Your Questions About Making Sourdough Bread

Donna asks…

What function do enzymes have in the process of yeast fermentation?

So I had to do a bread lab where I make sourdough bread. I however cannot figure out what enzymes had to do with any of this. I put yeast in a bag with potato flakes, sugar and something else. Then I let it sit for like ever. Then I made the bread. But what did enzymes have to do with this? I know it is an anaerobic process but what with is with enzymes??????

kenspong answers:

Well, it went through glycolysis, in cellular respiration. The end product is pyruvate. The fate of pyruvate depends on the presence or absence of oxygen. If there is no oxygen, you get ethanol via fermentation. Yeasts stop after glycolysis, they do not need to have pyruvate completely oxidized. So the enzymes involved are what turned glucose into pyruvate. Hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, all the enzymes involved in glycolysis. Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up a chemical reaction. These things will happen naturally, but the enzymes help it happen faster.

Jenny asks…

Eight days to wait for sourdough bread, is that safe?

I was reading an article earlier about making sourdough bread with yeast, flour, and sugar and letting the bread sit out for eight days. O.o I can’t even believe that is that safe to do? Could anyone get sick from it?

..Do you actually have to wait eight days?

kenspong answers:

Hmmm something isn’t right here. Sourdough bread is naturally leavened by the wild yeast cultures that naturally occur in flour. A mature sourdough starter can be left out at room temperature and feed on a daily basis forever, in the bakery I work our sour dough starter was left at room temperature for 25 years and was still used everyday.
In the sourdough starter lactic basillic acid will be present along with the wild yeast cultures, the LBA will prevent other forms of harmful bacteria from growing, however if your starter turns pink at any point it is no longer safe to consume.
Anyways, back to your question. There can’t be any yeast in this bread if it is to sit for 8 days, because the commercial yeast will have died by this point whereas the wild yeast cultures will be just beginning to mature thus providing the leavening for the loaf. No you won’t get sick from sourdough that is only 8 days old–Unless it’s pink!– Sourdough is a fermented product and that is where the unique flavor comes from

Maria asks…

What makes sourdough bread a healthier alternative than other “white” breads?

I try to eat 100% whole wheat or oat bread for the health benefits, but I really love sourdough and understand it’s not all that bad (from a health standpoint). Why?

By the way, if you’re a sourdough fan and can get it, Seatte Sourdough makes the best I’ve ever tasted–especially the garlic sourdogh version.

kenspong answers:

I’m not quite sure, but I’ll take a stab at it (:

Since sourdough has a tougher texture than most white breads, it may provide more fiber. White breads generally don’t have any nutritional value to start with. Sourdough also has “more to it” if you will. I definately could believe that it is healthier.

Although it may be healthiER, it’s by far not healthiEST. So I’d stick with your whole wheat or oat breads and have sourdough every once and a while. (:

Chris asks…

How are you supposed to cut bread without squashing it?

I always crush the sourdough bread my sister makes me.

kenspong answers:

Ideally, use a big bread cutting knife. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular one, make sure you choose your sharpest knife. If you are right handed, grab the bread firmly with your left hand and with your right hand, you need to glide the knife back and forth. Do not pushthe knife straight down, let the knife do the cutting by going back and forth with the knife.

David asks…

Sourdough Bread at Home?

How do I make Sourdough bread at home?

kenspong answers:

There are a number of ways depending upon your desires, knowledge, and personality. You can make your own starter, which isn’t hard to do, but may not want to do if you are a beginner; you can order a starter online or get it from a friend; or you can fake it.

A starter need be nothing more than water and flour in equal proportions made into a slurry, leave over night, discard half, add more flour and water, and keep doing this. You can kick start your starter by leaving fresh grapes in the slurry for the first night, or make the initial slurry with whole wheat flour.

You can order a starter on the internet from King Arthur Flour, although there are others out there. Or if you know a baker, ask them if they would share a starter.

To fake sourdough, you can make a “starter” with a little bit of yeast, and treat it as a normal starter. Or you can just make your bread with yogurt or buttermilk, or a little vinegar or lemon juice.

Depends on how “real” you want it, how much patience you have, and so on…

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