You are currently viewing Sourdough Vs. Peasant Bread

Sourdough Vs. Peasant Bread

Sourdough bread is a type of bread valued for its nutritious qualities.

It is produced through a lengthy process that involves using a sourdough starter which gives the bread its distinct characteristics.

Peasant breads are dense rustic loaves of bread with earthy flavor.

Many different types breads are referred to as peasant breads, and some of their recipes are quite similar to the sourdough bread.

In this post, we find out the difference between a sourdough bread and peasant bread.

Difference between sourdough and peasant bread

Sourdough bread is a bread made with a sourdough starter as a leavening agent for bread.

Peasant bread is a word used to refer to varieties of breads that were made from roughly ground grains and eaten by European peasants, and sometimes these breads were leavened with sourdough starters.

Sourdough bread is often considered a type of peasant bread.

Sourdough bread

Before commercial baker’s yeast, a much slower process was used to leaven bread.

The bread produced was known as a sourdough bread and the leavening agent was a sourdough starter

Sourdough bread could be made with a variety of grains including whole wheat and rye.

The entire process involved in making sourdough bread is a more complex one compared to making use of baker’s yeast.

However, the popularity of sourdough bread in recent times can been attributed to its rich flavor, nutrients and keeping qualities.

The sourdough starter is responsible for the characteristics of the sourdough bread.

so what’s is a sourdough starter and how does it work?

What is a sourdough starter

The sourdough starter is a dough made up of a mixture of flour and water

This mixture provides a suitable environment for the wild yeast and lactobacillus in the environment to develop.

The flour in the sourdough starter feeds the bacteria and wild yeast, and when the mixture is allowed to sit, its begins to ferment.

Sourdough starters have been used as leavening agents for a long time, even before the use of commercial baker’s yeast.

The wild yeast as well as bacteria in the sourdough starter promotes the release of co2 which leavens the bread.

Bacteria in the sourdough starter also produces lactic acid which is responsible for the sour flavor of the sourdough bread.

Using the sourdough starter as a leavening agent is a slow process and the proofing takes longer time, it also takes time for the bread to develop its complex flavor when using the sourdough starter.

This bread takes days to make, and the sourdough starter has to be made earlier as a ripe sourdough starter is needed to make a good sourdough bread.

There are many varieties of sourdough bread often characterized by the strain of the lactobacillus and yeast in the sourdough starters.

Peasant bread

Peasant breads refer to different varieties of bread that were historically eaten by people of lower economic classes.

Some European breads in the medieval period and even up to the 20th century were regarded as peasant breads.

These rustic breads were made with roughly ground whole grains and were also cooked in the brick ovens

The grains used for these breads were low cost grains.

Grains such as barley, rye, and hard wheat like durum wheat were used to make peasant breads.

The bran and germ of these grains were not removed and the grains were ground using crude means.

These breads were usually round in shape and were crusty on their exterior, they had a dense texture and were chewy as well as heavy.

Peasant breads were made in many places in Europe, and these breads were among their staple foods.

Some of these breads were also leavened using sourdough, and thus sourdough bread is considered a type of peasant bread

In conclusion

Use of sourdough starter as leavening dates back to ancient times, and before commercial bakers yeast, sourdough was used as the main leavening agent when making bread.

As far back as medieval times in Europe, peasant bread was a staple among peasants.

These bread were made using crude means as more refined bread was reserved for those that could afford it.

Sourdough bread is still readily available nowadays usually as a healthier alternative to white bread.

Modern peasant bread recipes are mainly rustic bread, and may be made with more finely ground grains than the original recipes.