As the next step on my health campaign, I decided to start making sourdough bread. Sourdough is an alternative to the standard baker’s yeast that most bread is made from now. It is made from a wild yeast, rather than a cultured yeast and was traditionally used to make bread. This wild yeast contains lactobacillus, which is one of the active ingredients in yogurt.
It is thought that sourdough began with the ancient Egyptians in about 1500 BC. During the Middle Ages it was replaced by barm which is used in brewing and later by standard baker’s yeast. Sourdough is often used throughout Europe for their rye bread. It was popular in North California during the gold rush there and also in Alaska and Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush.
In order to start making sourdough bread you need a starter culture. I bought one on eBay for a couple of pounds which came complete with instructions. Once this is set up you just take some of the starter culture and mix it with the usual bread making ingredients, sugar, salt, water, margarine and flour and make your loaves. I find the whole thing incredibly easy and the children like the bread (I didn’t tell them the name until after they had tasted it in case that put them off).
Overall the bread takes much longer to make than normal yeasted bread. As a result of this it is more digestible and since many of us now have candida or yeast infections, it will help. Most anti-candida diets allow sourdough bread (except for the strictest) so it is a good replacement. For a long time now I have been making my own bread in a bread machine. However, I find this much easier because the timings are more flexible and therefore I don’t have to be there when the machine beeps. Also, I can do it in larger quantities. These days as the prices of bread and flour are increasing it also gives another option and enables us to be sure of exactly what goes into the bread. I use spelt flour with my bread which has a lower gluten level than standard wheat and therefore is less likely to cause an intolerance or allergic reaction. I also add linseeds or sesame seeds which the children eat quite happily in the bread, but would refuse if I gave them to them to eat on their own. Sourdough can be more effective than normal yeast when using flour with a lower gluten level. In addition the glycemic index is much lower and there are more nutrients.