Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Naturally Leavened Bread?

The fermented quality of naturally leavened bread has several healthful advantages over yeasted breads. Yeasted breads are risen very quickly by a refined yeast strain which has been isolated in a laboratory under controlled conditions, using a process we could never duplicate in our kitchens.
In the process of making sourdough bread, during the rising time (called proofing), bran in the flour is broken down, releasing nutrients into the dough. In particular, the phytic acid (phytin) in grains needs to be 90% neutralized in order for the minerals, concentrated in the bran, to be absorbed by the human body. According to the experiments done in Belgium, phytin can be neutralized by natural bacterial action and to a lesser extent, by baking. In naturally leavened bread, the combination eliminates all phytin, while in yeasted bread about 90% remains.
Furthermore, with sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during proofing which are not lost in baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust.
It’s the fermentation, partly from lactobacillus, that makes eating good quality bread an aid to digestion of all complex carbohydrate foods including other grains, beans, and vegetables. It helps restore the functioning of the digestive tract, resulting in proper assimilation and elimination. These beneficial bacteria help control candida albicans, whereas baker’s yeast is a pro-candida organism. This is a brown bread which truly is “the staff of life” as it enhances the whole immune system.

By Principle

In baking as in all natural processes, the laws of life must be respected; it is vital for the fermented bread to retain the dynamic character that originally develops within the wheat berry as it evolves toward its germination. Just as the breathing cycle consists of an oxidation, followed by a reduction, the same cycle is reproduced in the five day cycle of the germination of wheat. Natural leavened bread (seeded with wild yeast or natural leaven) also duplicates this cycle: The rising of the dough corresponds to an oxidation (like wheat germ growth), followed by a reduction (during the baking of the loaf) identical to the development of the miniature sprout of wheat. We readily see that of the two methods available for leavening bread, only natural leaven faithfully follows the laws of the universe.

Natural Leaven or Commercial Baker's Yeast?

There are two methods for leavening bread and they differ totally in the way they act on the flour, as well as on the taste and nutritional effect of the resulting bread and, in the end, on the health of the consumer. The aim of bread fermentation is to transform the various nutrients freed by the milling of the grain and to modify them for optimum assimilation during digestion.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Impact of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in sourdough fermentation

The application of sourdough has a long tradition in the production of wheat and rye breads. Sourdough plays a crucial role in the development of the sensorial, nutritional, and safety quality of fermented products. The metabolic activity of LAB during sourdough fermentation may contribute to the improvement of cereal products in different ways, such as lengthening their shelf-life; hydrolyzing proline-rich allergenic fragments; improving the texture and palatability of whole grain, fiber-rich, or gluten-free products; stabilizing / increasing levels of bioactive compounds and enhancing mineral bioavailability.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A vital force of the "ancienne"

Seeking to strike the right balance, big-scale bakeries today would portray the baker as a "guardian of traditions" but insisted that he "is nonetheless an artisan of today." The symbolic power of (good)will bridged the chasm between theory and practice. Central bread factories awash in wistfulness for "the rediscovered bakery [la boulangerie retrouvée]", placed its ambitions in the same tradition of sensible marriage, evoking "a happy balance between the utilization of perfected matériel and a perpetuation of certain gestures of autrefois". The evocation of l'ancienne was more often a "coup du décor" - a decorative ploy -  than the harbinger of better bread. The original bread does not exist.... The fashion for the authentic is governed by the authentoc" - gaudy imitation. Yet our confidence in the past as a guide to primal virtues seems boundless.