We're so excited to share the second article from the lovely Heidi Sze from Apples Under My Bed. This week Heidi will be sharing her thoughts on sourdough and just how good it can actually be for you.
Sourdough is so hot right now. Cradling a brown paper bag containing a crusty loaf as you wait for your takeaway piccolo coffee is an obligatory Saturday morning ritual. Don’t worry, I’m not judging. Rather, I am applauding and asking whether I can come around for avocado toast?
As a dietitian, I often have clients proclaiming to be confused, nay, afraid of bread. This is a real shame because bread, good bread, is something to be revered, not feared. As I suggested in my previous article on choosing wholegrain and considering how your grain was grown and processed, there are steps you can take towards loving your loaf again. Those crafty hipsters know their stuff, as choosing sourdough is one such step.
Why sourdough? Well, baking bread in the traditional sourdough method ensures many of the qualms people have about bread are quietened. Baking a loaf of sourdough bread is, at its essence, a slow and thoughtful practice. It is the very antithesis of fast food. Sourdough bread is made of flour, water, salt and a starter culture. It requires a long ferment, during which the bacteria from the starter culture feast on the nutrients in the bread and partially digest it for us (how weird and rad is that?), producing acids that not only flavour the bread but help preserve it, as well as lower the glycaemic index and break down gluten bonds. This does not mean that those with Coeliac Disease (a serious gluten allergy) can eat sourdough bread, but for the increasing number of individuals who struggle with gluten sensitivities, sourdough might just be your ticket to toast town. Go for ancient grains such as spelt (which again are often better tolerated than highly refined regular wheat) and you might happily find yourself breaking bread daily.
Though, I hear you, this sourdough habit might get expensive. My justification for a weekly $6 purchase is that a good loaf of bread is priceless. Bakers who produce sourdough bread are generally passionate folk who are intentional with their processes, honouring ingredient quality and that slooooow ferment. Hence stoneground, wholegrain, organic and unbleached flours are abundant in the sourdough world. This only further enhances the nutrition of the loaf, and makes us feel super pleased with our morning slice. And while your accompaniment to Sunday scrambled eggs may cost more than supermarket bread, this just encourages bread rationing and diet diversity, which in turn encourages good health. Instead of a sandwich made of overly processed bread every day, we can mix things up with wild rice salads and leftover vegetable curries. Only great things can come from switching to good sourdough bread. And these days, with its notable rise in popularity, you can easily get your hands on some. Though do lookout for fake “sourdoughs”, supermarket breads that have jumped on the bandwagon by adding vinegar (or a similar ingredient) for a sneaky “sour taste” without truly practicing the sourdough method. That is so not cool.
Sourdough’s popularity, I believe, comes from fact that despite being assaulted with fake food over recent decades, people know good food. They know when food tastes good and they know when food makes them feel good, and in today’s highly processed food world, these two things do not commonly co-exist. So go slow, follow your hipster heart and buy a good loaf of bread. There are more and more bakers these days producing healthful, huggable loaves. Or perhaps try making your own sourdough! In my next article I will introduce you to my Dad who does just that, and hopefully you’ll find it less intimidating and more inspiring. I mean, my Dad bakes like a rock star and he doesn’t even have tattoos or Harry Potter glasses. Though he does have a beard… Regardless, your gut is telling you it is time to sourdough. And your gut is always right.
- Heidi Sze, Apples Under My Bed
If you can't wait to get baking, head on over to our Guest Cook post this week with Simone, a Berlin based bread enthusiast. We're pretty psyched that she was willing to share her personal sourdough recipe with us and our readers, and her photos are pretty rad too! Click here to read the post!