Sourdough is one of the most delicious breads on the planet. It’s been around for thousands of years and, despite the advent of commercial yeast, it has survived and thrived. Starters have been passed down for generations, recipes shared among friends, and techniques taught to new bakers.
It’s nutritionally superior to white bread, and if you’re making a whole-wheat sourdough, it even trumps whole-wheat bread for nutritional benefit.
We know it’s good for us as adults, but is it good for our kids?
Yes it is.
Sourdough IS good for kids!
And here’s why.
Sourdough Bread for Babies
Because sourdough is made using fermentation, the bread is more gentle on little bellies, making sourdough good for kids. Introducing bread to babies shouldn’t happen before six months of age, but with her doctor’s permission, bread is fair game.
As an aside, I spoon-fed our daughter pureed fruits and vegetables like they told me to: one new food at a time for three days to check for any allergies. In retrospect, that was really annoying and just crazy, for four reasons:
- She didn’t even like some of the veggies I was feeding her
- It took a lot of time to sit in front of her three times a day and spoon-feed her
- Her food came from a jar, which I didn’t like; I had tried pureeing her homemade foods but again, that took so much extra time
- She turned out to be a picky eater and mealtimes were a battle when she was between 18-24 months old
Everything changed with the second child
With our son, when he turned six months old, I literally just gave him whatever we were eating. If she was eating berries, he got berries. If we were eating pasta, they both got pasta. It was so easy. Obviously I made concessions considering he was only six months old, but that’s for another post entirely. Now he’s 12 months old and eats whatever I put in front of him. I’m lucky sourdough is good for kids, because it’s basically one of his major food groups.
That tangent had a point. Introducing sourdough bread to babies at six or seven months is not only beneficial nutritionally, it also provides a vehicle for other foods: avocado, butter, and even peanut butter. The AAP recommends introducing peanut butter to babies as soon as possible.
Recipe ideas for babies
Peanut butter rolls
Take one piece of sourdough and remove the crust. Press it down with your fingers to make it flat and firm. Spread about a teaspoon of peanut butter on the bread, depending on the size of the slice – you want it spread very thin because babies can choke on thick gobs of peanut butter. Then simply roll up the bread and serve.
Buttered toast fingers
Take one piece of sourdough and remove the crust. Toast very lightly, just enough to warm the bread up. Spread a teaspoon or two of high-quality unsalted butter on the bread, depending on the size of the slice. Do not use margarine or salted butter. Then cut the slice into pinky-size pieces and serve.
Sourdough Bread for Toddlers
By now, you now your child’s eating habits. My two-year-old’s favorites are pasta, fish, chicken, bread, corn, carrots and black olives. She will not eat bananas, at least right now. She must have her pink silicone placemat and her monkey fork.
Feeding sourdough to toddlers is so great for their little growing bodies. They need the carbs. Plus, by now you’ll know if bread bothers your child. If so, kids who have a hard time digesting commercial breads may be able to eat sourdough with no digestive issues, because the gluten is partially broken down already. Think of it as pre-digested bread! Plus, the vitamins and minerals are more readily available for absorption.
Toddlers are known for being picky, so making a blend of white and whole wheat flours that’s heavier on the white flour will win their little hearts. Even if you make 100% white sourdough, it’s still far better for your child than white bread.
As with babies, you can use sourdough as a vehicle for other nutritious high-calorie foods that your toddler needs. Like, say, delicious cheesy sourdough pizza!
Recipe Ideas for Toddlers
Lightly toast a slice of sourdough, then spread it with high-quality butter. Mash ¼ avocado with a fork and spread it on the toast. Cut in half, quarters or fingers. Because toddlers are more likely to eat something they helped prepare, let them help you mash the avocado or, when you serve the toast, give them a slice of lemon to squeeze over it.
Lightly toast a slice of sourdough or leave it room temperature. Spread with butter and a small amount of jam (not jelly). Cut into pinky-size pieces and serve.
Sourdough for Older Kids
It’s easy to serve sourdough to school-age kids. Say it with me: sandwiches! Pack them a lunch for school with a sourdough PB&J or serve turkey sandwiches on sourdough on the weekends. Sourdough toast in the morning is always a hit or present it alongside their favorite pasta dish. You can also toast sourdough heavily and make croutons to toss in their salads!
I hope this post has answered your questions related to feeding sourdough to your children. If you have any more, please email me and I may even add your question into this post. And now that you have that question answered, head on over to My Go-To Sourdough Recipe and get baking! Happy eating!