The Fresh Loaf

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Nutritional benefits of using preferment.

Erica Grisoni's picture
Erica Grisoni

Nutritional benefits of using preferment.

First of all, sorry for any English mistake. I'm a newbie in the bread world and still learning a lot every day. I know that we have the nutritional benefits of using starter/levain during the process of making bread with it. My question is: is there any healthy /nutritional benefit of using a preferment (old method dough) instead of a conventional direct way(mix all the yeast of the recipe at once)? Is my bread will be better digestible if using preferment?

DanAyo's picture

Yes, the longer you ferment (without degrading the dough) the more digestible and flavorful it will get. You can’t make great bread quickly. The acids from the LAB breakdown the dough over time.

I am assuming that you are making sourdough breads.

justkeepswimming's picture

Does using a biga or poolish based recipe with a slow fermentation have similar benefits? 

DanAyo's picture

Yes, slow fermentation does wonders for breads, both nutritionally and flavor wise. Too much fermentation will eventually breakdown (degrade) the dough. When this happens the dough will turn soupy and become a sticky mess. Under normal conditions this takes a fairly long time. Variables such as heat, hydration, types of flour will affect the speed at which fermentation takes place. A dough that is refrigerated can ferment the longest because cool temps slow down the fermentation process.

justkeepswimming's picture

...might be the case, that slow fermentation with preferments of any kind would all have similar effect on dough. I have been reluctant to enter the world of sourdough for a variety of reasons. Recipes using a biga with a slow bulk rise in the fridge have been more doable for me. 




DanAyo's picture

The Good News!

  • The flavor of sourdough (SD) breads are heads above heels over commercially yeasted bread.
  • Bread made with SD are more nutritious and more easily digested.
  • SD breads have a longer shelf life. They take longer to stale than breads made with commercial yeast.

The News to be Considered!

  • Starting a SD starter - take some patience
  • Maintaining a SD starter - takes a small effort

But... to a great majority of bread bakers on The Fresh Loaf, SD is definitely worth the effort!

ws.hicks's picture

...and I find it strangely familiar. 

My previous process was preparing poolish in the morning, mix & bulk at room temp in the afternoon, then shape and retard in fridge to be baked the next day or two. I think that would probably be Pretty similar to yours since you use biga and also bulk in fridge?

After I switched to using SD starter, I soon realize that I was pretty much using the process of sourdough the whole time. My current process now is preparing levain in the morning, mix & bulk at room temp in the afternoon, then shape and retard in fridge to be baked the next day or two. (yes, I did copy and paste that and only replace 'poolish' with levain, lol)

As for the starter, I keep only a small amount in fridge and will mix in as much flour/water I need for the recipe when I make levain so I'll be left with pretty much the same amount of 'refreshed' starter after each use. This way, I'll only have to feed it once every 7 days if I don't bake/plan to bake anything during the interval.

All that said, my point is the whole process was less fuss than I had imagined, and if you're already using the same process with commercial yeast, all that's left is just creating your own starter, which is also no fuss at all! (but could be nerve-wrecking a bit though, especially during the first few days up until one week, lol)

Hope this might encourage you to switch.


bottleny's picture

Not completely objective.

Sourdough does have higher good nutrients compared ones with baker's yeast: Metabolic profiling of sourdough fermented wheat and rye bread (Nature)

Scientists Pit Sourdough Against White Bread—With Surprising Results
The “healthier” option might vary from person to person.