Why Sourdough bread is healthier.

Sourdough is a healthier alternative to regular white or whole wheat bread. Although it has comparable nutrients, the lower phytate levels mean it is more digestible and nutritious. The prebiotics also helps to keep your gut bacteria happy, and it may be less likely to spike blood sugar levels. Besides the nutritional benefits, you can also enjoy the therapy of home baking and the unique sourdough flavour.

Sourdough is one of the oldest forms of grain fermentation. It’s believed to have originated in ancient Egypt around 1,500 BC and remained the customary form of bread leavening until baker’s yeast replaced it a few centuries ago Leavened bread is a bread whose dough rises during the bread-making process as a result of gas being produced as the grain ferments. Most leavened bread uses commercial baker’s yeast to help the dough rise. However, traditional sourdough fermentation relies on “wild yeast” and lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in flour to leaven the bread. Wild yeast is more resistant to acidic conditions than baker’s yeast. This is what allows it to work together with lactic acid-producing bacteria to help the dough rise. Lactic acid bacteria can be found in several other fermented feet, including yoghurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi. The mix of wild yeast, lactic acid bacteria, flour and water used to make sourdough bread is called a “starter.” During the bread-making process, the starter ferments the sugars in the dough, helping the bread rise and acquire its characteristic taste. Sourdough bread takes much longer to ferment and rise than other types of bread, which is what creates its particular texture. To this day, making sourdough bread remains popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, as well as in the San Francisco Bay region of the US. Some store-bought sourdough bread is not made using the traditional sourdough method, thereby reducing their health benefits. Buying sourdough bread from an artisan baker like LivFresh increases the likelihood of it being “true” sourdough bread. Although sourdough bread is often made from the same flour as other types of bread, the fermentation process improves its nutrition profile in several ways. For starters, whole grain bread contain a good amount of minerals, including potassium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc (3Trusted Source). Unfortunately, the absorption of these minerals is limited by the presence of phytic acid, which is commonly referred to as phytate. Phytates are considered antinutrients because they bind to minerals, reducing your body’s ability to absorb them (3Trusted Source). Interestingly, the lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough bread lower the bread’s pH, which helps degrade phytates. This results in a bread that has a much lower phytate content than other types of bread (4). One study showed that sourdough fermentation may reduce the phytate content of bread by 24–50% more than conventional yeast fermentation (5Trusted Source). Lower phytate levels increase mineral absorption, which is one of the ways in which sourdough bread is more nutritious than conventional bread. Moreover, studies show that the lactic acid bacteria present in sourdough bread have the ability to release antioxidants during sourdough fermentation (6Trusted Source, 7, 8Trusted Source). Sourdough fermentation also increases folate levels in the bread, although levels of certain nutrients like vitamin E may be slightly reduced in the process (3Trusted Source). Finally, sourdough’s longer fermentation time helps improve the flavour and texture of whole-grain bread. This may make people more likely to opt for a whole grain bread, thereby promoting a higher consumption of fibre and nutrient-rich bread (4).,to%20spike%20blood%20sugar%20levels.

Best Way to Freeze Sourdough Bread to Lock in Taste & Texture

The best method from our experience, that doesn’t compromise on texture and flavour in any way is to slice it up, flash freeze it, and bag it up in freezer-safe bags with the air taken out. This way, whenever I need a slice or two, I just pop it in the toaster, and I have fresh sourdough bread at my fingertips.

Here’s a really quick step-by-step how-to, with further explanation below.

Now let’s go into a little more detail about each step and the reason why this method has an advantage over freezing a whole loaf when it comes to flavour and texture. Once your bread is completely cooled, you will want to slice the whole thing. Normally, it is recommended to slice the bread as and when you need it, in order to retain its freshness, but as it will all be frozen, go ahead and slice the whole loaf. I use an ice cube tray from my freezer, but you can use any tray that will fit on a shelf in your freezer.

Put your tray into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This is called flash freezing. It will not completely freeze the bread, but it will freeze the outer layers enough to make sure the bread doesn’t stick together when you store them in the freezer-safe bag. This is not enough time for your bread to develop any freezer burn, and so the flavor and texture will remain as it is.

Now that the sourdough bread is partially frozen, you can stack them together in a resealable freezer-safe bag, and they won’t stick together. Remove as much air as possible from the bag to retain freshness in the bread. This is also what will prevent freezer burn. The slices can be taken out when needed, and put straight into the toaster from frozen. It will taste as good as, if not better than the day after it was baked! One thing very specific about sourdough bread, is that it contains enzymes that are not found in other breads. This makes sourdough bread suitable to freeze once. You cannot refreeze sourdough bread. And so, because you cannot refreeze it, it is best to slice it up so you only need to defrost exactly how much bread you need. And the rest of the loaf will stay fresh in the freezer. Sourdough bread not only maintains its freshness in the freezer, but it actually continues to sour at a very slow rate while it is frozen, and so the flavor continues to develop. When you take it out of the freezer and toast it, it will taste as if it has just been baked and toasted. And depending on how long it has been in the freezer, it may even taste better than it did when you first baked it. So what is so special about slicing it up first? Why not just freeze the whole loaf. Well, you could, but there are few things to consider…

It is Less Versatile to Freeze a Whole Loaf of Bread

When you have a whole loaf in the freezer, you only have the option of defrosting the whole loaf, even if you only needed a slice or two. And then the bread will become stale far quicker once it has been defrosted.

It Takes a lot Longer to Defrost a Whole Sourdough Loaf than it does to Defrost only a Slice.

Defrosting an entire loaf will take about 4 or 5 hours, depending on how big it is. And this time is also spent having the loaf out, which decreases it’s freshness further. Or alternatively, you can rebake it in the oven for a period of time (usually around the same amount of time it took to bake it in the first place!), which will thicken your crust, and increase the risk of your loaf becoming too dry.

What is the Best Way to Cut Sourdough Bread to Get Even Slices

The technique is an important part of making sure those slices are even and beautiful looking. Here are some tips to slicing sourdough bread the best way:

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A bread slicing knife uses a ‘sawing’ action to cut through the crust. This action reduces the pressure put on the bread, saving it from getting squashed during slicing. It has a long serrated slicing-edge to help you slice with correct technique. It goes without saying of course; the sharper the better. A durable good quality bread knife goes a long way to making bread slicing neat and tidy. It’s important to let the knife do the work and not your brute strength. Most people try to slice bread by pushing the knife downwards, but this puts pressure on the bread and squashes it, giving you messy slices. Hold the bread firmly in place with one hand, and slice through the bread with the other, using a forward-backwards ‘sawing’ action MORE THAN a downward action. Take your time, the bread will slice a lot neater when given the chance. Be sure to hold the knife parallel to the chopping board, NOT angled down at one end. Yes, you read that correctly. Put the bread on its side to get the best slice! Often with homemade bread, the side of the bread has the hardest crust and the shortest edge. So cutting through the bread side first will mean the greatest pressure is put on the bread at the beginning when the bread has the most amount of structure. And you also have less to cut through as it’s the shorter edge.


When to Cut Sourdough Bread to get Beautiful Even Slices

Little Greens with Super Powers

Microgreens are the seedlings of plants, This is typically early in the life cycle of the plant, some time after the first leaves emerge. They are usually used to add flavour and color to dishes, and have been making waves as a nutrient-dense superfood.

Microgreens can be grown from most types of seeds. Apart from salad greens, leafy vegetables and edible flowers, some legumes (beans, lentils) and grains (rice, barley, buckwheat) are sometimes grown as microgreens.

Today, let’s explore more about this superfood.

Did you know those little microgreens have up to 40 times the antioxidants and polyphenols of the mature plant? They are truly nutrition dynamos. Antioxidants and polyphenols are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, and can help lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Microgreens also provide more intense flavor, which is terrific for seniors with reduced taste sensitivity – they get the rich taste and strengthen cognitive health.

Microgreens can add an intense punch of flavor to your dishes – sweet, sour, pungent, bitter. They actually embody a concentrated dose of the full-sized vegetable’s flavor and nutrition. Microgreens are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Some healthy varieties for you to grow or buy are pea shoots, radish, sunflower, wheatgrass, mustard, etc. Add them to your salads or main dishes or even to a juice or smoothie.

Eating microgreens is generally considered safe. While there is contamination risk from E. coli, this risk arises from a mixture of the type/composition of the microgreen, and time spent in storage. To enjoy, always check the sell-by date and consume within the week from purchase.

There are many ways to include microgreens in your diet – juices and smoothies are popular examples. Given their vibrant colors and distinct taste profiles, microgreens work especially well as a garnish over food, beverages and desserts! Growing them at home is simple – you just need a sunny windowsill, seeds, a shallow pot and some potting mix.

Place a pot with soil on a sunny windowsill, outdoors or balcony with ample sun. Moisten soil well, scatter a handful of mustard seeds, gently pressing into soil. Check soil for moistness daily and water lightly as needed. When you see a pot full of tiny leaves, harvest by pulling gently out with the roots. Rinse off soil & add to salads, sandwiches, garnish a stir fry.

The broccoli microgreen looks completely different from the adult plant we are used to, and tastes vastly different! Some time between the first 10-14 days, the plant peaks in its production of sulforaphane, sometimes up to 100x the concentration of the mature plant. Sulforaphane is nature’s most potent activator of antioxidants and has been shown to inhibit tumour growth.

This was originally published in the the Food Bulletin by CSAW, Centre for Affordable Wellness.

Contributed by Udaykumar Mathapati, Co-Founder and COO of LivFresh