The Story Of Sourdough
By: Rivka Sirkin
The making of sourdough has become a very popular pastime since the world shut down in 2020. The process of sourdough has actually been around since ancient Egypt and was the traditional way of baking bread until it was replaced with yeast (Poutanen et. al, 2009). The term sourdough is another way of saying leavened bread, which occurs when gas is produced from fermentation during the rising process. By first making a "starter," which consists of "wild yeast," flour, and water; the fermentation process begins when lactic acid bacteria consumes sugar that is present in flour.
So what are the health benefits of sourdough? There are minerals that are more absorbable found in sourdough. The lactic acid bacteria naturally bring down the pH of the bread, which degrade phytates that can inhibit mineral absorption in the body (Gobbetti et. al, 2014). A study published in the journal of Agric Food Chem found that the fermentation of the lactic acid bacteria can decrease the presence of phytates by 24-50%. This is why a lot of "health" sources claim that sourdough is more nutritious. Sourdough has been shown to have a lower glycemic index compared to other breads. Research has shown that the lactic acid bacteria is able to change the structure of the sugars found in the flour and even causes a slower release of sugars when they enter the body's bloodstream (Liljeberg et. al, 1996).
At the end of the day, if you have never tried or made sourdough before it is a great way to introduce a new food into your diet. You might even find a new hobby out of it. It can be made with any type of flour, but if you want a more mineral filled bread whole wheat flour is the way to go.
Gobbetti, M., Rizzello, C. G., Di Cagno, R., & De Angelis, M. (2014). How the sourdough
may affect the functional features of leavened baked goods. Food microbiology, 37, 30–
Liljeberg, H. G., & Björck, I. M. (1996). Delayed gastric emptying rate as a potential
mechanism for lowered glycemia after eating sourdough bread: studies in humans
and rats using test products with added organic acids or an organic salt. The
American journal of clinical nutrition, 64(6), 886–893.
Poutanen, K., Flander, L., & Katina, K. (2009). Sourdough and cereal fermentation in a
nutritional perspective. Food microbiology, 26(7), 693–699.