Despite its rise in popularity, sourdough sometimes gets a bad rap. After all, a bread with “sour” in its name can come with some negative connotations.
Red Hen Baking Co., Middlesex, Vt., is producing more than a dozen types of sourdough, but consumers won’t see that label on any of its products. Instead, the bakery is branding them as “naturally leavened bread.”
“When we first started, the word sourdough was immediately associated with San Francisco style and that either turned people off or gave them a perception that our bread had that same sour taste,” said Randy George, owner, Red Hen Baking.
In reality, bakers are able to produce a wide range of flavors using sourdough’s leavening process. Red Hen Baking products, which can be found in restaurants and retail locations in Vermont and New Hampshire, include potato and whole wheat naturally leavened bread that features a milder European sourdough flavor. One of the company’s most popular varieties is the Mad River Grain bread, a whole wheat multigrain loaf that contains sunflower, sesame and flax seeds as well as steel-cut oats and heirloom cornmeal. Each variety, though, benefits from the leavening process and fermentation.
“We make different starters so we can get different flavors from them,” Mr. George said. “Some of them are more sour, but others are very mild.”