All of our breads leavened with sourdough culture. Traditional sourdough culture is a simple mix of flour and water that has been allowed to ferment in a controlled way, thus making the bread easier to digest - the starches and bran being partially broken down. This process produces a diverse mix of wild organisms; predominately lactobacteria (from the fresh flour) and wild yeasts (from the air). The effects of these wild organisms in the sourdough culture is very different from that of baker's yeast as they are part of a miniature ecosystem. The difference between baker's yeast and the wild yeast within a sourdough culture is similar to the difference between refined white sugar and the complex sugars within an apple.
The culture is incorporated into the dough and kneaded thoroughly. It is then left to rise overnight. The 12 to 20 hour rising process releases valuable minerals. This is the way most leavened bread was made prior to the development of isolated yeast strains in the past century.
Despite its name, sourdough bread need not be sour, in fact we aim to produce a balanced flavour that allows the taste of the grain to come through.
Some sourdough available today is not true sourdough, but merely a flavouring made with commercial lactic acids. The actual leavening in these imitation sourdough breads is baker's yeast. This process does not create the beneficial bacteria and enzymes found in authentic sourdough. Baker's yeast is a very vigorous organism that literally saturates the air in any bakery where it is used. Many bakers have discovered that it is difficult to bake true sourdough bread in the same location as yeasted bread because the bakers yeast organisms, which are everywhere, enter the sourdough culture and dominate it.
At Little Stream we do not bake with commercial yeast. Many people with a yeast sensitivity or allergy (candida) have no problem digesting our bread.