DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP BREAD? HERE’S WHY SOURDOUGH BREAD IS THE HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE:
Schoon bakeries and cafes have taken the Western Cape by storm. Upon arriving at Point Mall Mall Seapoint you will find Schoon’s latest home, where the delicious aromas of freshly baked sourdough will entice your senses before you’ve even had a chance to browse their menu of carefully crafted breakfasts, lunches and pastries. Schoon believes in ‘eating with purpose’ and has a wide range of made-this-morning sourdough loaves for only R39 just waiting for you to take home and share with friends and family.
The Rise of Sourdough Bread
Many diets and health plans have villainized carbohydrates, particularly bread in the last decade or so. However, with the recent lockdown there has been an enormous growth in the popularity of sourdough bread. A study by Grand View Research saw the market value of sourdough jump from $298.7 million in 2014 to $2.4 billion in 2018! This ancient recipe requires only 3 ingredients and a whole lot of time to ferment - but with isolation giving us more time on our hands the sourdough baking trend has become a quarantine go to in restaurants as well as in our very own kitchens.
But hat is there to love about Sourdough bread?
Besides the artisan quality, tangy taste and delightfully chewy texture, sourdough is found to be much more digestible and kinder to our stomachs. Gluten intolerant folkes listen up! Although it might not seem very different from other bread, the sourdough ‘starter’ goes through a fermentation process that introduces an abundance of nutritional benefits. Here’s the breakdown of these benefits:
Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread #1: Sourdough is more nutritious.
This bread is a fantastic source of minerals such as iron (an essential part of red blood cell production and energy metabolism) and selenium (a protectant for your immune system, cells and tissue). Many B vitamins are also found in the bread which help with proper nervous system function and regulating our metabolisms.
In fact - one slice of sourdough has more protein than an egg!
Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread #2: Sourdough improves digestion.
The prebiotics in sourdough is a type of indigestible fiber that improves gut health by feeding the good bacteria (probiotics) that live there. This is what makes sourdough much easier to digest than other breads. The presence of probiotic cultures have also been proven to increase vitamin and mineral absorption.
Probiotics do not survive the baking process but the lactic acid bacteria produced during fermentation provides these benefits as well as contain antioxidant benefits which fight off illness in the body.
Phytic acid and fructans are present in wheat and bread products and are major culprits for causing digestive issues in the body. Fructans is now thought to be the cause of many self-diagnosed “gluten intolerance.” However, the fermentation process of sourdough breaks down fructans and neutralizes the effects of phytic acid - making overall digestion as well as nutrient absorption much easier!
Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread #3: Sourdough is less likely to spike blood sugar levels.
Sourdough bread is unique to other breads in many ways. For one, its ingredient list is much shorter and steers clear from oils, sugar, preservatives and other chemicals that pre-sliced and even supermarket bakery varieties contain. These chemicals are often added to other breads because they cannot fend off mould and stay fresh as well as sourdough can.
Bacteria due to sourdough’s specific fermentation process has been shown to alter the structure of carbohydrates in dough. Resulting in better blood sugar control and a much lower score on the glycemic index.
Hop on the trend!
If your mouth is watering and your pre-sliced bread just won’t do the trick after this read - it’s probably time you throw on your apron and start baking! Although there are few ingredients involved in the process, sourdough baking is an art that takes some patience, research and babysitting. All worth the while if you ask us! Keep scrolling for the recipe...
However, if you can’t wait any longer and you’d like to leave the baking to the experts - pop into Schoon Bakery on the Ground Floor at The Point Mall or any other Schoon cafe and take a freshly baked sourdough loaf home with you!
Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe & Method
Before you begin, you’ll need a sourdough starter.
Simply put: a sourdough starter is a live culture made from flour and water.
Once combined the mixture will begin to ferment, cultivating the naturally occurring wild yeasts and bacteria present within the mixture. A small portion of this culture is used to make your bread dough rise.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Your starter must be kept alive with regular feedings of flour and water to maintain its strength for a maximum rising power.
HOW TO FEED YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER
Every baker has their own method, and with practice, you’ll eventually develop your own routine.
Here’s my method: I pour off some of the culture (about half) and then feed what’s left in the jar with equal weights of flour and water. I whisk well with a fork until it’s lump-free. Then, I let it rest at room temperature or in a warm spot (75-80F is ideal) until it becomes bubbly and active.
WHEN IS MY STARTER READY TO USE?
Your starter is ready to use when it becomes bubbly and doubles in size.
This beginner sourdough recipe is perfect for bakers looking to jump right in! It’s a low-hydration dough, meaning it will yield a ‘tight’ crumb (small holes). It is great for sandwiches and toast.
- 150g/ 5.35 oz bubbly, active starter
- 250g/ 8.80 oz warm water, preferably filtered*
- 25g/ .90 oz olive oil
- 500g/ 17.65 oz bread flour (not all-purpose flour)
- 10g/ .4 oz fine sea salt
- fine ground cornmeal, for dusting
*For a more soft and pliable dough, you can increase the water up to 300 g- 325 g total. Please use a cloth lined bowl (instead of the Dutch oven for the second rise).
**You will need a 5 1/2 or 6-quart Dutch oven for baking
HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD 2021
#1 Make the Dough
Whisk the starter, water, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the flour and salt. Squish everything together with your hands until all of the flour is absorbed. The dough will be dry and shaggy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, reusable wrap or a clean, very damp kitchen towel. Let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, if preferred.
After the dough has rested, work the dough in the bowl into a rough ball, about 15 seconds.
#2 Bulk Rise
Now the dough needs to rise.
Cover the bowl with wrap or a very damp kitchen cloth. Let rest in a warm spot to rise. The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 3-12 hours depending on the temperature of your ingredients, the potency of your starter and surrounding environment. For example, in the summer rise times can take anywhere between 3-4 hours @ 30°C whereas in the winter, the dough will take about 10-12 hours @ 20°C.
Optional Step: Stretch & Fold the Dough
During bulk rise, you have the option to perform a series of ‘stretch & folds’ to strengthen the dough. Start 30 minutes into the bulk rise. Gather a portion of the dough, stretch it upwards and then fold it over itself. Rotate the bowl ¼ turn and repeat this process until you have come full circle to complete 1 set. Do this once or twice spaced about an hour apart. Although this step is not mandatory, it will increase the total volume and height of your bread.
#3 Cut & Shape the Dough
Divide your work surface in half; lightly flour one side (for cutting) and leave the other half clean (for shaping).
Remove the dough from the bowl, and place onto the floured section so that it does not stick. You do not need to ‘punch down’ the dough; it will gently deflate as you fold and shape it.
Cut the dough in half to make 2 loaves, or leave it whole for a single loaf.
To shape, use a bench scraper to move your dough to the non-floured section (if there is any flour present, it will be difficult to shape- brush away any excess). Starting at the top, fold the dough over toward the centre. Give it a slight turn, and then fold over the next section of dough. Repeat until you have come full circle.
Then flip the dough over and place it seam side down. Using your hands, gently cup the sides of the dough and rotate it, using quarter turns in a circular motion. You can also pull it towards you to even out the shape. Repeat this process until you are happy with its appearance. *See note below.
#4 Second Rise
Now the dough needs to rise again, but for a shorter period of time.
Coat the bottom of your Dutch oven with cornmeal. Alternatively, use parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place the dough inside for a second shorter rise, about 30 minutes to 1 hour and cover with the lid of the pot or a very damp cloth. The dough is ready when it is slightly puffy but not double in size.
Preheat your oven to 230° C towards the tail end of the second rise.
#5 Score the Dough
Right before your bread goes into the oven, make a shallow slash about 2 inches long in the centre of the dough. Use a bread lame, sharp pairing or a small serrated steak knife.
#6 Bake the Dough
Place the bread into the oven on the centre rack (lid on) and reduce the temperature to 200° C. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and continue to bake (uncovered) for an additional 40 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Keep in mind that all ovens are different; you might have to make minimal adjustments to these temperatures.
You can also take the internal temperature of your bread to double-check that it is done. For sourdough, it should read about 95-100° C.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing. Don’t cut too soon or else the inside will have a gummy texture!
When shaping, the idea is for the dough to catch enough surface tension on a non-floured area in order to create a tight ball. If there is flour present, it will slide around…and drive you nuts.