You’ve probably gathered that I’ve been experimenting with sourdough for the last few months.
I’ve made my own bread and baked goods from fresh-ground flour for years, and I’ve been aware of the benefits of soaking or sprouting it for several years also. In January, I decided we needed to try switching all instead of just part of our grains to soaked and/or sprouted, mainly because of my husband’s struggle with psoriasis, but I was hopeful it would be beneficial for the rest of us also. I started experimenting with converting my everyday bread recipe, and before long I decided to try my hand with sourdough.
Did you know that sourdough bread is much lower on the glycemic index than typical bread products, is easier to digest, and that the fermentation process makes essential trace minerals and elements more bioavailable? Most of us have some trouble digesting grains, whether we realize it or not, and sourdough provides a great alternative to giving up grain altogether. If you or anyone in your family has allergies of any type, or has any metabolic or autoimmune issues, this is something you should seriously look into!
Eight months later we’re still going strong with it, and we’re definitely seeing health improvements! We’ve replaced all our baked goods – even cakes, cookies, and other goodies – with sourdough versions. I just can’t believe the versatility! I knew you could make bread, biscuits, and pancakes, but over the last several months I’ve also made sourdough pie crust, cake, cookies, and even donuts!
The only disadvantage I’ve found is the length of time it takes the sourdough bread to rise. The wild yeasts are bit more unpredictable than when you’re baking with commercial yeast. Sometimes my bread rises in only a few hours (which decreases the positive health benefits of the fermentation), and other times it takes two or three times as long. When I’m running errands and in and out during the day, it’s easy to miss the peak and end up with deflated loaves. To get around this issue, I’ve been making regular bread less frequently and we’ve been using English muffins and biscuits for most of our sandwich and bread needs. They’re quick and easy to make, super versatile, and there’s no worries about the rise time.
Rather than reinventing the wheel with my own explanation of the benefits of sourdough, I’ve compiled some of my favorite links here so you can investigate them for yourself. If you’re concerned about the negative impact of grains on your health but don’t want to give them up completely, sourdough may be your answer! And it’s not near as intimidating as you would think. I’ve worked my way through the Sourdough eCourse at GNOWFGLINS and *highly* recommend it!
Links on the health benefits of sourdough:
- Sourdough for Health at Wild Yeast Blog
- Health Benefits of Sourdough at Kitchen Stewardship
- For the Love of Sourdough! At Keeper of the Home (this one includes some great recipe links too!)
Some of my favorite sourdough recipes:
- No Wait Sourdough Recipes (Fantastic recipes to use up excess starter and/or whip something up quickly! I’ve made every one of these and they are all fantastic! The pancakes and crepes are both staples around here now.)
- Erin’s Sourdough English Muffins (These are seriously the best. English muffins. ever. They’ve pretty much replaced our regular sandwich bread for just about everything!)
- English Muffin Sandwich Ideas (A short video with some great ideas for using the *fabulous* English muffins from the last link.)
- Eat Nourishing Sourdough Recipes (Tons of great ideas here!)
Again, I can’t recommend taking an online course that guides you through the process highly enough! I’ve found the GNOWFGLINS course invaluable, the free videos at Cultures for Health are fantastic, and I’ve heard great things about Cheeseslave’s course also.
- FREE step-by-step “How To Make Sourdough” videos at Cultures for Health
- Cultures for Health Sourdough Resource Page (Articles, recipes, videos, and more!)
- GNOWFGLINS Sourdough eCourse
- Cheeseslave’s Healthy Whole Grains class
Sourdough is worth investigating! Don’t be intimidated, give it a try!