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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough is a naturally leavened bread. It is started by cultivating the naturally occurring yeasts and allowing your dough to ferment. Once you have started your sourdough, enough dough is saved to start the next day’s batch of dough. Dough consisting of about 20 to 25 percent of the previous days dough provides sufficient leavening agent. The name “sourdough” comes from the somewhat sour taste created from the process.

Sourdough was made famous in the United States in California during the California Gold Rush. However, the process of making sourdough bread dates back to the Ancient Egyptians and was most likely the first form of leavening used. Sourdough was likely first created by accident when yeast from the air made it to a batch of dough and was allowed to ferment long enough for it to rise. The methods of making sourdough were developed over time by trial and error. The Egyptians also developed a starter batch for beer. Adding foam from a batch of beer to bread dough would also prove to be a successful leavening agent for bread. The use of this method of making leavened bread spread across the Old Country and was utilized as the most reliable way of sustaining yeast cultures until about a hundred years ago.

 According to legend, Columbus brought a starter batch of sourdough with him to North America. Sourdough was produced daily by inhabitants of the Old West every day. Used for pancakes, biscuits, bread, and cakes, sourdough was the biggest part of the diet to early pioneers. 

Even with the availability of commercial yeast and baking powder in the 19th century, sourdough was utilized by pioneers choosing to move away from the settlements and carried this tradition with them to the Old West. The year the Gold Rush began, the French Bakery opened up in San Francisco making this sourdough extremely popular in California and linking itself to the California Gold Rush. Even today, sourdough is still a specialty in San Francisco. The taste of sourdough can not be easily duplicated due to the long process involved. The distinct flavor of sourdough is a favorite among many, who even with the patent of a method of manufacturing powdered yeast in 1854, prefer to keep sourdough in their daily diet. 

A batch of sourdough can be used for and indefinite amount of time, so long as fresh water and flour are added daily. This method of passing the There are bakers in San Francisco who can trace their dough back to over a century ago. Every batch of sourdough has its own unique flavor and aroma that has been developed over time. Bakers will pass their dough down from generation to generation making it their best kept and guarded baker’s secret. 

sourdough bread


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