Sourdough: Health Benefits and How to make your own Starter

If you adore bread but want to find a loaf that is good for your health and weight, look no further than sourdough.

With its unique tangy taste, sourdough takes advantage of the bacteria and yeast that are naturally present in flour. These microbes are the reason for the tanginess that sourdough offers.

Sourdough is created through fermentation, which directly affects the taste and texture of the bread, along with the various benefits that it offers. The approach even makes the bread last longer, because it results in the presence of some acetic acid, which inhibits mold growth.

Sourdough also tends to be easier to digest and is often preferred over more conventional bread options for its nutritional content. It is low in fat, contains no trans fats or cholesterol and is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, including selenium, folate, thiamin and manganese.

Lactic acids make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body by helping neutralise the phytates in flour that would interfere with their absorption. The acids slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream and lower the bread’s glycaemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in insulin. They also render the gluten in flour more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance.

Sourdough’s popularity has risen in recent years, largely owing to awareness of its numerous benefits, however it is not a new discovery. Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread and was used as early as ancient Egypt.

All sourdough recipes begin with a starter — a mixture of flour and water. Sitting at room temperature, wild yeasts in the air and on the grain settle into the mix. The fermentation that occurs after a few days gives the starter its sour smell. Then it’s ready to use, for years if treated with respect.

A starter feeds many families over many years. Starters have always been passed through families and from friend to friend.

Starters can be kept thriving simply by adding equal parts of water and flour to a portion of the starter every couple of weeks. Replenish it, keep it stored in the refrigerator, and it will last indefinitely, acquiring more tanginess and depth of character through the ages.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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