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True Sourdough Bread vs. Commercially Prepared Bread

The crusty outer crunch of sourdough with the soft, airy open crumb, slathered in homemade butter, truly brings meaning to the phrase “bread is the staff of life.” When you make your own sourdough, you can reap both health and financial benefits. 

A loaf of sourdough bread being sliced.

But, before you learn to make a sourdough starter, begin with this guide to learn what is true sourdough bread.

Why I Love Sourdough Bread

It’s important to me that I make bread with the best ingredients I can use, and the long list of processed ingredients in store-bought bread is not what I want to feed my family. Consequently, learning to bake bread from scratch became a priority for our homestead.

I have been making sourdough bread for years, and the 33 things I wished I knew about sourdough would have shortened my learning curve substantially. 

There were times when I was baffled that the same recipe didn’t always produce the same results, and through trial and error, I documented the most common sourdough mistakes

All of this experience now yields delicious sourdough parker house rolls, sandwich breads, and homemade pizza crust, and I even use the discard to make homemade fudgy brownies.

A bowl of dough with a whisk and wooden spoon in the foreground.

What Is True Sourdough

True sourdough bread has just three ingredients: flour, water and salt. The naturally occurring wild yeasts and bacteria floating in the air combine with water and flour to create a healthy sourdough starter.

The sourdough starter is the levain. When you keep it at room temperature and feed your starter daily, it ferments, giving the dough rise and the tangy, flavorsome bite we enjoy!

When I look at the ingredients list for store-bought sourdough bread, several more ingredients are often added. If it has commercial yeast, baking powder, or other additives to cause the rise, it’s not true sourdough. 

Health Benefits of Sourdough

True sourdough is quite beneficial for people who struggle with digestive issues. While sourdough is a fermented food, the baking process kills off any active probiotics.

However, when added to your bread ingredients, the fermentation of the sourdough starter helps to pre-digest the grain, creating a gut-healthy bread that is easier to digest. 

I use fresh ground wheat berries or other ancient grains such as Emmer, Spelt, Einkorn and Rye for more variety. Sprouting the grains before grinding them into flour can help even more with some gut issues people have.

Woman's hands slicing a boule of whole wheat sourdough bread.

Can I Buy True Sourdough Bread

Some bakeries allow for the rising time needed to make true sourdough bread. Because of the time it takes, prices will be significantly higher than homemade. 

Most grocery store bakeries claim to make sourdough, but often include more ingredients than just flour, water and salt. My skepticism has me inquiring with the bakers to find out exactly what ingredients they use for the sourdough starter and bread and if they use any other rising agents.

A mason jar labeled "Sourdough Backup" with a bowl of flour and a spoon in the background.

Making True Sourdough Bread

True sourdough bread is just one type of bread I make for our family. My Art of Homemade Bread Class can teach you how to be a successful bread master in your kitchen.

My video lessons and the digital bread-making book you receive with the class provide step-by-step instructions on the art of making homemade bread. Learn how to make true sourdough, sprout grains, grind your own flour, tricks for storing homemade bread, and so much more.

Learning these tried and true techniques will support your efforts to get three homemade meals on the table every day and save money at the grocery store while you eat well on a budget

My hope is that you will be inspired to start making delicious and nutritious homemade bread in your kitchen today.

A hand picking up a sourdough brownie off a serving platter.
A man and wife smiling.

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Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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