If you’re anything like me, you love the simple pleasure of eating a piece (or several!) of freshly baked bread. Unfortunately bread has received a bad rap with the rise of “no carb” fad diets and so many people avoid this wonderful food staple thinking it’s unhealthy or a key factor when struggling to maintain a healthy weight.
Many commercially baked loaves of bread from the grocery store include unnecessary additives and preservatives and really offer little to no nutritional value.
Luckily for us bread lovers, there is a slightly healthier option – the magic bread that is sourdough!
- Sourdough has that delicious sour taste and gorgeous artisan bread texture
- Gluten in sourdough bread is more digestible than in standard bread
- It is more nutritious because vitamins and minerals are more available to the body
- Sourdough is lower GI – it doesn’t cause spikes in insulin
To hear the nitty gritty detail, read on, otherwise skip to the end for my fave sourdough recipe!
Instead of using commercial baker’s yeast, traditionally fermented sourdough is naturally leavened utilizing wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria that is naturally present in flour.
The lactic acids found in traditionally baked sourdough make the vitamins and minerals in the flour easier to digest by the body. They do this by helping to neutralise naturally occurring phytates in the flour that interfere with nutrient absorption. Sourdough has a lower glycaemic index (GI) as a result as the acids slow down the rate that glucose is released into your blood-stream. Sourdough is less likely to cause gluten related food intolerance as these acids assist to make the gluten in flour more digestible.
Several peer reviewed studies in the US and Europe have shown that lactic acid in sourdough bread also has the ability to release antioxidants during sourdough fermentation (1, 2). So there you have it, if you want to indulge in bread, go sourdough!
I’ve tried at least four different sourdough recipes and have found the classic sourdough recipe over at King Arthur Flour’s Flourish blog to be the best. This recipe makes two medium size loaves and only uses a few simple ingredients. Make sure to read the whole recipe before starting out as it lists additional steps and ingredients part way through. I also omit the salt from this recipe.
Baking sourdough may seem like a lot of work, but if you set up a weekly rhythm it becomes part of your usual activity and is actually really easy. There’s something so satisfying about pulling your own fresh baked bread out of the oven!
Here’s an overview of my weekly baking rundown :
I feed my starter each Wednesday, whether I’m baking or not. If I am baking that week, I get the starter out of the fridge on Wednesday morning and let it come up to room temperature. I feed it in the early afternoon and leave it loosely covered on the counter overnight.
On Thursday morning I feed the starter again. Come Thursday night I then mix the starter, flour and water together and let it sit out for the first rise of up to 4 hours. Before going to bed, I pop it in the fridge (I set a timer to remind myself as I would forget otherwise!).
First thing on Friday morning I get the bowl out of the fridge, add in the additional flour and water and either hand knead or lately I have been using a Kenwood mixer with a dough hook. With the mixer this step takes around 10mins from start to finish. Without a mixer, it takes around 20mins of kneading and 5mins of prep/clean up (I find the hand kneaded dough does bake an ever so slightly better bread, but the time saving I get from the mixer is worth the compromise for me) .
Once kneaded you leave it for the second rise of 2-4 hours and then split the dough into two loaves and cover with a towel.
I then bake the bread on Friday evening and have beautiful fresh bread for the weekend! I cool my loaves, slice both while fresh, put aside the bread I’ll use tomorrow and freeze the remainder. That way I can pull out beautiful slices of sourdough all week until the next baking day!
My favourite sourdough treat is dipping it into a good quality extra virgin olive oil and home made dukkah mix. This is a great dish to take to a friends home if you’re bringing snacks or appetisers before dinner!
Here are a few shots of my baking exploits and here’s the link to the recipe I use.
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