During this global pandemic, like many others, I have found myself with a little extra time on my hands, hence how this blog came to life. As seen basically anywhere on the internet, people are making bread like no other as a pass time. So obviously I had to hop on the trend.
One of my absolute favourite kinds of bread is sourdough. A local bakery just 15 minutes away from my house makes all sorts of delicious sourdough breads, including apricot, olive, baguettes, etc. I’ve always known that sourdough is “healthy” but that was the extent of it.
What is it?
First of all, what is sourdough bread and why is it different than regular bread? Sourdough is bread that is made from a sourdough starter in place of store bought yeast. Yeast reacts with the gluten in flour which is what causes the dough to rise. Sourdough bread rises from “wild yeast” instead of added yeast. The yeast and bacteria grow inside the flour and water. The bacteria that is present produces lactic acid which ferments the dough. AKA why the dough has a sour taste.
Sourdough is healthy because of the grain fermentation process. All you need to make a sourdough starter is flour and water. Within that there is “wild yeast” and lactic acid bacteria which act as natural leavening agents. Lactic acid bacteria is a bacteria found in other fermented products like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and beer to name a few. This bacteria makes sourdough bread easily digestible and therefore all the nutrients are more available to the body. The lactic acid in the bread also causes it to have a lower glycemic index than regular bread. This means that sourdough is a slower digesting carbohydrate and it won’t spike your blood sugar as much.
I wanted to try making my own sourdough bread, which requires a sourdough “starter”. I followed The Kitchn step by step guide to make my own starter from scratch.
I like to think that after a few months of successfully starting and maintaining my starter that I have become an expert. But, I honestly just look up any questions I have.
The thought of growing and maintaining a starter seems like a lot of work at first. Having to feed it everyday, and waste all of the “discard”. But I can honestly say it’s much easier than it may seem. Whenever I know I won’t be be baking for a longer period of time I just put my starter in the fridge. It’s recommended to leave it in the fridge for no longer than a week before taking it out to feed it. There are also a bunch of really cool ways to use sourdough discard.
Sourdough starters are also really cool because you can share them with other people so they don’t have to do the initial phases of building a starter. Here is another great website that explains all the basics about having a sourdough starter.
To feed your starter follow a 1:1 ratio of flour and water in weight. If you have a kitchen scale that is an easy way to measure equal amounts. For example I usually do 4 ounces of water and flour. If you are using measuring cups, 3/4 cup of flour is approximately 1/2 a cup of water.
I started out by making a simple white sourdough bread recipe, and then began branching out to try different recipes. I then decided to attempt making a whole wheat flour starter and have had equal success!
I’ve made many different loaves of bread with my starters as well as bagels that are to die for! I’ve even made a few of my own recipes along the way. So stay tuned for lots of sourdough content to come.