Sourdough vs Whole Wheat: Main Differences

Published Categorized as Sourdough Tips

It is likely that you have heard of or even eaten both sourdough and whole wheat bread. In fact, these two types of bread are among the most popular out there. What you may not know is that they actually differ quite a bit in terms of taste, nutrition and much more. To help you understand their differences better, we will take a closer look at the main differences between sourdough vs whole wheat.

wheat bread

Whole Wheat vs Sourdough

Whole grain breads are often more nutritious than their white counterparts, because they contain all three parts of the grain: bran, endosperm, and germ. These parts contain various vitamins, minerals and fiber that help keep us healthy.

The problem with whole grains is that they can be hard to digest if you don’t consume them regularly or properly prepare them before consumption. Sourdough breads are easier to digest than regular breads because they contain probiotic bacteria, which helps improve our digestive health by breaking down food into smaller particles so we can absorb its nutrients better.

Sourdough bread is made with sourdough starter, which is a combination of water and flour that has been fermented and allowed to grow bacteria and yeast. It’s not the same as the sour taste you might get from eating spoiled food. Sourdough starters are actually quite mild. The fermentation process breaks down complex carbohydrates in flour into simple sugars, making it easier for your body to digest.

By contrast, regular bread gets its flavour primarily from yeast; this means that when your body digests regular bread, your pancreas sends out insulin to break down those simple sugars into energy instead of storing them as fat cells.

Is Sourdough Bread Better than Wheat Bread?

Sourdough bread differs from wheat in two major ways: it contains less gluten, and it has more beneficial bacteria. While sourdough is certainly better for you than regular white bread, the main question is whether it is actually better than wheat.

A popular reason for eating sourdough is that it’s easier to digest than wheat bread. This is because sourdough contains probiotics, which are good for your gut health. The fermentation process makes the yeast and bacteria into lactobacilli, which helps break down the fiber in the bread, making it easier to digest.

On the other hand wheat bread comes with its own benefits, with a good fiber content and lower calorie count. Those who follow a strict diet may find themselves reaching for this bread a lot more than sourdough bread.

The main difference between these types of bread is their taste. Sourdough bread has an attractive tangy flavor, that pairs perfectly with almost anything, whereas whole wheat bread is pretty bland, with its simplicity not always making it the better bread to go for.

person holding knife slicing bread

Sourdough vs Wheat: Taste Test

Taste of Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is denser, chewy, and less sweet than fresh bread. It also has a slightly sour taste that can be pleasing to many people. Although it might not seem like it at first glance, sourdough is actually more nutritious than fresh bread because it contains less sugar and fat.

Sourdough can be made at home using a starter (a mixture of flour and water). The starter needs to be kept in the refrigerator between uses so that you have some on hand whenever you’re ready to make more sourdough.

Unlike fresh bread, the taste of sourdough continues to change and mature over time. The longer you allow it to age, the more complex its flavor will become, as it picks up other flavors from your kitchen. With some bakers waiting up to 3 days before baking their wonderfully fermented dough, producing unique and distinctive flavors that have many coming back for more!

Taste of Whole Wheat bread

Of course, whole wheat bread has a flavour all its own. It’s often described as having a nutty, tangy or earthy taste, but it can also have sour and bitter notes. In addition to these flavours, whole wheat bread can be spicy or savoury – like some types of rye – rich and musty.

Is Sourdough Healthier than Wheat Bread?

Sourdough bread is easier to digest compared to whole wheat bread, because it is made with a natural starter that breaks down the starches in flour and increases the presence of bacteria. This process helps you break down food faster so that you can absorb nutrients faster and have less indigestion issues.

On the other hand, whole wheat bread offers greater amounts of calcium, iron and vitamin B6, which are also incredibly beneficial to the body. Dissimilarly, whole wheat bread doesn’t undergo the same fermentation process as sourdough and therefore isn’t as easy for your body to digest.

sourdough vs whole wheat

Types of Healthy Bread

Bread is one of the most popular food items, but bread can also be very unhealthy. For those following a low carb, or keto diet where your daily carb intake is limited, enjoying a slice of bread, might not be a common occurrence. With one slice of white bread containing 24 grams of carbs and a slice of whole wheat bread containing 23 grams of carbs, you might want to stick around to scope out the healthier alternatives for you to enjoy in abundance:

  • Sprouted Grain Bread
  • Rye Bread
  • Whole-Wheat Pitta Bread
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Bran Muffins

Sprouted Grain Bread

The health benefits of sprouted grain bread are numerous. The sprouting process breaks the grain down and makes it easier to digest, which can lead to improved nutrient absorption. In addition, sprouted grains are lower in calories and higher in fiber than regular grains.

This makes them ideal for weight loss or maintenance programs as well as for people with diabetes and other gastrointestinal disorders, who often find that a diet rich in fiber helps manage their symptoms.

Rye Bread

Rye bread is a type of bread made from rye flour. Rye flour has a higher percentage of fiber, protein and vitamins than other types of wheat flour.

Rye bread is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for the health of your bones. It’s also high in iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium which are minerals that help fight inflammation in the body.

Whole-Wheat Pita Bread

Whole wheat pitas are made from whole grains, which are a good source of fiber protein, vitamins and minerals. This makes them a healthy choice for your diet.

Whole-wheat pitas contain about 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving. You need 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber every day to help keep your digestive system healthy and regulate blood sugar levels.

A whole-wheat pita can also help you get 12% of the recommended daily amount of protein if you eat one as a meal or snack. Protein is an important macronutrient that helps build muscle mass and repair tissue damage

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is made from a fermented dough. Rather than using a commercial yeast to make the dough rise, sourdough uses a starter which is a mixture of flour and water that’s been left out for several days to ferment. This process results in bread that’s more nutritious and digestible than other types of bread, as well as more flavorful.

You can use any type of flour you desire to make the starter. Using whole wheat flour is also an option!

Bran Muffins

Bran muffins are a healthy alternative to white flour muffins. These muffins are high in fiber and protein, but they contain less sugar, fat, and calories than traditional muffins. Bran is the outer layer of grains such as wheat, oats or corn. It contains most of the grain’s vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Whole Wheat Bread Recipes

Whole wheat bread is made with whole wheat flour, which means it contains all of the components of the grain. This bread can be made with or without yeast, depending on your preference for texture or ease of preparation. It provides a distinctly nutty flavor that pairs well with many soups. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, with each slice containing about 3 grams.

Here’s some whole wheat recipes for you to try:

  • Banana Bread
  • Cranberry Nut Bread
  • Pitta Bread

Banana Bread

This perfectly moist whole wheat banana bread, tastes just as good as normal banana bread. You can swap sugar for honey, and butter with unsweetened apple sauce, if you’re really pushing for a healthier breakfast!

You’ll need:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • butter or unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • Sugar or honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a loaf pan and set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bananas, butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth; add flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or until top springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.
sliced bread on white chopping board

Cranberry Nut Bread

A scrumptious nutty bread, for you to add to your list of healthy bread recipes! Pair this cranberry whole wheat bread with a cup of hot chocolate, or simply devour it on its own! Check out this brilliant recipe.

cranberry loaf of bread

Pita Bread

Pita bread is most commonly used in middle eastern cuisine, but it can be found in many other cuisines as well. It can be used for sandwiches, dipping, dessert and an endless list of things! You can use it to make pizza or sausage, tacos or wraps!

Pita is great if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to white bread.

cooked tacco

Sourdough Bread Recipes

Sourdough or Whole Wheat?

You may decide that sourdough bread is the better option when it comes to incorporating healthier bread in your diet. The fermentation process that sourdough undergoes makes it more easily digestible and lowers certain types of sugars. Not to mention its potent tangy flavors that are heavily enjoyed with soups and savories!

FAQs

Is Sourdough Bread Healthier than Whole Wheat Bread?

Sourdough is actually healthier than white or whole wheat bread, though its nutrients are comparable; the lower phytate levels makes it more digestible and nutritious.

What is the Healthiest Bread You Can Eat?

There are many types of healthy bread for you to choose from: Sprouted whole grain, sourdough, 100% whole wheat, oat bread, flax bread, and more.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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