I have baked with active yeast for many years and have graduated from white rolls, white plait to multigrain made with a “poolish”. I have experimented with sourdough but never seriously and not with any success. My wife has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes which requires her to reduce her consumption of carbohydrates to control her blood sugar levels.
In my research for options to improve our diet I came across references to an article in the British Journal of Nutrition that reported that “that sourdough bread had less blood glucose impact than both white and whole wheat bread” (www.diabetesdaily.com ).
Interestingly the study found that white sourdough was more beneficial than whole wheat sourdough.
I also found another study done in Italy that supported this finding. Apparently the fermentation process of sourdough converts starches in the flour into digestible sugars.
This article was all I needed to move from experimentation to production. My 1st attempts are simply converting an old straight (yeast) dough recipe to a sourdough recipe. My starter was simply a mix of organic whole flour and distilled water with a 1:1 ratio that was refreshed daily. After a week it was bubbling nicely particularly after I found the perfect spot on top of the fish tank to keep the jar warm enough to promote growth.
To make the sponge
200 gram starter
200 grams white bakers flour
200 grams water
Left the sponge to mature for 8 hours at room temperature. It looked just like a sponge I would have made with a yeast mix although in more than twice the time it usually takes.
500 grams white bakers flour
300 grams water
8 grams salt
The dough was much softer than my normal straight dough and had a more delicate feel. I may have to lower the hydration in future attempts. I was able to work it similarly to straight dough although probably didn’t work it enough.
I left the dough to prove overnight in the study at room temperature. It rose really well and had a strongly alcoholic scent when I moulded it in 2 loaves.
I placed the loaves into 2 salad bowls lined with baking paper that I use in place of bannetons and left them to prove for a further 5 hours.
I baked the loves in my gas oven on a baking stone (just a sandstone paver from the hardware store – works brilliantly and only cost a $1.50). The results are shown below.