Why use a sourdough starter (also known as wild yeast, culture, Mother, seed…just to name a few of the pseudo-names of this natural wonder), which is finicky and takes much nurturing and time to develop and raise bread, as opposed to commercial yeast, which is more predictable and quick to raise bread? To answer this simply, it is because the single organism commercial yeast releases gases quickly and does not break down grain effectively, therefore making commercial yeast risen bread difficult to digest. Whereas, sourdough is a natural leaven that has two organisms, wild yeast and friendly bacteria, that work together to ferment flour over many hours, slowly releasing gases … transforming the grain into bread dough with carbohydrates that have been effectively broken down. The resulting sourdough bread is easily digested.
Unlike commercial breads, which typically have preservatives and unpronounceable additives in them, sourdough breads are made with just three basic ingredients: flour, water, and salt. These three ingredients were the basis for breads for thousands of years, before the introduction of commercial yeast. Despite preservatives, commercial breads begin staling as soon as they are taken out of the oven. Breads made with natural leaven, on the other hand, can stay fresh for four to ten days (depending on the flours used in the making of the bread) by simply covering them with a cotton towel, cut side down, on your cutting board.
The distinct flavor of naturally leavened bread also sets sourdough bread apart from bread made exclusively with commercial yeast. Despite the name, sourdough bread does not have to taste sour. The fermentation process using wild yeast produces many complex flavors beyond just sour. Bread made with commercial yeast does not have this distinct and desired flavor; rather, it tastes like flour and the artificial flavorings added to the bread dough.
This very brief explanation about sourdough is the reason that we at Baby’s Bread choose to use a natural leaven in our baked goods…. Simply put, it goes with our philosophy of baking natural, nutritious, and flavorful breads!