Sourdough September

Sourdough September is part of the real bread revolution using 100% wholemeal-flour; the glycemic response to the starch is also dependent on our own specific microbiomes.

Food-lovers in the UK are turning to a new way known as real bread; tired of the sheer boredom and tastelessness of commercial loaves they are going back to grassroots.

But of course it is not a new way of baking our loaves, just the way it is been done for thousands of years.

Sourdough bread loaf.

It comes in part because of the commercial loaf is so tasteless; it does fill a gaping hole in the belly but without jams, jellies and ham it’s so dull. More important though it induces a high blood-glucose response; that researchers have just confirmed is indeed associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease[1]. And at this time of succumbing to C-19 if you are infected.

And once you’ve sampled the sourdough version of real-bread, you will find it tastes so good that anything more than just plain butter is superfluous.

I have extensively covered the meaning of real bread in this column; simply it means baking with freshly ground wholemeal that has exactly the same proportions of bran, germ and white flour as in the original grain. That means you have to own a wheat-mill.

And with none of the chemicals that commercial bakers use today.

This month the afficionados in the UK are having a huge celebration of baking real bread the old-fashioned way using a sourdough starter.

So, what is sourdough, and why is it so good? There are many ways of doing this which you can explore on the web, but in essence you add a culture of yeasts and bacteria to the dough; often this would be an active lump kept back from yesterday.

I instead keep a living culture that I scoop from every morning. You feed it with just flour and perhaps a little raw honey now and then; and unchlorinated water or you would kill those friendly bugs.

These bugs start the digestion of the carbs releasing gas that makes the dough rise and produce a variety of sour-tasting healthy nutrients that give the loaf its amazing flavour; it is these acids that also slow the rate at which the glucose produced from the starch is absorbed into the blood stream. That means it has a low GI. Researchers give it a mouthful; postprandial glycemic response.

However even this remains controversial. A group of Israeli researchers found that this is not necessarily the case[2]. It is dependent on whether you are baking with true 100% wholemeal, the sourdough culture used and whether you have a happy microbiome; for this reason we also make and enjoy kefir regularly.

In fact we have more recently started making a kefir sourdough bread that has a softer-crumb and is even more tasty and digestible.

Sourdough September

Sourdough September discusses making your loaf the traditional way.

The foaming sourdough starter that predigests the flour.

Just as important the sourdough predigests the gluten in the flour. That is the protein, essential to making a decent loaf, but it contains an amino acid, proline, that is resistant to enzyme action in the normal proving time, leaving short-chain fragments that cause havoc in the intestines of roughly one in a hundred people.

Researchers have found that even most of those suffering from a very severe form of gluten intolerance called Coeliac Sprue can enjoy sourdough bread that has had a very long fermentation time; at least 24-hours.

Without sourdough, those suffering from gluten sensitivity are unable to enjoy the proven benefits of many whole grains; they get bloating and discomfort and even serious diarrhoea.

Try baking some sourdough this September. Once you get started it is not difficult; it takes me literally five-minutes every morning[3].

Sourdough bread stays fresh much longer by the way and is far less likely to go mouldy. For one day only, you can keep it in a plastic bag but, for longer periods, paper is better. If you bake daily as we do, it makes no difference.

Slice any left over and freeze it in a sealed-bag. You can pop it straight into the toaster. Or simply crumble stale bits and use it to mop up a soup or stew; you won't even know that it's old sourdough bread. 

Sourdough pizza

Sourdough pizza crust.

Many of us have given up on pizza, much as we love it; the bloating and even frank pain and feeling of rocks in the belly are just too much.

Then this September it's time to start experimenting with a sourdough pizza crust; to my great surprise I have absolutely no discomfort after a delicious wholesome meal.

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  1. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of coronary heart disease: a pan-European cohort study
  2. Bread Affects Clinical Parameters and Induces Gut Microbiome-Associated Personal Glycemic Responses
  3. Sourdough bread recipe


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