If there’s one thing any sandwich connoisseur knows, it’s that most sandwiches are made better by the addition of sourdough bread.
Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwiches? They’re always better with the bite and tang of sourdough. Burgers? Oh, yes, replacing a humdrum old hamburger bun with a butter-grilled sourdough bread pushes them to the next level. Tuna salad sandwiches? If there is anything that can make this already delicious sandwich better, it’s putting it on a couple of slices of toasted sourdough bread.
So is it any wonder that Sourdough Bread has its own day of celebration dedicated to it? It shouldn’t be a surprise!
History of Sourdough Bread Day
The History of Sourdough Bread is actually rather long. Sourdough bread is made from dough that has a mixture of the normal yeasts in symbiosis with a Lactobacillus culture. This is a really big word for the culture that gives the bread a slightly sour tang. And that is what makes it far superior to all other breads (well… depending on who is asked, of course). Plus, this culture also provides the bread with a longer shelf-life.
What is surprising isn’t that sourdough bread isn’t a standard in everyone’s pantry, but that it was actually one of (if not the first) forms for leavening bread in human history!
In fact, in some forms of bread, it is necessary to use sourdough cultures for the bread to even work at all. Rye bread has a remarkably low gluten count, making the typical baker’s yeast simply impractical for helping it to rise. Sourdough, on the other hand, happens to work perfectly in this type of bread. (See, we told you tuna went perfect with sourdough bread, that’s why tuna on rye is so amazing.)
In America, one of the most famous places where Sourdough is made is San Francisco, California. This is because French bakers brought the leavening to northern California to feed those hunting down that precious gold during the Gold Rush of the 1850’s.
So how did Sourdough go from being the favorite leavening agent for bread in so many places? Well, wheat-based breads don’t need the special properties of sourdough leavening, and it was gradually replaced by barm, a result of beer making. Eventually, when purpose grown yeasts came into play, they were easier to use and they began to take over the industry.
Sourdough Bread Day reminds us of the origins of one of the most important staples of our diet, and to remember that it still makes one of the most delicious breads available out there!
How to Celebrate Sourdough Bread Day
Celebrating Sourdough Bread Day can be loads of fun and filled with eating this delicious bread and sharing it with friends and family!
Eat Sourdough Bread
The simplest way to celebrate Sourdough Bread Day is just to eat some, in one of its various forms, as the staple of your bread diet that day. Start your day with sourdough bagels (and most people thought bagels couldn’t get any better!), and then prepare lunch with sourdough bread on a sandwich instead of using regular white or wheat bread.
For dinner, it’s easy to serve a rich, savory stew in a hollowed out sourdough ‘cannonball’. (This is just a loaf of bread that is baked round rather than rectangular like a standard loaf of bread.)
Then for a real surprise, have a sourdough chocolate cake for dinner. That’s right! Sourdough can be part of every meal that is eaten on Sourdough Bread Day!
Try Making Sourdough Bread
Making sourdough bread in a home kitchen is likely to give the home baker a fresh respect for the work that goes into running a bakery. Sourdough bread is not something that can simply be made at a moment’s notice. It requires a starter, which is living ‘wild’ yeast that has been nurtured and allowed to grow for several days before it is ready to be used. But once the starter is available, the bread can be made just about anytime!
The best way to get a starter is to glean one from a friend who is willing to pass it on. However, if there is no one nearby who has a starter, it is possible to make one using whole grain flour, water, and a mason jar, and then ‘feeding’ it every day with organic bread flour. This will initiate the fermentation process that is necessary for sourdough bread.
Some people might find the process to be a bit tedious, while others think it is really fun. In any case, instructions can be found online. Starters can also be made from hazy apples, which is especially tasty for making recipes such as apple cinnamon sourdough bread.
Once the starter is ready to go, making the actual bread isn’t very difficult and just requires a bit of stirring, kneading and rising.
Share Sourdough Bread with Friends
Sourdough bread has so much flavor that it is delicious even just eaten as a slice on its own. Grab a loaf to take to work to share with coworkers. Or host a little Sourdough Bread Day party where the guest of honor is Sourdough Bread! Think of lots of different ways to make and serve this yummy treat, and have friends bring their own sourdough creations to pitch in.
Listen to Sourdough Bread Inspired Music
Listen to entire albums by the 1970s band, B.R.E.A.D. Or create a little playlist on Spotify with these bread-inspired song titles and bands:
- Song of a Baker (1968) by Small Faces
- Bread and Water (2011) Vince Gill
- I Love Bread (2016) by Parry Gripp
- Bread and Butter (2008) The Newbeats
- Toast (1988) Streetband
- Bread and Wine (2007) Anthony Reynolds
Make a Donation to a Food Pantry
To share the love of bread, give a donation to a local food pantry so that someone else in the world can also have access to the bread they need. It will be a great reminder of how thankful everyone can be for the bread that they have each day, whether it is sourdough or otherwise!