The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough vs Whole Wheat

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PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Sourdough vs Whole Wheat

A good friend posted this on the Robin Hood website, and I think it should be of some value on this site.

 

Sourdough bread may enhance health more than whole wheat, says scientist

The type of toasted bread we eat for breakfast can affect how the body responds to lunch, a researcher at the University of Guelph has discovered.

Read full story here.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks for this thought-provoking post, PaddyL. It's making me wonder if I shouldn't reconsider my WW bread baking.

Soundman (David)

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I keep wondering if whole wheat sourdough is out, but I think not.

Marni's picture
Marni

Interesting food for thought.

"The parts of the grain like wheat germ and bran that have the health benefits are taken out to create white flour and then partially added back to make whole wheat," he says.

"Based on the findings of this study, as well as a followup study using whole grains rather than whole wheat, we are learning that the best way to get these nutrients is through whole grain, not whole wheat."

It would seem that home milled flour made into sourdough would be the healthy choice.

Marni

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Marni, the same part of the text caught my eye too. What's that "partially added back" stuff about? It all depends on who's doing the milling, or if you are a home miller. My red WW comes from a small miller, and they don't mill white flour at all, so I'm sure there's no 'adding back in' of anything, let alone PART of the bran and germ.

The breadth of this study, no pun intended, OK, pun intended, has shortcomings. It's a very small sample. Also, measuring certain reactions hours later doesn't say much about whether WW's nutrients don't provide a more lasting benefit.

Finally, this article reminded me of what I considered a cryptic remark by Nancy Silverton in her La Brea book, where she says the body can't use the nutrients in WW. I guess I will wait for larger and longer studies to see if this hypothesis is borne out in general, and why.

Soundman (David) 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

David, according to what I've read and studied, whole wheat is an insoluble fibre and as such,  doesn't stay in the body long enough to do a great deal of good.  Fibres like oatmeal and rye are soluble, forming a sort of gel when ingested, therefore taking longer to leave the system and giving more of themselves in the process.  I assume that if one mills one's own wheat, or buy it from a small mill, more of the good stuff is left, but it's still insoluble.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, PaddyL, for that explanation. What I just learned from Googling 'Insoluble fiber' is (as of course I should have known) that it has other benefits, not necessarily nutriient-based, which are nonetheless of utility in metabolizing what we eat. Which again calls into question how much food/nutrition terrain this study actually covers.

The artful phrase used with respect to insoluble fiber is 'speed of transit' and refers to how long stuff stays around in the intestines. As such, it wouldn't necessarily have much to do with insulin or blood sugar, from my limited understanding, but nonetheless is of benefit to the human body.

I'm not tossing my WW flour yet!

Soundman (David)

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I have no intention of making just white bread, David, as ww does have its merits.  My nephew will only eat ww bread under his peanut butter!  But his mother prefers something that does not have an inordinate 'speed of transit', as you put it so beautifully, because of medical conditions.  And for me, well, I have always liked soft white bread, and now I can eat it, which thrills the socks off me.  I have noted, for my own curiosity, in testing my blood, that white SD bread doesn't spike my sugars, a super-duper-absolutely-magnificent turn of events.

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I think posting this much of an article goes beyond Fair Use, and violates copyright.

Colin

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Reproducing full copyrighted articles w/o permission from the copyright holder is a no-no.

I truncated the story and linked to a full copy of it elsewhere.

rideold's picture
rideold

It seems to me that the study is really comparing apples and oranges.  The variables are 1. the type of leaven and 2. the type of flour.  The study is based on one naturally leavened bread and a few commercially yeasted whole wheat varieties.  I think the article doesn't do justice to what the study seems to be looking at which is blood sugar responses NOT nutritional benefit of whole wheat/white flour.  If my memory serves me correctly there has been talk for a long time of the benefits of naturally leavend/sourdough for blood sugar management.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I wasn't sure about copy/pasting the whole article here, but I'm not very good at putting up links.  I think, since it gives the author's name and the source, it should be okay, as I'm not saying it, I'm just putting it out there.  Anyway, copyright laws or no, the gist of the article I found quite fascinating.  Being diabetic myself, I never thought I'd be able to eat white bread again, but this has opened my eyes, and in experimenting with sourdough white bread, I've found that it does not spike my blood sugar as much as whole wheat does.  And I gather that sourdough bread, whether white, ww, rye, or what have you, is better for the digestion than regular bread.  I'm going great guns with my sourdough baking, thanks in part to this site; you encouraged me to go ahead and try it, I did, my starter is beautifully active, and I'm about to take it out of the fridge to warm up so I can make some white loaves for my brother.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

It is an interesting story and I appreciate you posting it here. But without permission to reproduce it it is safer for us to just link to the full story elsewhere.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Floyd, so that I won't step on any more toes, how does one post a link to an article or site so that it's clickable?

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Write some text, highlight it, then click the little chain button. It'll ask you to paste in the URL.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Forgive my computer ignorance, but I don't see a little chain button.  And come on, folks, it's just one article, where I am sure there have been lots and lots of articles.  I honestly don't think they're dissing all whole wheat; I think this article is aimed mostly at diabetics, and I, for one diabetic, am thrilled to be able to eat soft white bread again!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

The chain button at the top of the box that you type into.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I still can't see a chain button, but have no fear, I'll ask my nephew who, being some 40+ years younger than I, is far more versed in computer stuff than his poor old aunt.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It is very faint, and when if you click and drag to highlight a word or phrase, it gets darker because it's activated. It is in the tool bar just after the "Comment:"

looks like this:

link button

The first symbol is link, the second is remove link  (then a camera to put in pictures). Does that help? 

If you can't see it, then highlight any word, click before the word and drag your mouse across the word and release, mine turns blue, that is highlighting.  Then click on the symbol and window appears to fill in.  (You can also make it bold type or itallic.  When you want to return to normal script, click on the symbol again to cancel.)

Mini O

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I don't have anything resembling your toolbar at all.  I'm using a Dell with Windows XP.

slaughlin's picture
slaughlin

I think the reference is to the tool bar on top of the comment box

steve

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

See the reply link on the bottom of this post? Click that and then you get the comment box, which has the link/unlink icons in the tool bar.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Thank you, Paddyscake!  It looks so faint I could barely make it out.  When and if I want to post a link, I would type whatever and then hit that?  Having stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest with this last, I'm not sure I'd ever want to post a link, but you never know.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

See 2 posts down to LindyD, Chain greyed out..it explains how to use it...

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The chain is grayed out on my system. I just do the HTML code for links.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

LindyD..the chain is greyed out until you type the link you want to post in the comment box, highlight it and then the link/unlink light up. Click the link button and then type the hyperlink in the URL box and then click insert. Does that help?

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I copy the URL in the top of the web page in question and paste that into my comment.  I usually give it a line of its own.

Rosalie

kanin's picture
kanin

Apples and oranges indeed. This is such a poorly written article that it's almost funny.

Last time I checked, whole wheat IS whole grain. They're throwing these terms around in the article in a confusing manner as if they're two completely unrelated things.

The parameters of this so-called "research" are also so ambiguous it's making my head spin. Did they make the breads themselves? Are they 100% whole wheat? Any enrichments added to the breads?

 

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Love sourdough, love rye, but I have to admit I've never been fond of WW, although I do add white WW flour to my mix once in a while.

PaddyL, you might be interestesd in this article from Readers Digest.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I read the article and just e-mailed it to myself.  This could be something along the lines of those cinnamon and blood sugar studies, but I had two significant low sugar events after eating cinnamon so the jury is still out on that one.  I do think there's something to the blood sugar/sourdough study, though, because  I've read or seen quite a bit about this lately.  Given the choice between white bread and ww, I'd take the white any day!

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I remember reading somewhere on this forum that commercial "whole wheat" flour has the germ removed to improve shelf life.  Some packages even admit it, though you have to hunt for it.  So I revel in the fact that I grind my own.

It was one study.  That's a downfall of the popular press - they make a big deal of isolated studies.  I usually wait for the Berkeley Wellness Letter or another such science-based periodical to give me the real lowdown.

Rosalie

cordel's picture
cordel

I suspect this very small study is a lead in to something bigger.  It is good to see there is some sort of a tie-in between sourdough method and lower spikes in blood-sugar.  With both of us having our blood-sugar tested regularly, anything that prevents further stress on the pancreas is helpful. 

Jolly's picture
Jolly

I know a lot about this subject. A while back my homemade yeasted breads started making me sick. My bones started aching, and every time I ate a piece of bread it would get worst. Then I started breaking out in a rash that was super itchy and I couldn't stop scratching. 

My Co-op order came in so I was talking to the co-op manager about my symptoms . Then she asked me if I was soaking my grains.  I didn't know what she was talking about.  She pulled out  her cookbook and turned to a chapter on grains. After reading a couple of pages I finally new what my problem was.

Grains need to be (soaked in water about 7 hours to remove phytic acids), which are toxins found in all grains and seeds even nuts. The phytic acids can create all kinds of allergies, and they can even make you feel like an old man or woman. Crippling you up with arthritis and flu like symptons.

In baking sourdough breads the acids in the starters and the long fermentation period eat almost 100% of the pyhtic acids. That's why they're saying that sourdough breads are much healthier to eat due to the natural bacteria (lactobacilli) and other helpful organisms that break down and neutralize phytic acids.

Yeast Breads---do not break down phytic acids.

Then they go on explaining in the cookbook (Nourishing Traditions) by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig about how grains were prepared  by are ancestors and from various parts of the world. The grains were soaked.

So I started Baking sourdough breads using all kinds of grains and seeds and all my symptoms disappeared.

When I first read about this I started using the a long overnight rise still using yeast thinking that would make a difference but the bread continued to make me sick.

So I had to convert to sourdough baking. Sourdough starters contain the most concentrated (lactobacilli) and other helpful organisians to break down and neutralize phytic acids.

Yeast breads contain a very mild acid but not enough to eliminate the toxin (phytic acids) in the dough.

So if you're eating a diet that's high in (unfermented) whole-grains it can lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss which is very painful. Take for instance the modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term many other adverse affects.

That would also include all cold cereals. Cold cereals were killing me so I now avoid them all. But I can eat hot cereals as long as I let a serving of grains soak in warm water overnight with 1 Tbsp homemade Kefir, which conatins a concentrated does of the bacteria (lactobacilli). Then in the morning I proceed to cook my hot cereal, which cooks up in 3 minutes. And its highly nutritional due the overnight soak that neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes.

Scientists have learned  that the protein in grains, especially gluten are very difficult to digest. A diet high in (unfermented) whole grains like (wheat) puts an enormous strain on the whole digestive mechanism. When this mechanism breaks down with age or overuse, the results take the form of allergies, celiac disease, mental illness, chronic indigestion, and candida selerosis.

That's why sourdough breads are so good for you no matter which grains you may select as long as you use a fermentation period of (seven hours or more). During the process of soaking and fermenting the gluten and other hard to digest proteins are broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. That's the key to eating healthy grains (a long fermentation period). I'm happily eating sourdough breads with no side affects made from whole-wheat, and a wide variety of other grains. To this day I still can't eat yeasted breads.

Many of our senior citizens may remember that in earlier times the instructions on the (oatmeal box) called for an overnight soaking. The article in (Nourishing Traditions) cookbook is very extensive and should be read to fully under stand why we should be eating fermented grains and sourdough breads.

Even Celiacs need to soak their non gluten grains---who are (allergic to wheat). There non gluten grains need to be soaked at least 7 hours. They can do this by mixing up their bread recipes and adding 1 Tbsp. homemade kefir or kefir whey to their bread recipes and letting the batter soak over night. It can be refrigerated over night and in the morning let it reach room temperature for at least 1 hour and proceed to bake.

The person who wrote the article is just beginning to learn about the phytic acids found in whole-grains. The article was very poorly written and very confusing to many. Nourishing Traditions was published in 1999 and revised in 2001 so the info...has been around for quite a while and makes for good reading plus fully learning how to cook with grains.








Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'm glad you wrote that out to explain. Here in France we are very conscious of the difference in digestion between sourdough and yeast breads. I mentioned it once in a post here that I didn't understand why Americans never seemed to diffentiate between them. Now, I don't know my science but I know that when I eat a lot of sourdough bread, I feel great, while if I eat yeasted bread, my body just doesn't digest it the same. I crave sourdough but not yeast bread and since I am fortunate enough to have a system that tells me what I need, I know that sourdough is very good for me and I start every day with about five slices of it!

I remember an article that explained that whole wheat gives ruffage that essentially scrapes the intestines (eventually causing problems as you describe them) while sourdough actually changes the flora so that digestion is improved, so there is no need to add a bunch of whole wheat and whole grains. I do that sometimes for taste but not health.

And people will say that carbs are bad for you, and that you shouldn't abuse bread. Maybe yeasted breads fit in this category, but certainly not the highly digestable sourdough.

Now, I like eating brioche and some yeasted breads once in a while, but I do not eat them for me health! Sourdough is an essential part of my daily diet, while yeast breads are like desserts, just extras.

Jane 

 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

This discussion is interesting and seems to highlight what I think is a big problem with the publication of scholarly research results in the popular press: people see the results of one study (or what the journalist has interpreted the results to be) and take this as a prescription for what they should and shouldn't be eating.

I'm all for nutritional research, but remember that the typical study looks at one very small question, which is then incoroprated into a larger body of knowledge that is, in toto, hopefully converging upon some semblance of reality (a loaded word in itself). For example, phytic acid has been shown in numerous studies to decrease the human body's ability to absorb iron and other nutrients (this may be what Silverton was referring to, Soundman); however, there is also evidence that phytic acid can increase absorption of anthocyanins (beneficial plant pigments).

I do believe that most people, at least iin the US, should be eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than we do. And of course, people with specific health problems that are affected one way or another by specific foods should folow a diet that works for them. But that aside, I'm not sure that trying to micromanage our nutrients is, in the long run, going to make us healthier. I like Michael Pollan's advice:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Susan, you and I think exactly alike.  At least, I agree 100% with your post.

The popular press focuses on one study at a time, without a perspective, and it selects "sexy" studies.  That's what I like about Berkeley Wellness Letter.  They talk about a study or studies, and then they give you a "bottom line" - their recommendation for what we should be doing based on all evidence to date.

Also, when I read something that tells you the benefits of some nutrient and gives you a list of foods with that nutruient in it, along with quantities - well, my eye glaze over and I skip to the next article.  Eating shouldn't be that hard, I alway say.

But as far as Michael Pollan's quote goes, I would add "minimally processed" in the center of the first sentence.  Of course, then it wouldn't be as catchy.

Rosalie

slaughlin's picture
slaughlin

Susanfnp comments is right on.  Of course I would add to the "minimally processed" comment. "and a nice glass of wine every now and then"

steve

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Yes,Pollan encompasses "minimally processed" in his definition of "food". Excerpt from his article on "nutritionism" in the New York Times:

 "...you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.” Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat. ..."

Link to Pollan's entire article (requires free NYT registration to view, I think):

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Susanfnp, thanks for your post and exhorting us (and everybody else) to look at the big picture. I also tip my hat to Rosalie and Steve for their likeminded observations. I too have found Michael Pollan a welcome voice of common sense (sanity) rising against the tide that is the takeover of our food system by agri-business. As someone who spent 5 youthful summers on a small dairy farm, milking cows and pitching manure with glee, the recent preference of Americans for 'foodlike substances' over (minimally-processed) food seems like a national nightmare.

I agree with you about the danger in taking the information such studies provide as prescriptive, and from there to bounce around like a ping-pong ball based on multiple studies' contrary findings. (Guilty as charged!) The way the study was framed, I think, was problematic. Whole Wheat versus Sourdough is not helpful. On top of that, the press has a tendency to encapsulate complex subjects into 'readable' sound-bites, and in so doing to lose the real content.

So to your measured and thoughtful remarks I will join Steve and raise a glass of good wine and say thanks again for reminding me to look at the big picture!

Soundman (David)

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I live in an area where my local supermarket is pretty small. I grew up in North America and it took me some time, but living in France helped me adopt a much simpler way of eating. I know there are books about the Mediterranean diet, etc, but the message is actually very simple. Eat simple! Like you say Susan, lots of fruits and vegetables, less meat, more beans and grains. So, basically what I do (and it's easy because I live in a productive region) is to subscribe to the weekly organic veggie basket, buy only local grown fruits and vegetables and only in season. I don't eat fresh tomatoes in the winter, for example. In my shopping car there are only "raw materials" to cook with. And weird as it may seem, the body starts telling you what it needs. If I'm thirsty I drink water. We have wine for dinner when we feel like it.

I think in the States you have access to very good products, but it seems they get hidden behind all sorts of junk, like sodas and fruit juices, packaged food and ready made meals. I get a kick out of reading american magazines and looking at the advertisements. The craziest products exist, there. Maybe it's difficult to weed through all that stuff.

As for whole grain, whole wheat and sourdough. I do think sourdough is great and very digestible. I don't eat any non-organic whole grains or whole wheat flour because of pesticides trapped inside, but I do love organic ones in bread.

And that goes back to the post that was here a while back about white bread and getting kids to like other types. If they're given it young, they'll like it! The same goes to eating brown rice and semi-whole wheat pasta, vegetables, beans, etc. It can't be a "fad", it has to be a way of life.

Jane 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Jane,

How can you say that the craziest products exist here in the States?  You mean to tell me that pancakes and sausage on a stick isn't all natural?:

Jimmy Dean

Maybe the healthy alternative is the one without chocholate chips!  :)

- SteveB

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Well, um, yah! That kind of thing. (Gees, I haven't even had breakfast yet, that's pretty disgusting.)

 I think I'll stick to my toast.

Jane 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Sorry for ruining your appetite so early in the morning!  Here in the States, we have a knack for taking a perfectly good, nutritional food and turning it into a culinary abomination.  Some of the more egregious (and, in my opinion, funny) examples can be found at "Meat!, Meat!, Meat!, part of the Gallery of Regrettable Food.  A word of warning... keep a bottle of your favorite stomach upset medication close at hand!

- SteveB    

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And serve it with what?  a goo of mustard and maple syrup? 

Mini O

Richelle's picture
Richelle

I couldn't agree with you more on this, Jane. Eat simple and a little bit of a lot of different things is healthier than lots of just a couple of ingredients, however healthy, organically grown or whatever.  No organic veggie-basket service available over here in Andalucía, but my own organic veggie plot is abundantly producing this year.

Sometimes, like now, when my plot is producing lots and lots of courgettes, the variety in veggies is a bit difficult to maintain :-), but the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are on their way and the stringbeans do their best to keep up, and the cucumbers are not far behind. And there is always rocket to spice up any salad and fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries to turn into smoothies, cobblers and ice cream! Potatoes we buy directly from a local farmer who doesn't use any pesticides.

We do eat meat on a regular basis, but mainly from our own animals that have been fed well and have lived (IMHO) a good, stressfree life. Once a year we slaughter a pig, once every couple of months a goat and some rabbits every month. We hardly ever eat beef, it's not widely available over here and very expensive.

We keep chicken for their eggs, only eat the occasional rooster, and keep horses, dogs and cats for their good company...

Okay, I'm off to harvest some more courgettes (zuchinis) while it's still sort of cool outside.

Richelle

 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I enjoyed reading all of the above. I feel the same as all the posters here when it comes to good simple food and I love everything Michael Pollan writes.

 

Steve, your post is funny. I thought processed bagels with cream cheese in them was bad but that stuff on a stick takes the prize.                                              weavershouse

charbono's picture
charbono

There is more info about phytate here:

http://sustainablegrains.org/db2/00133/sustainablegrains.org/_download/WGCNews7.pdf

on page 7 of Monica Spiller's newsletter.  Under various situations phytate is reduced by phytase, but some level of phytate in the diet may be desireable.

cb

 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Charbono, that article is a goldmine! Thanks for posting this link. I think it will be of interest to everyone posting to this thread.

Soundman (David)

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

 I saw this today - Terry Graham, the PI on the sourdough study, had this to say in response to a column about conflicting nutritional research findings.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

This graph shows that phytates (aka phytic acid) can be virtually eliminated in wheat and rye with a one hour soak in a somewhat acidic solution where the soaking water is 45C / 113F.

For those of us who do not use sourdough starters, techniques such as using a poolish with whole wheat flour OR a minimum 2 hour autolyse of the whole wheat flour AND/OR an overnight refrigerator rise would probably eliminate most of the phytate, therefore increasing the bioavailability of the minerals in whole grain wheat or rye flour.

Some of us make fresh home made cheese from milk (such as ricotta, mozzarella or Indian paneer). Using the whey byproduct as the liquid in bread making would contribute to phytate reduction, as the whey is somewhat acidic. See this TFL thread for a discussion of using whey in breadmaking - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7921/using-whey-liquid-substitute

 phytase reduction by soaking

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, subfuscpersona, that's a very informative post.

It also happens to confirm the method I've used for years in making WW bread: I make a preferment with all the WW flour for the recipe in it (around 40% of the total flour), and the hydration is a combination of water with buttermilk, which is somewhat acidic, of course. 

Lately the preferment I use has been a la Maggie Glezer (I think in her Ciabatta recipe from Craig Ponsford), meaning a tiny pinch of yeast in a 24 hour biga. My reason for putting all the WW in the preferment was based partly on enhancing the flavor, but also along the lines of a soaker, since some of the WW I use is coarsely ground. It's nice to know there's a nutritional payoff as well!

(And now I can bake WW bread without a cloud on the mental horizon.)

Soundman (David)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Using unpasturized honey in your dough may help reduce phytate as honey is acidic (average pH = 4) - for more information see the National Honey Board site, especially pH and Acids in Honey

I almost always add unpasturized buckwheat honey to my whole wheat loaves. Buckwheat honey is not particularly sweet; it has a strong taste which complements whole grain flour (particularly whole wheat flour). I use from 2% to 5% (bakers percentage) honey in whole wheat doughs, varying the amount according to recipe.

Supermarket brands of honey are almost always pasturized. Try a farmer's market, health food store or natural foods store (I buy mine at the local farmer's market)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

subfuscpersona,
I also use Buckwheat Honey when ever possible. I really like the special taste of that variety and totally agree with you on how it helps WW and whole grain breads. The Chinese honey that is sold in most supermarkets is tasteless IMHO.

David:
When you use buttermilk for hydrating the soaker, do you keep it in the cooler? I've been making batches of Marks Multi grain  which starts with adding boiling water to the grains followed by a 12 hour wait/soak.  I wonder if there is a way to accomplish softening the course grains using buttermilk.  I wouldn't think boiled buttermilk would be  very good but I don't know for sure.

Eric 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Eric,

I've been using buttermilk in some preferments for several years now. I got the idea reading one of Reinhart's books. I'm not sure if he was suggesting the buttermilk in the preferment or the main dough, but he mentioned it as a softener of the crumb. I experimented and found it worked well (in conjunction with water) in a preferment. It adds a little sour to the medium which the yeast appear to appreciate.

As to its temperature, I often put a half cup or more into the microwave for 20 seconds to take the chill off, unless I want to cool the dough down as in hot weather like we're having in the Northeast. In that case I'll put it into the mix straight out of the fridge. After the biga ripens (6 hours yesterday, e.g.) I refrigerate it overnight. Next day I take it out an hour before mixing, and add it to my dough.

More to your point, I'm not sure I would boil the buttermilk. For the kind of soaker you're talking about, I would boil the water and simply take the chill of the buttermilk in the wave. That should still work fine for softening the grain and adding acidity as well.

Soundman (David)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

A little (ummm - OK - a lot) 'net research has yielded the pH values for dairy whey from *home made* fresh cheese - the pH range is 5 - 6. This makes it slightly less acidic than the 4.5 pH cited in the study (above).

That study showed that a one hour soak in a 4.5 pH solution heated to 45C / 113F largely eliminates phytates in wheat and rye. I'm willing to bet that a dairy whey by-product, if used in a poolish or other preferment that typically develops over a 8-12 hour period, would definitely contribute to phytate reduction, even if the water was "room temperature" (low 70s F).

Don't confuse liquid whey from cheese making with the "sweet" powdered whey sold as a food supplement - they're not the same.

And for those of you who want a simple refresher on pH ...

============= pH scale ============

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. For all practical purposes, the pH scale ranges from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline) - 7 is the neutral point.

cheers - SF