Sourdough is a method of breadmaking that requires long, natural fermentation using a wild yeast starter and levain. It is the oldest method used to leaven dough and make bread. Both an art and a science, this process requires time; however, it produces bread in its basic form using just 3 ingredients…flour, water, and salt. That’s it! And it produces bread with:
Superior nutritional profile – lower glycemic index
Improved digestibility and nutrition
Complex flavors and intoxicating aromas
Extended shelf life.
Sourdough uses a preferment or starter that consists of only flour and water. First, the mixture is allowed to ferment spontaneously. This takes place naturally absorbing microorganisms present in both flour and the surrounding air. These microorganisms are represented by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and wild yeast. Sourdough fermentation can be in the form of a firm dough or a liquid suspension of flour in water. The higher the water content, then the higher the production of lactic acid and the lower the production of acetic acid. It also makes the bacteria and yeast grow faster.
There is no added commercial yeast in any of the sourdough bread made at BreadShare Bakehouse. To keep the sourdough starter, or Mother, active, it must be refreshed or fed periodically with added flour and water. This can be done weekly, daily or even more frequently. Our starter, born in 2015, is fed twice a day during the week of the weekend bake.
Extended dough fermentation is used effectively for improving dough development and enhancing the bread's shelf-life. In this context, fermentation is considered an effective alternative to traditional dough conditioners. So, our process at BreadShare Bakehouse provides the means to produce ‘clean label’ bakery products.
Clean label is a growing trend in the baking industry that is largely influenced by consumers looking for alternative ways to enjoy their favorite baked goods. They are demanding healthier, simpler and more familiar products. Baking clean label products requires high-quality ingredients, simplified formulations and processes, and quality control approaches. Currently, there is no absolute definition for a clean label. Instead, the concept involves:
A simple and short ingredient list
Ingredients that are “all natural” and contain no chemicals, no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavor agents
Minimally processed ingredients
Ingredients that are easy to understand.
The “clean label” concept arose from consumers trying to understand and easily identify ingredients on food labels. With people paying more attention to health and wellness, they tend to question the sources and suitability of food. There is a general consensus about what to look for, and simplicity seems to be a major clue to the ingredient statement.
All that being said, BreadShare Bakehouse strives to produce the best tasting, naturally-leavened bread made from the highest quality, locally-sourced ingredients, applying simple old-world techniques, and taking the time necessary to achieve this goal.