Just about everyone has an affinity for some kind of bread, and most of us have heard of a reason or two why we maybe shouldn’t eat slice after slice of it. While there is some validity to the bread-bashing, sourdough made from a unique starter of wild yeast and bacteria often defies the negativity, and it does so purely by its nature. The crafting of sourdough is an ancient art, and one of which we’re pretty fond–for a few (or 10) reasons.
1. Sourdough improves the texture and palatability of whole-grain and fiber-rich products. Each starter imparts its own unique flavor to the bread, based on the wild yeast and bacteria that inhabit the starter.
2. Sourdough bread contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher proportion to yeast than do other breads. More Lactobacillus means higher production of lactic acid, which means less of the potentially dangerous phytic acid. And what does that mean? More mineral availability (particularly k, p, Mg, Zn) and easier digestion!
3. Easier digestion is made even more possible by the bacteria-yeast combo working to predigest the starches in the grains. Predigestion by sourdough = less digestion for you.
4. Sourdough preparation is more lengthy (soaking, rinsing, etc.), and this longer prep time results in the protein gluten being broken down into amino acids. Again, this translates to easier digestion, sometimes even for those who are sensitive to gluten.
5. Acetic acid–which inhibits the growth of mold, is produced in the making of sourdough. So, sourdough naturally preserves itself. Pretty neat considering the toxic preservatives thrown into the food supply today.
6. Bread is often avoided by those affected by weight-gain and metabolic syndrome – rightly, perhaps, in the case of industrial white loaves with a high glycemic index (GI). But sourdough LAB produce acetic, propionic and lactic acid (organic acids) that, under the heat of baking, cause interactions that reduce starch availability, lowering postprandial glycemic responses.
7. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB – including those commonly found in sourdough bread) produce beneficial compounds: antioxidants, the cancer-preventive peptide lunasin, and anti-allergenic substances, some of which may help in the treatment of auto-immune diseases.
8. The integrity of sourdough is so complex that it contains a host of goodness in terms of nutrients. In sourdough, you can find vitamins B1-B6, B12, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin E, selenium, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium (okay – some of these in fairly tiny amounts)–in addition to uniquely balanced proteins and fatty acids. Whoa! This is in contrast to most commercially produced breads, which maintain only a fraction of their original nutrient content after all the processing they undergo.
9. Sourdough bread made with wild yeast, bacteria, and whole grain flour is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread. It truly is an ancient art that is crafted in harmony with nature. It’s only natural that we eat it as opposed to other breads.
10. Sourdough bread is typically made from wheat. The inulin and oligosaccharides contained in human milk, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, burdock root, asparagus, garlic, onion, leek, banana, wheat, barley and rye (gluten containing grains) are excellent sources of fuel for good bacteria in the gut (aka prebiotics).
Another good reason is the FLAVOR. Tangy and distinctive, it will undoubtedly leave you wanting another bite. What’s your favorite reason to eat sourdough?