What the Sourdough?!

When Nishon and I first started our bakery I did not come from a very well versed bread background.  I grew up in the suburbs and our standard go-to lunch bread was Maiers Italian.  So it wasn’t technically the worst kind of squishy white bread, but pretty much its chubbier sibling.  When we started our bakery, Nishon was a one man show, so I helped nights and weekends in production.  That is when I really began to develop an appreciation for the nuance and flavor profile of different breads.

Initially,  sourdough was not high on my favorite bread list.  However, over time, I truly developed a fondness for our sourdough, especially in comparison to those I have tried elsewhere.  It really is the perfect level of lightness, tang, and savory.  Not to mention, a sourdough boule freshly baked, right off our stone decks is amazing.  Delicate, airy interior, crackly, crunchy charred exterior.  Seriously. No comparison.

So, I have been doing a bit of research on nutrition and health benefits to different breads and grains used in baking.  I was super excited to come across this piece about the health benefits of sourdough in Whole Living.  It is titled, “Our Daily Bread.”  Click on the hyperlink to read the article if you have the time, as it is jam packed with interesting observations and suggestions.  If you don’t have the time, here are a couple highlights:

  • Super interesting overview of a guy by the name of Jack Bezian out in Santa Monica, CA making plain ole sourdough loaves with refined wheat flour.  These loaves are wildly popular, and his most devoted customers are those who have suffered discomforts, often for years, from various properties in wheat products—primarily the presence of gluten, the grain’s core binding element.
  • Explains how wheat is processed and how it comes to be whole wheat or wheat.  Also, talks about commercial yeast vs sourdough starter.
  • Most farmers grow more durable wheat crops, like hard wheats, because the yield is plentiful and they are resilient.  However, they tend to be much harder on our digestive system and also much less rich in nutrients.  Also they have to be milled in a way that further reduces their nutritive properties.
  • Heirloom grains, such as spelt and emmer, seem to offer more nutrition and are much easier on our digestive system.  They have been found in many cases to be even safe enough for folks suffering from ceiliac.

I also really loved this little run down on Wild Yeast, “Sourdough for Health.”  She also sites some good research.  This little write-up was interesting too, “The Power of Sourdough Bread.”

All that to say, eat sourdough bread.  It is nutritious and delicious and is better for you than you (or I) ever realized.