Sourdough Part I: The Beginning

Sourdough Part I: The Beginning

At the beginning there was a big bang. It was a sound of half eaten loaf of substance supermarkets call bread hitting the bin when I threw it away. Enough is enough I said to myself. I simply had enough of the spongy under baked mass produced so called breads. That’s how my adventure with bread baking started. I started baking my own bread about 5 years ago. I experimented with different methods and now believe that the best bread is produced with the ancient method of sourdough. But what is the mysterious sourdough? It is method where instead of baker’s yeast the dough rises with the help of wild yeast naturally present in the air and bacteria present in the flour. This is the most ancient way of baking bread used centuries before baker’s yeast was available. As the matter of fact as far as 4000 years ago ancient Egyptians recorded the bread making process on the walls of Senet’s tomb in Luxor.

Why do I like baking with sourdough? Firstly, because every time I bake a loaf this was it gives me an incredible sense of achievement that I created something delicious out of three simple ingredients: flour, water and salt. But apart from the personal ego boost, sourdough is simply the healthiest and tastiest form of bread. Because it takes much longer to make sourdough bread it has time to develop the depth of flavour and texture incomparable with the mass produced supermarket lumps. That’s not all however. Nutritionist around the world now suggest that long fermented bread may be easier to digest and have other health benefits. The naturally present lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) helps to reduce the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream. So when eating sourdough you do not get a rapid spike of insulin levels. Thanks to that sourdough has a relatively low glycaemic index (G.I.). The bacteria that gives sourdough it’s beautifully sour tang improves digestibility of gluten and therefore reduce the likelihood of developing an intolerance to the bread.

So next time you are about to pick a loaf of bread in supermarket have a look at list of ingredients. Then compare it with the fact that you could have a wonderfully tasting bread made with just 3 basic ingredients. I already made my choice and the fact that my son does not throw my bread on the floor when he eats is the best proof for me. The next step is yours.

Now, with the theory sorted let’s move to practice. First you need to grow a sourdough starter also known as “chef” or “mother”.

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