Top 10 Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread


Just about everyone has an affinity for some kind of bread, and most of us have heard of a reason or two why we maybe shouldn’t eat slice after slice of it. While there is some validity to the bread-bashing, sourdough made from your own unique starter of wild yeast and bacteria often defies the negativity, and it does so purely by its nature. The crafting of sourdough is an ancient art, and one of which we’re pretty fond–for a few (or 10) reasons.

1. Sourdough often has a lower glycemic index than that of other breads–meaning, it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically. This is because it depletes damaged starches within it, simply by its fermentative nature.

2. Sourdough bread contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher proportion to yeast than do other breads. More Lactobacillus means higher production of lactic acid, which means less of the potentially dangerous phytic acid. And what does that mean? More mineral availability and easier digestion!

3. Easier digestion is made even more possible by the bacteria-yeast combo working to predigest the starches in the grains. Predigestion by sourdough = less digestion for you.

4. Sourdough preparation is more lengthy (soaking, rinsing, etc.), and this longer prep time results in the protein gluten being broken down into amino acids. Again, this translates to easier and more pleasant digestion, sometimes even for those who are sensitive to gluten.

5. Acetic acid–which inhibits the growth of mold, is produced in the making of sourdough. So, sourdough naturally preserves itself. Pretty neat considering the toxic preservatives thrown into the food supply today.

6. The fermentation process increases the content of beneficial bacteria in the bread AND the gut. Healthy gut bacteria = happy body.

7. Additionally, these bacteria control yeast population in the gut, so yeast overgrowth and infection is less likely to occur.

8. The integrity of sourdough is so complex that it contains a host of goodness in terms of nutrients. In sourdough, you can find vitamins B1-B6, B12, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin E, selenium, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium–in addition to uniquely balanced proteins and fatty acids. Whoa! This is in contrast to most commercially produced breads, which maintain only a fraction of their original nutrient content after all the processing they undergo.

9. Sourdough bread made with wild yeast, bacteria, and whole grain flour is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread. It truly is an ancient art that is crafted in harmony with nature. It’s only natural that we eat it as opposed to other breads.

10. And finally, Michael Pollan made his own sourdough in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Who doesn’t want to be a little more like Michael Pollan?

Another good reason is the FLAVOR. Tangy and distinctive, it will undoubtedly leave you wanting another bite. What’s your favorite reason to eat sourdough?

17 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread

  1. I think this is a great post! My only question is regarding #6 and #7. Is there any way to preserve the beneficial bacteria from being destroyed during baking? It is my understanding that they are destroyed at any temperature above 100 degrees, or so?

    1. It depends on what trigger the wheat sensitivity. If it is poor quality white flour, then homemade sourdough bread is quite a different (more tolerable) animal.

    1. The sourdough helps increase and reinforce our body’s absorption of cereal grains. Particularly good in breaking down the gluten to make it more digestible. The sourdough decreases the acidification from eating bread and spoils less rapidly (I can attest to that – since I make a loaf every week). I am unable to find research about the precise quantity of probiotic that remains in the bread. Anyone else?

      1. I am beginning to research that now. My gut instinct is to say none to very little. The fermentation did its job and the bacteria is killed when cooked. I imagine it will be in conflict as well…since freezing MK is also in question too. Some say freezing kills it others say it survives.

        Wondering if you got any further with this on your end since this is almost a year old?

  2. even if the cells don’t survive the over, i bet making your own sourdough increases the healthy flora of the baker’s gut since they are working with live bacteria. ;)

  3. Yes, Karre! I agree.

    Shel and Anna- 100 degrees F is the generally accepted cut-off temp for bacteria to remain alive. So, I am not sure the exact probiotic content that may remain post-baking. I think the big thing with this type of homemade sourdough is that the fermentation process allows the good bacteria to thrive and destroy the bad stuff while additionally preventing yeast overgrowth. I am inclined to say that this promotes better gut health even with the heat consideration. Again, though, I’m not sure how much remains alive through the baking process.

  4. Did you ever make a video on how to make this bread? I have tried and tried and failed. I am thinking of getting a bread machine can you or anyone recommend one? I have been looking at a Oster….

  5. Ohhhhhh- donation. Will do – can I buy the bread making DVD if I donate 25? Bargaining for bread success – or does it have to be at the level mentioned.

  6. I’ve just started my very first sourdough starter. I am no expert but have been reading up on this. One thing for sure is that there is much to be learned about many different types of bread, flours, grains and methods. I shall always be at the learning stage because there is always more to learn. I have been baking bread for a little while now starting with wholegrain wheat, advancing onto other more ancient grains such as Spelt, Einkorn and Khorasan. Now I’m venturing into sourdough territory. From my limited knowledge I think the bacteria would all be killed off in the baking of the bread however you still benefit when it comes to ‘gut’ health because the bread is easier to digest due to the bacteria having ‘started’ the process and there are more available nutrients. Food intolerances causes inflammation and inflammation causes disease. Obviously with food it starts in the stomach. Eat good food and, in this case, a better bread will create a better environment in your gut and a better environment = a healthier balance of good bacteria. Is it right to say that it would be more of a prebiotic as supposed to a probiotic? I would think so in a round about way. But what we can all agree on is, its healthier and delicious. Well my Spelt sourdough starter is up to day 2 and can’t wait to try it out. One can use any type if flour just make sure it has good gluten and it isn’t bleached.

  7. I live in the Dallas area. I have a pretty old sour dough starter that I made from scratch 15 years ago. It is a wee bit temperamental. I only use it every couple of weeks and I refrigerate it the rest of the time. It does need refreshing for 2 days prior to my planned baking day. If not, the flour becomes very slack and almost wall paper texture. It appears as if the sourdough is very greedy and hungers for the proteins in the wheat.
    Also I can’t make a big batch and freeze it. Again the greedy sourdough gobbles up the goodness and leaves me with wallpaper paste. So I bake all I make the day I make it – and freeze the bread after it is made.
    Also when I make a large batch of dough, refrigerate it and then tear pieces off for baking each day, the sourdough starter again is greedy. So I save the sourdough starter for the days when I plan to bake just one loaf and to have no leftover dough for future bakes.

    1. Maybe. I think the jury is still out. Read Michael Pollan’s information on sourdough in his new book Cooked.

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