What to look for in a good sourdough

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rye sourdough

Sourdough comes in many shapes and sizes. While it is a simple delight for the eater, it’s a difficult bread to get right. Therefore, not all of these lusciously fermented loaves are created equal. There is good sourdough and not-so-good sourdough.

Here’s how to tell the difference.

Uneven Crumb

Great sourdough bread should have an uneven crumb. This will present as a random assortment of big and small holes when you cut into the bread. A network of irregular holes is a surefire sign you’ve cut into a proper loaf of sourdough. These small air pockets indicate that the oven heat has fully penetrated the grain which allows for maximum flavour to develop while baking.

The crumb should also look a bit glossy, which means the flour has been well hydrated and is fully cooked. It should spring back when you press it between your fingers.

Dark Crunchy Crust

The loaf should present a crunchy crust that contrasts with the soft interior. A darker coloured crust is generally a good indication the interior of the loaf is going to have more flavour. This is due to the Maillard reaction, which occurs during the late stages of baking. Essentially, all of the delicious flavours develop on the surface of the dough and sink into the interior, resulting in a super tasty loaf.

Loaves coming out of the oven Sourdough workshop baking class

Easily Digestible

When you first bite into a piece of sourdough, it should not feel dry in the mouth. Instead, the natural acidity should make your mouth salivate. Bread that has been fermented for a long period of time (like we do at Bellbird) is easy to digest and tastes delicious, albeit a little sour! The texture should be reasonably light and fluffy.

We hope that you feel a bit more confident in your good-sourdough-identification skills.

If this post has got your mouth watering or you are curious to try what a good sourdough tastes like, take a look at our range of sourdough bread here and see for yourself!

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