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Ancient and divine sourdough bread

October 27, 2015
Homemade sourdough with farmer's market raspberry spread and goat butter

Homemade sourdough with farmer’s market raspberry spread and goat butter

I don’t have a gluten sensitivity. Of all the things wrong with me and of all the things my stomach can no longer handle, bread isn’t one of them. And yet, when I go on a “white flour” eating binge (french baguette is my biggest weakness) I can definitely feel the repercussions. I feel gloomy, fat, achy and lethargic, and that’s just after one day.

But a bit of research and experimenting led me to sourdough. Classic, homemade, leavened sourdough. Not store bought.

It turns out,  as any reader of Michael Pollan can attest, that sourdough is not only ancient and wise, but one of the only breads dependent on leavening, not just rapid rise yeast, which helps digestion as opposed to hindering it. And while gluten doesn’t  exactly bother me, I could do without the bloating and lethargy. Sourdough seems to do the trick.

An excerpt from Mother Jones explains Pollan’s take:

“Pollan’s terrific bread section offers a possible explanation for the recent rise of “gluten intolerance” and the general bloated feeling one gets from modern bread. Today’s loaves are pumped with fast-acting industrial yeasts and never undergo a lengthy fermentation, Pollan writes. But in that increasingly rare process, “the organic acids produced by the sourdough culture also seem to slow our bodies’ absorption of the sugars in white flour, reducing the dangerous spikes in insulin that refined carbohydrates can cause.” No wonder I feel fine after eating naturally leavened bread.” MotherJones

Pollan, of course,  weaves the greatest of all bread tales in his NYT best selling book, Cooked, A Natural History of Transformation. He explains how sourdough had been invented or more likely stumbled upon 6000 years ago in Egyptian times, he discusses the leavening process and how to create the perfect loaf. He even includes mention of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, one of America’s best bread makers, as well as a link to, a website for amateur bread bakers that has great links, recipes and videos.

Sourdough with leavening has benefits galore. It is the only bread I now eat. But, a word to the wise. It takes several days to make. Do your research! Or, find a great bakery.

To read Pollan’s sourdough recipe you can find it here.

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