What is Sourdough?

What is Sourdough?

Sourdough is naturally leavened bread, which means instead of using a commercial yeast, you “grow” your own starter by fermenting flour and water. Flour contains wild yeasts and bacteria which produces the gas needed for rising the dough. Sourdough bread is also known for it’s tangy flavour and slightly chewy texture. Wild yeast has more flavour than commercial yeast, and is 100% natural – no additives. Sourdough is more than just naturally leavened bread, it evokes tales of a long history of starters that have been handed down over centuries.

How long can I keep my sourdough starter?
Sourdough Tin Loaf with Chia Seeds
Sourdough Tin Loaf with Chia Seeds

Incredibly in 2019, a Scientist named Blackley, revived yeast microbes from ancient egyptian clay pots dating back, 4,500 years, to make a loaf of bread unlike anything sold today. This was part of an experiment to better understand the gut bacteria of ancient humans.

They used one of the reconstituted yeast samples to create a sourdough starter. Over the course of a week, Blackley fed his sourdough starter a steady diet of the ancient grains that Egyptians would have used in their baking. Eventually he had a workable starter which he used to make a loaf of bread. So if that doesn’t answer your question I don’t know what does!

So by making your own sourdough starter, you are creating a little of your own history. You could be handing it down through generations to come and who knows it may run for hundreds of years.

Is sourdough gluten-free?

No. Most recipies use bread flour which will contain anywhere from 10 to 14% protein gluten. However, there is a lot of debate about gluten intolerance as it generally impacts those with Celiac disease, but Celiac disease itself, may be a symptom of a gut problem. There is also some evidence to show that in fact, it is fructans, a fibre which is found in gluten containing foods, that is the cause of the abdonominal discomfort. Sourdough bread is naturally low in fructans because of the fermenting process. A good test would be to eat some sourdough bread and if you don’t get the normal side effect, this may indicate you have a fructan intolerance.

Is sourdough vegan?

Yes, typically most recipes consist of plain flour, water and salt, all of which are vegan.

Can you freeze sourdough?

Sourdough bread freezes really well. Some people make two loaves at a time and freeze one, others will bake a loaf and freeze half. Simply remove the loaf from the freezer when required and place on a cooling rack so it doesn’t develop a soggy bottom!

Here’s how to make a sourdough starter.