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What is Sourdough?

WHAT IS SOURDOUGH?

All bread (with the exception of flat breads or any type of unleavened bread) needs yeast to rise.

Sourdough bread is made from a wild yeast culture, not commercial yeast (aka baker’s/instant/active dry yeast.)

Sourdough refers to a wild culture starter, a mix of flour and water that over time has been colonized by good bacteria. It is the way bread has been traditionally made for thousands of years, naturally leavened through a slow, skilled process. It is this unique interaction of the wild yeast and good bacteria, and long fermentation process, which results in a better tasting, more nutritious, more easily digestible, higher-quality, and longer lasting bread than standard store-bought bread.

NOT ALL SOURDOUGH IS “TRUE” SOURDOUGH

If you are choosing sourdough bread because of digestive issues, gluten or insulin sensitivity, or simply because you want a healthier loaf, ensure that your bread is true sourdough and not a hybrid.

Baking with sourdough is complex and time-consuming; many bakeries speed up the process by using  active (commercial) yeast, with some added sourdough for flavor. These “hybrid” breads allow for more control and consistency and faster rise of the dough. A decent loaf can be produced this way, however, this means that the dough does NOT undergo the longer fermentation process (typically two days) crucial to develop all of the benefits listed for sourdough (see here) as well as more complex flavor and texture. It is the longer fermentation that makes bread more easily digestible, and increases the bioavailability of minerals.

True sourdough never has commercial yeast.

What we use: Our sourdough breads are all true sourdoughs. This includes our Country White, Whole Wheat, Whole Wheat Cranberry+Walnut, baguettes and all types of baguettes, ciabatta, focaccia, and pizza dough. 

Some of our other breads and baked goods have the addition of active yeast.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REGULAR BREAD AND SOURDOUGH BREAD?

Time + ingredients

“Regular” bread is the standard because it’s fast. Most bakeries use active yeast (a.k.a. baker’s yeast or commercial yeast) because it gives a quick rise in a short amount of time. This means they can produce more bread more cheaply and in less time; a typical loaf in a commercial bakery will take about 2 hours.

BUT…this is the reason why many people have problems with regular bread, like bloating or indigestion. The quick, industrialized process does not allow for the natural breakdown of starches and gluten. And commercial yeast, because it is different than wild yeast, does not allow for interaction of yeast and bacteria, meaning you don’t get the beneficial probiotic properties.

These are some of the reasons why people who have trouble digesting gluten cannot eat regular bread, but can eat our sourdough bread.

Most true sourdoughs take _--__ days/hours; Ratios’ bread undergoes a 24 -hour process from mixing to baking.

Plus, many bakeries also add powdered milk, dough conditioners, oils, eggs, sweeteners, additives and/or preservatives.

Ratios’ most basic bread recipes contain only three ingredients: flour, water, and salt.

WHAT ABOUT GLUTEN?

We have many customers with gluten sensitivity who are able to eat our bread. This is because of the nature of sourdough—the longer fermentation process allows the bacteria to pre-digest much of the carbohydrate (sugars) and proteins (gluten) of the flour. This makes sourdough well-tolerated among those with digestive issues, as well as more nutritious.

That being said, everyone is different with different sensitivities. Give our bread a try, and if you find it still doesn’t agree with you, we offer 100% money-back guarantee.

For more info on gluten and sourdough, check this link: www.bonappetit.com/story/gluten-sensitive-sourdough