Sourdough Fun Facts
Barm is the English term for starter. It is derived from the term ‘barmy’ which means
tipsy, or ditzy. This is because of the alcohol!
The liquid alcohol layer referred to as ‘hooch’ comes from an Native American tribe
called Hoochinoo. The Hoochinoo used to trade supplies with Alaskan gold miners
for the ‘hooch’ off the top of their sourdough starters.
San Francisco sourdough bread owes its distinct flavor to a bacterium unique to
the area which has its very own name: Lactobacillus sanfrancisco.
Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to capture and use wild yeast and
bacteria for bread leavening. The Egyptains were known by their neighbors as
“The Bread Eaters”. Bread was their primary food and was even used as a form of
currency. They also made beer with it. Many hieroglyphics even depict production
of beer and bread!
The ancient Greeks were already producing more than 80 types of bread in 2500
The Romans kneaded their dough with horse-driven mixers.
The word ‘supper’ comes from the Frankish word ‘suppa’, and later the English
word ‘sop’. This came about from the use of bread to ‘sop-up’ the last of a soup or
meal during the Roman Empire.
Bakers were powerful credit brokers during the
middle ages in France. They often loaned out bread
as currency and as a form of credit. King Louis IV
said, “He who controls a nation’s bread is a
greater ruler than he who controls their souls.”
By 1850 there were already 2,017 bakeries in the U.S.A.
During the California Goldrush (1849, near San
Francisco), gold prospectors were nicknamed
‘sourdoughs’. This is because miners and settlers
closely guarded their sourdough starter in a pouch
around their neck or belt (to keep it warm and alive). This term is still used when
referring to an Alaskan old-timer!
Sourdough has the special capability of breaking down the gluten and the phytic
acids in grains. Often times, even gluten intolerant people find that they can eat
traditional (ie, made with a 'mother'/starter) sourdough without digestive issues.
Copyright © 2010 Yemoos Nourishing Cultures. All rights reserved.