Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why are sourdoughs better for you?


Sourdough or wild yeast bread is leavened by natural fermentation. This requires the presence of natural yeasts from the air or the grain, combined with enzyme enhancing bacteria. These cultures grow slowly given the right temperature, digesting the starches and changing the pH, allowing the wild yeasts to feed and the dough to rise.

Sourdough baking is a long process, due to the absence (or very minimum) of added yeast. From start to finish, the baking process takes up to 36 hours, compared to the 90 minutes of commercial yeasted bread. During this time, wild yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria (the same found in yoghurt) get to work, fermenting the dough slowly but surely, pre-digesting the flour so that the bread becomes far more digestible. And in the process, the nutritional properties of the bread change dramatically.

For a start, the glycaemic index of sourdough bread is 68 compared to 100 for non-sourdough bread. This means that sourdough will help you hold your blood glucose in check, according to research at Lund University in Sweden. The lacto-fermentation process actually uses carbohydrates in the food, converts it to lactic acid, and lowers the carbohydrate content.

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