Discovering the benefits of sourdough bread can be life-changing! I started making sourdough bread about a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back. If you have been curious about the recent craze of Sourdough Bread read on to learn some benefits it has to offer.
What’s all this sourdough bread craze about?
Sourdough bread has become a new trend in home kitchens across the country. A blogger that I follow has talked about how her blog traffic has increased three times the normal amount since the sourdough craze began.
I can’t be exactly sure when it all started but I know when the sourdough craze started for me.
When the COVID-19 global pandemic began in the spring (here in the US) of 2020, people rushed to the stores to stock up because they knew the store shutdowns were coming. Toilet paper was not the only thing that became out of stock quickly. Baker’s yeast did as well. Suddenly the prospect of making your own bread wasn’t just a crafty homemaker’s idea, but people saw that it could soon turn out to be a necessity if stores didn’t open up again soon.
So many people rushed out to buy flour and baker’s yeast that the stores ran out of yeast. It was on backorder for a long time. So what is one to do? Well, sourdough bread was the answer!
Why I love sourdough bread.
One great thing about sourdough bread is that you don’t need yeast to make the bread rise. A sourdough starter acts as the live yeast and will rise your bread. Perfect for such a time when all the stores were out of yeast!
This was an attraction for me. I was already making bread for my husband at home when the pandemic hit. So I was in a pinch when the yeast was out of stock. Then a friend told me about sourdough bread, and how if I made a sourdough starter, I could make my own sourdough bread without any yeast.
After hearing of some of the health benefits of sourdough as well, I decided this would be a perfect pandemic, stay-at-home project!
Benefits of Sourdough Bread
Better for Gluten Intolerance
As I started researching sourdough bread, I was intrigued by the benefits it has to offer. One of the first benefits I heard of was how the souring effect makes it easier for your body to digest gluten.
You may recall in my Easy Homemade Sauerkraut post I share the benefits of fermenting vegetables. One of the benefits is the process of “souring” or fermenting, which breaks down the bad bacteria on the product and replaces it with good bacteria. This is the case with things like pickles, yogurt, cheese, etc.
With sourdough bread, the same process works its way through the grains of the flour, creating fermented grain. This is what gives you that signature tangy sourdough taste.
The sourdough starter, which is used to raise the bread, acts as yeast. This natural yeast works its way through the dough to break down the lactic acid on the grains, making the gluten a little more tolerable to eat. This can also be considered a “prebiotic.”
For more information on prebiotic vs. probiotic foods, I found this article helpful.
I personally notice a difference when I eat sourdough bread compared to regular bread. I don’t have stomach cramps or any digestion issues with sourdough bread!
One great thing I have learned about sourdough bread is how well it lasts. Because of the fermenting properties, you can enjoy your bread for a little while longer than you could if you had normal bread.
Sourdough starters as well are pretty resilient. I have had mine for about a year and a half, and I have never had a problem with it getting old or growing mold. When you aren’t using your starter be sure to keep it in the fridge. This will stop the fermenting process and allow the starter to last for a long time.
How to Make a Sourdough Starter
Making your own sourdough starter is a great investment in years of delicious healthy bread making! Many people think it is complicated, but it is a very simple process. Which is why I loved it!
I plan to do a more in-depth tutorial on how to make your own sourdough starter on the blog later, but for now here are some basic tips if you want to get started!
Step by step
Using a large glass mixing bowl (yes it should be glass), mix in 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. Stir to combine. Then cover with a tea towel and leave on your kitchen counter in a semi-warm spot. Let it sit for a whole 24 hours.
Then remove 1/2 of the mixture and repeat this process. Mixing in 1 cup flour, 1 cup water. Stir. Then cover with a tea towel and leave for another 24 hours.
Do this for 3 or 4 days, until your mixture is looking bubbly. The bubbles are what you want to see. This means the fermentation process is starting to happen.
On day 4, you will start feeding your starter twice a day. For example, you get up on day 4, and it’s time to remove half of your starter. Then you feed it like you had been feeding it all along. Then about 12 hours later you repeat the process. Removing half of the mixture, and then feeding it again. When you wake up on day 5 you do it again.
Repeating this feeding and removing process twice a day until you reach day 7 will give you a well-established starter. By day 7 you can use your starter to make some delicious tangy sourdough bread. Try my artisan cinnamon sourdough bread as your first recipe!
There are lots of troubleshooting tips I could give you, but one big tip to know is that it is okay if your starter starts forming a watery liquid at the top, or a slightly gray/black liquid. This is called hooch. All you need to do is strain off a little bit of it, or stir it back in before you feed it again.
Have any questions about sourdough bread or how to make a starter?
I would love to help you get started! Leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer your questions!