Why Sourdough? 5 reasons to live more sourdough.

Flash back 6 years ago. Its 2014 and I was experimenting with a gluten-free diet. I was feeling good, but I now attribute this to the indirect benefit of eating more real food and vegetables since flour (and essentially the whole inner grocery store) was off limits. I’m a skier and runner, so the dramatic cut to my carb load had me lacking energy. The GF substitutes packed with rice or tapioca sugars, were not my idea of balanced either. Plus, I’d argue they belong in the pet food aisle, err better yet, paper products. I started learning about the benefits of a diet rich in fermented foods. I became obsessed with raw apple cider (cultured) vinegar. I started making shrubs. Using regionally sourced fruit and raw vinegar, the idea for Forever Wild was born. I remember the universe shifting when I first poured through Sandor Kat’s “The Art of Fermentation.” Health conscience and fermentation obsessed, I had been searching for a unique product that I could produce and use local ingredients. Kat’s activist lens inspired me. It made me feel as though the small act of crafting healthful beverages for my community, was in fact, a revolutionary one.

I started fermenting everything. But bread remained a romantic idea. A few years later, I became infatuated all over again with Sarah Owens and her first book “Sourdough.” A self-proclaimed “garden-baker” Sarah embodied the raw, rustic style of nourishing foods that I longed to create. It wasn’t until I took a week-long sourdough intensive at King Arthur Flour that I really developed a baking practice or even followed an entire loaf to completion. The multi-day process of sourdough (and taking care of a baby!) is completely overwhelming, and not something that my learning style could have picked up confidently from a book. Sarah returned to traditional baking techniques and whole grain ingredients by way of health and diet concerns as well. I took a class with her last spring and was blown away by her humble commitment to the sourdough lifestyle. She truly practices what she sows. Through traditional techniques, passed on by generations, sourdough baking embodies the act of slowing down and reconnecting with ourselves and our environment. Here are my 5 reasons for eating (and living) more sourdough:

  • It’s a revolutionary act.

    It supports self-reliance. “To ferment your own food is to lodge a small but eloquent protest – on behalf of the senses and the microbes – against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe.” -Sandor Katz

  • For the mind.

    It’s a meditation for the mind, forcing presence and attention to touch, feel, and taste.

  • For the body.

    Nutritional integrity: fermentation breaks down the gluten proteins in flour, making it more easily digestible, the way nature intended us to eat bread. Whole grains and stone milled flours preserve the germ, the most nutrient dense part of wheat.

  • It’s local.

    Support your local grower, baker, and inner microbiome!

  • Taste.

    The butter melts and drips between the freshly baked holes of a spongey inside and down your arm as you bring the slightly sour sacrament to your lips. Your teeth rip the warm, golden crust as the contrasting tenderness of the bread’s inners caresses your tongue and taste buds. You taste each fold. Each day. Your love and labor. The stories of your culture passed down through each loaf. When food is life and life is food, why eat commercial bread?

Ok, get me some!