Natural leavening: why is it better for our organism?

12/09/2019

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In recent years, many sector professionals and baking enthusiasts are opting for natural levitation when making cakes, bread and other dough-based products. Whether they are prepared at home or made to be sold, naturally leavened products are much tastier to eat. Let’s find out why this type of leavening is considered better than artificial yeasts and the benefits it has for our organism.

What is natural leavening?

First and foremost, by natural leavening we mean leavening that does not use chemical products (either in desserts or savouries), but sour dough yeast. If you are asking yourselves why, the answer is very simple: sour dough is made of a protein-rich flour (today, Manitoba flour is often used) mixed with water and left to rest in a dry warm place (approx. 26°C) to encourage the growth of the good bacteria that causes dough to rise. Initially, the process is initiated with a sour dough starter, a sugar-based component that activates the leavening process: this can be plain yoghurt, honey or even blended grapes.

Benefits for the organism

Many people are now choosing only natural leavening products because they make food easier to digest. For many, the naturally occurring lactobacilli in sour dough are much more beneficial to the intestine than other types of raising agents. Furthermore, because it takes the sour dough a few hours to make the dough rise the end result is a much lighter, airy consistency.  

How to manage natural sour dough starter: refreshments

Lactobacilli feeds on the flour, which keeps it alive. So, if you continue to add flour, the bacteria can nourish itself and multiply more easily. However, sour dough starter needs to be managed with care, otherwise you could run into these three problems:

  • It will rise too much;
  • It will become acidic (you will immediately be able to tell by the smell);
  • It dies or, more precisely, deactivates.

In order for the sour dough starter to survive it needs what are called refreshments. This requires a very precise refreshment ratio of water and flour: this should be 50% flour and water (as long as the temperature does not exceed 24°C). To refresh your starter, all you need to do is remove the hard yeast crust on the mixture and mix the live mixture with the stated dose of flour and water, in proportion to the weight of the yeast that requires refreshment.

Storage

Natural yeast should be stored in a glass jar and covered with a tightly-fitting gauze or screw top lid.

How to use

Now all you need to know is how to use the sour dough. Let’s say you are making a cake, for example. In this case, you should prepare and refresh your sour dough starter three hours before using it, otherwise it will achieve its maximum growth level. If it does not grow in the three hours, then refresh it at least three times over the course of the day and wait until the next day to prepare your cake.