“I believe that the only thing important for the preparation of a good loaf of bread is the quality of the raw ingredients. With that provided, we only need some love and desire to make the most delicious bread,” says Nevena Mitkova, a baker and bakery owner. Today we meet with her to learn everything about sourdough and why the bread made with it is so healthy.
Just flour, salt and water
The main thing about sourdough bread is that it is made only from flour, water and salt. There are no preservatives, emulsifiers and improvers. Therefore, it’s very important that the flour is also clean, without any additives. It’s best to use stone-milled flour, but as long as it has no additives, even industrially-ground flour will provide great results at home.
For some people, just removing this chemical cocktail from their diet and replacing it with traditional slow-fermented bread can be enough to solve their digestive problems.
The process of fermentation, says Nevena, happens when the flour is mixed with the water and left at room temperature. “A fermentation process begins, in which the dough is aerated by the action of the leaven. This is a natural process in which the yeasts begin to eat the proteins in the flour,” she adds.
A healthier option
Sourdough bread is healthier than regular loaves. First of all, because its ingredients are only flour, water and salt. Besides flavour enhancers, the traditional store-bought bread contains enzymes with unclear content that go under under the common name – baking improvers. They make the bread softer and lighter. What is considered as sourdough bread’s main disadvantage — its denser, firmer texture — it’s actually the natural effect of baking without any additives.
In addition, the grain’s main phosphorus stock — called phytic acid — is in the bran. Some experts believe that phytic acid causes stomach swelling and gas formation in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. But during the long, slow fermentation of sourdough phytic acid is degraded. This provides for better digestibility of the bread.
Since the phytase produced during yeast fermentation degrades phytic acid, minerals remain after baking. Simply put, sourdough is more nutritious. Moreover, some studies have indicated the benefits of phytinic acid for the bones. In people with a phytic acid-poor diet there is a greater risk of osteoporosis.
In addition to all the enhancers, gluten is added to the commercial bread to make it look bigger and puffier. In contrast, the only gluten in sourdough bread is that found naturally in the grain.Sourdough bread is also more satiating, which may play an important role in body weight regulation.
And if you are already planning to search the local grocery stores for sourdough bread, we have something for you…
How to make sourdough bread at home
In the video below you can find an easy recipe for homemade sourdough bread.