You’ve probably heard me talk about my sourdough starter quite a bit by now. I use it in waffles, pancakes, biscuits, muffins, cakes, cookies, and so much more. There’s a lot more to sourdough than just loaves of bread.
Getting a sourdough starter going is quite easy. It just takes two ingredients, flour and water, about a week’s time, and some daily TLC. You can find a full guide to starting your very own sourdough starter over here.
It seems like everyone made a sourdough starter during the year 2020 (myself included), so what is all the excitement about? Why exactly is sourdough one of the healthiest bread items you can consume?
Well, let’s get started (see what I did there?).
1. Sourdough is Higher in Minerals
- Fermentation in sourdough allows some minerals to be more readily available to the body by breaking down the level of Phytic acid within the grains. Phytic acid binds minerals in the body which makes them much harder for our systems to absorb.
- These lowered levels of Phystic acid allow the body to better absorb the minerals within sourdough bread.
2. Less Inclined to Spike Blood Sugar Levels
- Commercial bread is high in carbohydrates, so it is more likely to spike blood sugar levels very quickly. This rapid increase only supplies the body with energy for a short time which means you will not feel full for very long.
- On the other hand, sourdough bread seems too raise blood sugar levels at a much slower pace since the sugars are broken down during fermentation. This slow pace of increase means that you will feel fuller for a longer amount of time. Other benefits can include increased heart rate and sustainable energy.
3. Sourdough Breaks Down Gluten
- Gluten intolerance plagues so many people in this day and age, but sourdough can be an option for gluten sensitivities. Sourdough breaks down gluten proteins during fermentation.
NOTE: sourdough does not eliminate all traces of gluten, so those who can not tolerate any gluten should find another bread option or create a gluten free sourdough starter.
4. It Contains Something Called Beta Glucan
- Beta glucans are sugars found in the cell walls of plants. Sourdough contains more of this nutrient than commercially-made bread.
- They are great for gut health because they increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut.
- Beta glucans decrease inflammation in the body.
How Does Sourdough Work?
- Most bread recipes call for a small packet of store-bought yeast to help the dough rise, but that’s not the case with sourdough.
- Instead, sourdough catches “wild yeast” that are present in the air. The combination of wild yeast and the lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in flour causes the bread to leaven (rise) without the aid of yeast packets from the grocery store.
- The mix of wild yeast, lactic acid bacteria, flour and water is called a “starter”, and that is used to make sourdough bread items.
What Can I Make With My Sourdough Starter?
As previously mentioned, sourdough so much more than just bread: muffins, crepes, crackers, noodles, bagels…any recipe that calls for flour can be made into a sourdough alternative.
Just do a little digging on the internet and I am sure you will find an option to enjoy.