Sourdough has made a comeback! And for good reason. Just like sprouted breads, soughdough is easier to digest. No, it’s not sprouted, however it is fermented – that is, TRUE sourdough is.
The real deal sourdough breads are long fermented and the dough ‘rests’ for four to six hours while the gluten is converted into digestible sugars and the bread has time to rise naturally. This makes the bread easy to digest.
This study measured the effects of breads made using the Chorleywood process (FYI I’m using Wikipedia to help explain this process, I never use it as a source for info/research.) on IBS patients compared to the effects of artisan breads which were baked using a long fermentation process and sourdough starters.
Since awareness of the benefits of sourdough rises, manufacturers want to cash in on this growing “trend” and are coming up with their own “sourdough” breads in extension to their loaf line. But don’t be fooled!
There are many impostors out there and if you’re not careful, the very bread you are buying thinking it’s benefiting you may actually be the very loaf causing you pain and stomach upsets!
So how do you tell the real thing from those wanna be fermented sourdough breads?
Things to looks for when buying authentic sourdough:
• A handful of ingredients
• No yeast
• Cultured flour starter
• No sweetener
• Made using whole grain flour
• Dough is fermented before baking for at least 4-6 hours
Authentic sourdough labels is going to list “sourdough starter” instead of “yeast” in the list of ingredients. The wording for the sourdough starter will vary from brand to brand, but there will usually be some indication of a cultured starter that was used instead of yeast as the leavening agent.
For example, some gluten free sourdough breads say “cultured brown rice flour” listed as the starter, while other may not list a starter at all like Berlin Bakery which only contains: “Whole Grain Spelt flour, water, sea salt” as the ingredients but is also a true fermented loaf.
Again, a valid indicator if the bread is truly sourdough is if it states “yeast” or not in the ingredients. Modern yeast rise breads are more likely to trigger allergy problems and IBS discomfort while naturally leavened bread is more easily digestible.
The freshest breads can be found at local from farmers markets or in the fresh bread section in your local grocer. Trader Joe’s and Sprouts usually has good quality sourdough (at least in my town, so always check!).
Companies and even restaurants like Panera makes claims that their sourghdough is authentic, but look at the ingredients (taken from Panera’s website).
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Salt, Yeast (Yeast, Sorbitan Monostearate, Ascorbic Acid), Dough Conditioner (Ascorbic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch).
The clear sign is that it contains yeast, not used or required in traditional sourdough. Not to mentioned the corn starch is most likely GMO.
Here is a great resource in case you’re interested and want to dig in deeper as to what to look for and also what to stay away from.
Just remember: don’t be fooled by cleaver packaging, marketing, and wording (READ THIS POST if you really want to dig deeper). Even the phrase “sourdough fresh taste” can be misleading. Let’s face it, just because it taste like something doesn’t mean it’s real.