Sourdough bread has a reputation of being the queen of bread. But what is it all about?

As part of Real Bread Week 2016 we decided to brave it and try to make our own sourdough starter. Why, you might think? Well, if you know a bit about us or if you have read our about us page previously, then you’ll have read that Saskia and I actually met due to a Sourdough starter. She had been desperate to get her hands on one for some time. And someone in our office told her that I actually had one sitting in my fridge and that I was happy to share. That turned out to be all she needed to know to strike up a conversation with me. Fast forward three years later and we set up our own business. And in honour of how we met, for the love of good bread and for the fact that sourdough bread is such a big part of German tradition; we decided to make our own!

Saskia is going to follow the in-depth recipe from the Tartine-Bread blog, while I will use Paul Hollywoods recipe for a sourdough starter. Saskia is using rye flour, I am using wheat flour. We will keep you posted on how our “babies” are developing during Real Bread Week, tune in to our social media channels for more!

In the meantime, we have put together some facts about sourdough.

What is sourdough

Sourdough is a fermented dough containing lactic acid bacteria cultures. It is used to bake bread as an alternative to yeast, especially in rye bread as yeast doesn’t get the same results (rise) with rye flour. As the name suggests sourdough bread has a slightly sour taste, but don’t expect too much of a tang! In order to bake sourdough bread, you needs a bit of the sourdough starter in order to make the bread rise. You can’t get this in a supermarket, hence our little experiment for Real Bread Week! A sourdough starter (also called “leaven”, “chief” or, my favourite, “mother”) is kept in the fridge and needs to be used (and fed) regularly so it doesn’t go off.

Sourdough is incredibly versatile which can be seen in the ways it is used all over the world and not only in Germanic countries: from the rich and filling wholemeal/granary loafs in Germany, Danish rugbrød used for the legendary smørrebrød (open sandwiches), Dutch and Belgian desem to Italian biga, Ethiopian injera and Indian dosa.

Why is sourdough good for you

Are you conscious about calories? Bread makes you feel bloated? Fan of clean eating? Sourdough is the answer to all of this! Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index than other bread which means that it is more filling and will leave you less likely to eat slice after slice after slice, as it doesn’t mess with your blood sugar. As far as bread goes, sourdough is the kindest to your gut. It is by far the most digestible which is due to the bacteria and the fermentation. The sourdough literally predigests the starches in the grains for you. Baking sourdough bread is a lengthy process (hence the price difference!) in which the gluten is broken down. It is far from gluten-free, but this means that if you are sensitive to gluten, you might still be able to enjoy a slice of sourdough bread!

With all that in mind, we hope we have inspired you to follow our little experiment of making a sourdough starter and to try some sourdough bread, maybe even your own…!

Follow us on our social media channels to see the progress of our sourdough starters and wish us luck!!

Lisa & Saskia

Written by Saskia Roskam

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