Sourdough is a culture of wild yeast and bacteria. It takes weeks of feeding with fresh flour and water to become an active levain. As well as wild yeasts, the process cultivates lots of lactic acids which offer tangy, sour flavours to the bread. Probiotics are lactic acids, so we know that a starter contains probiotics, but, does sourdough contain prebiotics?
A sourdough starter contains lots of probiotics and prebiotic microorganisms. While probiotics can’t survive the temperature of the baking process, prebiotics can. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibres that stimulate the growth of the existing good bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria are essential for digestion and help you to stay healthy.
Sourdough bread is definitely prebiotic. During the fermentation process, a sourdough starter contains lots of probiotics. But these good bacteria die in the heat of the oven. So, baked sourdough bread does not contain any probiotics. Prebiotics can sustain the high baking temperature.
Yes! Sourdough bread has a low glycemic index thanks to its fermentation process. Starch and sugar content is consumed as the dough rises. It means sourdough is digested slowly and won’t cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This helps to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Yes! As sourdough bread contains prebiotics, they help the growth of good bacteria in your intestines. These specialized plant fibres help to promote healthy gut flora, which is essential for digestion. It also strengthens your immune system and reduces the risk of digestive diseases.
No. With more than 50 species of lactic acid bacteria that can be found in sourdough starters, most of them are Lactobacillus bacteria. They can only live up to a temperature of about 138 degrees Fahrenheit. As the sourdough starter rises, they live and ferment, but once in the oven, the bacteria won’t survive.
No. Probiotics can’t handle high temperatures. So during the baking period, these bacteria would have already died. Toasting won’t have any effect on the probiotics.
If you eat regular white or whole wheat bread every day, then it’s better to eat sourdough bread. Sourdough (and almost any food) should be eaten in moderation. Eating in large amounts every day can cause side effects, like bloating and flatulence. Don’t live on sourdough bread alone unless your diet forces you! There are so many types of bread to try!
Sourdough bread made with whole wheat flour provides natural bacteria, fibre and other nutrients. The fermentation process of sourdough further enhances its nutritional benefits. Adding extra seeds (e.g. flax seeds) to wholemeal sourdough makes some of the healthiest sourdough bread.
Tip: If you're trying sourdough out for the first time, check out my sourdough starter recipe to learn how to make your own.
Yes! Sourdough bread is a nutritious bread filled with prebiotics. It improves the digestive system and provides your body with complex starches, protein and essential vitamins.
Sourdough is a great food to provide health benefits. It undergoes a fermentation process that reduces the starch and sugar present. This results in a low GI which means that sourdough bread has a lesser effect on your blood sugar levels. The fermentation process also helps break down phytic acid. This is responsible for making it easier to digest. The fermentation process also increases its nutritional content of vitamins and minerals. It also contains prebiotics.
To sum it up, sourdough bread offers a lot of health benefits that you can enjoy over other types of bread. So, if you are looking for a more nutritious alternative, go for sourdough bread!
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baking coach, head baker and bread-baking fanatic! My aim is to use science, techniques and 15 years of baking experience to help you become a better baker.
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