Sourdough is a bread made from the natural occurring yeast and bacteria in flour. Sourdough bread contains four ingredients – flour, water, salt and sourdough starter.
How Sourdough Starter Works:
The sourdough starter contains natural yeasts and acids. The airborne yeast creates the enzymes needed to eat up or predigest some of the toughest-on-your-belly parts of the grain. This action creates carbon dioxide, which gets trapped in tiny pockets of dough, resulting in a natural rising of the bread.
The long fermentation process allows bacteria to break down some of the carbohydrates and gluten in bread, making it easier to digest and releasing the nutrients within it, allowing our bodies to more easily absorb them. This results in a lowering of the starch or carbohydrate content of the bread, which is helpful for keeping blood sugar levels regulated. It also increases some of the vitamin and mineral content of the grain.
Lactobacillus helps feed the good bacteria found in your digestive system so they can continue to fight off the bad guys. A healthy gut means a healthy body.
Breaks Down Gluten: The longer fermentation time breaks the proteins (gluten) down into amino acids, making it more easily digested. Therefore, some who have a gluten sensitivity can tolerate sourdough wheat breads.
Feeding your sourdough starter:
Your sourdough starter/ culture is a bubbling living collection of friendly bacteria that will be used
to make your dough rise.
Sourdough starter is best stored in a bowl or plastic container, something which can be covered but not air tight. Be sure to allow room within the container for the sourdough starter to grow and rise.
To refresh or feed the sourdough starter
Whatever weight of sourdough starter you have add the same weight of flour and the same weight
For example, 200g of sourdough starter add 200g of flour and 200g water. Stir everything together.
If you have too much starter discard the excess and keep back what you need/want.
If the sourdough starter is stored at room temperature it will require to be refreshed/feed every day
For the home baker when you might only bake once a week your starter can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and taken out when needed.
If using the starter from the fridge.
Take the starter out from the fridge the day before you plan to bake. This will allow the starter to
come to room temperature. The night before you plan to bake refresh/ feed your starter as per the
instructions above. Leave the sourdough starter at room temperature overnight. The next morning
the starter should be active and full of bubbles and ready to bake with.
Take what you need to make your dough. Feed the remaining starter and return it to the fridge.