Why Sourdough?

By the way, all grains,seeds,beans and nuts should be soaked before they are eaten to neutralize the phytates on the outside surface of all these foods. The phytates are there by nature for the seed to use during the germination process in the earth when it is planted. Please go to “Phytates” on the home page for more information.

What is Soaked-Flour Sourdough Bread?

There are two proteins that are the hardest for humans to digest: gluten(in wheat),and the protein in milk. That is why, traditionally, these foods have been prepared in such a way as to pre-digest or begin to breakdown the proteins for digestion. They are traditional foods that some people in our culture recognize: sourdough bread and yogurt!

Unfortunately, the original method for making sourdough bread has not been around in this country since about 1900. The whole grain flour must be soaked in an acidified water solution for at least 8 hours.I have included” soaked flour” or “soaked” in the title of my whole grain bread to distinguish it from other kinds of sourdough bread produced in the USA, and to help identify it with the true method.

There are many versions of commercial “sourdough” sold today in the US.
Some examples are:
those breads that are made with everlasting yeast(what many people think is sourdough)
those that are not soaked in the process of making
those breads which are out there for sale which have no sourdough starter in them, but are made with reg. yeast, and a little vinegar is added for a bit or sour flavor
Most, by the way,are not whole grain(even if the label says so) and are made with plain old white flour. I am sure you have all experienced these “Sourdough”-labeled commercial breads.

My website and DVD teach you how to make the traditional sourdough: starter-leavened,soaked-flour whole grain bread that Europe and Canada have been making for generations of time. Go back in history before those peoples existed and you will also find sourdough bread. Fortunately, Europe and Canada are still making this whole grain flour, soaked 8 hr. process bread, while the USA stopped making it around 1900.

The health advantages of sourdough are these:

1. In the process of making the bread, the dough is left to sit (and eventually rise) for about 8 hours. As it soaks, many of the the phytic acids (also called phytates,& anti-nutrients) are neutralized! Thus the bread is more nutritious by far! Phytic acid( a form of phosphorus), if not neutralized, binds with important minerals in the digestive tract making them un-absorbable! We so desperately need our minerals! Each cell needs them for good health. Whole grain is one of the main sources of these minerals in our diet. We have more phytates in our food because farmers fertilize with high phytate fertilizer which increases the phytates in the crops! We need to learn and apply this knowledge to be able to come to the aid of our own health and that of our families and friends.

2. Gluten in the bread is pre-digested(broken down) during this soaking process so the gluten proteins are much easier to digest, as nature intended them to be. c
Even if you have a strong, healthy body and have never have been bothered by gluten intolerance, you will maintain better health and make things easier on that now healthy body, if you eat sourdough breads,crackers, cakes, cookies etc!

What is the difference?
You may be wondering just what is whole-grain sourdough bread, or what are the advantages for health etc. Sourdough is a historical term meaning “made with natural wild yeasts” as leavening and soaking the flour about 8 hours in the process.
Sourdough is a term used by the early settlers and pilgrims to describe the starter (yeast or rising agent) they kept in crocks from which they made their foods at nearly every meal. Sometimes they made biscuits and pancakes by adding soda to the starter, If they were luck enough to have an oven, they made bread.
People in the past (without refrigerators) would simply “keep it going” by feeding it flour and water at least once a day. They used it whenever they fixed grains for a meal, or shared a “start” with their neighbors or someone just getting married and starting their own household. “Sourdough” is the way man made their wheat and rye bread for centuries until recent history in America.
Things changed when fermented yeast fungus, a by-product of the brewing of beer came into use. Gathered from the lining of the beer vats after the beer was drained, this fungus is sugar-based (likes to grow with sugar) It is what I like to call “commercial yeast ” and includes” traditional” yeast” dry packets which were popular in the U.S. until about the year 2000. Commercial yeast has been the popular yeast used for making bread for about the last 100 years, especially in America. Europe, as a whole, kept making natural sourdough bread right up to our day.
Now in addition to these “brewed” yeasts, there is now a ‘new guy on the block’: Rapid Rise yeast, approved for use in 1984. According to information on the internet this yeast is a finer powder and has a few un-named chemicals. Everyone that has used it knows that it is a very aggressive yeast (multiplies very rapidly). With the advent of rapid rise, traditional yeast ( brewer vat-type ) is harder to find. Everyone wants to use the super-fast stuff. Now there is new evidence that perhaps the yeast was genetically modified (GMO’d).Whether speed was the original purpose of the Gen- modification or not it turned out to be super fast acting yeast. So it quickly took over the market. But whatever it is, it’s speed talent worries, no scares me. There is also evidence that within the digestive tract it morphs in to something else and enters the organs of the body. It is possible to saturate the tissues of the entire body with this yeast including the brain. There is new evidence that this yeast is not your common ordinary form of bread yeast, but is a strand form of yeast-very aggressive, especially combined with the typical American high sugar diet. For more on this topic on this website see About Yeasts

Longer is better. Yes, this kind of bread takes longer to make, but I (and many) think that is easier!
After the sourdough bread dough is made up, it is left to soak(around 8 hours) in its whole grain flour, water, salt, and starter mixture. The bread is not baked until this soaking process is complete. The soaking neutalizes the phytates which are present on the outside layer of all whole grains. Phytates are placed there by nature to help in the sprouting stage when they are planted in the soil. When we grind these grains to make flour, the phytates are still there, and if are left to enter the body with the bread or cooked cereals crackers etc, they inhibit absorption of the vital minerals (zinc, calcium,magnesium, etc.) in the intestinal tract. In other words, you cannot benefit from all the nutrition of the whole grain. Since here in America we have been eating white flour for several generations now, the traditional,vastly important methods for using whole grains properly have been forgotten.Our nutrition has suffered greatly! See phytates for more info.

Sourdough bread flavor
Sourdough bread etc. may be sour tasting, depending on how long you leave it to soak, but made with my instructions, it is not tangy unless you want it to be.
The wonderful flavor of the whole grains, made with this old but true method, is unequaled anywhere! The taste of this bread brings out that instinctive feeling that the body seems to express “Yes! this food is what I want and need to nourish me!”

Fake sourdough bread
Many bakers simply add vinegar to give it a tangy flavor, but bypass the techniques that make it so nutritious. Very little if not any whole grain, soaked flour bread is made in this country today, but in most of Europe it is still popular.However they seem to be embracing the yeast/white more and more.
When one becomes familiar with the “sourdough method” used by the pre-1900 peoples of America and much of Europe(except England) today, one begins to understand the “soaking” of the grains.
Why soak the flour?
In Sally Fallon’s exceptional and timely research as presented in her book Nourishing Traditions in the chapter “Whole Grains” it says:
“All grains contain phytic acid (myoinositaol-hexa),also called phytates and anti-nutrients in the outer layer or bran. This is a form of phosphorus which, if not neutralized before ingestion, combines with calcium, phosphorus, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption. This why a diet high in un-fermented whole grains may lead to bone loss and serious mineral deficiencies. Recent research indicated that phytic acid may play an important role in causing some forms of cancer. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amount of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first; but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, mineral deficiencies and many other adverse effects. Soaking allows lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as eight hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize most phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains [and whole grains for sprouting, and whole grain flour overnight] will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.
 Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, presesent in all grain and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The act of these enzymes also increase the amounts of many vitamins expecially B vitamins.”

So soaking in acidified water with a small amount of buttermilk,starter,yogurt, or vinegar neutralizes the phytates. They do not “wash off” in the soak water, they are neutralized. As a general rule, if you use 1-3 Cups of water to soak your grains, put a couple teaspoons of buttermilk,yogurt,vinegar, or starter to bring the water to the proper PH (acidity) to neutralize the phytates. As far as how much water to use, just enough water to cover and also accommodate for the swelling of the grain. For flour, just make sure the flour is all moistened, or follow the recipe you are using.

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