There is so much debate out there on whether or not we should be consuming grains. I agree, that modernized grains are most likely not good for you. Most of them are made from genetically modified grains and can damage your health. For the past year or so, I have eliminated grains from my diet…I needed the break. I have slowly started to reintroduce grains back to my diet? I have chosen to focus on the traditional preparations of grains so that my body can break down the grains and digest them more easily.
Last week I posted a post on how to soak your grains so that they are more digestible. Today I am going to share with you a little information about fermenting your grains or more specifically some information on sourdough and the benefits to souring dough. If you don’t have any problems digesting grains and have a healthy gut, you might want to try some sourdough bread.
What is sourdough? According to the Bread Bakers Forum, Sourdough is an American term for a natural leaven of “wild” or natural yeast and lactobacilli. Also the process of leavening bread with a natural leaven. Do not mistaken this with todays modernized yeast, it is not. Sourdough is created from a sourdough starter.
A sourdough starter is a starter or culture of wild/natural yeast and lactobacilli in a medium of flour and liquid which is propagated through ongoing refreshments (or “feedings”) for the purpose of leavening bread dough, is on-going and is continued on from one bake or activation to the next.
Sourdough Bread is bread which has been leavened with a sourdough starter. It may or may not be a sour bread, depending on the characteristics of the starter.
Sourdough bread is bread that is baked without the use of modernized yeast. It is the traditional way bread was made thousands of years ago. The bread rises slowly allowing the bread to ferment for several days to up to a month. This helps to promote the growth of more probiotic organisms. Last month I took a course on grains from Cheeseslave (one of my favorite sites to learn from), and according to their post, here are 10 reasons to eat sourdough bread.
The probiotic microorganisms that are created when fermenting the dough:
1. Digest and assimilate (properly absorb) the foods you eat. Without adequate beneficial microflora in your gut, you can’t absorb nutrients in the foods you are eating.
2. Are necessary in order to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.
3. Contain uniquely balanced proteins, fatty acids, cellulose, minerals, and innumerable other nutrients our bodies need.
4. Provide vitamins B1 through B6 from lactobacillus and B12 vitamins from wild yeast. Wild yeast multiplies aerobically. This is because they have oxygen in them (not free radical oxygen ions) that feed your blood cells and not cancer cells. Most plant proteins including grains, seeds, cereals, beans, nuts, and some grasses form gluten. However, sourdough microflora has all the amino acids available, without the protein that forms gluten.
5. Depletes damaged starch in bread, thus diabetic people should not get insulin shock. It is a misconception that whole wheat is better than white flour for diabetics (the Glycemic difference is only 1%).
6. Produce acids, which will break down and remove some of the glutens from the bread. Acids do not allow mold and most bad bacterial growth. Alkaline with high pH allows mold growth and toxins. Mold ferments at a higher pH, allowing bad bacterial growth and the secretion of toxins. The absence of acids is abnormal, even animals have acid stomachs to kill bad bacteria.
7. Offset the effects of phytic acid, which robs your body of precious minerals.
According to Wikipedia:
Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. In-home food preparation techniques can reduce the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree. More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting.
Phytic acid is a strong chelator of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and can therefore contribute to mineral deficiencies in people whose diets rely on these foods for their mineral intake, such as those in developing countries. It also acts as an acid, chelating the vitamin niacin, which is basic, causing the condition known as pellagra. In this way, it is an anti-nutrient. For people with a particularly low intake of essential minerals, especially young children and those in developing countries, this effect can be undesirable.
“Probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora as well, are an important source of the enzyme phytase which catalyses the release of phosphate from phytate and hydrolyses the complexes formed by phytate and metal ions or other cations, rendering them more soluble ultimately improving and facilitating their intestinal absorption
8. Dissolve proteins by producing protein enzymes, thus loosening multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids into your body. They dissolve four gluten-forming proteins: albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutalin. They also produce alcohol that dissolves the most stubborn water insoluble protein bonds. These bonds are the reason why so many people have gluten intolerance.
9. Inhibit the growth of bad bacteria by: (1) creating a more acidic environment (2) producing anti-bacterial agents, and (3) absorbing all the B vitamins from their surroundings leaving none for the harmful bacteria.
10. Have most everything needed for optimum nutritional absorption. To absorb calcium, you need magnesium. To absorb magnesium, you need vitamin E, C, etc. Most of these are in the sourdough microorganisms, thus providing optimum absorption.
With all of those healthy benefits, You know I am out to make a true sourdough bread, but that will take time. So in the mean time, I wanted to find a traditional sourdough bread that was healthy and good for me.
Update: I now have a recipe ready for you to try. If you are interested in making your own sourdough loaf, you can view these two recipes to learn how.
I want to inform you that I am not making any money by endorsing this product, I just believe in this company so much and really wanted to share with you this great find This bread company, Berlin Natural Bakery, is nestled in an area that I grew up in. Berlin Ohio is the largest Amish community in the world and this company follows the traditional ways in preparation. They use GMO free grains and pride themselves on doing things the way they were intended to be done. Here is a short video that is absolutely beautiful and clearly shows you their beliefs. Being raised in this environment and in this beautiful countryside is something I am very proud of!
You can visit Berlin Natural Bakery’s online store here. The sourdough spelt bread (pictured above) is what I buy and I absolutely love it. It has 3 ingredients; spelt flour, water and sea salt. It is dense (but not to dense), and you will find that you don’t need to eat as much because it is much more filling then other breads.