The unique flavors and excellent shelf life of sourdough bread owe much to the lactic acid bacteria produced through fermentation.
The million dollar question: do the probiotics survive the hot baking ovens?
The big surprise here is that the probiotic benefit doesn’t die with them. While alive, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce organic acids and bacteriocins.
These inhibitory substances are the rich legacy of dead bacteria.
What are bacteriocins?
- Peptides which kill off competitors and maintain space and food for themselves.
- Substances resistant to heat and acidity.
- Bacteriocins vary greatly in structure and function which makes them strong against a variety of pathogens.
How valuable are they?
- Food technologists are investigating how bacteriocins may act as natural “antibiotics” to preserve food from contamination.
- The health industry is studying how these bacterial by-products may fight disease.
Applications of bacteriocins in food technology, both as natural source and as a commercial preservative are discussed in the paper. And in infectious disease control, bacteriocins may one day be employed against drug-resistant pathogens.
Find out how to make sourdough bread here.