn’t like the taste but, the sourdough improves the overall flavor and texture of fiber-packed products making them more pleasant to taste. Sourdough bread also contains minimal amounts of sugars. Due to the lengthy preparation process, the protein gluten in the dough is broken down into amino acids which allow easier absorption and digestion. Sourdough bread is also less likely to stale, retains much of its moisture as it ages, and its acidity helps prevent the growth of mold.
Pros and Cons of Sourdough:
Bread and bread products get a bad rap. But there are plenty of reasons why you can and should include healthy, non-GMO bread in your diet. By using a special starter of wild yeast and bacteria, the positives of consuming sourdough far outweigh the negative media eye. Sourdough bread is a baking art form that is, by its very nature, a healthier choice. It helps with weight loss, easier digestion. better for gluten-sensitivity, provides healthy bacteria, less yeast, fewer preservatives, and it’s nutritious. Although sourdough is good for you doesn’t mean you should indulge in it. Sourdough is beneficial when eaten in moderation. If you decide to binge, sourdough will not benefit you. Sourdough has helped many people with gluten sensitivities have the ability to eat bread and not have any flare ups. Each person will react differently but in my experience its best to try different recipes and blends to see what works for you. It was much trial and error baking sourdough in my own house.
Real Sourdough Vs. Fake Sourdough
There are many breads out there and if you’re not careful, the very bread you are buying thinking it’s benefiting you may actually be the very loaf causing you pain and stomach problems. You should look for the ingredients that contain no yeast, no sweetener, and made using whole grain flour when looking for authentic sourdough. The real deal sourdough breads are long fermented and the dough ‘rests’ for four to six hours while the gluten is converted into digestible sugars and the bread has time to rise naturally. Signs companies claiming sourdough authentic, but in reality is being fake is when the ingredients say for example, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Salt, Yeast (Yeast, Sorbitan Monostearate, Ascorbic Acid), Dough Conditioner (Ascorbic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch). The clear sign is that it contains yeast, not used or required in traditional sourdough. Don’t be fooled by clever packaging, marketing, and wording.
My personal experience with sourdough was to help my gluten intolerances because I suffer with PCOS and Hypothyroid. I have gone to take a sensitivity test and I tested sensitive to brewer's yeast and wheat. After my first attempt with gluten free I had no issues with digestion. I then created a wheat version starter and tested a simple recipe because I wasn't happy at how the gluten free versions were far more dense from the lack of gluten. One scenario I let the loaf ferment overnight and bake the next day and I had no flare up. The second loaf I tried I did a quick rise and baked it after a couple of hours soon to notice I had a flare up. I am still in the middle of testing different blends and techniques playing around with different herbs and mixes to spice up my loaves. Although it can look time consuming you can make numerous loaves and freeze them. The one piece of advice i can give anyone is to keep trying and don't give up with your technique. There are so many different recipes and ways to perfect sourdough. The possibilities are endless and you learn from so many people along the way . A few friends mentioned keeping the bread in the fridge overnight before baking the next day is beneficial for better gut absorption so that is my next try wish me luck!
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Want to learn more about sourdough? Here are some references on how to make your own and which books to start with.
Links on How to Make Sourdough and Sourdough Starter:
BOOK REFERENCES: Artisan and Sourdough Bread made Simple By Emilie Raffa