Why is Sourdough Bread so Big Right Now?

Why is sourdough bread so big right now?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but sourdough bread is a big deal right now. It’s flying off the shelves, and it’s the focus of the industry. There are a few reasons behind this:

  • Artisan bread is high in demand
  • Sourdough is ideal for clean label
  • The fermentation process allows for a lot of creativity and uniqueness.

While sourdough may be a hop topic right now, the process is old and wide-spread. It exists around the world, and variations and twists are practically endless.

Sourdough bread is all about chemistry!

The key to sourdough is the fermentation, and the key to fermentation is chemistry!

  • Sour: Inside sourdough, the microorganisms will feed on the flour to produce alcohol and acids. The lactic and acetic acids are what gives sourdough bread its sour.
  • Flavor: The alcohol, and other fermentative by-products are what produces its distinctive flavors. After several days of feeding and fermenting, the sourdough is ready to be used. We call this the “mother dough.”
  • Extensibility: During fermentation of sourdough, the rheology of the dough becomes more extensible. Over fermented sourdough becomes very slack. This is due to the reductive compounds (glutathione) being accumulated. These reductive compounds act like dough-reducing agents to improve pan flow.

What are some ways you can get creative?

There are as many sourdough breads and products as there are the people who make it. Every sourdough is unique due to the flour, microorganism, the temperatures, other ingredients or parameters that are used.

Some bakers have used raisin juice, grated apple, yogurt, honey, and water in which oranges were soaked, etc. In addition, the environment where it is made, will contain particular airborne micro-organisms. These, in combination with different fermentation temperatures, will deliver distinctive flavors.

Some recipes contain more water. Therefore, they are more runny in consistency. Depending on the type of flour that is used, the color will vary from a white to yellow, or creamy to brown.

2018-12-10T05:21:24-07:00

About the Author:

Lin Carson, PhD
Dr. Lin Carson’s love affair with baking started over 25 years ago when she earned her BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University. She went on to earn her MSc then PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. Seeing that technical information was not freely shared in the baking industry, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. Today, as the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the commercial baking industry, BAKERpedia is used by over half a million commercial bakers, ingredient sellers, equipment suppliers and baking entrepreneurs annually. You can catch Dr. Lin regularly on the BAKED In Science podcast solving baking problems. For more information on Dr. Lin, subscribe to her "Ask Dr. Lin" YouTube Channel, or follow her on LinkedIn.

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