The Science of Sourdough: How Flour Choices Affect Your Bread

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By: Henry Hunter

Hello, my favorite Carboholics. Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of sourdough science. Have you ever wondered how the type of flour you use impacts the flavor and texture of your sourdough bread? Well, researchers have some intriguing answers for us.

The Experiment

A recent article on delved into how different types of flour can foster distinct bacterial communities in sourdough bread. The researchers created 40 sourdough starters using 10 different types of flour. These flours were divided into two categories:

1. Gluten-containing flours: Unbleached all-purpose flour, red turkey wheat, emmer, rye, and einkorn.

2. Gluten-free flours: Teff, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and amaranth.

All 40 starters were kept in the same growing environment and were fed once a day for 14 days.

The Data Collection

The researchers were meticulous in their data collection. They measured the pH and height of each starter daily and recorded the aromas produced. They also took samples for DNA sequencing to determine the diversity and abundance of bacteria in each starter.

The Findings

The study concluded that using different types of flour indeed fosters distinct bacterial communities. These communities contribute to the variation in sourdough aromas and flavors. This means that your choice of flour can significantly impact the final product!

What Does This Mean for Home Bakers?

For those of us passionate about sourdough, this research opens up new avenues for experimentation. Want a sourdough with a nutty aroma? Maybe try using buckwheat flour. Looking for a classic sourdough taste? Stick with unbleached all-purpose flour. The possibilities are endless!

Further Reading

For those interested in diving deeper into the science of sourdough and other fascinating topics, here are some additional resources:

1. Using different flours for sourdough fosters different bacteria—and flavors.

2. Examining the role of methylation in vernalization and the photoperiod.

3. New ‘assembly theory’ unifies physics and biology to explain evolution.

4. Photosynthesis starts with a single photon, study shows.

5. Bacteria opt for the best price-to-quality ratio to predict the future.

We hope you found this exploration into the science of sourdough as fascinating as we did. Happy baking, and may your loaves be as diverse as the flours you choose!


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Don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself how Central Milling can elevate your bread-making game.

Happy Baking, everyone! 🍞

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