Have loaves of sourdough taken over your Instagram feed? Have you found yourself on #BreadTok?Sourdough saw a major movement throughout the pandemic, and its popularity is still holding strong today.
But, sourdough is nothing new. It’s how almost all bread was made up until about 200 years ago, and there’s a reason it’s still popular. It tastes great, and even has a few health benefits!
Most of those benefits come from the fact that sourdough is a fermented food. Yes, it’s in the same category as things like beer and kombucha. But, don’t worry, you won’t get a bread buzz from eating it.
The same bacteria and wild yeast that gives sourdough bread its flavor and rise can help your digestive system. For people with issues like IBS, sourdough can be friendlier on your stomach than most other bread thanks to lower levels of fructans—naturally occurring carbohydrates.
Because of sourdough’s long fermentation time, gluten networks are broken down. While it’s not a “gluten-free” bread, it has much less than loaves made with commercial yeast. The fermentation process also allows sourdough to have a lower glycemic index. For people with blood sugar issues, that means you’re less likely to experience a spike after eating a slice (or two!).
Some people boast about sourdough for its probiotic benefits, but that’s a bit of a gray area. Even though it’s a fermented food, any probiotic bacteria found in an average loaf gets killed during the baking process. So, while the bread itself might not be as hard on your digestive system, it shouldn’t be used as a probiotic substitute for something like kimchi or yogurt.
Whether you bake a loaf yourself or pick one up at your local bakery, there are absolutely some notable benefits to eating sourdough, so don’t be afraid to break out the bread knife!