Sourdough is getting quite a bit of attention these days, isn’t it? If you’ve never heard of it before, you’re probably wondering why. Well, there are multiple reasons, and I’m going to clue you in on a few of them. But, first of all…what IS sourdough?
Sourdough is literally sour dough–eons ago, our ancestors who had limitless knowledge in making all things healthier, found that they could mix up some flour and water and let it sit. They would feed it regularly with more flour and water and eventually it became a neighborhood for beneficial bacteria and yeasts. These bacteria and yeasts caused the dough to get sour and also made it to rise to double or more its original size.
They undoubtedly found that using this, they could make leavened bread. And then by adding some milk and eggs they could make hot cakes, also known as pancakes. As people do when they’ve just discovered the greatest thing since fire, they find multiple ways to use it. They developed tasty cakes, muffins, biscuits, dumplings, and specialty types of breads like challah and baguettes. Mmm, baguettes are so yummy!
Since I began my real food journey, I’ve learned that many things our ancestors did had a purpose. So the discovery of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, otherwise known as Baker’s yeast, was definitely not to our benefit. Sure, it can save us in precious time… but is it worth it when compared to the things we’ve lost through natural fermentation? I think not!
Sourdough, or the natural fermentation of flour, is gaining in popularity because we’ve discovered it is actually beneficial to our health. The process of soaking flour with these beneficial bacteria and yeasts breaks down difficult to digest proteins like gluten. It reduces the sugar (starch) content so that we aren’t plagued with blood sugar issues and bloating. Oh yeah, bloating, my friend from the past… you want things to ferment OUTSIDE of you, otherwise they will ferment INSIDE of you! It also reduces toxins that may be in the flour such as mold and heavy metals. It significantly decreases phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption and leads to ill-health. One of the greatest things about sourdough is it actually INCREASES nutrients in the dough, as yeast is amazing at creating B vitamins especially. The tanginess of the resulting bread helps to stimulate digestive acids too, which is important for digesting food. Last but not least, it makes bread taste good. I mean, really good!
Don’t have a sourdough starter yet? Don’t worry, you can get a free sourdough starter and get ready to make some tasty food!