My mother is a microbiologist. Growing up, I learned from her that bacteria are normal phenomenon, and we were not on a rampage to eradicate bacteria. She was hip to the health benefits of good bacteria before it was even popular, and believed it was good for me to be raised in a non-sterile and unbleached environment. Soap and water were the predominant cleansers of my childhood.
One of my favorite factoids to share with patients is that there are more bacteria in and on our body than there are cells, and without bacteria, we would not live for very long. I’m truly in awe of this fact. For all that bacteria get a bad rap, they do some pretty amazing things for us—produce essential vitamins, out crowd harmful bacteria and support our immune system, clean toxic waste sites, and produce amazing food, just to name a few.
This week I will be featuring sourdough, which exists because of a symbiotic and balanced relationship between bacteria and yeast. The bacteria metabolize sugars and produce lactic acid. The yeast are unable to metabolize the sugars, but they can break down the lactic acid produced by the bacteria. Thus, they depend on one another to survive. The sour of sourdough actually comes from lactic acid produced by bacteria. Thanks to this relationship, we have been able to enjoy bread for thousands of years.
On Saturday afternoon, March 9th, Merry Schepers and I will be hosting a four hour class on sourdough bread in Tulsa, OK. Each class participant will get a sourdough starter culture. We will show you how to maintain your culture and bake bread with it. The cost of the class is $25, and you can sign up by e-mailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.