Q. "So what IS naturally leavened bread?" A. Being a bread baker that specializes in and only makes naturally leavened bread, part of my business is informing my community about my passion! "Naturally leavened" is a term that means the product is leavened (or raised) with wild yeast. This process is achieved by creating an environment with flour and water that wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria can be cultivated and trained in.
Q. "But where do you get the yeast? How can it be wild?" A. Wild yeast is called just that because it is wild! Yeast is present all around us! There are many different microbial yeast strands in our day to day life, but the ones that generally make up a starter come from the air, the flour, and our hands.
Q. "So is all sourdough naturally leavened?" A. NO. The term "sourdough" can be attached to any bread that is sour in flavor. The sour flavor is a result of a very acidic and sour starter added to the bread for flavor, but commercial yeast is used to speed up the process and the nutritional value is lost. Most sourdough bread in stores or bakeries in the U.S. use commercial yeast. Unless they advertise naturally leavened, it usually is not.
Q. "Is there really a difference between naturally leavened and bread's with commercial yeast?" A. Yes! And many! The largest difference apart from look, texture and taste is the nutritional value and digestibility. Because of the long fermentation, naturally leavened bread is a probiotic and helps your gut stay healthy! Naturally leavened bread has 20-30% higher level of resistant starch, a fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut and, indirectly, the cells in our colon by increasing the amount of butyrate (a short chain fatty acid that is released by our gut microbe while feeding on the resistant starch). And while our gut is happy from these reasons, there are others as well such as: digestibility. Naturally leavened bread is easier to digest due to the gluten degradation resulting from the yeast and lactic acid bacteria producing enzymes that process flour during the long fermentation. 🌾🍞🌾🍞🌾🍞🌾 #breadfacts