Gluten intolerance isn’t the only reason some people refrain from eating breads. While it may be satisfying to eat, commercially-baked bread is full of stuff we don’t really want to eat and most have been stripped of nutrition in the processing.
Modern wheat has been cultivated for yield, not nutrition. On the contrary, eating wheat has been found to mess with blood sugar levels, cause bumps on the skin, and inducing joint pain.
When the Starter Started
The use of sourdough culture originated in Egypt over three millennia ago. It was used as the method for leavening in Europe in the Middle Ages and continues today. Modern breads use prepared yeast to make bread rise.
The practice of making sourdough bread made it over to North America with the Europeans and was the primary bread made by prospectors in the West during the Gold Rush because the culture used in its making also acts as a preservative.
Sourdough leavening cultivates Lactobacillus bacteria–the good kind that maintain intestinal health. The starter ferments over time and the bacteria grow in addition to yeast, but the bacteria outnumber the yeast. The result is a sour-like tang. A sourdough starter can be perpetuated indefinitely if it is regularly fed. The starter (levain) actually gets better and more active over time.
There are many good reasons for choosing a sourdough if you eat grains or if you have cut them due to health and dietary concerns and miss a good crusty loaf now and then. Here are some of them.
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1. Digestion of Starches
Fermentation pre-digests complex carbohydrates, making them easier for our bodies to digest and use.