So, I used to keep a sourdough starter. It made great English muffins. The pancakes and waffles were rather gummy and icky to my taste, although they were tolerable if you mixed half sourdough with half a regular batter. I never managed a loaf of bread that wasn’t rock hard and raw in the middle. I did not at all mind when I forgot to keep back some starter from a recipe and so had none left.

Some people like sourdough for the more sophisticated taste. I like the idea of sourdough because it’s supposed to be healthier. Sourdough fermentation is supposed to deal effectively with phytates, for example, making the nutrients in the bread more available for the body. I think there’s supposed to be other benefits as well.

I don’t like the stereotypical sour flavor. Sometimes it’s good with a hearty soup, and / or with plenty of butter. Sometimes it’s nice for a grilled cheese. It’s awful for peanut butter.

Supposedly, if you manage how wet the starter is (hydration), how long the fermentation takes (via temperature, I think, mostly), and how fresh / young / lively the starter is (feeding frequency), and perhaps any number of other mystifying factors, you can make the sourdough less sour, and even arrive at a nice soft sandwich bread.

Which then leads to the question — if a long slow ferment is one of, or the only, or the main way sourdough makes bread healthier, and a short fast ferment is one of, or the only, or the main way to make sourdough less sour, then is it worth doing sourdough, or is minimally sour sourdough no healthier than regular yeasted bread?

Although it might be nice to have good English muffins again. I once tried making them the regular non-sourdough way and they were nowhere near as good.


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