I’ve been experimenting with sourdough bread over the past few weeks to see whether it’s
- something I can eat without any digestive problems
- something I want to commit to
- worth it.
So far the jury is still out.
Sourdough is an old traditional way of making bread that makes it more digestible, has a good shelf life and also doesn’t require any yeast for the proving. It’s not a quick loaf by any means, to make a loaf of sourdough you need a ‘starter’ and this takes anything between 7-10 days of fermentation before a loaf can be made. However the results of a true, unleavened bread is very rewarding and rather tasty.
Bread was made this way before the introduction of yeast. By soaking grains or legumes before they are prepared for cooking we allow the activation of an enzyme called phytase to break down the phytic acid on the grains and legumes. Phytic acid binds all the available minerals within the grain and makes it very hard for us to digest and access the nutrients. This process of soaking allows the food to become more nourishing for us.
I think it’s really interesting that our ancestors knew, by instinct, that they should soak these foods first to get better results than not. I’ve even seen a quote attributed to Hippocrates that says,
“I know, too, that the body is affected differently by bread according to the manner in which it is prepared”
Before you start thinking that 7-10 days sounds like a bit of a faff, this process is very quick and easy, all you need to do is add one more cup of flour and water to the existing batch, stir it up and let it sit and do it’s thing. So in terms of time it isn’t at all onerous. Even the ceremonial bread making day takes very little time once you’ve got over the initial hesitation of the first time. Your house will have the air of a brewery smell about it as the flour ferments, I quite like it, but I understand that may not be to everyone’s taste.
With regards to taste and digestibility I can say that it tastes really nice. It has a very tough, rugged crust and, unsurprisingly, a slightly sour taste to it. But it’s what I would call ‘proper bread’. It has chew, it has flavour and it’s not something you slice thinly for a sarnie. It’s something you grab hold of and yank a bit off of. Perfect for soups, salads and meals that need mopping up.
Whether it’s more easily digestible is still out for question. It certainly doesn’t bloat me like other breads do, but it does do a great job of producing wind! Perhaps I’ll need to ease back on how much I eat!
The recipe is here, I always think there is nothing more infuriating than having to read a blog post to get to a recipe each time. So go ahead and get started. It’s worth a try, even once, anyone can make this bread. It’s really easy.