The different types of sourdough breads is classified according to the type of grain that is used in sourdough bread making. By far the most common type of grain flour that we use in sourdough bread is wheat flour, followed by rye flour and spelt flour.
Sourdough bread made with either wheat, rye or spelt flour are all highly nutritious and provides us with the carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that our body needs in our daily life.
Sourdough bread can also be made using either whole grain flour or white flour; whole grain flour is made from the entire grain, while white flour only contains the endosperm of the grain. Since whole grain flour is milled from the entire grain, it is much more nutrient packed than white flour, and it is the healthier choice.
Lets start by taking deeper look at the differences in the nutritional value between the different types of flour used in sourdough bread making.
Nutritional Value of Different Flour Used in Sourdough Bread
|Nutrient per 100 grams of flour
|Whole Wheat Flour
|Whole Rye Flour
|Whole Spelt Flour
|Dietary Fiber (grams)
|Vitamin D (mcg)
The information in the table above was extracted from nutritionvalue.org
Before we get started on analyzing the differences between wheat, rye and spelt flour, it is a good idea to understand how the different nutrients found in flour benefits our bodies. The healthiest type of flour used for sourdough bread making are those that has the lowest amount of calories and fat, with the highest amounts of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Calories – amount of total energy released into our body when consumed
- Fat – provides energy and support cell growth
- Carbohydrates – the body’s main source of energy
- Dietary Fiber – softens your stool to prevent constipation
- Protein – used to build and repair tissues
- Vitamin D – regulates nutrient needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy
- Calcium – building block for bones, enables blood clot, muscle to contract and heart to beat
- Iron – essential for blood production
- Potassium – regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals; reduce blood pressure, protect against stroke, prevents osteoporosis and kidney stones
1. Wheat Flour
Sourdough bread made with wheat flour has the highest calorific value compared sourdough bread made with rye or spelt flour. Wheat flour contains more calcium than spelt flour, but less than rye flour. Its protein, iron and potassium content is the lowest among spelt and rye flour.
In summary, wheat flour is the most commonly found flour used in sourdough bread making, and although its nutritional value pales in comparison to rye and spelt flour, it is still a good source of nutrient that is high in dietary fiber, protein, iron and potassium.
2. Rye Flour
Sourdough bread made with rye flour has the lowest calorific value and fat content when compared to wheat and spelt flour; it makes for a great choice if you are trying to lose some weight.
Rye also has the highest quantity of dietary fiber that is important to maintain a healthy bowel system. It also has the highest quantity of protein, calcium, iron and potassium.
In summary, sourdough bread made with rye flour has the highest nutritional value and it is the healthiest type of sourdough bread that you can consume.
3. Spelt Flour
Spelt flour has similar nutritional attributes to wheat flour what makes it special is that it is tolerable by people with certain wheat allergies.
On top of that, it has a higher quantity of protein, iron and potassium which makes it more nutritious than regular wheat flour. It makes for a great substitute for wheat flour.
Whole Grain Sourdough Bread is More Nutritious than White Sourdough Bread
Bread flour is milled from grain kernels that has a structure that is quite similar to that of an egg. We have the outer bran layer (the shell), the inner endosperm which contains most of the starches and protein (the white) and the centre germ that is packed with vitamins, mineral and fats (the yolk).
Every type of flour (wheat, rye or spelt) can vary in terms of their extraction rate, which indicates how much of the total kernel was milled into flour; whole grain flour has a 100% extraction rate as the flour is milled from the entire grain, while white flour has an extraction rate of around 72% as it contains mostly the endosperm of the grain.
- Whole grain flour has higher fibre content than white flour
Whole grain flour contains the bran layer of the grain that gives whole grain flour its high fibre content.
- Whole grain flour has higher vitamin content
Whole grain flour also contains the germ, which is nutrient pack as it is responsible for providing the vitamins and minerals required for the grain to sprout. Whole grain flour contains a high quantity of several types of vitamins which includes folate, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and pantothenic acid which is often lacking in white flour.
Folate is used by the body to make DNA and other genetic material, riboflavin is needed for growth and overall health, thiamin plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function, niacin lowers high cholestrol levels in the body, and pantothenic acid is necessary for making blood cells and helps you convert the food you eat into energy.
Sourdough bread made with whole or dark rye flour is the healthiest choice as it is the most nutrient packed flour in comparison to other types of bread making flour.
Whole rye flour contains a higher quantity of dietary fibre which is important for a healthy bowel system, and it has the highest quantity of minerals and vitamins that helps our body to maintain its metabolic functions and to keep our organs running the way they are supposed to.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that sourdough bread made with wheat or spelt flour is unhealthy, in fact wheat and spelt flour although not as nutritious as rye flour, it is still a great source of energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals for your body.