We at Samyara's Den have been practicing the craft of baking authentic artisanal sourdough bread which is a time intensive yet highly rewarding process of making a wonderful loaf of slow-fermented sourdough bread. Yet, time and again, we bump into customers who complain that our sourdough bread isn't as soft as sourdough breads they've had from other commercial establishments in the city.
Well unfortunately, as most businesses scale, they also take shortcuts to bulk produce items, and sourdough bread is yet another victim of the nasty practices of the commercial baking industry.
"Fake sourdough" bread refers to bread that is made to resemble sourdough bread, but is not made using a traditional sourdough starter and fermentation process. Instead, it's made using a variety of other methods to mimic the flavor and texture of sourdough bread.
One common method to make fake sourdough is using commercial yeast and adding lactic acid or vinegar to the dough to give it a tangy flavor. Some bakers also add malt powder or molasses to give the bread a dark color, similar to traditional sourdough bread.
Another method is to use a pre-ferment such as poolish or biga, which are made from flour, water and commercial yeast, and are left to ferment for a short period of time, usually overnight. This pre-ferment is then used to make the dough and gives the bread a slight tangy flavor and open crumb structure.
Fake sourdough bread can be made quickly and easily, and it is often used by large-scale commercial bakers and supermarkets, but it doesn't have the same nutritional profile, flavor and textural characteristics as the traditional sourdough bread.
But how do you identify a fake sourdough bread? To identify fake sourdough bread, look for certain characteristics that are indicative of true sourdough bread. True sourdough bread is made using a natural starter culture, which gives it a distinct tangy flavor and a slightly bubbly and irregular texture. The crust should be dark in color, and the bread should have a dense, moist crumb. Additionally, the bread should be made using flour, water, and salt, and should not contain any commercial yeast or other artificial ingredients like a bread improver or preservatives. If the bread does not have these characteristics, it is likely not true sourdough bread.