Naturally Leavened Bread


Thought this was worth posting

Naturally Leavened Bread
by Jacques de Langre

[This is the best article I've seen on the health differences between wild and commercial yeast. Jacques de Langre is the founder of the celtic sea salt company, and they used to have this on their web site (here's the archive) but for some reason they killed it. Maybe they got bought out by someone with an economic stake in unhealthful food.]

Natural Leaven or Commercial Baker?s Yeast?
There are two methods for leavening bread and they differ totally in the way they act on the flour, as well as on the taste and nutritional effect of the resulting bread and, in the end, on the health of the consumer. The aim of bread fermentation is to transform the various nutrients freed by the milling of the grain and to modify them for optimum assimilation during digestion.

A Definition of Natural Leaven
Wild yeast, or multi-micro flora are the natural air-borne ferments that are generated or seeded in a dough left exposed to a clean and cool atmosphere under specific conditions of moisture and temperature and the exclusion of larger specimen. Within that fertile medium, lactic bacteria of the various beneficial types are found: B. Pastorianum, B. Delbrucki, B.Ternoas well as saccharomyces such as S.Pastorianus, and S. Cervisiae. This type of microflora consumes little energy and multiplies quite slowly. Its growth duplicates the cycle of human breathing and that of wheat embryo germination. Wi

ld yeast also naturally enriches the bread, due to an additional development of nutrients by the beneficial enzymes and ferments.

Baking by Principle
In baking as in all natural processes, the laws of life must be respected; it is vital for the fermented bread to retain the dynamic character that originally develops within the wheat berry as it evolves toward its germination. Just as the breathing cycle consists of an oxidation, followed by a reduction, the same cycle is reproduced in the five day cycle of the germination of wheat. Natural leavened bread (seeded with wild yeast or natural leaven) also duplicates this cycle: The rising of the dough corresponds to an oxidation (like wheat germ growth), followed by a reduction (during the baking of the loaf) identical to the development of the miniature sprout of wheat. We readily see that of the two methods available for leavening bread, only natural leaven faithfully follows God?s laws of the universe.

Beware of White Sourdough
There is also the question of sifting out the bran: Today, many loaves of sourdough ?French? bread are being offered but they are made with white flours that are almost totally demineralized. The pseudo mycelium (vegetative part of the thallus of the fungi, composed of several filaments) cannot feed on such debilitated flours and the bread tastes excessively sour which tells us that, besides lacking the essential nutrients, it is unfavorable to the digestive process.

Another problem sometimes occurs in natural baking: An excess of lactic bacteria may develop and give the bread a definite sourness. Although these bacteria are natural, they have proliferated in excess because the starter or sour dough sponge was not cared for daily. Excess proliferation is a result of a lack of aeration or scrupulous daily feeding (refreshing) or else is due to the storage of the starter in warm areas or areas contaminated with vinegar or other acetic acid products. Since lactic bacteria are anaerobic, they can only develop in the absence of air. When these have exceeded their limit, a ?lactic bread? or ?acetic bread? is obtained, excessively sour that becomes more sour with aging, with definitely harmful results.

How Baker?s Yeast Works
Commercial yeast is an isolate ?mushroom-type? microorganism whose cells are high in moisture and consist of vacuolated protoplasm. Their reproduction cycle is extremely rapid and thus one gram of compressed yeast contains several trillions of yeast cells. In a dough seeded with 1% of commercial yeast, the number of these cells can double in 6 hours at 80 degree Fahrenheit. If the fermentation is allowed to continue, the proliferation will reach a concentration of 150,000,000 cells per cubic centimeter regardless of how little seeding was done at the start.

With commercial yeast, rising of the dough is lightning fast, coupled with a reduction (baker?s yeast is a strong reducer), followed by a strong oxidation during the baking and often accompanied by an alkalinization. This is increased even more when a portion or all of the bran is removed. We witness here a phenomenon totally opposed to the normal laws of life. The end result of this biological decay (staling of bread), is a deficient oxidative energy that changes into a glycolysed energy, as evidenced by monster, or anarchistic, cells that are an exact duplicate of human cancer cells, according to the research of Dr. Warbourg, M.D.

Candida and Anemia are Related to the Consumption of Yeasted Bread
Rickets and anemia can be caused by the consumption of yeasted whole wheat bread. These chronic calcium deficiencies are corrected and even totally eliminated when the whole wheat bread is naturally leavened. In the natural leavening process, the phytic acid and the phytates are hydrolysed by the phytases of the bran in an acid environment and transformed into phytin and soluble phosphatic acids of magnesium, calcium and iron which are totally assimilable and beneficial.

In the case of yeasted bread, with a pH varying from 5.9 to 6.5, the reduction by hydrolysis of the toxic phytic compounds is insufficient, no better than 50%, a level that causes yeasted bread to be detrimental, especially for anemic people.

A full hydrolysis is possible only when the pH remains between 4 and 5.6 maximum, which is the case for natural leaven bread. At the median pH of 4.8 in a dough kept at a temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit; there remain only 0.78% (less than 1%) of the phytic acid compounds, which is a totally safe amount.

Sweet Tasting Bread Made with Sourdough Starter
It is quite easy to obtain a sweet tasting bread with a natural leaven fermentation for a base. The slower proofing of the dough at temperatures between 62 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, made from a leaven always stored at low temperatures of 47 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and regularly refreshed, will totally prevent the characteristic sour dough taste often associated with natural leavened bread.

Two Extra Benefits from the Natural Leaven Process
The limited growth of friendly lactic bacteria and the presence of other micro-organisms will add little to the acidity, yet will create a good swelling of the gluten as evidenced by small but regular air cells in the crumb. As it ages, natural leavened bread will retain its moisture and keep well without refrigeration, quite opposed from the yeasted bread that stales and dries out within hours after its baking. With natural leaven, no dried out bread need ever to be thrown out.

Bran Value
The high mineral and enzymatic value of bran is widely known and needs little elaboration. It is necessary however, to discuss the little known phytic acid and its detrimental effects on the body metabolism. Phytic acid is inherently present in whole rice and whole wheat and it can cause allergies and other severe illnesses. This toxic substance can only be neutralized and eliminated by the skillful fermentation of those cereal grains through highly principled baking. Thus, the natural baking method that drastically reduces phytic acid must be adopted universally if one is to obtain the most beneficial bread.

Bread and grain-based diets, especially at the beginning, give the illusion that they do not readily digest. Natural leaven bread, because of its inherent beneficial ferments, slowly recreates the population of friendly lactobacillus digestive bacteria in the absorption tract. The end result is a recovery of digestion and proper elimination by the effective action of friendly bacteria. Natural leaven bread provides more stable nutrition than that obtained mechanically by non-fermented (and thus non- pre-digested) bran and other raw or cooked roughage diets, since these only succeed in physically abrading and irritating the colon.

344 users have voted.


chembake 2006 May 30

Interesting post Normbake
But allow me to dissect this ..

Unfortunately many of Jacques claims are myths....
He is implying that bakers yeast fermentation performance does not follow the rules of nature which is ridiculous.

He also states that if brans are sifted out from the white flour it becomes demineralized .. Look the purest patent flour has a mineral content of 0.40 then how did he come to reach such conclusion...?
Is he equating bran content with mineral content?

Branny matter supplies insoluble fiber, but flour pentosans supplies soluble fiber which is also good for the body as it helps binds cholesterol.

Another thing is its not the bran that is responsible for the decrease in pH ( more sour tasting bread) but the buffering effect of the mineral matter which is present in all parts of the wheat kernel...
The sourness also depends on the nature of the sourdough culture and not only due to the length of fermentation and neglect so he is just assuming things.

Another thing funny is why would a starter stored in vinegary atmosphere becomes sour? Does he mean that vinegar odor will seep into the culture increasing its acidity.... Its unlikely...the sourness of the starter is dependent on the nature of the critters that inhabit in it. More of the heterofermentative bacteria induces more sourness as it can generate both acetic and lactic acid ,where as more of the homofermentative bacteria means milder flavor ( low acidity) as it only produces lactic acid.
Take note that acetic acid is responsible for the sour taste in sourdough bread and not the lactic acid. So if your sourdough culture generates more of it then you will taste the distinct tanginess.
In addition to that there are strains of lactobacteria that has more propensity for his such as th L.Sanfranciscencis and L. Brevis.

An aged starter will ultimately produce a hooch but it does not make it worse tasting . You can reinvigorate that starter and it will perform as good as new and does not change the nature of the taste of the resulting bread.

He stated that bakers yeast behaves lightning fast which is natural as this particular microbe is not fastidious or selective like the natural sourdough yeast called candida millierie in terms of sugars to use as food source; incidentally the C.Milliere prefers glucose.
In comparison the bakers yeast or saccharomyces cereviseae can digest many kinds of sugars therefore its expected to be more vigorous in terms of fermentation performance.

Another myth is that yeast infections and anemia is related to consumption of yeasted bread which is rapid fermenting therefore unable for the phytaste enzymes to stop the binding of calcium and other metals in the flour minerals by the phytic acid sequestering effect?

White flour has lower phytic acid content if compared to darker flours and if the bakers knows it he can prolong the fermentation with the latter flours and the effect will be the same.

He also stated conflicting claims that only sourdough can produce sweet tasting bread when the fact is even with bakers yeast if used at a very minimal level in cool conditions can also produce the same effect.

Finally he erroneously claimed that only naturally fermented bread is capable of producing digestible bread when bakers yeast can do the same.
Digestion has nothing to do with microbial activity in the dough but how that food is digested in the gut .
Our digestive system have means to digest and assimilate any kinds of food that is consumed.

Therefore the reason why the his Jacquesde Langre papers was removed is due to its mythical content , it was biased and written with out technical competence. This guy is sadly a fanatic and is not good source or reliable information.
He had shown in his article that he does not have a solid and good understanding of the technical aspects of sourdough and bakers yeast fermentation

Normbake 2006 May 30

Hi Chembake
Does adding some milkpowder to your sourdough have any special benefits..?

John 2006 May 30

I'm a lover of sourdough, and I'm happy to believe naturally leavened bread my have health benefits as opposed to those made with bakers yeast. But I suspect that the article might be dogma dressed up as science.

I know little about the science of yeast, however I became suspicious when I read that commercial yeast behaves in a way that is "totally opposed to the normal laws of life". What seals it for me however is the statement that it leads to "monster, or anarchistic, cells that are an exact duplicate of human cancer cells". Human cancer cells contain human DNA, so if bakers yeast can duplicate them then someone's discovered something pretty profound

chembake 2006 May 31

Does adding some milkpowder to your sourdough have any special benefits

Hello Normbake,,,
I use milk products generously in my other breads but not often with true sourdoughs....
The effect of milk is the formation of deeper crust color and increased crust thickness as well as masking some of the subtle flavors of the bread .
Sourdoughs are noted for deeper crust colors and thickness and if I used milk powder liberally the effect is not desirable.
Milk is more beneficial to bakers yeast leavened bread.

Post Reply

Already a member? Login