Return to Sourdough Bread



Facts

  • Bread has been a staple in man’s diet since the beginning of time.
  • Wheat is still the most widely planted crop in the world and is still a dietary staple for 1/3 of the world’s population.
  • In America people go to great lengths to avoid it.
  • It’s not the same food it used to be.
  • The grains are different, the yeast is different, and too many things have been added.
  • Bread in its purest, real food form is flour, salt, and water.
  • Time and man in the name of convenience and mass production have changed all of that.

The Grains

The process of harvesting wheat has changed dramatically over the years.  In the 1870s the stone mill method was replaced with the modern roller mill.  Instead of mashing the kernels together each one was separated. This new method created pure white flour, but it was lacking in essential nutrients.

The 20th century brought The Green Revolution.  The combination of “new wheat”, “new fertilizers”, and pesticides was developed in order to produce more wheat in a speedier fashion, with the hope of feeding more people and ending world hunger.

Also, the amount of gluten was increased for better bake-ability.

The Yeast

The yeast that is used in breads today was not even available until the late 1860s.  And rapid-rise yeast did not come into the picture until about 30 years ago.  Before then bread was made using the sourdough method.  Because of the longer rise time (over 12 hours), properly prepared sourdough bread has many benefits that are lacking in today’s bread made with conventional yeast.

Benefits of Sourdough Bread

  • More B vitamins, especially folate.
  • Less phytates for better mineral absorption.
  • Less gliadin-toxicity so it is more tolerable for the gluten sensitive.

The Additives

The traditional breads that our grandmothers and great- grandmothers made had less than 5 ingredients.

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Salt

Modern-day, store-bought bread has a much longer ingredient list.

  • Preservatives
  • Artificial flavors
  • Stabilizers
  • Enhancers
  • HFCS
  • Unhealthy fats

So the choice is yours.

  • Store-bought bread?
  • Homemade bread?
  • Homemade sourdough bread?

To me the answer is obvious.  Properly prepared sourdough bread wins hands down.  Especially over the store-bought breads, but even over homemade breads made with modern-day yeast.  Sourdough breads are just way more nutritious and easily digestible.

Another good alternative would be homemade quick breads made with soaked flours.  You can also find many recipes for flour based foods that can be made with sourdough starter.  Keep a starter in your fridge, make sourdough loaves once or twice a week, and then use the extra starter for all kinds of things.

  • Quick breads
  • Muffins
  • Crumpets
  • Pizza dough
  • Biscuits
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Really most anything you can think of…

I know this all seems a bit labor intensive, but it really is worth it.  And with a little bit of planning it really doesn’t take that much more time.



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