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Why And How Sourdough Starter Causes Bread To Rise

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The wild yeasts found in a sourdough starter are primarily of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which are known for their ability to ferment sugars in the dough, producing carbon dioxide. As the dough ferments, the yeast cells consume sugars and other carbohydrates, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts. The carbon dioxide gets trapped in the gluten network of the dough, causing it to expand and rise.

Bacteria also plays a crucial role in the fermentation process of sourdough bread. The main group of bacteria present in sourdough are lactobacilli, which are responsible for producing lactic acid. The acidity created by the lactic acid produced by lactobacilli changes the gluten structure, making it easier for the yeast to ferment and for the dough to rise.

In addition, the acidity improves the absorption of minerals in the dough, making the bread more nutritious.

Sourdough starters are considered “alive” because they contain a complex community of microorganisms, each with their own unique characteristics and abilities. The specific microorganisms present in a starter will depend on the environment where it was created, as well as the type of flour and water used to create it. The microorganisms present in a sourdough starter will change over time, adapting to the environment and the ingredients it is exposed to. This is one of the reasons why sourdough bread has unique flavor and texture, depending on the environment and the ingredients.

Another interesting point is that Sourdough starters can be used over and over again, a baker can keep taking a portion of the starter and adding flour and water to it, to make new breads, this is why the sourdough bread is sometimes called the “Mother Dough”

It’s important to keep a healthy and active starter to make good sourdough bread. A sourdough starter is a living organism, and its health and vitality can be affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, and the type of flour used. Bakers often have to nurture and care for their starters to keep them in good condition.

In conclusion, sourdough starter is the key element in the making of sourdough bread. The fermentation process of wild yeasts and bacteria present in the starter, produce carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts, causing the dough to rise. The acidity created by the lactic acid produced by lactobacilli, changes the gluten structure and makes it easier for the yeast to ferment, giving sourdough bread its unique flavor, texture, and nutritional value. The complexity of microorganisms in a sourdough starter make it a unique, evolving and living element. Sourdough starters must be taken care to remain healthy and active in order to produce high quality sourdough bread.

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