Sourdough bread has been around since ancient times when people figured out that if they left the dough to ferment over time, it would become easier to digest and taste better than regular bread. Although its popularity waned during the industrial age of bread, sourdough bread has started to gain favor again in recent years due to its health benefits. Keep reading to find out the top 10 health benefits of sourdough bread you might not know about yet.
What is Sour-Dough Bread?
Sourdough bread is the oldest type of leavened bread on record. Unlike conventional bread that uses baker’s yeast to rise, sourdough is made with a sourdough starter.
A sourdough starter is a culture of wild beneficial bacteria and yeast left to ferment. During fermentation, the flour releases lactic acid and other gases that cause your sourdough to rise.
When ready, a portion of the starter (levain) is mixed with flour to make sourdough.
Sourdough bread tastes pretty good, but more than that, it’s more nutritious and gentle on your stomach.
Keep in mind that most store-bought sourdough bread do not follow traditional preparation, which may interfere with their benefits. So it’s always good to make your sourdough bread whenever you can.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Sour-Dough Bread
1. It’s highly nutritious and tasty
Plant foods, especially grains, are naturally high in anti-nutrients like phytic acid or phytates. These may make it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients in that particular food.
Whole grain bread, for instance, is full of minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphate, but their absorption may be difficult. Sourdough bread contains lactic acid, which neutralizes these compounds by lowering the bread’s PH, making the nutrients more available for absorption, especially if whole-grain flour was used.
According to research, sourdough fermentation may lower the phytate content in bread by more than 70 percent. The fermentation and lower PH in sourdough also increase antioxidant content and other nutrients.
Also, the longer the fermentation, the better the aroma, taste, and health benefits.
2. Promotes proper digestion
The natural fermentation involved in sourdough makes it easier for your stomach to digest compared to commercial bread made with baker’s yeast. Furthermore, people consuming sourdough bread are unlikely to report bloating issues, digestion problems, or intolerances.
Fermentation may also break down gluten, the main protein in wheat that is known to cause sensitivity and digestive issues in some individuals.
The process of fermenting splits up any traces of gluten, making sourdough bread more digestible, particularly for individuals who have a hard time digesting gluten.
Nevertheless, individuals with celiac disease must be careful, as sourdough still contains some amount of gluten. Instead, they should consume gluten-free sourdough bread such as from sorghum, brown rice flour, oats, or quinoa.
Moreover, the process of fermenting sourdough causes gluten-free bread to become spongier and also similar to common bread in terms of taste and volume.
Additionally, sourdough bread is full of prebiotics, an indigestible fiber that helps feed your good gut bacteria, thus increasing their population, diversity, and function, ultimately promoting a healthy digestive system.
3. It may promote weight loss
The high prebiotic profile in sourdough improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, which promotes glucose regulation and metabolism, causing one to burn fat and lose weight.
Sourdough bread made with whole grain is rich in fiber and low in the Glycemic index and Glycemic load, making it suitable for anyone looking to lose weight.
Glycemic index or GI is used to measure the rate at which certain foods raise blood sugar levels on a scale of 0 up to 100. Pure glucose or sugar is at 100. GI is quite high in processed foods compared to food high in fiber.
Glycemic load or GL is used to measure carbohydrates in food and how quickly they can raise blood glucose.
Sourdough bread contains a GL measurement of 8 and GI measurement of 54, while normal bread contains a GL of 9 and a GI measurement of 71.
4. Increases phytochemicals
The fermentation in sourdough bread decreases anti-nutrients while increasing valuable phytochemicals.
Research indicates that sourdough bread contains more carotenoids, phenols, and other valuable compounds compared to unfermented bread. Besides, these compounds offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, promoting good health.
5. It’s rich in protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that gives structure and support to your cells and supports different immune functions. With a medium slice of sourdough bread containing 8 grams of protein, regular consumption may be a great way to boost your daily protein intake. Keep in mind that this value is for white bread, meaning whole-grain bread may contain even more protein.
6. It minimizes your consumption of yeast
The healthy bacteria that form in sourdough during fermentation help produce the gases that facilitate rising without yeast. This ultimately reduces the risk of overgrowth or infection caused by yeast.
7. Easy to digest
Compared to bread made with commercial yeast, sourdough bread is much easier to digest. This means that it’s easier for your body to absorb its nutrients.
Sourdough bread is made of flour, water, and salt. All other bread is made with flour, water, and yeast. Sourdough fermentation makes the bread more digestible because the lactobacilli in the sourdough culture break down complex starches into simple sugars which are easily absorbed by the body.
8. Tastes better
Most people assume that sourdough bread has a tart taste, but because it is baked at lower temperatures than regular bread, it actually ends up with a milder flavor. The leavening process also means that sourdough keeps well and stays soft for a long time. If you bake your own sourdough, it’s important to know that different types of flour will give you different results.
For example, all-purpose flour makes a lighter loaf while whole wheat or rye flours make denser loaves. Experiment until you find what works best for you! But keep in mind that whole flours are always the best because they contain fiber that better aids the process of fermentation.
9. Low cost
One benefit that a lot of people think about when they first learn about sourdough bread is how much it costs. This is one area where sourdough does have an advantage over yeast. As a general rule, sourdough tends to be cheaper than yeast-raised bread.
This is because sourdough doesn’t need any extra ingredients aside from flour and water, and can be stored for longer periods at room temperature. Additionally, sourdough bread doesn’t require as much flour as regular yeast bread does
How to make sourdough bread?
Here is a quick guide to help you make your sourdough bread at home
- Prepare your starter a few days beforehand. This involves mixing flour and water and letting it ferment in a closed container. The fermentation process will result in a colony of microorganisms, including yeast and lactobacilli.
The process will take between 5-10 days, depending on the temperature and how sour you like your bread. Also, remember to keep feeding your starter daily by adding a small amount of flour and water throughout the process.
- Once the starter is ready, you can keep it in the refrigerator and feed it regularly (once to two times a week)
- When ready to make the bread, combine your ingredients, including some starter, flour, salt, and water, then let it sit for a few hours.
- You may need to knead the dough a few more times while letting it sit for 15-30 minutes after every knead until it’s smooth and stretchy.
- Let it rest for the last time until it grows to about 1.5 times the initial size.
- Shape and bake in a dutch oven with a lead-on to steam the bread, then off to allow it to be crisp.
- Allow the bread to cool for an hour or so before slicing.
How to Use Sourdough Starter
If you’ve ever baked sourdough bread before, you know how delicious it can be — and it turns out that sourdough starter can be used in more ways than just baking. While some people may dismiss sourdough starter as an ingredient to make your favorite loaf of bread, there are plenty of other uses that can improve the health of your gut and your immune system while also giving you better digestion, better sleep, and fewer allergies. Here are ten ways to use sourdough starter that will help you with overall wellness.
Is your bread starting to look a little sad? Maybe it’s time for croutons. Croutons are a quick and easy way to get some more bang out of your stale bread. They are bits of bread that have been fried in oil or butter and tossed with herbs. They are commonly sprinkled on top of salads for an added flavor and texture.
They’re best when they are freshly made and used immediately.
If you want to try some crotons but can’t bear to bake your sourdough bread, consider getting one from the store.
Use as a thickener in soups and stews
If you’ve been keeping track, the sourdough starter should have been bubbling and producing a light yeasty smell by now. If not, you may need to add more flour and water to the mixture. Once it’s active, you can begin to make soups and stews with it.
Adding some of the starters to a boiling pot of soup or stew will help thicken it up. However, be careful not to overdo it; too much sourdough can taste sour and metallic. Just a spoonful or two will do the trick. You can also store leftover soups and stews in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Make sourdough pancakes
Sourdough bread is a great way to add flavor and texture to pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods. Here are some tips on how to use sourdough in pancakes:
Start by mixing the batter ingredients together. Then add the sourdough starter to the mix. The starter will help to create a fluffy pancake batter.
Once the batter is ready, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add enough oil or butter to coat the surface of the pan. Once hot, pour the batter into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Serve warm with syrup or serve as is with fruit toppings.
Use sourdough in place of baking powder
If your baking recipe calls for baking powder and you’re out, a sourdough starter can provide a great alternative. Add 1 teaspoon of acidic vinegar or lemon juice to your sourdough before kneading, instead of using 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking powder. This is also useful when you want to avoid aluminum in your diet. Sourdough starters don’t require any leavening agents; they rise just due to the action of wild yeast on simple carbohydrates.
Make sourdough cookies
There are numerous ways to use sourdough in cookies. One way is to add it to the dough before you bake it. This allows the sourdough to flavor the cookies while they are baking. You can also make a sourdough cookie dough and let it rise before you bake it. This will result in a denser, chewier cookie that is bursting with flavor.
Another way to use sourdough in cookies is to make cookie dough and then refrigerate it for several hours or overnight. This will allow the sourdough to develop a stronger flavor and texture. Finally
Final thoughts on the health benefits of sourdough bread:
Sourdough bread is bread made with a fermented sourdough starter instead of the baker’s yeast used in commercial bread.
The fermentation process in sourdough offers various health benefits, including proper digestion, weight loss, and increased intake of multiple nutrients.
Besides, making sourdough bread is easy, fun, and probably the best since not all store-bought sourdough bread is genuinely prepared with the traditional natural method.
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- 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System
- Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Metabolism
- How To Stay Healthy When Traveling
- Eating Healthy Food On A Budget
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