• 39°

Better bread, better belly

By Allen Brewer

Why sourdough and why now?

This was the title of Batesville resident Melissa Farris’ recent Facebook Live post. In the 10:36 minute video, Farris issued a challenge to all her viewers to improve their health by eating more sourdough.

“I challenge you to stop buying any kind of bread but true sourdough,” Farris said. “Wherever you are or wherever it is close for you to get to it, I challenge you to switch to only sourdough,”

Farris believes that sourdough is healthier due to its slower fermentation process, which makes it easier on the digestive system. Having a healthier gut, Farris said, will lead to having a stronger immune system. Farris used an analogy to explain.

“When your gut is backed up (inactive) with bread that your body cannot digest properly, your digestive tract is more like a pond stagnant and bogged down,” Farris said. “With easily digested sourdough, your food and waste move along your digestive tract more like a flowing stream. “

Farris also said that the overactive consumption of bread can lead to inflammation, which could lead to digestive complications. Farris said that this could even lead to other food sensitivity issues due to the damaged state of their intestines.

“When your system is running clean, and your gut is healthy, your immune system can concentrate on its daily fight against the things you come in contact with,” Farris said.

About two years ago, she started making and serving only sourdough in her home and said that it made her and her family feel better. She believed in the product so much that she founded Better Belly Bread, a home business, where she makes and sells sourdough food products from her kitchen.

“I did not get into it to make a buck, I saw the change in my household,” Farris said in the video. “That is why I named it Better Belly Bread because it makes for a better belly.”

During her Facebook Live, however, Farris said that she would be only selling two types of sourdough in the foreseeable future, the sourdough brioche and the Cinnabeast.

The brioche is a softer texture of bread that slices and looks like a traditional sandwich loaf. The price of the loaf was dropped to $6 to make it more affordable for local customers.

“People are more accepting of bread that looks like sandwich bread,” Farris said. “I thought that if I am going to ask people to come off sandwich bread, I need something that would look familiar to them. I wanted to sell a loaf that they would have use for in their homes.”

The Cinnabeast, however, is Farris’s original take on a large cinnamon roll made of sourdough. She says that it is her most popular item.

Farris also makes the cinnamon rolls that are sold by Lost Dog Coffee, a coffee shop in Taylor.. Farris was approached about selling her cinnamon rolls at the store after selling her goods at a farmers market in Plein Air.

“I just love her products,” Lost Dog Coffee owner Leighton McCool said.

When the coffee shop opened back up in July, McCool said that she had a large line of customers wanting to buy Farris’s Cinnabeasts. McCool said she does not sell Farris’ rolls every weekend, so customers should call in ahead of time.

“While most people were watching the clock (during the quarantine), she was utilizing her time and being creative,” McCool said.

During the quarantine, Farris’ kitchen has been extremely busy. While many customers flocked to the grocery stores to stock up on bread, many people on social media have turned to her to get fresh loaves.

She has also helped around five customers start sourdough starters. Many of these customers were from outside of Panola who contacted Farris through her business’s Facebook page.

“It is a test of patience and humility,” Farris said about making sourdough from scratch. “Some pope will stick with it.”

While it does take extra work to make fresh sourdough, Farris says the benefits are worth it. Not only will it help improve one’s stomach health, but it also tastes good.

Those who would like to learn more about sourdough or to buy a loaf or a Cinnabeast can contact Farris on her Facebook page at Better Belly Bread.