Is Sourdough Good for you?

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Sourdough bread, particularly when made from ancient grains like einkorn, emerges as a nutritional powerhouse, offering profound health benefits for your gut. In a world where carbohydrates often get a bad rap, it’s crucial to recognize that not all carbs are equal. Let’s delve into the captivating realm of sourdough bread, its pivotal role in our diet, and the exceptional qualities of low-gluten varieties like einkorn.

Is sourdough good for you?

The Rise of Ancient Grains: Ancient grains like einkorn, spelt, and emmer have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and for good reason. These grains offer a nutrient profile that modern wheat varieties can’t match. Einkorn, in particular, stands out for its unaltered genetic makeup and exceptional health benefits. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while boasting lower gluten content, making it gentler on the digestive system. Einkorn is a flour I have used more frequently and have enjoyed getting to know how to bake with. It is a more hearty, earth flavor than when you use modern flours. If you’re looking for a great Einkorn flour, I happen to use Ancient Grains which ships right to our door. It is a family-owned and operated farm and mill in Southeast Idaho.

Carbs-The Good Guys:

Carbohydrates have frequently faced unwarranted criticism, but it’s time to debunk the myths. Carbs are an essential macronutrient that fuels our bodies, supplying the energy required for our daily activities. To make the most of this energy source, it’s vital to make wise choices, favoring complex carbohydrates found in whole grains. These carbohydrates release energy gradually, effectively stabilizing blood sugar levels. When it comes to sourcing these beneficial complex carbs, sourdough bread, especially when crafted with ancient grains like einkorn, stands out as an excellent choice for sustaining vitality throughout your day.

Sourdough’s Fermentation:

What truly sets sourdough bread apart from its commercial counterparts is its natural fermentation process. This intricate dance involves wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, which work in tandem to break down gluten and phytic acid, making the bread easier to digest. As a result, sourdough bread is often well-tolerated by individuals with mild gluten sensitivities. Furthermore, the fermentation process of sourdough bread enhances the bread’s nutritional value by increasing the availability of essential nutrients and reducing its glycemic index.

Einkorn Sourdough Starter- Is sourdough good for you?

Gut Health and Sourdough Bread:

A robust gut is the cornerstone of overall well-being. The gut microbiome, teeming with trillions of microorganisms, plays a pivotal role in digestion, immunity, and mental health. The probiotics cultivated during sourdough fermentation can help serve as the “custodians” of a balanced and thriving gut microbiome. These friendly bacteria contribute to the breakdown of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the fortification of a healthy immune system. Check out more here from the National Library of Medicine, a study as well as a short history on Sourdough.

Low-Gluten Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread, especially when crafted from ancient grains, like einkorn, typically boasts lower gluten levels compared to modern wheat varieties. This reduced gluten content can make it a digestible delight for individuals with mild gluten sensitivities. The extended fermentation process in sourdough further breaks down the gluten protein, rendering it more easily digestible.

Einkorn Sourdough and Low-Gluten

Einkorn flour is often considered a low-gluten ancient grain. When testing for gluten, tests are looking for specific genomes that would make a bread free or not free from gluten. Most bread has the D genome present in its genetic structure which would render it high in gluten, where as with einkorn, the gluten with in it’s structure is the A genome. Einkorn is also a grain that has not been hybridized meaning it only has two chromosomes within its structure, which could be yet another reason why people who have gluten sensitivities can digest einkorn better than modern flours.

Conclusion

Sourdough bread, particularly when made from ancient grains like einkorn, is a nutritional powerhouse with myriad health benefits. Its low gluten content and natural fermentation process make it gentle on the digestive system, and the probiotics it contains can work wonders for gut health. Complex carbohydrates from whole grains, as found in sourdough, provide a steady stream of energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels. So, don’t hesitate to embrace the delightful world of sourdough; it’s a delicious and healthful addition to your diet that nurtures your well-being from your gut to your overall health. Relish the hearty, wholesome goodness of sourdough, and savor the difference it can make in your life.

Want to start your own Sourdough Starter? Check out how I make mine here!

Want to start your own Einkorn Sourdough Starter? Check out this recipe below.

Einkorn Sourdough Starter

Einkorn Sourdough Starter in cup measurements
Print Recipe
Prep Time:7 days
Total Time:7 days

Equipment

  • 1 Clean Class Container with lid I like to use Weck Jars
  • 1 wooden scraping spoon or spatula

Ingredients

  • Einkorn all-purpose flour
  • Purified water

Instructions

  • Day 1: In your glass jar, place 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of purified water in the jar and stir until contents are well-mixed place the lid of the jar on top of the jar without sealing. Place your jar somewhere that is warm in your house to help with fermentation.
  • Day 2: Nothing! You are going to allow for fermentation to begin. Your dough may become runny or bubble slightly. That is totally ok.
  • Day 3: Dump half of your starter in a new, clean glass jar, pour in 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of purified water, and stir well. Make sure you scrape the sides. Put the lid on without sealing and let sit in a warm spot in your house.
  • Day 4-7: repeat Day 3 instructions. Once your starter becomes nice and bubbly after 10-12 hours of the previous feeding then your sourdough is ready for baking!

Notes

Notes: 
  • Einkorn is a different ratio than normal/modern wheat flour. It is a heavier and denser flour. Because of this, it requires less water. If you feel like your dough is too runny, try adding less water when you feed your dough.
  • If you are starting Einkorn from scratch the easiest thing to do is transfer a starter from a modern wheat variety and feed it Einkorn in the same ratios in the above recipe for a week. 
  • For bread making, I recommend feeding for at least a month. The reason is that it takes a little longer for the einkorn to get strong enough to hold shape because of how heavy the flour is. You can still make bread after a week, but it may not rise as well as you may like it to. Give it time and it will rise well once it has had time to get strong!
  • Last but not least, it is hard to kill a starter. If it’s been a few days and it smells a little more than sour, feed it for a few days in a row. If it begins to bubble and smell more like your normal sourdough bread, your starter is just fine. 

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