Why is sourdough the healthy bread?


I'm number 3 in the line up of 7 kids in my family and grew up in Malta until the age of 10.  When my mum was heavily pregnant with my younger siblings, I spent time living at my Nanna's house (Nanna is Maltese for Grandma).  Nanna would send me across the road to the old bakery at 6am in the morning to buy freshly baked sourdough bread, and that is where my fascination with sourdough bread began.

It has taken me over 2 years of making bread to feel like I've mastered the sourdough, but it's been lots of fun and learning along the way.  I hope to make it easier for anyone wanting to give this a go.  Here's a little about why sourdough bread is a healthier option and you will find links to my sourdough starter and sourdough bread recipes.

Sourdough bread has been fermented which reduces gluten in the wheat.  This is important as gluten can be hard to digest and the amount of gluten in our food has increased due to genetic modification.  Fermenting also removes phytic acid.  This is important because phytic acid reduces mineral absorption from food.

The yeast in a sourdough starter is a different strain to that used by commercial bakers of today.  There is an important difference between the two types of yeast:

SOURDOUGH YEAST:  has the technical name Sacchraromyces exiges.  In a healthy sourdough starter, yeast and lactobacilli (good bacteria found in the digestive tract) thrive.  The yeast helps to feed the lactobacilli which produce an acidic environment.  The yeast like this acidic environment, but any other organisms die creating an ‘antibiotic’ affect within the mix.  The acids produced by the lactobacilli give the bread its sour flavour.

The sourness of the bread depends on the temperature, length of fermentation, type of grains, amount of water and the particular strains of yeast and lactobacilli that live in the starter.

BAKER'S YEAST:  a commercially produced yeast which has the technical name Sacchoromyces cerrivasae.  This yeast cannot survive in an acidic environment and therefore does not promote the growth of good bacteria within the mix.

When buying sourdough, make sure you ask how it's made to ensure it hasn't had commercial yeast plus sour-tasting agents added to it just to make it sour.  You want to make sure sourdough yeast has been used and the bread has fermented for 6-8 hours.  I only eat sourdough bread and make my own as I find it so expensive to buy.  You can learn to make your own starter here.  

Sourdough bread is a form of complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates are essential for healthy eating but can lead to weight gain and food related disease if eaten in excess. The Healthy Mums 30 week online program shows you how to enjoy complex carbohydrates while controlling your weight naturally.

Enjoy healthy bread in moderation and have a healthy day.

Your healthy friend,
Amanda Steidle