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Stiff vs Liquid Levain in matters of final loaf digestibility

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sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

Stiff vs Liquid Levain in matters of final loaf digestibility

I was pondering...

With the goal of making the most digestible and nutrient packed loaf of sourdough bread (forget about flavor for the moment), which form of a starter would be best?  My guess would be a liquid starter, as it would create an environment that favors bacteria more over a less hydrated environment and also create more acids.

Interested to see what the experts think.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

My initial answer would be to agree and say liquid...

However after a second thought I can't see why a stiff leaven would be any different. The same processes happen in both.

I would say that the real answer has nothing to do with stiff vs liquid and more to with the flour. If you want nutrients use wholemeal flour!

Michael

vavo's picture
vavo

Hi,

as far as I know different levels of hydration favour either lactid or acedic acids. Which ones are better to digest I don't know. If you want the maximum of both I recommend the "Detmolder Method", which is a 3 stage rye sour dough build, each stage at a different hydration and temperature. The 70% rye in Hammelmans "Bread" is an amazing loaf, dense but gentle and nutritious and wonderful keeping qualities!

I guess you could also experiment with a high level of pre-fermented flour, meaning a lot of starter and shorter bulk fermentation.

Valentin

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

Detmolder method is interesting, but I've never heard of anyone using it for wheat/white flour.

I need to work my way to Hammelman's rye recipes.

vavo's picture
vavo

Reading the post title helps I guess... You said Leavain in there but I got carried away in my answer. I have never heard of it either, but it might be an interesting experiment. I highly recommend trying out some rye breads, I like them a whole lot!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as compared to liquid starters; with certain bacteria being favored with differences in feeding and maintenance schedules; then one would have to know which bacteria are helpful or more helpful in digestion to answer the title question. (We are talking about us, right?)  Knowing which specific bacteria are more beneficial to our digestion, might lead to more specialized directions for starter maintenance.  It could easily be that some starters are better mixtures of bacteria than others.  Bill talks about differences (not digestibility) here toward the end of this thread:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6884/audrey039s-first-child-grows-somewhat#comment-35014

 My point would be that wheather the starter is firm or liquid, there might be a bigger difference when comparing starters fed with larger food ratios than those fed with low maintenance amounts or those fed with replacement feedings.

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

I guess my question can be summed up by these following questions:

1)  Do certain types of bacteria in a sourdough starter break down the wheat proteins better than others?

2)  If you answer yes to 1), which is the best environment to grow them (liquid or stiff)?

3)  It has been discussed that hydration can effect the output of certain acids by certain bacteria.  Does hydration effect the population of bacteria, in a given sample size of stiff or liquid starter (ex: 1 tsp liquid starter vs 1 tsp stiff starter bacteria population comparison).  If hydration does effect population sizes, should that be taken in effect in the final dough's hydration?

I don't know why I find these things fascinating...

mwilson's picture
mwilson

1) My experience shows that yeast is more responsible for the breakdown. My sourdough, which is firm, has very strong yeast activity and softens very quickly. Protease break proteins. Acidity in extremes can break proteins but this will never be the case in a healthy starter.

2) Liquid or stiff. I say either...

3) Activity indicates population. Hydration effects activity. I don't believe hydration effects which bacteria are most active. Temperature is more determining factor here. And of course, population.

Sourdoughs always contain a mixture of acetic and lactic acids, with lactic always significantly outnumbering acetic. These acids are produced by the same L. strain, which is most dominant. Acetic builds up wherever there is a period of reduced activity, caused by low hydration, cold temps or exhausted food supply. Neither of these acids would I consider especially nutritional. Work by enzymes which creates organic compounds during converting sugars are what could be considered responsible for nutrition / digestibility. Sourdough is pre-digested bread!