Real Food: Sourdough Baking

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sourdough, baking, healthy, weight loss, fermentation

Fermenting Grain Flours

sourdough starter, healthy choices, fermentation, whole grains, bakingWhile sourdough is just another aspect of fermentation, I’ll separate it out because making a sourdough (or, flour grain) starter and baking with it is an excellent way to enjoy bread that will help, not hinder, your weight loss goals and stable weight.

What makes sourdough bread different from processed or non-fermented grains?  Check out this post, the Good (and Bad) Bacteria in Flour: Before and After Fermentation.  In short, the yeast changes the composition of the flour by using the grain as its fuel source, leaving behind an easy to digest flour and beneficial acids.  Less bloat, more stable blood sugar levels, and increased satiety.

Stay Full, Longer

More studies are also showing that eating sourdough bread will keep you full longer.  Here’s a few additional links, with a highlight from each linked post:

Rising Evidence For Sourdough Bread And Weight Loss

“The type of toasted bread we eat for breakfast can affect how the body responds to lunch, a researcher at the University of Guelph has discovered.”
“With the sourdough, the subjects’ blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin,” says Graham, whose findings are being published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
“What was even more interesting was that this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted hours after.” He says that it’s likely that the fermentation of the sourdough changes the nature of the starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread. (source)

Is Sourdough Better than Other Bread for Losing Weight?

“Foods that are acidic, such as sourdough bread, have a lower glycemic index, or GI, than those that are less acidic, which means that they have less impact on blood sugar levels….” (source)

5 Reasons To Make Sourdough Your Only Bread

The fermentation process removes phytates and enzyme inhibitors: Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. However, the lactobacillus is much greater in proportion to the yeast.

1- Increases beneficial lactic acid: The longer rise time needed for sourdough increases the lactic acid and creates an ideal pH for the enzyme phytase.

2- Predigestion of starches: The bacteria and yeast in the sourdough culture work to predigest the starches in the grains, thus making it more easily digestible to the consumer.

3- Breakdown of gluten: Here again, the longer soaking and rising times in the preparation of sourdough breaks the protein gluten into amino acids, making it more digestible.

5- Better blood glucose regulation: There has been some research suggesting that sourdough bread — sourdough white bread — showed positive physiological responses. The subjects’ blood glucose levels were lower after eating sourdough white bread compared to whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and plain white bread. Interestingly, the subjects tested after eating whole wheat bread fared the worse — with spiking blood glucose levels.

Additionally, the researchers found that the positive response lasted through the next meal and for several hours after that. They concluded that what you have for breakfast will influence how the body responds to the next meal. (source: Real Food Forager)

Weight Loss Bread

Basically, all of this translates to weight loss; weight loss while eating “bread” and a variety of other grains.  

Endless, Tasty Possibilities

The best place to keep your sourdough starter is in the fridge.  Mine has lived in the back of the cheese drawer for SEASONS and come out just fine when I start to feed it again.  I’ve mixed flours, too, and fed it a treat every now and then (rye flour) to keep it bubbling for me.

After a while, most people find a few recipes or bakers that they find really really work for their specific sourdough starter.  If you are not finding success with one type of flour or recipe, don’t give up!  The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book has a great section on how to make your own starter and a plethora of recipes that I use quite frequently (that is, when my starter is not buried in my fridge ;).

Quick and Simple Recipes

Sourdough is the “weigh” to go for weight loss! 

Many people think that sourdough bread always tastes sour.  This recipe is a great example of how sourdough can be transformed into new flavors.

I’ve had great success using The Cultured Food Life‘s basic sourdough bread recipe.  In fact, I’ve almost got it memorized and now I’m making my own substitutions!  Adding pumpkin is a good weight loss boost because of its fiber and beneficial nutrients.

As with all sourdough recipes, remember to feed your starter early in the morning the day before and then prepare the recipe’s dough just before going to bed so that you can bake it the next day.  Sourdough breads have a long rise time, which is good for pre-digesting all those simple carb sugars!

Cultures for Health: Basic Sourdough

King Arthur Flour: Classic Sourdough Bread

The Perfect Loaf: My Best Sourdough Recipe

Follow the Leaders

Need some visual inspiration for all the sourdough possibilities?  Check out these Instagram people:

Good to be home and ready to bake. #sourdough #starter

A photo posted by Maurizio Leo (@maurizio) on

Today’s bake! You can’t tell from the picture but the inside crumb is nice and shiny 😍 #sourdough

A photo posted by Emilie Raffa (@theclevercarrot) on


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