Sourdough may have attracted all the right hashtags in recent years - and of course it tastes fantastic - but that’s not all that this delicious bread has to offer. If you opt for sourdough, real sourdough, you’re not only enjoying something tasty but also good for you too. This loaf scores high for flavour, satisfaction and lots of health benefits that you only get if you choose a sourdough loaf.
What’s real sourdough?
Many supermarkets today use the term sourdough to describe bread that isn’t actually authentic sourdough - they can do this because ‘sourdough’ isn’t a protected term. Real sourdough is made from flour, water and salt that are fermented for some time involving lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast. It can take a while but this is what makes sourdough, sourdough. However, around 80% of supermarket loaves contain agents to speed this up, such as baker’s yeast, which means they’re not the real deal. So, if you opt for a real sourdough what are the benefits you can expect?
The benefits of sourdough
- It’s easier for your body to digest. Bread can be difficult for our bodies to tolerate - you might have experienced bloating or wind after eating a commercial loaf. This is more to do with the commercial production process than the bread itself, as it creates a high FODMAP content. Foods like this contain certain carbohydrates that are hard to digest and tend to cause the symptoms of IBS. Sourdough is different. The fermentation process breaks down the hard-to-digest carbs and so you can enjoy the bread without the unpleasant symptoms of IBS.
- An easier way to consume gluten. If you’re sensitive to gluten then you’ll know that consuming wheat, rye and barley can cause some pretty unpleasant digestive symptoms thanks to the gluten in the loaves. Sourdough’s longer fermentation process means that gluten gets pre-digested so that the troublesome proteins are broken down and won’t have such a challenging impact on systems that are gluten-sensitive. One study found that fermentation over at least 48hrs had a significant impact in terms of breaking down gluten in this way.
- You don’t have to eat a lot of it to feel fuller for longer. Soluble fibre and resistant starch together will make you feel much more satisfied after eating - the longer the fermentation process for your sourdough, the higher soluble fibre and resistant starch levels will be. Plus, the fermentation also boosts the levels of organic acids in the bread - this is great for sustaining energy and stable blood sugar, as it slows carbohydrate breakdown.
- Filled with nutrients. Sourdough’s signature fermentation process improves the bioavailability of nutrients like Vitamin E, B Vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which can be lost through the use of refined flour.
Sourdough is tasty - there is no doubt about that. However, the fermentation process that’s involved in creating sourdough also generates a number of very distinctive health benefits that make it a great choice. From more nutrients, to increased energy and a reduction in IBS symptoms these are just some of the reasons to choose sourdough for your sandwich, snack or home-baked loaf. And if you’d like to acquire the skills to make home-baked sourdough a regular part of your lifestyle, check out all the advice you need in our School of Baking.