Bread has sure gotten a bad rep the last few years. Honestly, for good reason. Grocery store breads are filled with harmful additives and preservatives. It takes a scientist to accurately pronounce the ingredients list. However, sourdough bread contains just a few ingredients. Add a little time and love and you have yourself a much healthier bread choice.
What is Sourdough bread?
Sourdough bread is made with 3 simple ingredients: flour, water and salt.
To start making traditionally fermented sourdough bread, you need to have something called a sourdough starter. This is a fermented mixture of equal parts water and flour. And this magical starter is the yeast, or rising agent, for the bread.
The basic science behind the starter is that the mixture captures a wild yeast present within the air. This creates a chemical change and produces carbon dioxide causing the flour and water mixture to grow. As it grows, bubbles appear, leaving the starter smelling soured and yeasty.
Hence why sourdough has been given its appropriate name.
What’s the history of sourdough?
Sourdough is the earliest and oldest form of leavened bread. I love to think about the ancients long ago creating this labor of love completely from scratch. It was a traditional art that was passed down from generation to generation.
There are even biblical records with sourdough references, like when the Israelites had to up and leave Egypt before leavening their bread.
Sourdough starters can be hundreds of years old and passed down through families. I hope to pass my beloved starter down to my own children one day.
What are the benefits?
There are many wonderful benefits to sourdough. The first being that delicious, tangy, sour taste we all know and love. But there are more reasons to love sourdough.
Sourdough is easier for our bodies to digest. The fermentation process breaks down antinutrients found in grains (the flour).
Phytic acid is one of those anti-nutrients which is broken down through lactic acid during the fermentation process. Thus causing the bread to not only become more digestible but also increase the mineral content which becomes more available to our bodies as well.
Sourdough still contains gluten but it’s in more of a broken down and predigested state. Because of this, those with a gluten intolerance are typically able to eat sourdough bread just fine without any sensitivities. However, those with celiac disease should still avoid gluten all together. It is also great for diabetics in that it is less likely to spike blood sugar levels because of the broken down grains in the fermentation process.
I love when I bake bread for friends and family with sensitivities and they share that they can eat bread again without feeling gross afterwards.
This is why I’m excited to publicly share my recipes in hopes to reintroduce beloved healthier breads to households once again.
Can I use my starter to make anything else?
Yes! Any recipe that uses flour can be converted to a sourdough recipe. I enjoy converting all of our favorite conventional yeast recipes to delicious healthier sourdough ones.
There is so much more to sourdough than just bread. It has become a fun lifestyle for our family as we enjoy this traditional method.
Tools to help you get started:
As you begin I suggest purchasing a kitchen scale for precise measurements when you bake. For about a year I tried to make many things with my sourdough starter but always had very inconsistent results. I finally purchased a scale for around $10 and realized that was the key to success. Sourdough thrives with precise measurements, so I highly recommend making this small purchase to avoid the same mistake I did that first year. The following are links to my amazon shop. I have both scales and they perform the exact same!
Kitchen Scale (Less expensive option, I still use and love)
Kitchen Scale (This is my newest scale and love it too)