Monday, 16 September 2013
Gluten Free Health Benefits from Sourdough.
Sourdough bread is made by a long fermentation of dough using naturally occurring yeasts and lactobacilli. Compared with regular breads, sourdough usually has a sour taste due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli. Sourdough fermentation helps improve bread quality by prolonging shelf life, increasing loaf volume, delaying staling, as well as by improving bread flavor and nutritional properties.
Fermented foods have the ability to make food easier to digest as well as provide our bodies with needed nutrients and beneficial bacteria. Sourdough is one of those fermented foods. One of the ways to properly ferment grains (breads) is to use a sourdough method.
Sourdough breads are leavened by a starter that contain natural yeasts and acids. The airborne yeast creates the enzymes needed to eat up or predigest some of the toughest-on-your-belly parts of the grain. This action creates carbon dioxide, which gets trapped in tiny pockets of dough, resulting in a natural rising of the bread.
Like all other fermentation processes, the bacteria present in the sourdough starter eat the starch and sugars present in the grain. This results in a lowering of the starch or carbohydrate content of the bread, which is helpful for keeping blood sugar levels regulated. It also increases some of the vitamin and mineral content of the grain.
Sourdough performs the process of lactic acid fermentation that activates the phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as: zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. The lactic acid in the bread creates a lovely tang and predigests the grain for you. The acetic acid produced in the souring process helps the bread to store longer, inhibiting the growth of molds.
The bacteria present in the sourdough help to activate phytase, an enzyme that breaks down an anti-nutrient present in all grains, beans, and seeds – phytic acid. This may seem minor, but phytic acid is known to strip your body of minerals and can be hard on your digestion.
All in all, sourdough breads are much easier for the body to digest and as an added benefit, the bacteria also add nutrients into it as well.
However, sourdough isn't just good for making better bread. Recent studies show that sourdough fermentation can also speed gut healing in people with celiac disease at the start of a gluten-free diet. The longer soaking/rising time breaks the proteins (gluten) down into amino acids, making it more easily digested. This is why some who have a gluten sensitivity can tolerate sourdough wheat breads. Sourdough bread made with gluten-free flours might be the best way for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity to get the benefits of sourdough cultures, and to enjoy fresh, minimally processed bread.