Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Chef Jon Davis, culinary innovation leader, La Brea Bakery, about the recent growth in sourdough's popularity and the bread's health benefits—all in time for National Sourdough Day, on April 1, 2022.

Liz Parker: What spurred the recent growth in sourdough's popularity?

JD: Sourdough was growing in popularity prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic definitely propelled it to the forefront. Baking sourdough at home is seen as very challenging, yet rewarding, so food lovers really dove into their own starters during the pandemic, spurred on by shortages of bread and yeast at their grocery store.

Once you get a good loaf freshly baked out of your own oven, it’s hard to go back, even though it takes a lot of trial and error (even for me). I think people really appreciate the nuances of the process and the effort it takes to get sourdough right, which gives a great sense of accomplishment .


LP: What health benefits do La Brea Bakery bread have?

JD: Sourdough has so many health benefits. Here are a few:

1. A Lower Glycemic Index

The acids produced by the microbes in sourdough slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood stream. On the other hand, traditional white bread has a high glycemic index because you digest it quickly, and it causes your blood glucose to jump very quickly. So sourdough is a good choice for people who are working to manage their glucose levels, like those with diabetes or athletes. 

2. More Digestible 

Sourdough’s lengthy fermentation process actually predigests the gluten in the bread and breaks down some of the indigestible proteins. This makes the gluten in sourdough easier on the stomach. That’s why some people with gluten-sensitivity are able to tolerate sourdough but not other gluten breads. 

3. Helps with Gut Health

Eating fermented foods like sourdough can help support good bacteria in your gut. The fermentation process also releases more fiber than other bread, which helps with gut health.

4. Helps you stay full and energized longer

Sourdough is higher in soluble fiber and resistant starch; this combination generates a feeling of satiety in the body, which helps you feel fuller longer. Fermentation also increases the levels of organic acids in your bread. These acids slow down the body’s breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promote sustained energy. 


LP: How does La Brea Bakery ensure its sourdough is one of the top artisan bread available in local grocery stores?

JD: We don’t skimp on process in making our bread, and we make sure all our breads have the highest quality and consistency no matter where you buy it. From starter to finish, our breads take 24 hours to make, including up to an 8 hour fermentation process.

Additionally, we work with our customer partners to leverage communication in store and online to highlight the benefits of sourdough and how it can benefit overall help. We sure signage at that point of sale, use imagery and messaging in social and also use digital platforms and ecommerce to grow the awareness.  

For more about La Brea Bakery, see "La Brea Bakery, artisan bakery to the nation" on the SF&WB website.