What is sourdough bread? Nowadays, the typical bun or loaf is leavened with a commercially produced yeast. That yeast is fed molasses and grown in a big vat. It's then partially or totally dried and shipped off to the baker. The "yeasty" taste, when using active dry yeast, comes from all the yeast that died during the drying process! Sourdough baking is a little different. Simply by mixing flour and water, a culture of naturally occuring yeasts and bacteria will appear seemingly out of nowhere! This sourdough culture can then be propagated just by feeding it some more flour (and water.) Once you have enough you can use it, instead of the commercial stuff, to raise your bread. Keep in mind though, some bakers will also use commercial yeast in their sourdough bread. Is it sour? Sourdough bread doesn't have to be sour. The famous "San Francisco Sourdough" is decidedly so. But by manipulating the temperature, time, water, and feeding of the sourdough culture, a good baker can make bread suitable to any palate. Some prefer to use the term "naturally fermented" to avoid this confusion. Typically though, sourdough bread is more flavourful than other bread. What is sifted wheat flour? Sifted wheat flour is almost whole wheat flour. Around 10-12% of the grain, the coarsest bran, has been removed. Contrast this with white flour where 30% of the grain (and around 80% of the minerals) has been taken out. In fact, removing only 8% of the bran is enough to allow the loaf to attain the greater volume which some folks like in their bread. Removing less of the grain means more minerals and vitamins (and flavour!) are retained for you to eat. We think that might be a good idea! It's also worth mentioning that commercial "whole wheat" flour has had the germ removed entirely and along with it, a majority of the vitamin content. Although sifting the wheat will still remove some of the germ, more will remain. And this means more flavour and more nutrients. Try it! What does local mean? UPDATED (again) At the time of writing, the vast majority of the wheat we are using is coming from southwest Ontario. That being said, the flour we use changes more often than this page is updated. At times the demand for local flour (great work bread lovers!) or the year's growing conditions (what will wet spring 2017 bring...) has left the stocks of Ontario wheat empty. When this happens, our suppliers have sourced grain from small farms in Qu├ębec. Additionally, one of the mills that supplies us, is now blending local grains with wheat imported from western Canada. The portion of western wheat in our loaves is still small, at most 12% of the total flour. I've heard sourdough bread is better for you, is this true? There are several health-related reasons to eat sourdough bread, such as easier digestibility and a lower glycaemic index. It is the bacteria in the sourdough culture (not the yeasts) which work away, breaking down the gluten that some find difficult to digest. For this reason, speeding up the process by including commercial yeasts won't do you any good. And while the glycaemic index isn't a perfect measure of the potential blood-sugar response, sourdough bread is digested more slowly. This means it won't give you the same sugar rush, you won't feel hungry as soon, and maybe those excess sugars from quick digestion won't get turned into fat. There's also some evidence that nutrients become more available for absorption when using sourdough! I'll get you some references for those wonderful, fantastic claims, and go into the science once we get the rest of our operation up and running. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, contact us: bennet {at] asterlanebread dot com