BLOG / Sourdough and Mother-dough…what is the difference?

11 Mar 2021

Sourdough bread has become popular nowadays. People are re-discovering this ancient process that makes bread more digestible and tastier. There is proof that many ancient cultures used this process, such as the Egyptians.

Currently, in English language, the term ‘sourdough’ is used to describe a yeast free bread. It is simply made by creating a starter dough with flour and water (sometimes with addition of yeast), which is left to rest for a few days/weeks. This allows the natural microorganisms contained in the flour to grow creating a leavening agent.

Today, surfing on the internet, you can find thousands of blogs and websites about sourdough. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion around this matter. Confusion about terms as sourdough, mother-dough, starter, wild yeast and how these are processed.

So, what do these terms actually refer to?

Let’s throw some light on the matter ….

“Sourdough” is a starter dough simply made of flour and water. This starter is left to rest for a few days or weeks to allow the bacteria to grow. It may have a liquid or solid consistency. In Italy it is known under the name of “Biga”. It is considered a Pre-dough with the purpose of boosting the leavening process of bread or pizza.

The “Mother-dough” (in Italian, lievito madre) is also known in the UK as Wild yeast.  This is the most ancient leavening agent used by humanity. It can be considered as a proper living organism. The mother-dough is made of a mixture of flour and water fermented with bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Acetobacter and Saccharomyces.  To create it and keep it alive requires patience and constant care. The mother-dough is a great leavening agent and makes a highly digestible bread.

When we decided to open our own bakery, we also decided to follow only the most traditional baking methods.
We do not use any preservatives or chemicals that may affect the quality of our bread.
In order to follow the tradition, the only ingredients we use are: flour, water, salt and our mother-dough.

At Casella&Polegato we proudly use our own mother-dough that is almost 15 years old.
As mentioned before the Mother-dough can be considered a living organism.
In our company, it is considered as our baby. We have also given it a name: Wilson.
We take constant care of Wilson: we make sure it stays always warm and it is never exposed to excessive cold or hot temperatures; we refresh him (or for better say we feed him) adding new nutrients. All of this to make sure it keeps its bacteria alive and thriving.

At Casella&Polegato, we proudly make and look after our own Mother-dough.
Thanks to it all our bread has an extraordinary taste, is highly digestible and it stays fresh and soft for longer.

Health and quality without compromise.