Why should we eat organic sourdough instead of mass produced bread?

The rise in artisan bread production across the country is only 5% of the bread market share, but growing all of the time. Health of the nation has been suffering. Bloating, pain, intolerance to modern wheat yeasted bread has been around for many years forcing some to become gluten free. Many have taken matters into their own hands. Some have started growing heritage grain wheats. Others have started baking with those heritage grains.

Did you know that all non organic wheat is sprayed with a known carcinogen ‘Roundup’. Many of us have been campaigning for the ban on this chemical. However it’s use is continued with reassurance from the manufacturer that as long as the wheat is sprayed two weeks before it is harvested, that the chemical is broken down. However studies show that lots of wheat tested have residual traces in the grain. Why are we putting weed killer on our crop I hear you ask. The whole wheat plant is killed before harvest, in order that it dries out and the bounty (seed) is more easily harvested. Farmers control the harvesting by deciding when the plant should die and dry out and not have to wait for the nature to do the job. How crazy is that? Who would have thought spraying something we eat deliberately with a petrochemical weed killer would be a good idea?

Sourdough is a naturally fermented product. Just flour and water create a leaven which make bread rise. Yeast is just one fungi strain of this leaven, identified as being ‘the one’ that gives consistent rise in less time. It is extracted and used in commercial bread making. However, this process forces the dough to prove quicker. Slow fermentation of sourdough is the key to good digestion of wheat. Many people find eating sourdough does not give digestive symptoms such as bloating, discomfort and loose stools.

For a more in depth look at this topic, Restoring Heritage Grains by Eli Rogosa is a fabulous insight into our forefathers knowledge of grain.


Nettle and Chard Garden Soup

What to have for lunch today from my permaculture garden?

4 large handfuls of nettles

4 large Chard leaves

2 large potatoes sliced thinly

2 vegetable stock cubes

3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of chopped dill

Salt and pepper to taste

  • With rubber or latex gloves, wash and rinse stinging nettle and chard.
  • Chop the chard.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onion to pan and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic and potatoes to pan, cook for 5 minutes over medium heat stirring every minute or so until potatoes begin to stick.
  • Add nettles and chard to pan.
  • Add stock to pan, bring to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes and nettle stems are soft.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Use a hand blender to puree all ingredients into a smooth soup.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add chopped dill.
  • Serve with goats yogurt and sourdough.


Beetroot apple and caraway soup


  • Olive oil for frying
  • Bunch of beetroot
  • medium onion
  • 2 eating apples
  • vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • natural yogurt for dolloping on the top.

Peel the beetroot and chop into cubes. Core and slice the apples. There is no need to peel them. Dice onion and fry until softened. Throw in the beetroot and apple. Add the caraway seed. Pour in enough boiling water to just cover the veg and crumble the stock cube into it. Simmer for 15 mins or so until the beetroot is soft enough to get a knife in it. Blend with a handheld food blender. Serve with a spoonful of natural yogurt.


Why is sourdough better for health?


Wild yeast are single-celled fungi that exist all around us. They feed on carbohydrates, and as they do so they release carbon dioxide, B vitamins, and alcohol. Because they release carbon dioxide, yeast can leaven bread, and because they convert carbohydrates to alcohol, brewers use yeast to make beer and wine, too. This is the fermentation process.

Although the beneficial wild yeast in the sourdough tend to be lost during the baking process, the fibre and plant compounds, called polyphenols, become more bio-available. These act as an important fuel source for our gut microbes, which makes sourdough bread a gut-friendly choice

Fermentation of food grains also improves bioavailability of minerals. Phytic acid is present in cereals bonded with iron, zinc, calcium and proteins. This bonding makes it difficult for the body to utilise the minerals in flour. The enzymatic degradation of phytic acid requires an optimum pH which can be provided by natural fermentation. Such a degradation of phytic acid can increase the amount of soluble iron, zinc and calcium absorbed by the gut. (Gupta, Gangolya and Singh 2015)

The fermentation process and higher fibre content makes sourdough a useful option for those with blood sugar management issues. This is because, unlike many commercially produced breads, sourdough has less of an impact on blood sugar levels. This especially true of rye sourdough.

Typically, diets high in fibre are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Sourdough appears to offer additional benefits thanks to the fermentation process; these benefits appear enhanced when wholegrain rye flour is used. All Heritage Bakehouse sourdough has whole rye in it.

Traditional sourdough undergoes a slow fermentation process, . This process starts the breakdown of protein (including gluten), making sourdough easier to digest.

Scottish Bannocks

  • 100 g plain flour
  • 65g beremeal
  •  2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115 g medium oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • buttermilk or natural yogurt as required


  • preheat oven to 180C if using and grease a baking tray
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar into a large bowl
  • Add the oatmeal and and beremeal and mix well and rub in the butter
  • Add as much of the buttermilk or plain yogurt as you require to form a dough
  • Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead briefly
  • Pat it into a round shape and press down till it is about 1cm thick all over and make a deep cross to form quarters
  • If baking place on prepared baking tray and into oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean
  • If using the hob place your bannock either in a hot girdle/griddle or in a flying pan (or hotplate of Aga) and brown on underside the turn over and do the other side
  • cool on a wire rack

What goes well with rye sourdough?

Radish allotment pickle

  • 8 oz radishes
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaf

My radish are a mixture of Chinese and traditional British radish. Cut them in rounds. Sprinkle salt on them to soften them for a few minutes. Rinse off. Pop them in a sterile glass jar. Boil the rest of the ingredients and pour on the radish. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

Serve with rye sourdough and feta cheese or hummus.

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