The king of breads as far as I’m concerned is sourdough.
I love the taste of it especially the white spelt or mixed rye varieties and it toasts beautifully.
Aside from it’s beautiful taste it also has some very particular health benefits over other breads.
All grains, including whole wheat flour, are high in phytic acid. Phytic acid can bond with iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and calcium in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.
Soaking and fermenting of grains allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other friendly organisms to break down and neutralise phytic acid.
Soaking also neutralises enzyme inhibitors and encourges the production of numerous beneficial enzymes that increase the ammounts of many vitamins, especially the B vitamins.
Sourdough requires a slow fermentation – taking up to 10 times longer to rise than faster acting baker’s yeast.
It is much easier digested than other breads and often by those who can’t tolerate baker’s yeast.
It also has a lower GI than other breads, reducing blood sugar spikes and insulin related weight gain.
Whilst a wonderful time consuming project to make at home, it is becoming a lot easier to find excellent quality sourdough at bakeries and shops.
My two favourite brands at the moment are Poilâne and Metfield Bakery.
Metfield Bakery’s bread is a little harder to find but all their bread is sourdough and they have a broad range of loaves to suit tastes and textures.
For more information on the benefits of fermentation and soaking I recommend the excellent ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon.