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Supermarket sourdough

Before we started regular baking we were avid consumers of supermarket sourdough. We appreciated the hand-made approach and natural ingredients that set it apart from regular bread.

Or so we thought.

In 2018, consumer watchdog 'Which' did a survey that checked the ingredients in popular supermarket sourdough loaves. They were looking for the traditional sourdough ingredients, namely flour, water and salt.

Surprisingly, the report found that 75% of supermarket sourdough contains ingredients such as yeast, vinegar, rice flour, oil and enzymes. It turns out that "sourdough" isn't a protected term, so there's nothing to stop supermarkets putting the label on whatever they like.

The Independent followed up with their own test sampling loaves from major supermarkets. This is what they found:

  • Tesco: fake

  • Lidl: fake

  • Waitrose: real

  • Co-op: fake

  • Asda: fake

  • M&S: fake

You can read their article at Rachel eats stuff: Which supermarket sourdoughs are authentic? (Independent, 2018).

After reading this, I rummaged around in the freezer and pulled out a pack of Waitrose sourdough. How would this fare? Was it real or fake?

Fortunately the label confirmed the Independent's findings - Waitrose sells 'proper' sourdough with the correct ingredients - flour, water and salt :)


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