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Sourdough: Buy or Bye?

The sourdough bread trend is rising—is it worth the hype?

Sourdough bread and starter kit

The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic brought on a resurgence in baking loaves of sourdough—a definite bright spot in an overall dim situation. Sourdough’s quintessential tang hails from the old-school baking method of using a bacteria-rich starter to kickstart fermentation. This process not only creates taste-boosting compounds, but it also appears to help lessen the impact that a slice of bread has on blood sugar levels. That could be a big benefit in helping improve metabolic health compared with when people eat highly processed slices of white bread. As a bonus, the fermentation process can make sourdough easier to digest for some people who may find that regular bread brings on stomach woes.

The verdict: Any way you slice it, there is power in sour. Just don’t fall for store-bought sourdough impostors that may contain items like ascorbic acid or vinegar to give loaves a sour taste. Your best bet for the authentic stuff (if not baking your own) comes from independent local bakeries that often employ longer fermentation periods using just a starter culture. Even better if they work whole-grain flours into the mix.

See also: How COVID-19 Has Changed Eating Habits

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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