During this global pandemic, a first-generation revolution was born. More time at home combined with a lack of necessities in supermarkets has encouraged the creativity of a new generation of home bakers. If your Instagram feed is filled with everyone’s favorite new housemates, a first-time sourdough starter, you might wonder what’s so special about these strange and bubbly flakes and water jars and the delicious bread they make. Or to make things simpler you could also but sourdough starters that available in the market. The invention of sourdough as a bread starter is a pleasant accident. Sourdough kefir grains is a method of yeast (rising) for baked products since from at least ancient Egypt.

Historians believe that this technique was probably discovered by accident by the baker leaving the dough unattended for longer than usual. By sitting longer, wild yeast and bacteria that live in flour, water, and air appear, turning the dough into what will become the first form of leavened bread. It tastes better and lasts longer, so it’s stuck. A sourdough starts with a starter that consists of water and flour. When left around for a day or so, a community of live yeasts and wild bacteria begin to develop. These microscopic organisms work harmoniously to convert sugars and starches in flour, producing gas bubbles that help the bread rise and natural acids that provide the sourdough’s taste, aroma, and texture.

With nothing more than flour and water, you can create a cheerful new companion that will provide good bread. Until quite recently, the sourdough tradition (including starter) was passed down from generation to generation and was considered the norm for bread making. However, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was discovered and began to be mass-produced. Yeast bread is now preferred by yeast agents for commercial bread making because of its aggressive nature, producing a dough that rises quickly and the bread that is ready in just a few hours. Sourdough, on the other hand, depends on softer yeasts and bacteria, which ideally requires a longer proving time to work their magic.

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Corlissa Bramowitz

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