The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why? Why bake sourdough?

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

Why? Why bake sourdough?

I'm a sourdough lover, sometime bread blogger and freelance writer, and I have somehow convinced an editor that I'll write an article about sourdough.  I'd like to talk about reasons for choosing sourdough over tossing in a spoonful of commercial yeast.  I mean, it's not a crime or even a cheap shortcut to use yeast, and sometimes, my sourdough breads don't even taste noticeably different.

So... what are your reasons for choosing sourdough?  Here are some I've thought of, in no particular order:

  • connection to heritage (ie old-fashioned ways)
  • friendship - passing on a starter to a friend or maintaining one from a friend
  • superior flavour (sometimes), both from wild yeast strains and longer fermentation
  • possible digestive benefits, as longer fermentation "digests" some gluten
  • independence from commercial yeast manufacturers?
  • "Slow Food" mentality vs "Quick Rise" yeast

What am I missing?  These don't sound like much, honestly...

bshuval's picture
bshuval

Well, my set of reasons for using sourdough is different:

  • Curiosity, interest. and a fascination with sourdough science. I like experimenting... (pretty much why I started making my own sourdough in the first place)
  • I like making various fermented things myself (yogurt, pickles) and sourdough seemed like a natural extension
  • It's fun (for people, like me, who enjoy making breads with somewhat more complex and time-consuming processes).
  • It's chemically essential for some types of bread (e.g. rye bread). 
  • It achieves a depth of flavor you cannot get by other methods.
  • There's a sense of accomplishment when that sourdough rises. (Since sourdough is not foolproof, there's always this nagging "will it rise?" question in the back of my mind). 
Interesting that of Jay3fer's reasons, the only reason I can connect with is flavor. In particular, I don't bake with sourdough because of heritage, friendship (although I have discussed sourdough baking with friends), digestive benefits (the non-sourdough breads I make use long fermentation processes as well. And gluten isn't bad for most people, so I don't see why some of it should be digested. If anything, long fermentation is used for the phytates), independence (I still buy -- and use -- yeast), slow food (I use yeast. Usually for long-rising breads, but I use it.)
Chuck's picture
Chuck

It's chemically essential for some types of bread (e.g. rye bread)...

I suggest this is the tip of something that's important enough to research in depth and present (and no I don't have all the fully accurate details myself:-). I suggest not overlooking it as nothing more than a baroque detail...

To avoid baking a gooey gloppy mess rather than a loaf of bread, it's mandatory to avoid a runaway amylase enzyme attack when using rye flour. One way to do this is to use only a small amount of rye flour mixed with mostly wheat flour. (...and some coloring from malt or molasses or suchlike to make it look like the proportion of rye flour is higher than it really is? yuck) The other way is to make the bread dough noticeably acidic - one traditional way to do this is to make sourdough bread. If you're using mostly rye flour, you can either make a sour rye bread or you can make a mess; there may not be any other choices.

You may dig up some interesting questions. For example, if the daily "rye" recipe always includes a big dollop of yesterday's dough (but no "starter" in the traditional sense), is that "sourdough", or not???

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

In Germany the official classification of sourdough specifies that any pre-ferment with commercial yeast (poolish, biga, ...) that fermented over 8 hours is a sourdough (|Typ 0), because substantial amounts of lactic acid bacteria are present.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauerteigf%C3%BChrung#Typ_0

The Typ 1 is the wone we usually think of when we say "sourdough", and typ 2 and 3 are very acidic and are used primarily as taste improvers or starter cultures.

Just another interesting view, I thought.

Juergen

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

And keeps fresher longer too

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Why not?

For me, its more about the proccess and the level of involvement I get to have.

Instead of jsut using ingredients,I get to know the starter, and form a sort of relation ship with my bread.

Makes sharing it all the more fun ^_^

G-man's picture
G-man

I think for me it's a deeper sense of ownership. Making yeasted breads is interesting and all, but in the end it isn't that satisfying. Making sourdough is more work, but it's work that isn't work. It isn't boring, it doesn't cut into time that would be better spent doing something else. It is something that is enjoyable and rewarding for its own virtues.

I've never been as happy working as I am when I work at making food for my family, especially when I'm preserving food or using a process like fermentation. It is satisfying, and I don't think that should be dismissed.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I would look into the health benefits of sourdough bread, specifically the glycemic effect of sourdough versus yeasted breads.  Also the benefical nature of lactic and acetic acids in our foods and the very different nature of the yeast culture in sourdough as compared with the culture in comercial yeast.  A correlation between that current health of the population and the changes in bakery procedures around the 1940's might also provide some insight.

This is in addition to all of the other qualities of sourdough breads like extended shelf life and superior flavor.

Jeff

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

...be stopping readers from jumping to "sour bread" when you mention "sourdough", because 99 out of 100 of them won't know that you mean "wild yeast leavening". They'll think you're talking about those sour breads that were popular in the 1990s (most of them being made with the addition of vinegar, by the way, not sourdough starter).

I've tried to remove the word "sourdough" from my vocabulary because it confuses everyone. I use "wild yeast" instead because it more easily contrasts "commercial yeast".

I started using sourdough when I felt like my growth as a baker has plateaued. I could make all sort of breads and pastries with commercial yeast, but it really felt like I was making the same bread over and over again. I'd get different results, of course, but I felt those differences were mostly due to additives like potato or dried fruit or enrichments like butter or eggs. 

Nancy Silverton converted me with her Breads of the La Brea Bakery. I vividly remember the taste of that first Olive Loaf, how amazing it was compared to loaves I'd made with commercial yeast. Everything about if was different and better. I never looked back.

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

I agree... thanks for pointing this out!  While some distinctive "sour" taste is desirable, there are lots of ways to make bread taste tangy (buttermilk, vinegar), and most of them are not sourdough-based.

Ford's picture
Ford

For me it is all about flavor and texture!  The taste and texture of the bread cannot be equaled by the stuff you buy in the grocery stores.  Oh yes, I do feel a sense of accomplishment in getting the micro-beasties to propagate and provide the leavening and the flavor.  I also work out some frustration while I hand knead the bread.  I like to tell people that the hand kneading kept me from taking my frustrations out on my boss, when I was gainfully employed, and thus saved me my job.  Of course, I hand knead when using commercial yeast, so that is no reason for choosing one leaven over the other.

Ford

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Sourdough is better for diabetics as it doesn't spike blood sugar the way regular bread does.  It's also supposed to be easier to digest.  I use a sourdough starter plus some commercial yeast in my breads.

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

Are there studies on this?  Journalistically, I can't say it unless there's research... :-)

(it would be a fantastic plus, because I'm writing for a Jewish paper with a somewhat elderly readership, so diabetes is an issue for many)

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Whether you use Google or another search engine, you can find an article by a Canadian university on digestion and sourdough breads. They list some 871,000 different results on this search alone.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Here is a link to a thread I started a while back. There are others also if you search the source of the research paper I site. I can't seem to find it at the moment but I have seen a paper done on tests of 3 kinds of bread done with both commercial yeast and a SD riser. The tests conclusively demonstrate that the GL load of SD risen loaves is lower. It works for me in my testing as a Type 2 diabetic.
Eric

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I like being able to make bread just with the three unavoidable ingredients: Flour, water, salt. Maybe the forth ingredient is skill  ...

Juergen

wassisname's picture
wassisname

I agree with Juergen, the elegant simplicity alone is hard to resist.  All of these practical benefits are rooted in the most basic act of stirring together a little flour and water and letting it sit there.  Beautiful.  And, for the non-romantics, well... it's really yummy!

Marcus

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Another reason is to try to make bread "the same way" folks made it centuries (or even millenia) ago. They didn't have "commercial yeast" back then; even "brewers yeast" wasn't available to most folks most of the time. Along with using wild yeasts goes interest in Wood Fired Ovens (WFOs) including shared/community ovens, and non-modern-wheat grains (rye, buckwheat, spelt, kamut, einkorn, teff, etc.). Even just trying to roll back the last century leads to "heirloom" grains such as "red fife". Interest in authenticity can even lead to banning parchment paper (gasp!) from the kitchen.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

it is something deeper than that.  It has more to do with nuances and complexity.  A bread made with wild yeast has a depth and breadth of flavor and aroma that cannot be replicated in a bread made with commercial yeast.  I like both, mind you, but find that most of my baking has veered to sourdoughs.  As thomaschacon has noted, this isn't about sour bread.  While I have made some, I don't really enjoy a bread that can induce a pucker with its acidity.

You may have to decide if you want to write your article from the baker's perspective, or from the consumer's perspective.  If the former, what others have written about the challenges of baking with sourdough would certainly apply.  If the latter, then things like flavor or health benefits may move more to center stage.

Paul 

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

Spoken like a true journalist - I realize my article CANNOT be about every aspect of sourdough, esp for a "lay" readership.  Still... I'm doing it first person and hope to capture some of my own joys and miseries, along with a bit of actual data to fascinate the reader.  :-)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

  • that I can make my own leaven - and do not necessarily have to rely on a product made in a complicated industrial process creating a lot of contaminated waste (though I have to admit that I use instant yeast, too).
  • Sourdough is a symbiosis of many different kinds of lactobacilli and wild yeasts, a living microcosmos where everybody benefits from and protects each other (a very poetic thought).
  • Sourdough makes it possible to bake higher percent rye breads. Rye flour contains phytate, and needs acid to make it usable for bread baking (I do like rye breads).
  • Sourdough bread, especially if made with rye sourdough, tastes different. Acid producing bacteria thrive in rye sourdough, therefore those breads have more tang (I'm a notorious German).
  • Working with sourdough gives me great satisfaction - I feel connected to a thousand year old tradition (I can't make wine, I can't make Nürnberger Würstchen, but at least I can bake decent bread!).

Happy sourdough baking

Karin

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

These are so incredible!  I cannot possibly do justice to all of them, but will post a link to the article when it comes out - probably December.

copyu's picture
copyu

that yeast is a type of primitive fungus, kind-of (or exactly?) like a mushroom...it's NOT a plant! [It doesn't have any green parts and doesn't need sunlight to go about its business...] It's not an animal, either, by the usual definitions so, out of all the 'biological confusion', it has earned its own place in the 'kingdom of life'. Only animals (OR fungi OR bacteria) can provide some of the essential B-group vitamins we need, as far as we know, so vegetarians, vegans, diabetics, etc, can benefit from eating 'fermented foods' daily. The nicest thing about "wild yeast" [OK, "Sourdough"] cultures, is that they combine the operations of the fungi with those of the friendly lacto-bacilli, all in one hit.

It's pretty obvious that people who can be bothered to mess around with wild yeast cultures are the sort who love to cook their own food and bake their own bread. Those same people are also much more likely to choose organic foods, whole grains and whole foods and to keep a home garden (whenever possible) or to shop at farmers' markets, rather than at the local supermarket.

Nutrition, keeping quality, flavor, aroma and taste are some good starting points for using 'wild yeast' in baking. However, there are quite a few (still unconfirmed) scientific studies suggesting that eaters of whole grains generally live longer than others, even when adjustments are made for the control groups' intakes of folic acid, phytic acid, dietary fiber, Mg, Mn, Zn, Fe, etc...the things that we KNOW are available in whole grains...

Best wishes,

Adam 

PS: I can provide a few citations, if needed...give me a couple of days. adam  

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Jay

Ehanner is is correct above when he talks of health benefits with a Low Glycemic Index (GI) rating. Please research low GI Diets and you will find sourdough bread is recommended  for type 2 diabetics to eat. It takes the body longer to break down the energy of the food thus reducing your food volume and calorie intake etc. This is only found in true artisan sourdough or wholewheat breads. Not even wholemeal breads rate as a GI food. The health benefit is one of the most signifigant areas as well. Originally I remember reading instant dry yeast was developed for the military in the 20th century so the front line had fresh bread. However I stand to be corrected on this but it is another topic as to why use commercial yeast against sourdough. 

 Sourdough does not equate to being sour in taste but as a persons home bread culture becomes older it matures and changes over time. Eventually it provides a depth of flavour not found when using commercial yeast or bought bulk made commercial bread.

Finding out how to make a culture and nurture it is another area of interest. All can be founf on this site. Some cultures are made on water, grape juice or like mine pineapple juice. When researching have a go at making your own culture. If successful you should be baking with it in 7 to 10 days.

You have opened a Pandoras Box here...........Cheers and greetings from Australia............Aussie Pete.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

like baker's yeast does. Moreover using baker's yeast wouldn't benefit my rye breads, both because rye can't rise all that much and because it would speed up the leavening sacrificing fermentation (hence taste and long-term durability). I would hate to see my rye bread staling after a couple of days, while now it lasts fresh and moist even for weeks.

Also, baker's yeast screwed me so many times that I felt compelled to find a reliable leavening agent.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Because unbaked, it tastes yucky.  (just joshin)

Initially, it was a challenge.  Now, I enjoy the taste over other pre-ferments.  It's more mature.  I don't like sour, my starter ks very good for a mild flavor.

As mentioned above, the longer times required for wild yeast also bring improvements in taste and crumb.

FF

IndoLee's picture
IndoLee

Hi Jay,

Was reading you (older) post about "Why Bake SD" and was going to add that, aside from all the mostly "intangibles" (satisfaction of DIY, of learning, of creating beauty [you gotta agree that finally achieving a bake of that illusive "perfect" loaf is a beautiful thing - at least to us SD bakers]; "breaking bread" with family and friends; discovery of new recipes, techniques, etc.; geting back to our 'roots', the heritages of many other cultures, peoples, places, etc; sharing with other what we learn & enjoying their "shares" with us; the community/kinship between [SD] breadbakers; etc., etc.) a big plus to me is the health benefit of having LABs (lactobacilli) in our digestive tracts.

Could not remember where I first learned this and did a quick Google of the question, only to be amazed at what else popped up.

Here are a few exceprts (with links to the material):

Breaks Down Gluten

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.

Better Nutrient Profile

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.

Naturally Preserves the Bread

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.

Neutralizes Anti-Nutrients

Finally, 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.

http://www.simplebites.net/the-health-benefits-of-sourdough-bread-recipe-whole-grain-sourdough-bread/?doing_wp_cron=1326851349

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Lower Blood Sugar Levels:

With the sourdough, the subjects' blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin," said Graham, whose findings are to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. "What was even more interesting was that this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted even hours after. This shows that what you have for breakfast influences how your body will respond to lunch.  He said it's likely that the fermentation of the sourdough changes the nature of the starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread. "

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough_bread.html

Prof. Terry Graham
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences

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 Fermented foods are oft lauded for their massive health benefits, including beneficial bacteria to balance your intestinal flora and easier digestion. Lactic acid fermentation not only helps to preserve food but also increases the nutrients available for our bodies.

We’re told daily via advertisements of the probiotic health benefits of one of my favorite foods, yogurt (see directions for easy homemade). This fermented dairy product is popular in the United States, while so many other fermented foods just haven’t caught on. Because of that, if you’re a standard American eater, your taste buds may take some time to adjust to the tang of sourdough. It is just that tang, however, that gives sourdough grain preparation all its nutritional might. Sourdough bread preparation improves nutrition by:

Benefits:

■pre-digesting starches, making the bread more easily digestible

■lowering insulin response/improving glucose tolerance

■protecting Vitamin B1 from the damage of the heat of baking

■breaking down gluten, which may result in a bread that gluten-sensitive people can eat

■activating phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as:

■zinc

■iron

■magnesium

■copper

■phosphorus

Why Sourdough?

Because sourdough leavening works much slower than commercial yeast, the bread dough ends up sitting around longer. The lactic acid creates an ideal pH for phytase activity, which decreases phytates by 62% (compared to 38% in yeast breads).  I am convinced that sourdough is THE most nutritious way to prepare grains.  (See all my soaking grains research here.)

http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/03/05/food-for-thought-health-benefits-of-sourdough/

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 Live More Good Years (AARP Magazine)  Want to live longer — and healthier? These (13) secrets from a sleepy Greek island (Ikaria) could show you the way by: Dan Buettner | from: AARP The Magazine | Sept/Oct 2009 issue

Secret # 3 Bake Bread: The island's sourdough bread is high in complex carbohydrates and may improve glucose metabolism and stave off diabetes.

http://www.aarp.org/health/longevity/info-09-2009/more_good_years.html

 ========

 Health Benefits You Can Stomach from Sourdough

Baking your own bread and specifically creating sourdough bread provides consumers with innumerable health benefits that they can’t get from mass produced commercial breads.

First, bread made commercially has to be created quickly. It’s all about volume, stacking the shelves and selling product. Bread made in massive amounts uses commercial yeast, resulting in a leavening process that takes only 90 minutes. Sourdough does not use commercial yeast. That means that the sourdough leavening process is much longer than that of commercially made breads—anywhere from six to 36 hours. Why is that important?

The longer leavening process is one of natural fermentation, which includes organic yeasts and enzyme enhancing bacteria. These combine in a process that results in a bread that is easier to digest and contains nutritional advantages.

Sourdough bread rates a 68 on the glycaemic index as opposed to the rating of 100 by other breads. Foods that have low ratings on the glycaemic index are prominent in societies that tend to have lower incidence of diseases and unhealthy conditions that run rampant in our culture such as diabetes.

Researchers in Sweden at Lund University have noted that the fermentation process that’s involved in the creation of sourdough utilizes carbohydrates, lowering the carbohydrate level in the dough as it’s transformed to lactic acid. The result of this process means that sourdough bread can aid in ensuring that your blood glucose level remains in line, helping to guard against various diseases such as diabetes.

Additionally, sourdough made from unprocessed flour has complex carbohydrates. The complex carbs in sourdough aren’t transformed into fat; they are turned into energy. Additionally, sourdough that contains whole grains provide necessary minerals and trace elements, including iron, zinc, copper, manganese, calcium and phosphorous. Once again, it’s the sourdough fermentation process that makes these minerals readily available.

There are various helpful and healthful bacteria that are created during sourdough fermentation. Lactobacillus, which is the most important of the bacteria found in sourdough, produces lactic, formic and acetic acids. These serve to help prevent harmful organisms, including E. coli, from taking root. 

B-Complex vitamins, such as biotin, are contained in sourdough. Biotin is an important element in cell growth, the metabolizing of fats and amino acids and the production of fatty acids.

http://www.breadtopia.com/2008/01/05/health-benefits-of-sourdough-starter/

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 Sourdough and Health

"Sourdough or wild yeast bread is leavened by natural fermentation. This requires the presence of natural yeasts from the air or the grain, combined with enzyme enhancing bacteria. These cultures grow slowly given the right temperature, digesting the starches and changing the pH, allowing the wild yeasts to feed and the dough to rise.

Sourdough baking is a long process, due to the absence of added yeast. From start to finish, the baking process takes up to 36 hours, compared to the 90 minutes of commercial yeasted bread. During this time, wild yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria (the same found in yoghurt) get to work, fermenting the dough slowly but surely, pre-digesting the flour so that the bread becomes far more digestible. And in the process, the nutritional properties of the bread change dramatically.

For a start, the glycemic index of sourdough bread is 68 compared to 100 for non-sourdough bread. This means that sourdough will help you hold your blood glucose in check, according to research at Lund University in Sweden. The lacto-fermentation process actually uses carbohydrates in the food, converts it to lactic acid, and lowers the carbohydrate content.

There is increasing interest by health professionals in the benefits of beneficial bacteria in many foods. A balance of the appropriate flora is critical to ensuring not only a healthy intestinal tract, but also for long-term health through protection against pathogenic organisms and supporting gastro-intestinal health. The most important friendly bacteria are lactobacillus, which are cultivated in sourdough fermentation. They produce lactic, formic and acetic acids, which inhibit other organisms due to the acid environment, a good example being E. coli.

The yeast and bacteria themselves provide B vitamins and biotin (important for vegetarians). Bran in whole grain flour is also pre-digested in this process so that its minerals and vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body. The enzymatic properties of sourdough also aids digestibility. Natural antioxidants in the whole grain flours also reduce exposure to toxins

[excerpt from "Bread and Health," at Wild Yeast Bakery]

http://www.breadcoffeecake.com/nutrition.htm

========

So now, when my wife and friends ask why I spend so much time fooling around in the kitchen baking SD, I just tell em its for the health benefits... [smile]

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi, I have a curiosity about the claim on the lower blood sugar levels of SD bread. You wrote 

■pre-digesting starches, making the bread more easily digestible

■lowering insulin response/improving glucose tolerance

but if the starches are pre-digested this means that they are broken down into simpler carbos such as maltose, glucose and dextrins, thus there are more sugars immediately available (maltose and glucose) and simpler compounds (dextrins) that will be converted to more maltose and glucose in short. Now, if there are more sugars around how can the blood sugar levels (and the insulin, too) be lower? especially considering that maltose has an even higher GI than glucose?

Is my reasoning flawed?

  Nico

IndoLee's picture
IndoLee

Nico,

I don't have enough science under my belt to answer your question.  However, its clear the SD breads have a much lower Glycemic Index (GI) than the typical store-bought white trash.  Lots of studies on this, and its commonly agreed by all sources I've seen that the SD breads we bake have GIs of (as low as) 51 to about 68, vs the 100 GI of white bread.

I'm guessing that the longer fermentation combined with the symbiotic relationship between the yeast(s) and the Lactobacilli (LABs), [wherein the LABs eat the sugar if I recall correctly],  means less sugar in our [healthier] SD breads than in store bought white junk. 

I'm sure there are others on this site who are far more knoweledgeable than I on this stuff - maybe they will chime in on your question?

Lee

G-man's picture
G-man

Lactic acid bacteria break down readily available sugars into lactic acid and the yeast break them down into CO2 and ethanol. The only sugars that aren't eaten are those that aren't readily available and why your blood glucose stays lower. Your digestive system has to work harder to get at the remaining sugars.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

for explaining!

runningknows's picture
runningknows

<<Trying to access my biochem memory file>> GI has to do with how quickly the carbohydrates in any food are available. Simple sugars can be used almost immediately, sugars tied up in long starch chains have to be disassembled before they are used. 

In the Nutritionally Bankrupt Bread Process used to make products like wonderbread et al (hereafter referred to as NBBP) artificial amylases (or, in some cases, GM yeast that produces amylases) are used to cleave a lot of the starch chains down to dextrins so the yeasts can act on it very quickly. This is also why, when making quicker breads like standard baguettes a little malt extract helps things along (malt extract contains diastase, which does the same thing as amylase).

In sourdoughs, the amylase response is very carefully metered. Starch hydrolysis by LAB follows two main steps. First, the LABs secrete an extracellular amylase which hydrolyzes (chops) amylose and amylopectin to short chain dextrins. Then, the dextrins are brought into the cell, where they are cleaved into glucose and are then fermented into lactic acid. However, the LABs ability to excrete the amylase required for the first step is controlled by the acidity of the environment they are in.  So the little beasties break down starch to sugar and eat it until they find themselves too surrounded by their waste products (yummy, yummy waste products, but still waste products). Then they close down production until they are brought into a less acidic environment (like when we fold the dough).  

(At this point, cue the really complex LAB/yeast interaction, where cooler fermenting temperatures favor more LAB utilization of the chopped starches, producing more acid vs. warmer fermentation temperatures which produce more active yeast that will sieze the cleaved starches before the LABs get them, but that's a little much for now). 

The end result of all this, is that in the NBBP, the starches are pretty much massacred wholesale into simple sugars to get a really quick yeast response (which is important to them because the shorter they mess around with the dough, the more money they make). In the sourdough process, a little starch is converted to sugar at a time, just as it's needed. The rest of the starch remains in long chain form, gelatinizing in that happy way when baked, which we don't really break down until the small intestine (except for the small amount of amylase activity in the mouth). So in the NBBP, a lot of simple sugar is unloaded directly from the stomach to the small intestine, where it's absorbed immediately (high GI) where the complex starches in "real" bread require more time to break down as the enzymes have to gnaw off the sugars from the starch chain one (or two or three) molecules at a time.

copyu's picture
copyu

for that great link. I've 'skimmed' it and am about to start some serious reading.

Very best, as always,

Adam

Heidela123's picture
Heidela123

I love this thread because we all have our reasons for sourdough baking and it is fun for someone like myself...who has been a sourdough baker for my entire bread baking life ( too many years to count!) but never got serious about it until a few years ago when I became a true sourdough geek!
Besides the fact it is just flat out fun to create a loaf of bread literally from yeast you gathered, nurture and pass on

It helps me focus ( I have no attention span!)
It absorbs and helps alleviates mental anguish and physical pain
It provides something unique to my extended family of non bakers that they would never with out purchasing very expensive " artisan loaves" at our local and bastly growing, farmers markets and cottage bakeries. We live minimalistc and love to eat well but the budgets do allow freslhy baked artisan bread unless i bake it for all of us. So I do
Last but not least
I am imprinting my grandkids to the smell taste and ability to make sourdough bread. Because that is my job :)
The reason I joined this forum and visit other baking forums is to learn to follow recipes, my technique is so random I want to standardize my baking enough to write down and pass on my recipes, so the can be recreated!

It is truly fascinating to play with sourdough!
It is truly humbling

Jay3fer's picture
Jay3fer

What a beautiful, thorough, thoughtful response!  Thanks for sharing it...