Until the 1950’s most bakeries ran 2 shifts of workers because the dough was fermented throughout the night, ensuring a long, slow natural fermentation process. The very first things greedy corporate bakers did to increase their profits was to introduce the ‘fast loaf’ using commercial yeast. This move effectively eliminated the need for this second shift of workers and with it, all the nutritional value of naturally fermented bread.
Commercial Bakeries & Supermarkets these days produce their bread in just 40 minutes, from mixing dough to a finished baked loaf. We have all been conned into believing these cosmetic, chemical-confections are real, living bread. They’re not. They are literally dead. These lifeless-loaves are puffed up artificially to present as fresh, looking all crusty and dusty. Sure, they can taste soft and mushy, chemical preservatives guarantee a long life. Today, most people don’t know or don't care that Fast Bread has the nutritional value of a pizza box?
Thousands of Supermarkets and Commercial Bakers today bake a bread they call Sourdough. They trade on its ancient reputation as the world’s best tasting, nutritious, naturally-fermented bread. Their labels even describe how they subcontract so-called ‘artisans’ to make and slow-ferment their dough before delivering it to the supermarket for ‘Fresh Baking’. What they omit from their ‘sourdough labels’ is that their dough arrives frozen. And when you freeze sourdough, all its living goodness dies in the process. Beware of such imitations.
Slow fermented, chemical free Sourdough is made from natural grains, wild yeast, love and time. It is exactly like the other artisan practices of Wine and Cheesemaking. We instinctively know that “Fine Wine Takes Time”, few people know it‘s the same with genuine hand-made sourdough bread.
Natural leavened bread, because of its inherent beneficial ferments, slowly recreates the population of friendly lactobacillus digestive bacteria in the absorption tract. The end result is a recovery of digestion and proper elimination by the effective action of friendly bacteria.
Numerous studies demonstrate that populations with the highest fiber intake have the lowest incidence of colon cancer. In an article, published in 1984 in East-West Journal, Ronald Kotsch describes why conventionally yeasted bread contributes to disease. "In (conventional) yeast fermentation, the starch cells of the bread actually explode. The patterns they form are identical to those of cancer cells.
According to French researcher Jean Claude Vincent, the bio-electrical energy of the dough also is identical to that of cancer cells." According to Walter Last, “Undigested gluten from quickly risen bread can seriously weaken the intestinal wall. Its effect on the tiny absorption villi in the small intestine may be compared to the action of sandpaper on wood. Animal experiments have shown that the intestinal absorption villi are long and slender before they come into repeated contact with wheat protein. Afterwards, they become blunt and broad, with a much-reduced ability to absorb. This greatly contributes to the widespread incidence in our society of people with problems of malabsorption and who are missing out on vital nutrients. In such people, not only are the absorption villi blunted, the irritation caused by the sandpaper effect of gluten produces a protective mucus coating over the intestinal wall and this makes it still more difficult for nutrients to pass through the intestinal wall.” Thus we find gluten, and especially wheat gluten, implicated in malabsorption diseases, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, and just about every disease under the sun. When things go wrong in our guts we do not receive the nutrition we need.
Malnutrition is one of the major factors that lead to disease including cancer. Since bread and wheat products are such an important part of daily food consumption, it follows that such food items be healthy and wholesome.
Today's milling, refining, bleaching, enriching, and addition of various chemicals to flour and baked breads cause many scientists and medical workers to question their nutritional quality as well as their safety.
Traditionally starters were passed down from generation to generation but if you don’t know someone who has it one can simply mix some flour and water (some suggest starting it with fresh pineapple juice instead of water) and leave it out on the counter for a week or until it's bubbling. During this process the natural yeast and bacteria in the air will impregnate the mixture) Sourdoughs are fermented by a variety of lactic acid bacteria, called Lactobacillus, which consume sugar to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas. They also produce lactic and acetic acids, which give sourdough breads their distinctive flavor. Traditional sourdoughs do not contain baker's yeast.
Storage methods for breads that contain no additives are very important to maintain freshness and to avoid spoilage. The staling process begins for regular yeasted bread as soon as the bread is removed from the oven. Sourdough bread on the other hand increases in nutritional value for days. Freezing bread prevents microbial spoilage. Baked bread can be kept frozen for three months without losing flavor. Interestingly, slightly stale bread is more easily digested than fresh bread, up to ten days, after which there is a reversal (Jackel et al., 1952).