Terre del Conero

In this section you will find many interesting facts and insights about our area, its food and traditions. You will also come across many tips about healthy eating, and there are some simple recipes that you can use to enjoy our products.

The benefits of natural yeast

Perhaps few people know about the benefits to our health of natural yeast and what differentiates it from brewer's yeast. What is known is that while the former takes five to seven hours for the leavening process to be completed, the latter requires significantly less time and that is why it is often used in the baking industry. In fact even those who decide to make bread at home usually opt for convenience, although bread made with natural yeast is actually more appetizing, fragrant and remains fresh for a longer period.

Many people are not aware however, that the two types of leavening do not only differ in terms of preparation time, but there is also a significant difference in quality between the two processes.

In ‘natural yeast’ (or sourdough) in fact, in addition to Saccharomyces, there is also the bacteria, lactobacilli, which is responsible for the conversion of sugar into lactic acid. This results in the acidification of the dough. Therefore a dual process takes place in the case of natural yeast. As well as the alcohol-fermentation carried out by the Saccharomyces, the fermentation process produces another type of acid that is precisely what gives the bread its special taste and aroma.

Moreover, the presence of a particular type of saccaromiceto (Saccharomyces elypsoideus) facilitates the maintenance of a biological equilibrium in our digestive system. With sourdough, the bacteria and yeast act in harmony. This facilitates a kind of pre-digestion of the flour and, consequently, assists its correct assimilation into the body. This does not occur when using brewer's yeast, in which there is only one agent of fermentation, ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’, whose action is simply to create the carbon dioxide that leavens the starch of the flour. In the end, the composition of bread produced with brewer's yeast will not be very different from that of the flour with which it has been made.


Another great advantage of natural yeast (or sourdough) is that it facilitates the actions of  phytase. Phytase is an enzyme that is found in the outer shells of wheat grain and other cereals, and it is able to break down the phytic acid present in the bran, which would otherwise prevent the assimilation by the body of important metals such as iron, calcium and magnesium. For its action to be effective, phytase requires a suitable acid environment and a longer period in which to react. Both conditions are only satisfied with natural yeast. In fact its lactobacilli create an appropriate environment in the dough and its fermentation time is much longer than that of brewer’s yeast.

And this is the reason why while having substantially the same ingredients, bread made with white flour, where bran has been added and brewer's yeast has been used for the fermentation process, is only a kind of "fake" wholewheat bread.

Therefore, using natural yeast certainly requires more time and effort, but the results in terms of goodness and health are undeniable.


Source: Il pane di Ostani Boriani, Fratelli Melita Editori 1990

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Terre del Conero Agricoltori per Natura, soc. coop. agr. Via Peschiera 30, 60020 Sirolo (AN) P.IVA 02474980428
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development