So what is sourdough, and why are we seeing a surge in its popularity? Sourdough is made from naturally occurring yeast and bacteria found in flour. When water is combined with flour, enzymes naturally present in the flour, break down its starch. Wild yeast and bacteria feed on the broken down starch, which is the fermentation process. This fermentation makes the bread delicious! This process means many of the simple sugars present in the grain are eaten up, so it's better for blood sugar levels compared with other breads. It's actually a low GI food, despite it's carbohydrate content. It's simple, natural, real bread, and we love it. Not only does it taste great, but it's also kinder on our tummies...yay!
We get asked a lot about whether all sourdough is gluten free. The answer is NO! Sourdoughs can be made from many different grains, and the most common sourdoughs available are made from grains which contain gluten. The sourdough process does not eliminate or reduce the amount of gluten in the bread.
We think this misconception comes about, because most people can digest sourdough more easily than commercial bread. Partially because sourdough is kinder on the gut, and also because the commercial bread making process adds additional gluten and enzymes to speed up the process. As a result, some people find they are more bloated and their IBS aggravated when eating commercial bread compared with sourdough. These symptoms may also be relieved when eating gluten free instead of usual commercial bread. (Well gluten free bread that’s not filled with lots of refined sugar and other chemicals that are difficult to pronounce!).
What about gluten free sourdough? Well, this may be doubly beneficial because the gluten is not present (for those that have an intolerance/allergy), and the sourdough is more easily digestible. The difficult is, getting gluten free sourdough right! It isn’t the easiest as many people will testify to. Added to this, most people don’t want to spend a couple of days making a loaf of bread, and you also have to look after your culture, keep it in good conditions and feed it regularly.
Other benefits of sourdough? Well, added to the the digestive benefits, it’s really delicious! We find that making gluten free bread from sourdough, gives it a great structure and texture. Our breads don’t crumble and fall apart like many gluten free breads. They aren’t super dry, in fact, you could say that they are like “normal” bread!
So, what should you eat? If you’ve had a diagnosed gluten intolerance, allergy or are coeliac you may want to try gluten free sourdough instead of standard gluten free bread. See what makes you feel best (and tastes the best!). If you’re lucky enough to not suffer any of the above, why not try eating sourdough over commercial breads, and you may find this helps any gut issues you may have. If you’re still feeling bloated, try the gluten free sourdough alternative. One thing to watch out for with many gluten free sourdoughs, is that they may contain egg, yeast and/or milk derivatives to aid their production. This isn’t necessary, and is something that sufferers with other allergies need to be aware of.
Can you make your own? Yes! There are lots of great recipes for sourdough breads, if you have the time and patience. If not, our easy to use baking kits are available online. You just need to add water to them. Alternatively, you could just order fresh sourdough bread on our website and have it delivered to your door!