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What is Sourdough?

Sourdough is a term for bread made using a 'starter' comprising flour and water colonised by a synergic association of wild yeast and bacteria. The sourness derives from the lactic and acetic acids produced by the bacteria. In fact, although the process of leavening bread with wild yeast has been around for thousands of years, the term 'sourdough' is relatively recent and can be traced back to the American old West of the mid-19th century. In some ways it is unfortunate that the term has been so widely adopted as the 'sour' bit puts many people off.