Sourdough bread, or Pain au Levain, refers to bread that is leavened only with the yeast and other microorganisms found in the natural environment.
As opposed to bread made from commercially produced bakers' yeast, this bread is crustier, more complex and varying in flavor, and stays fresh longer.
At NewTra, our particular challenge and philosophy is that any loaf you like is made better using sourdough, and that using sourdough makes the making better, too. Whether it's a boule, a buttery brioche, or a hamburger bun, we leaven it all with sourdough and nothing else.
Though this philosophy precludes fluffy, pillowy soft loaves with soft, thin crusts, we consider that no bad thing.
Apart from the differences in the quality of the flavor and texture, sourdough bread is widely believed to be more digestible and therefore more healthful. And since most yeast is produced in a way that prevents it from being certified organic (read: it is a dirty process), sourdough is the more ethical choice as well.
Our sourdough culture was created and elaborated by me right here in Kansas City, and though our microorganisms may not have the mystique of their San Franciscan relatives, we think that the flavor imparted is worthy of repute.
I love to share my sourdough, so feel free to request some. Of all the advantages it has, I think that the process of making something beautiful and delicious using only flour, water, and a little salt is the best thing about bread.