SOURDOUGH, AN ALTERNATIVE TO INDUSTRIAL LEAVENING

Its nutritional properties have made it a superstar product among baked goods

Over 3,500 years old, sourdough bread is an alternative to bread made with industrial leavening that has survived the test of time thanks to its delicious and healthy characteristics.

Sourdough is a food that is prepared using fermentation methods that take advantage of the natural yeast that exists in grains, like wheat or rye flour. For this reason, no additional yeast is necessary when making sourdough bread, thanks to the activation of those present in the dough.

In fact, sourdough methods are the most ancient form of breadmaking. It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to start making it around the year 1.500 A.C. Nowadays, this product has become extremely popular in countries like France, Germany, and the United States.

Health Benefits

Sourdough bread is much healthier than other types of bread for various reasons. In the first place, the presence of lactic acid bacteria can help to release antioxidants during the fermentation process.

Furthermore, breads made with whole wheat flours, which is recommended when making sourdough, have higher levels of Vitamins B and E, and the slow fermentation process also helps the body to more readily absorb these nutrients.

Finally, sourdough bread tends to be easier to digest for people who have gluten intolerances. This is because the naturally present yeasts help to digest the gluten and decompose its proteins that cause problems for certain individuals.

How to Make Sourdough Starter at Home

Though you can also buy sourdough starter, it’s not so difficult to make at home, given that you only need flour, water, time, and patience. To make your own sourdough starter, simply mix 60 grams of whole wheat flour with 60 grams of water and let it rest at room temperature, covered, for a day.

After about 24 hours, throw out 90 grams of the mix and repeat the original step, adding 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of water. Repeat this process for at least a week, periodically stirring the mix with a spoon. You know that your sourdough starter is active and ready when you drop a spoonful of it in water and it floats.

To save your sourdough starter, keep in the refrigerator, especially if you don’t plan on using it up within a few days. However, even if you keep it in the fridge, you have to maintain the starter once or twice a week. Simply follow the steps above, removing 90 grams of the starter and adding flour and water. Leave the starter at room temperature for about two hours after refreshing it to allow the fermentation to commence.

What to Do with Sourdough Starter

Though the most common sourdough product is simply a loaf of bread, sourdough starter can be used to recreate almost any baked good. Sourdough tastes great in pizza dough, pancakes, muffins, pretzels, and even cake.

Using sourdough starter is an extremely versatile way to bake, aside from being incredibly healthy and offering a superior flavor. It should be of no surprise that it’s become such a trend!

Digital gastronomy journal www.thegourmetjournal.com

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