Sourdough bread is among the best and most common leavened breads in the markets; hence many people love it for its unique taste, aroma, and texture.
There are two types of bread, leavened and unleavened; leavened bread use baker’s yeast to rise, while unleavened bread doesn’t use any form of yeast. Sourdough is ancient, and therefore back in the days, only a few people knew its recipe. However, in the present day, due to the increase in the consumption of low-carb diets, many people are learning how to prepare them. The main ingredient in the preparation of sourdough is ‘wild yeast’ made by fermenting a mixture of water and flour to get colonies of bacteria and yeast. Explained hereunder are the health benefits of sourdough bread and the method of preparation.
Nutritional and Health benefits of sourdough
Sourdough is similar to the nutrition content of other breads, depending on the type of flour used to prepare it, either processed or whole-grained. However, in a 100g portion of sourdough, i.e., 2 slices of bread, it contains a total of 230kcal.
Difference between sourdough bread and normal bread.
Sourdough bread is more nutritious than normal bread because it contains a low amount of phytates found in whole grains. Phytate is commonly found in plant-based products such as cereals and other grains. Most leavened bread is made using the baker’s yeast; sourdough bread undergoes fermentation to produce lactic acid, which neutralizes phytates. Studies have shown that fermentation of bread dough is said to lower phytate levels by 70%. Phytate is referred to as an antinutrient compound because it binds with minerals digested in the body and makes them difficult to be absorbed. The fermentation of sourdough bread also improves its shelf life, flavor, and taste, making it more suitable for whole grains funs. Below, other benefits of sourdough bread have been discussed.
May help in blood sugar management.
The process used to prepare sourdough bread is the main reason that makes this bread suitable for those trying to keep their blood sugar levels at optimum or control diabetes. Studies show that the lactic acid produced during the fermentation of bread is said to prevent a spike in sugar levels. Moreover, more research shows that fermentation changes the structure of cabs, hence lowering bread’s glycemic index. As a result, it slows down the rate at which sugars enter the bloodstream.
Improves the gut health
Although most beneficial bacteria are lost during the baking process, plant compounds such as polyphenols and fiber become more bioavailable. Furthermore, these components boost gut health and reduce the chances of experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort.
Sourdough is easy to digest
As aforesaid in the article, lactic acid produced during fermentation destroys the antinutrient content in the bread by neutralizing them. This makes other nutrients like minerals be easily digested. Some studies show that probiotics remain available in the bread even after baking and aid in gut health. Though uncertain, more studies need to be carried out to prove these beneficial bacteria are available in the bread. Furthermore, fermentation also breaks down large compounds like gluten protein into simple forms that can be easily digested. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as rye, wheat, and barley. Although quite prevalent in wheat, gluten intolerance causes digestive issues such as indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. However, gluten tolerance varies from person to person, and the symptoms vary from mild to worse. For this reason, sourdough is most suitable for people with gluten intolerance.
How to prepare sourdough bread
- Prepare starter; a maximum of 7 days is enough to prepare the starter.
- On day one, mix or blend water, flour, with a little butter (this takes less than 7 minutes).
- Let the mixture settle overnight at room temperature.
- For the next 6 days, feed the starter with flour while mixing slowly and allow it to ferment.
- Note that; wild yeast is everywhere, in the air, hands, and flour; as a result, within no time, the dough will be thriving.
- The culture smells sour and appears bubbly to tell when the yeast is ready.
- In a clean and wide bowl, measure flour and the amount of starter needed. Mix slowly while adding water and allow it to rest for a few hours; add salt.
- After a while, fold the dough by grubbing it from all sides and stretching it up and over; allow it to rest for about 15-30 minutes. Repeat this process while giving the flour time to rest in between. The dough is ready when it becomes stretchy and smooth.
- To get different bread shapes, allow the dough to rest on the proofing baskets or baking tins finally. Dust the basket with wheat flour to avoid sticking and burning while baking.
- Place the dough at room temperature and rise to almost twice the size of the original dough.
- Use a Dutch oven for baking, be sure to set the correct temperature to ensure the bread rises and forms a crust at the layer. Use a heavy pot with a lid in case you do not have a Dutch oven.
- Set time allow it to bake. Once ready, allow it to cool before cutting it.
Remember, preparing the starter needs time and patience; rushing this process won’t give the desired result. Furthermore, the remaining starter after baking is completed can be stored for later use. Store in a fridge to maintain the temperature of the microbes.
Sourdough bread is delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare compared to the other breads. Those considering to start a low carb diet, should consider including sourdough bread in the diet. The benefits of sourdough bread include; improving gut health, may help keep blood sugar levels at optimum, lead to better digestion, and easy to digest. However, gluten intolerant people can also comfortably consume sourdough because of its fermentation properties. The process of fermentation that is used to prepare the starter for sourdough bread produces lactic acids that neutralize antinutrient factors and enable the digestion of important nutrients such as minerals.
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