April 1st is National Sourdough Bread Day.
Sourdough is made by fermenting the dough for a long time using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeasts. It typically has a mild sour taste due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Sourdough dates back to the Ancient Egyptians and the discovery of leavening agents about five thousand years ago. Though it was original developed for the production of beer, bakers applied the leavening to water and flour creating leavened bread.
- Sourdough taste varies in different places because of the local microorganisms. So, be sure to try sourdough when you travel!
- Sourdough was the main bread during the California Gold Rush, and it remains a part of the San Francisco culture today.
- “Sourdough Sam” is the mascot of the San Francisco 49ers.
- In San Francisco, the sourdough starters in some places have been kept in production since the Gold Rush. When the great fire and earthquake hit the city in 1906, Louise Boudin, of Boudin Bakery, saved the original “mother dough” in a bucket.
- Sourdough was also a main stay during the Alaskan and Canadian territories during the Klondike Gold Rush. Experienced miners and settlers frequently carried a pouch of starter around their neck or on a belt. Old-timers are still called “Sourdoughs”.
Be sure to have some sourdough today and taste the history behind this bread.