In this blog, I thought I’d share with you all something a little different to my usual content. I’ve recently had the pleasure of spending a few days with my brother, who is usually based across the Atlantic in New York. He has recently been learning the art of baking sourdough, a naturally healthier bread option. Since we are both really interested in and involved with nutrition and natural health, he suggested bringing over some sourdough ‘starter’ so he could show me how to bake this special, nutritious bread – courtesy of Chad Robertson’s recipes book ‘Tartine Bread’.
Not only was it great to learn how to make something so different to my usual recipes, I also found great pleasure and reassurance taking the time to cook with a loved one. It got me thinking about how beneficial and healing this simple act can be, and so I would like to share with you in this blog a little bit about the health benefits of sourdough bread, but also the immense benefits of communal cooking.
Why is Sourdough Unique?
Sourdough is unique in terms of how it is made and how it affects our body. Unlike other types of bread, which often contain preservatives or oils, a sourdough bread recipe needs just four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and naturally occurring live, or wild yeast. The process of making sourdough requires something called a starter. The starter begins by mixing flour and water and allowing it to ferment over several days, feeding the starter with more flour and water each day. This process lasts about five days. The starter is there to help cultivate a wild yeast, which gives sourdough its distinctively tangy flavour, as well as cultivate the presence of prebiotics which are good for your gut.
Nutritional Value of Sourdough
Although, as with anything, sourdough should be enjoyed in moderation, this is definitely a bread you can feel good about eating. It has relatively high levels of vitamin and mineral content, as well as the presence of prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that maintains a healthy gut by feeding the good bacteria, called probiotics, that naturally reside there. It is thought the presence of prebiotics in sourdough make it much easier to digest than many other breads and the presence of probiotic cultures have shown to increase the absorption of vitamin and minerals in your digestive system. Sourdough is also a great source of essential minerals, including iron and selenium. Iron is an essential part of red blood cell production and energy metabolism, and selenium helps protect our immune system, cells, and tissue.
Taking Time To Invest in Food
I must admit, even as someone who has built a career revolving around food, the process was much more complicated and time consuming than I expected. We had to be very hands on and attentive to make sure the sourdough was doing the right thing, especially when it came to making and proving the starter! We were constantly smelling it, checking on its rising and falling, the presence and consistency of bubbles and the texture – it really was an investment of time and effort. This, however, I believe is the secret ingredient. Devoting time into something so different, and really nurturing it to its fruition is as therapeutic as it is rewarding. Not to mention the satisfaction that comes along with taking out a warm, aromatic freshly baked loaf out of the oven!
Quality Time With Family and Friends
Above the satisfaction of producing something delicious that comes with time investment and above the nutritional benefits of choosing sourdough over alternative breads is the quality time I got to spend with my brother. It is often underestimated how good it can be for your wellbeing to share experiences with your loved ones; when you do something together it makes for a much more fun and enjoyable experience. At first my brother and I felt guilty about not working over the course of his time here, but we then decided “it’s about living in the moment” and it’s not often that one gets the opportunity to enjoy quality time with family and friends in this fast-paced world. If you take anything from this article, I hope it’s the inspiration to do something different and make an effort to enjoy preparing for the festive season with friends and family. Connecting over doing something different is good for the soul, cooking with your loved ones is food for the soul.
Nutritional Help and Advice This Christmas
If you are looking for nutritional advice in the run up to Christmas (or you’re looking for inside info on my delicious sourdough recipe), please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free 30 minute discovery call, where we can discuss your options and your individual nutritional needs. Remember, investing time into your loved ones this Christmas will make the world of difference!