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The art and science behind the great sourdough!

Written By Suchali Jain 15 Aug 2020
The art and science behind the great sourdough!

Curiously, during this apocalyptic spring, the best thing since sliced bread is turning out not to be sliced bread. Putting it in context, in this self-isolation life, if bread is rising, sourdough is soaring. Along with most essentials, flour has been amongst the first few products to vanish from supermarket shelves and for good reason. In a sea of banana bread insta recipes, the most coveted isolation loaves across the globe seem to be the great sourdough, a knobbly, textured variety of bread that requires a dash of patience, a touch of handmade fermentations along with oodles of affection. Being the real king of breads, Sourdough’s proverbial reign dates back almost 15000 years, from the remotest nooks and crannies to thriving metropolitan cities. Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread and as rightly put by Mr. Karl De Smedt, the curator of the world’s only sourdough library in Brussels, “making sourdough is part art and part science!”

On a whiff of a similar note, the founding duo Suchali and Mitali from Suchali's Artisan Bakehouse have always understood the magic of authentic baked goods and bringing the delightful art of sourdough to many homes in Delhi NCR. Our quaint but mighty bakehouse uses recipes that have been curated to seamlessly carry forward the original European Legacy. Perhaps you’ve spotted them on social media- sourdough loaves with crisp, intricately scored crusts and expansive, holey interiors and wondered if you too could make this kind of bread. The transformation of dough into a light and airy loaf is chemistry in action, with a good side of physics. High in nutrition, easy to digest and filling; bread has sustained us humans since biblical times but the quest for lesser production times and greater returns has left today’s breads a mere embodiment of commercial yeast for a fast rise, extra salt to add flavour, added enzymes, flour improvers, artificial preservatives and a list of other ingredients, none of which are good for us! It’s time that people adopt the long lasting benefits of switching from commercially processed breads to the natural goodness of sourdough.

Made patiently with only 3 ingredients, flour, water and salt, slowly fermented in the traditional way without commercial yeast, Sourdough offers a host of health benefits like:

  • Being a great source of prebiotic fibre, i.e. food for our gut bacteria
  • Being easton the stomach for people who have issues with gluten. Since the longer the fermentation, the more the gluten is broken down making it easier to digest.
  • Requiring no artificial preservatives as the natural acidity prevents growth of pathogens in the loaves. 
  • Having a much lower Glycemic Index, balancing the blood sugar levels and hence, being a great choice for diabetics.

The true art is in creating something that is complex, tender, nourishing with a touch of sweetness and a light sourness. At Suchali’s, we handcraft naturally leavened sourdough breads, that have a signature identity, feel and taste. We ensure the right temperatures for the Mother Dough to flourish, feeding it everyday since we are baking fresh loaves every day, our stone deck oven lending the right steam for a delicious crust and other such mindful steps help us bring the best to you. Who knew that the blend of basic ingredients like flour, water and salt can come a long way in giving us such a healthy and nutritious loaf of sourdough right? Even though prepping the sourdough, hand folding the dough and resting it, and the eventual baking process is time consuming, it's also the most rewarding process. No two loaves are the same and everytime we are met with the fresh aroma of a newly baked loaf, it brings us so much fulfillment and joy to share it with you.

Since you are now wondering if you can make this too? You can. For those who want to learn this age-old craft, it’s the start of a deeply rewarding journey. Your first few loaves might not be perfect, and that’s the beauty of this craft. But till then, we’re happily baking and constantly experimenting on different varieties of flavours of sourdough and croissants to deliver to your doorstep or even walk-in takeaways, from our stores in Delhi-NCR, because any day is a good day to try Suchali’s!