Roughly one third of the population has a new year’s resolution. Most are related to health: losing weight, eating healthily, or giving up alcohol. The healthy eating options are myriad; fat used to be the big bogey, now we are told that there are good and bad fats. One day we are encouraged to adopt low carbohydrate diets, now we’re told concern about our intake should not stop us eating unprocessed and good quality foods. It is welcome news that whole-grains can reduce the risk of major diseases as reported in The Lancet last week. Although calling it ‘news’ suggests that this is something we have not known about before. The wisdom that whole-grains are good for you has been around for a while. Adequate fibre in our diet is known to promote good gut health so it follows that wholegrain breads and foods should be better for us.
Fermentation is another popular thing right now, but it is not a fad. Fads come and go. Fermentation as a process has been used for centuries as a means of preserving food. Fermentation in dough provides greater breadth of flavour and a moist texture. Sourdoughs keep longer, are more nutritious and, because of the action of the bacteria in the natural yeast, are more easily digestible. Using good wholegrain flours in a long-fermentation dough brings these two things together and creates a simple food that is high in fibre but low in fat and sugar. That’s the science, but the bread tastes good too: the depth of flavour makes it not just good for you but a joy to eat. And did I mention that it’s vegan?
The Bretzel Bakery won a gold award for a wholegrain sourdough, so sourdough is fast becoming recognised as a better bread. The trend towards healthy eating can only help its justifiably healthy reputation.
Many resolutions made in January are abandoned in the first few weeks of the year. With the revival of artisan bakeries around the country, sourdough is more readily available. Eating good bread is a habit that can be maintained.
William Despard, Bretzel Bakery owner
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