The Art of Sourdough Fermentation
FERMENTED FOODS were one of the first processed foods that added nutrition and convenience. Fermentation is a traditional way to harness beneficial micro organisms to enhance flavour, nutrition. In Sourdough, long fermentation of flour makes bread easily digestible.
Little Stream breads are leavened with sourdough culture, a mix of flour and water allowed to ferment in a controlled way. For gluten free breads this involves mixing a ferment made from rice flour, millet or buckwheat and water. This gives the bread a deeper more complex flavour and makes the bread easier to digest as the starches and bran are partially broken down. Sourdough culture is incorporated into the dough and allowed to rise for 18 plus hours. The rising process releases valuable nutrients. True sourdough breads like Little Stream's have a lower glycemic index than their yeast bread counterparts.
No baker's yeast is allowed on Little Stream premises, because its organisms can compromise the sourdough culture and its nutritional qualities.
The process produces a diverse mix of wild organisms; predominately lactobacteria (from the fresh flour) and wild yeasts (from the air). The effects of these wild organisms in the sourdough culture is very different from that of baker's yeast as they are part of a miniature ecosystem. The difference between baker's yeast and the wild yeast within a sourdough culture is similar to the difference between refined white sugar and the complex sugars within an apple.
The culture is incorporated into the dough and kneaded thoroughly. It is then left to rise overnight. The 12 to 20 hour rising process digests the flour to make it more bioavailable and releases valuable minerals. It lowers the glycemic index of the bread by breaking down carbohydrates. True Spelt sourdough bread is thus low in FODMAP, and more digestible for those with IBS. This is the way most leavened bread was made prior to the development of isolated yeast strains in the past century.
Despite its name, sourdough bread need not be sour, in fact we aim to produce a balanced flavour that allows the taste of the grain to come through.
Some sourdough available today is not true sourdough, but merely a flavouring made with commercial lactic acids. The actual leavening in these imitation sourdough breads is baker's yeast. This process does not create the beneficial bacteria and enzymes found in authentic sourdough. Nor is it as easy to digest. Baker's yeast is a very vigorous organism that literally saturates the air in any bakery where it is used. Many bakers have discovered that it is difficult to bake true sourdough bread in the same location as yeasted bread because the bakers yeast organisms, which are everywhere, enter the sourdough culture and dominate it.
At Little Stream we do not bake with commercial yeast. Many people with a yeast sensitivity or allergy (candida) have no problem digesting our bread.