The Wood-Fired Blog

Sourdough

Michael Pollan is one of my favorite food writers. His book Omnivor’s Dilemma was my first window into industrial food production, and he played a big role in the food documentaries Food, Inc., and Fresh. It’s a pretty sobering view. If you are looking to hear a funny interview, you can find Mr. Pollan appearance on NPR’s Wait, wait… don’t tell me. This is unrelated, but Peter Sagal, the host of Wait, wait… don’t tell me, is also a runner and I have shared a couple of fun emails with him.

Michael Pollan Cooked

Mr. Pollan is back in the press this week with his latest book — Cooked. A Natural History of Transformation. I have not read the book yet, but I have read a number of reviews, interviews and related articles, and one of the themes is that bread fermented with sourdough cultures is easier to digest, and does not result in the insulin spike that many people experience when they eat white flour supermarket bread. I have blogged about this in past, but supermarket bread really isn’t “bread” in the traditional sense, where yeast or a sourdough culture works on the wheat flour. Rather it is cheap white flour that is whipped up with a series of chemicals and dough conditioners that mimic the leavening process.

I read a very similar analysis of sourdough bread in a Triathlete magazine flying back from Boston. That article was written from the perspective of the athlete looking to get the most nutrition our of their food — and sourdough bread was highly recommended.

This makes me think that someone out there is trying to tell me something.

I have been baking for years, and there have been long stretches where I have happily maintained a sourdough culture and used very little cultured commercial yeast. I think it’s time to bring back my sourdough. This is really exciting. Not only do I like sourdough bread, there is even some pretty compelling evidence that it is good for me — both from a health and an athletic performance perspective. You can’t beat that.

I’ll take lots of pictures and let you know how it goes.

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