The Science of Sourdough: Fermentation, Microbes, and Flavor

The Sourdough Starter

At the heart of sourdough lies the starter, a living, breathing ecosystem of microorganisms. Creating a sourdough starter is like fostering a tiny, edible world of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria.


Fermentation is the engine driving the sourdough process. Yeast, one of the star players, consumes the sugars in the dough and converts them into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Acidity and pH Levels

Maintaining the proper pH level is crucial in sourdough baking. The acidity in sourdough not only impacts the bread’s flavor but also its texture and shelf life.

The Gluten Connection

If you’ve ever heard someone with gluten sensitivity say they can eat sourdough, there’s a reason for that. The long fermentation process of sourdough actually breaks down gluten proteins, making it potentially easier to digest.

The Sourdough Flavor Profile

Sourdough’s exceptional flavor comes from a complex profile of aromatic compounds. Acetic acid, among others, plays a significant role in the development of these flavors.