Do you know the health benefits of sourdough bread and other products made with sourdough?
Nowadays you always hear sourdough bread is the way to go, you have to eat sourdough bread, but are you aware of the reasons? The health benefits of sourdough bread are multiple and many really incredible.
I just wanted to point out that there is nothing wrong in using the classic yeast. Taking care of sourdough may be a pain for very busy people, but if you want to stick with yeast, can use it wisely to get best out of it anyway. Check my pizza recipe to see how to use less yeast and still get a easy to digest dough.
Health benefits of sourdough bread: taste and flavor
First thing first: bread, sweets and pizza made with sourdough have a distinct flavor and aroma, and it gets even better when you use ancient variety of grains. This flavor comes from the long fermentation process that allows for all the ingredients to mingle and develop nutrients that give it the distinct aroma.
Health benefits of sourdough bread: digestibility and probiotics
The probiotic strains in the sourdough come from the Lactobacilli (L. Reuteri, L. Plantarum,ecc..) family, together with saccaromices and various yeasts. Lactobacilli, and in particular L. Reuteri, plays a key role in the giving the health benefits to sourdough bread.
Even though bacteria die in the baking process, a study from Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT)* in Boston showed that what remains in the cooked bread has the same effect of fresh probiotics on the microbiome. Isn’t incredible? For long time it has been assumed that probiotic brought benefits only if alive.
Another great benefit of sourdough bread is the degradation of phytates, an anti-nutrient found in the hull of grains, nuts and seeds. Actually the enzymes in the sourdough destroy almost all phytates and increase the solubility of magnesium and phosphorous**. This means that a sourdough bread, especially whole wheat bread, contains a higher quantity of magnesium and phosphorous.
The health benefits of sourdough bread do not end here, in fact the fermentation process activates enzymes that “predigest” the bread, making it more digestible for those who may have difficulties when eating gluten (not those suffering from celiac disease!).
Health benefits of sourdough bread: gluten
Sourdough bread contains less gluten than other breads. Studies show that the acidification generated by the sourdough creates compounds that enhance the degradation of gluten**, making it a better choice for those who have gluten intolerance issues.***
Sourdough: how does it work?
Do you know exactly how sourdough works? Inside the dough small bacteria and yeasts feed on the carbohydrates in the flour. The waste product of this feeding is carbon dioxide that is trapped in the gluten mesh forming air bubbles that make the dough rise.
This is the reason why you should feed your sourdough constantly, it is in fact alive! After the bacteria and yeasts have eaten all the carbs in the flour, you need to give them more to keep them alive and very active. The more you feed them the more active the yeast. And when yeast is very active acts quicker and can withstand rich dough like brioche.
Why you should be using sourdough
If you love home made bread I strongly recommend you try making you sourdough starter at home and use is regularly. You will see the difference immediately, especially when using high quality flour. Not only you will get tons of health benefits from your sourdough bread, but you will also be happy you made it and you know exactly what’s in it.