The Benefits of Sourdough

At Fermentools, we take our sourdough seriously. That is why we have posts on safe starters, how to make your own starter, and many recipes. This one will cover the benefits of eating sourdough bread.

Posted by Abigail

Store-bought conventional grains, soaked grains, sprouted grains, soured grains, or no grains–it seems like everyone has their own idea of how best to consume grain. Regardless of where you stand personally on the topic, most experts agree that soured or fermented grains are one of the healthier choices available. Let’s look at a few of the benefits of sourdough.

While nearly any grain can be fermented, one of the most commonly recognized fermented-grain concoctions is sourdough bread.  Sourdough is created with just a few simple ingredients: flour, water, salt and a starter.  The starter is where the real magic of sourdough begins.

A sourdough starter is simply flour and water, “fed” on a regular basis, and left to sit at room temperature while it develops. (Read more on how to make a sourdough starter here.) Over time, the starter “captures” wild yeasts, making it a perfect leavening agent for your bread. It also ferments, helping to improve the digestibility of your finished product.

Digestibility

How is sourdough more digestible? Grains have naturally occurring phytic acid–an “anti-nutrient” that prevents us from absorbing the nutrients in the grain and inhibits the enzymes that we need to digest our food.Our inability to properly digest untouched grains is one reason for the current push to properly prepare grains for consumption.

Good news: sourdough and other fermented grain shows “significant potential in improvement and design of the nutritional quality and health effects of foods and ingredients.”How so? The fermenting process creates an acidic environment, which in turn allows enzymes to better digest the food and access available nutrients.

Glycemic Index

What’s more, sourdough may be more tolerable for those with blood sugar problems. Foods that raise blood glucose levels after meals are said to have a high glycemic index (GI). Happily, sourdough bread creates a lower glycemic response than other breads.3 This makes sourdough a better choice for the diabetic than regular white bread.

Let’s not forget that sourdough also benefits your wallet. A basic sourdough loaf has a short ingredient list, and can be made with hardly anything in the pantry. What’s more, commercial yeast is not needed to bake sourdough. How freeing to leave those pricey little packets behind!

Sourdough is an age-old traditional food that is a joy to make. Its health benefits are also backed by modern science. Why not try a loaf today?

See also: How to make a Basic Sourdough Loaf.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. Please consult your health care professional if you have any concerns about sourdough or grain consumption.
Sources:
  1. Nagel, R. (2010, March 26). Living with Phytic Acid. Retrieved from http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/
  2. Poutanena, K, Flandera, L, and Katinaa, K. (2009). Sourdough and cereal fermentation in a nutritional perspective. Food Microbiology, 26(7), 693-699. Abstract retrieved from Science Direct: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002009001749
  3. Scazzina, F, Del Rio D., Pellegrini, N., and Brighenti, F. (2009). Sourdough bread: Starch digestibility and postprandial glycemic response. Journal of Cereal Science, 49(3), 419-421. Abstract retrieved from Science Direct: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521009000307

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Abigail is an aspiring homesteader, homeschooler, and music-maker. She lives with her husband and three children on her acre-and a half homestead in scenic Pennsylvania. You can visit her blog about living the homegrown life (and seeking contentment while doing it) at They’re Not Our Goats.

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