The world of beer and bread once again has balance – the sourdough bread trial was a success and it was a good chance to learn about yeast. I didn’t have enough patience to let my sourdough starter sit for long enough to develop a strong sour aroma and flavour but it still tasted pretty good. The sourdough starter I used for the first loaf of bread is still fermenting away so the next batch will have a much more developed sourdough flavour.
I always thought yeast was yeast when it comes to making bread and that it doesn’t matter what kind of yeast is used – I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just like beer, bread gets its flavour and texture from three key ingredients: water, grain and yeast. Standard grocery store bread yeast is designed to ferment quickly and impart very little flavour. This allows bakers to turn out a loaf of bread in 3-4 hours start to finish, but at what cost? Well, there is a hugs cost – lack of flavour and texture!
I am by no means a bread expert, but I have been eating bread for long enough to have a strong opinion. Most grocery store bread tastes like a fluffy cloud of nothing. Just like those who think all beer is supposed to be clean, crisp, light and flavourless – I thought bread was supposed to be light, fluffy, white and flavourless. This needs to change.
By using wild yeast, bread can reach its full glory and become much more than a sandwich holder or sauce sponge. Sourdough bread has a nice chewy texture, a unique flavour and a solid crust that can be achieved without the use of bread improvers/adjuncts. To me the most important part of sourdough is its flavour. Every region of the world has different kinds of yeast and bacteria floating through the air – each one producing a different flavour. My sourdough bread will not taste the same as sourdough from Halifax because of the different yeast used to leaven and flavour the bread.
Good bread is made with patience and good ingredients – many good things cannot be rushed. Generally speaking, water, grain and yeast should be the only ingredients needed to make a diverse range of amazing breads. All I ask of you is one simple thing – if you are enjoying good beer, please also enjoy good bread.