White Sourdough Sandwich Loaves

Sourdough bread has been around since leavened bread was first discovered by the Egyptians around 2300 BC. I've heard it suggested that fermentation was Man's second greatest discovery after the use of fire...I agree! I understand all bread was naturally fermented until fast rise baker's yeast was developed in the 1950's. Fast rise baker's yeast allowed bakers to produce bread in a fraction of the time it used to take; with a fraction of the nutritional value.

So...What is Sourdough Starter?
Sourdough starter is a working culture of yeast and lactobacillus that flourish together. The lactobacillus produces acidic and lactic acids that give the bread its sour flavor; the yeast produces the carbon dioxide gas that makes the bread rise.

The microorganism community in a good starter is pretty special. Not only must the strains of yeast and bacteria thrive on flour and water only, but not compete for the same nutrients in the flour. The strain of lactobacillus must also be tolerant of the anti-bacterial effect of the alcohol the yeast produces; and the strain of yeast must be tolerant of the acidity the lactobacillus produces. Since the lactobacillus works slowly, the yeast in the culture must also be slow acting. For this reason, some of the best, most perfectly balanced sourdough cultures have been handed down for generations, are closely guarded, and are very old.

Do you want a good sourdough starter?
Go to www.sourdo.com. They inventory and preserve many excellent (and some very old) starters for everyone to enjoy. I've tried several over the years while a hobbyist, I personally recommend the Ischia Island starter in the Italian package.

Alpine Sourdough Bakery