Sourdough Bread

Sourdough ~ Super Grains

This bread may enhance your health more than whole wheat.

Provided by: The Canadian Press

The type of toasted bread we eat for breakfast can affect how the body responds to lunch, a researcher at the University of Guelph has discovered.

Prof. Terry Graham, a scientist who specializes in carbohydrates, has been looking into the health benefits of various types of bread.

"One of the surprising things in our work is that whole-wheat products turned out to have the least healthy responses of all, and this is not what we expected," he said in an interview.

Using white, whole-wheat, whole-wheat with barley and sourdough white breads.

The researchers examined how subjects responded after eating the breads for breakfast and again just hours after eating a standard lunch.

The 10 male subjects, who were overweight and ranged between 50 and 60 years old.

Showed the most positive body responses after eating sourdough white bread.

Those positive responses remained even after eating a second meal that didn't include bread.

"With the sourdough, the subjects' blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin," says Graham.

Whose findings are being published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

"What was even more interesting was that this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted hours after."

He says that it's likely that the fermentation changes the nature of the starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread.

And while the bread of topic came out on top.

The whole-wheat varieties used in the study came out on the bottom.

Even below white bread.

The whole-wheat bread caused blood sugar levels to spike and these high levels lasted until well after lunch.

The less positive blood responses sparked by the whole-wheat are likely due to the fact that the milling process involved in making the whole-wheat bread used in the study is similar to that used for white bread.

The parts of the grain like wheat germ and bran that have the health benefits.

Are taken out to create white flour and then partially added back to make whole-wheat.

Based on the findings of this study, as well as a followup study using whole grains rather than whole wheat, we're learning that the best way to get these nutrients is through whole grain, not whole-wheat.

Graham says that he and his team assumed that standard white bread would be less beneficial and everything would be better than that.

In fact, the whole-wheat and the wheat plus barley, turned out to be the least healthy."

Graham cites recent literature mainly from Scandinavia suggesting that either the leavening or even taking organic acids and adding them to the dough itself could have some positive benefits in terms of metabolic response.

"And so that was our logic for incorporating our design and to facilitate a comparison would be to use an identical bread recipe but use sourdough starter instead of the standard yeast," he says.

The bread is raised with a leaven of flour and water in which wild yeasts have been encouraged to grow by keeping it warm and allowing it to ferment over a period of days.

During this time, it sours and develops a characteristic tangy flavor.

Graham says the research is ongoing to find out what it is specifically, that does this.

And secondly if this is so good, what about other types of bread such as whole grain?

Linda Haynes, former owner and now a consultant at ACE Bakery in Toronto, says she is amazed at Graham's findings and says "it is exciting that this bread could prove to be a health benefit."

Try the following recipe for a treat we're sure your whole family will enjoy.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is a “San Francisco-style” recipe, with a crackly crust and a chewy texture.

You can use this no-need-to-knead recipe to create your own San Francisco sourdough bread right in your own kitchen.

Makes 1 loaf.


3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 3/4 tsp. salt

2/3 c. sourdough starter

1 1/2 c. water

Coarse cornmeal, for dusting


1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Combine sourdough starter and water in large mixing cup and add to flour mixture.

Mix with rubber spatula until you have a thoroughly mixed, wet, sticky mass of dough.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

2. After at least 12 hours have passed, your dough should be dotted with bubbles and more than doubled in size.

Dust wooden cutting board with bread flour.

Scrape dough loose from sides of bowl and turn out dough onto board in one piece.

The dough will be loose and sticky, but do not add more flour.

3. Dust top lightly with flour and cover with clean cotton or linen tea towel.

Let dough rise an additional 1 to 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before second rise is complete.

Place a 3 1/2-quart cast-iron Dutch oven (oval-shaped gives best results) on rack positioned in middle of oven.

Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once oven has reached desired temperature.

Remove pot and sprinkle about 1 tsp. coarse cornmeal evenly over bottom.

Uncover dough and, using two plastic dough scrapers, shape dough into a ball by folding it over onto itself a few times.

With scrapers, lift dough carefully and let it fall into heated pot by slowly separating scrapers.

Dust top of dough with coarse cornmeal.

Cover pot and bake for 35 minutes.

4. Remove cover from pot, rotate, and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes, or until loaf is nicely browned.

Remove pot from oven.

With sturdy wooden or metal spatula, pry loaf from pot and transfer to cooling rack.

Allow bread to cool for 1 hour before slicing.

We enjoy a nice garlic butter on ours.

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