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What is real sourdough?

Did you know that modern Sourdough bread had its origins in San Francisco during the Gold Rush era? 

With the recent rise in popularity of sourdough bread, due to some wonderful health benefits, many bread companies label bread as "sourdough" even when it is not authentic sourdough. 

Real Sourdough takes time for the culture to ferment and do its job of creating the sourdough. Food companies want to put products out faster so they shortcut the process by adding things to make it seem like sourdough. 

Many add flavoring and sour but are not made with real sourdough culture. 

Spotting a fake sourdough is not as complicated as it may seem. 

Here are a few tips to help you identify the real deal from the imposters.


  • Real sourdough will only contain four ingredients; flour, water, salt, and sourdough culture or starter. Nothing else should be included.

  • If yeast is listed as an ingredient, you can be sure that it is not an authentic sourdough. The yeast used in modern baking is a processed food that does not allow for the natural fermentation of the grains. There should not be any baker’s yeast, baking powder, chemical-raising agents, so-called processing aids, or other additives. This process is faster but does not yield the benefits of an authentic culture.

  • Real sourdough is made without using other ingredients/additives as souring agents or as sourdough flavoring, e.g. vinegar, yogurt, or dried sourdough powder.

  • If there is any kind of Sweetener listed then it is not real: Sourdough culture does not need sugars, but yeast does need it to activate.

  • Check expiration dates. If it expires in weeks or months then it is probably not real. Real food goes bad faster, and authentic sourdough is real food.

  • Look for The Sourdough Loaf Mark. This is a visual assurance from the baker to the buyer that a loaf is genuine sourdough.

Besides its unique taste and texture, what makes it so popular?

Here are some of the Benefits. 

  • Higher in Antioxidants. The lactic acid bacteria are also responsible for increased antioxidants in sourdough bread compared to other types of bread.

  • Your blood sugar levels will not rise as fast as if you were eating white bread. The bacteria that helps form sourdough has a unique effect on the starch in the bread. The real process changes the structure of the bread/sugar molecules — making your body absorb them more slowly.

  • Sourdough bread may be easier to digest than other bread for some people. According to some studies, sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, to help maintain a stable, healthy digestive system.

  • Sourdough is also lower in gluten than other forms of bread. The acid in the fermentation process degrades gluten, therefore making it easier to tolerate for people with gluten intolerance, but be aware that it is not gluten-free. 

If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, consult with your physician before adding sourdough bread to your diet. 

Authentic sourdough bread will probably be more expensive because it takes more effort to produce, but it is worth it.

Where to find it? 

Look for a local bakery, specialty shop, or farmers’ market that specializes in authentic sourdough. Panera has real sourdough bread! There are several brands of Sourdough bread at the box markets, you just need to read the label and do your own taste test. 

Sounds like a fun party-get-together theme. Bring your favorite sourdough bread and don't forget the cheese and wine. Maybe a fondue?

Remember that too much of anything can be unhealthy.

Real Sourdough


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