“As the crust of a sourdough boule protects the tenderness within, so it is with the artisanal baker”
Sourdough was one of the last cultured foods I tried. I found it had more of a learning curve than the other cultured foods but wasn’t hard, just new. I didn’t have anyone to help me and it was trial and error till I figured it out. When I did – wow! It became my favorite thing to make. There is nothing like taking flour, sourdough, water, and salt and turning it into something that fills the house with smells that can only be described as heavenly. It was a fiction book (Sarah-Kate Lynch’s By Bread Alone) that finally made me take the plunge and learn this artisanal method of making bread. I am an avid reader and I read tons of books, at least one a week; but if the books are about food they find their way to me. Put a recipe in a story and I am hooked. The woman in this book made sourdough bread every day and would get up every morning to see her sourdough starter bubbling. She lived in a house that used to be a windmill. (see picture) It’s quite a tale with a lot of adventure, but in the end she starts living again and making sourdough bread. They had a recipe in the book for sourdough bread and I couldn’t help myself. I had to start making sourdough bread, and after my first successful loaf I was hooked.
- During the making of sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars, and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during rising. These enzymes are not lost while baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust.
- Sourdough bread rates a 68 on the glycemic index as opposed to the rating of 100 by other breads. Foods that have low ratings on the glycemic index are regularly consumed in societies that tend to have lower incidences of diseases such as diabetes in our culture.
- Several studies in Finland found that the live probiotics Lactobacillus, which is in sourdough bread, was able to inhibit the inflammatory response. This means that the probiotics reduced gut distress caused by the inflammatory response to the gluten that was eaten. These results have been confirmed by other research.
- Because of the long fermentation times, breads made with a sourdough cultures will slowly build the population of friendly Lactobacillus bacteria in the gut. These friendly bacteria help with digestion and proper elimination.
- Many who are gluten sensitive or have food allergies can often handle sourdough breads, but only if their guts are healed. Now, not everybody who is gluten intolerant can handle it right away. They need to heal their guts first with cultured foods on a regular basis. After this occurs, I have seen so many people thrive when eating breads – so long as these breads were made with sourdough.
- When you use a sourdough starter to make bread, it deactivates the inhibitors that are in the grain and increases the bioavailability of nutrients. Phytic acid, which is a known mineral blocker, is present in the bran (the coating of nuts and seeds) of all grains and inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. This inhibitor can neutralize our own digestive enzymes, resulting in the digestive disorders experienced by many people who eat breads that are commercially made. Phytic acid is broken down in the rising process by the bacteria in the sourdough culture. In addition, complex sugars responsible for intestinal gas are broken down during the long, slow rise of the bread.
- Last, but not least, the taste of these breads has more flavor and character than anything you will ever find in commercially made breads. To quote one of my favorite cookbook authors, Julia Childs, “How can a nation be great if their bread tastes like kleenex?”