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Hangry April 18 2020 Science and pandemic dough

Michelle Ghoussoub (2020) posted for CBC news on April 5 about sourdough in the pandemic . “[Karen] Bates said she noticed the trend when she, one day into her own quarantine, baked a loaf of sourdough and went to post it on Twitter — only to discover dozens of people had already done the same.”

“Bates, who is working on a master’s degree at Royal Roads University in environmental education, and studies the relationship between traditional skills and resilience, says we might be witnessing ‘a real time immersion in how we feel about food during economic transitions.’

“There seems to be a shared cultural value around cooking, baking that is coming out now — it’s normally sort of buried in our busy economic industrial society,” she said.

“And then there’s that survival aspect —we realize we’re not masters of this earth, there’s this little virus that can take us all down, and how do we reconnect with being part of natural living systems? Cooking is one of those things that connect us to natural living systems. Food is one of those things that connects us to the earth.”

Becky Robertson posted on April 13, quoting a restaurant co-owner who bakes sourdough products. “Evelyn Neves thinks that there are is a slew of reasons people are turning to breadmaking during this difficult time.

“Our first thought is that it must have been something a lot of people have always wanted to try and now they have the time to try it,” Neves says. “Bread is a humble product that has held a place on the table in almost all of our lives, no matter who we are or what culture we come from.”

“She also thinks that the need for the starter to be “fed” daily may even offer some people a sense of structure, as well as a feeling of being prepared amid a pandemic.

‘Perhaps in this time where people are living somewhat unscheduled yet limited lives, they are finding a calm in knowing they have something to check on and a task to accomplish,’ she says.”

Give us this day our daily bread, was, by necessity, sourdough and only sourdough and always sourdough, as dry active yeast was not available until the 1940s, according to (2019).

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are on the rise (pun intended).

Derek Beres (2016) quotes Michael Pollan who blames “the dangers of manufactured yeast. […] Instead of relying on undependable elements like air, temperature, and time, companies wanted insurance that the bread was going to be edible. Enter a chain of emulsifiers and a specific yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which, as Pollan writes, is “linear, mechanical, and predictable.”

“All whole grains contain phytic acid, which locks up minerals not only in the bread but, if you eat enough of it, in the body of the bread eater as well. One of the advantages of a long sourdough fermentation is that it breaks down the phytic acid, freeing up those minerals. It also makes the gluten proteins more digestible and slows the body’s absorption of starch.” (ND) tells us some of the reasons sourdough is beneficial.  “Sourdough contains the bacteria ‘lactobacillus’ which produces lactic acid, which aids digestion. When bacteria interacts with yeast, it works to pre-digest the starches in the grains. Pre-digestion by sourdough means less bloating and less digestive discomfort.

“The lactic acid found in sourdough bread improved the growth of healthy gut bacteria which gives your immune system a boost. Did you know that 80% of your immune system is found in your gut?”

Marco Gobbetti et al (2019) are confident that sourdough’s “potential to lower glycemic index, increase mineral bioavailability and decrease the gluten content have been proven almost definitively,  [while] others potentialities are emerging, which deserve novel insights. [These include] salt reduction in baked goods, management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and the synthesis/release of bioactive compounds.”

Leidiane, A. et al (2018) explain the long fermentation: “Overall, all the fermentable carbohydrates (sucrose, maltose, glucose, and fructose) are quickly depleted during the first hours of fermentation, whereas carbohydrates with a higher degree of polymerization (such as fructans) are used later. This leads to hypothesize that long fermentation, such as that typically relying on sourdough, can provide a more pronounced degradation of FODMAPs.”

Hubby’s sourdough has been rising for about 24 hours. Our house is going to smell all shelter in place this afternoon.

References (2019.) From

Beres, D. (2016.) “The Real Problem With Gluten: Time” From (ND.) “Top Benefits of Eating Sourdough Bread.” From

Ghoussoub, M. (2020.) “Here’s why everyone you know is baking bread in quarantine.” From

Gobbetti, M. (2019.) “Novel Insights on the Functional/Nutritional Features of the Sourdough Fermentation.” From

Leidiane, A. (2018.) “Effects of Sourdough on FODMAPs in Bread and Potential Outcomes on Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients and Healthy Subjects.”


Robertson, B. (2020.) “Sourdough bread starter is all the rage in kitchens across Canada right now.” From

Recipe here:


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