Sourdough September

Sourdough September is part of the real bread revolution using 100% wholemeal-flour and no chemical additives; the glycemic response to the starch is also dependent on the specific microbiomes in our own tums.

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; it's how it has been done for thousands of years.

Sourdough bread loaf.

The real bread revolution has been spawned, in part, because of the sheer tastelessness of commercial loaf; it will 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 C19 should you be infected.

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 hope the distinction between real and fake bread is becoming clearer; it tastes better, is more nutritious and is less likely to give you a bellyache.

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. So you have to own a mill; and no additives.

100 percent real flour is not to be bought unless you have an uncle in the milling business.

It also means preparing the dough with none of the chemicals that commercial bakers use today; they are one of the big causes of irritable bowel syndrome.

September is the month the aficionados 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 wild-yeasts and bacteria to the flour; 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 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 in your own tum; 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.

Are you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome? Then it's time to join the Sourdough September movement and baking your own loaf.

Try baking some sourdough. 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 leftover 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 is 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 is 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.

I have given this pizza a bit of a kick using our peppadew sauce but you could use any chili in your garden. We attribute our wellness in our dotage in part to the probiotics we enjoy from our food every day. Whether it's the live bugs from the fermented foods we enjoy, or the metabolites they leave behind, researchers are saying it is so important that they are calling the colon the "second brain."

Take sourdough September into ever week of the year; bake your own bread and spend time finding out about the simple fermented foods that taste so good and are so important for our well-being. It all comes back to why whole grain is better.

Sourdough September will enable you to step up to a whole new level of wellness; and your bread will become renowned and revered by family and friends.


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