The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Challenge: Wikipedia sourdough photo

Uberkermit's picture

Challenge: Wikipedia sourdough photo

If anyone out there has a great, mouth watering photo of a sourdough loaf, a generous spirit, and a little bit of web savy, please consider improving the wikipedia entry on sourdough ( The photo currently displayed is from a chain store called Bakers Delight, showing what they call "White Vienna Sourdough Loaves". This "sourdough" bread has commercial yeast, not to mention the typical slew of preservatives that chain bread stores add to their dough. I think the article could be much improved by showing an artisan loaf made in the tradition of bakers for thousands of years.

Actually, the whole article could be greatly improved by the collective knowledge of this community, so please feel free to improve the article even if you don't have a photo to contribute.

Just a thought,


Kendra Teasdale's picture
Kendra Teasdale

Just to clarify - the Bakers Delight White, Wholemal, Grain, Cape Seed and Continental bread ranges do not contain any preservatives. The sourdough product is a part of the Continental range.

 All Bakers Delight bakers, bake fresh from scratch each and every day.

Uberkermit's picture


Whether or not Bakers Delight White Vienna Sourdough contains "preservatives" or merely "additives" depends on whether lawyers (or in this case, PR managers) are involved. It does contain added sodium acetate, calcium sulphate, and sodium oleyl or stearoyl-2-lactylate (1), among other things that aren't flour, water, wild yeast, and salt. The Australian government classifies sodium acetate as a "food acid" rather than "preservative", but in fact it does serve as a preservative and mold inhibitor (2, 3). Stearoyl-2-lactylate acts as an emulsifier and is commonly added to processed bread products so that they retain their shape under machine handling. Calcium sulphate is technically classified as a "flour treatment agent" rather than a "preservative". Etc, etc. None of these things are to be found in, say, King Arthur flour or the hundreds of loaves that they produce (using hand shaping) every day in their bakery (4).

The main point is not the legal classification of the ingredients in Bakers Delight bread, but rather that Bakers Delight bread is not a very good example of either sourdough or the techniques traditionally used to produce it. I think that much cannot be disputed.






Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I really don't like the idea of a "typical" sourdough loaf, or of an archetypal sourdough loaf.


Before the mid to late 1800's almost all leavened breads were risen with sourdough. If you are eating a bread whose style predates that time frame, it was almost certainly originally a sourdough bread.

Challah, as has been mentioned around here before, dates back to about 70AD. It was almost certainly a sourdough bread.

Virtually all great rye breads are sourdough breads, the sourdough makes it possible for rye breads to rise to any sort of impressive height.

Pannetone is, classically, a sourdough bread.

Kaiser rolls are, originally, sourdough breads.

Many Americans have a myopic view of sourdough as being "San Francisco Sourdough Bread" and that few - if any - other breads qualify.

We could probably ask Boudin Bakery or the Bread Baker's Guild of America for a good picture. And we'd probably get it. And it would probably be a better loaf than the one shown. However, would that "betterness" show? I think not. The one in the article is attractive enough.

And whatever we chose would continue the stereotype that THIS is the one, true sourdough bread.

Kinda like when some people discover that beer doesn't HAVE to be yellow.


Maybe the answer is to have a number of breads and say, "These are all sourdough breads."



ejm's picture

Bravo, Mike, I think you have hit the nail on the head:

> Maybe the answer is to have a number of breads and say, "These are all sourdough breads."


Personally, I like to steer away from the term "sourdough" and use "natural starter" or "wild yeast".

Floydm's picture

Kinda like when some people discover that beer doesn't HAVE to be yellow.

It doesn't? Oh yeah, it can be clear too, like Zima, right?

(Covers head)

Sorry, couldn't resist. I just came back from lunch at The Lucky Labrador Brew Pub and I'm feeling a bit loopy.

Mmmm... holiday beers...

Henry's picture




You obviously own a franchise.

I’m impressed that a baker and his wife opened one store back in the eighties

and now are closing in on a thousand.

I met them once or twice, fine people and I hope they live to be a hundred.

I don’t care for their bread, but having said that, most days I walk by the

bakeshop in my neighborhood and people are waiting in line.

I’m a fan of fermentation and generally speaking, that’s not what they do.

They do make one loaf that ferments overnight but I don’t think it’s a huge seller.

If I had lineups and close to a thousand stores, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I do remember adding “improver” to most dough mixes, and SSL to some of them when I worked for this outfit in Canada but that was a few years ago.

Still, it’s a pretty basic dough, especially compared to the large bread factories

where the ingredient list is as long as your arm.



adamthebaker's picture


As a baker from Baker's Delight I thought I'd inform you that they have recently introduced a new sourdough that doesn't contain yeast, and is risen by a levain which is fed for 5 days before use, attempting to mimic the traditional San Fran Sourdough.


Comments or opinions on this new sourdough?