Is There Hope For The Gluten-Sensitive Bread Lover?

In this article the author, Liza Saturley, discusses the gluten intolerance issue and how it relates to bread. It shows how the use of heirloom varieties of wheat, home (or stone) milling, and natural sourdough starter leavening may offer bread consumption hope to gluten sensitive people.

What is gluten, and why does it cause so much trouble for so many people? And what role does bread play in this growing problem for an estimated 0.5-2.0% of all Americans and Europeans?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. There are two main categories of gluten intolerance: Celiac Disease, and gluten sensitivities. Celiac Disease (CD) is a serious autoimmune condition where upon consuming gluten, the body attacks itself by damaging the villi (tiny finger-like protuberances which aid in absorption of nutrients) of the small intestine. Those with CD cannot consume gluten without a potentially serious negative impact on their health, and there is currently no cure for this disease. Gluten sensitivity is also a real condition, however while its uncomfortable and sometimes disabling symptoms are similar to those of CD, it is not an autoimmune disease and its consequences are not as dire.

Humans have enjoyed consuming wheat and other grains which contain gluten with no significant issues for 10,000 years. Since World War II, however, the number of people diagnosed with Celiac Disease has increased by 400%. Add to that the staggering number of people who suffer from gluten intolerance and one logically wonders, what’s changed? While the scientific community continues their efforts in definitively identifying the specific causes of the dramatic increase in peoples’ difficulty in digesting gluten, there are indications that significant changes from the past half century have likely precipitated today’s gluten sensitivities: how we grow grains; how we mill grains; how we bake bread products; and an increase in the amount of gluten consumed by way of unconventional uses of gluten in a wide array of food products.

How grains are grown

In 1961, high-yield wheat varieties were first introduced by American agronomist Norman Borlaug. His hearty strains benefited from heavy applications of fertilizers and produced large numbers of wheat berries. As his success became known others imitated his efforts, and high-yield wheat was soon grown all over the world. Industrialized farming methods became common, which required wheat varieties to be hardy enough to withstand handling by machinery, transcontinental shipping, and industrial dough mixers. To address these demands of a hardy wheat, wheat varieties were bred to be stronger, which meant stronger glutens. Ancient grains with more fragile glutens were phased out in favor of this stronger and more profitable type of wheat.

 “There is good evidence that ancient grains didn’t have  anything like the toxicity that current wheat does.” — Dr.  Peter Green

While high-yield wheat has been convenient and profitable, there are nutritional concerns to consider. A whole wheat berry in its natural form contains micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and selenium. However yield and the presence of micronutrients are inversely proportionate: the higher the yield, the lower the amount of micronutrients available for consumption. In place of micronutrients, starches and gluten grow. According to Dr. Peter Green, a gastroenterologist at Columbia University and author of the book Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic, “There is good evidence that ancient grains didn’t have anything like the toxicity that current wheat does.”

How grains are milled

These harder, stronger wheat varieties require an aggressive manner of milling, which takes the form of steel hammers or rollers that pulverize grain berries into flour. To create white flour, the bran and germ of the now powdered berry is separated out, leaving the starchy center for the consumer. The high heat produced by the friction of the steel possibly destroys the germ, the portion of the berry which contains its micronutrients. To create whole wheat flour in industrial milling, bran and germ (but perhaps not the vital components of germ) are added back to the starchy white flour. Some believe reintroducing these components after milling allows flour to maintain its nutritional integrity, however others believe the process compromises the nutritional value of the flour and negates the manner in which whole food components, when left to their own devices, aid the body in digestion.

 [Stone-milled] flour is allowed to retain the wheat germ  which houses so many of its nutrients, making it a  healthier, and possibly a more easily digested flour.

The traditional method of milling grains is stone milling. Kernels of grain are ground between two stones, and then varying amounts of bran is sifted out to create different grades of flour. Because the variety of wheat berries used are the more delicate ancient grains, and because the heat created by the friction of the stones is minimal, the resulting flour is allowed to retain the wheat germ which houses so many of its nutrients, making it a healthier, and possibly a more easily digested flour.

How bread is baked

Traditionally, bread was baked with natural sourdough starter to make the dough rise. Bacteria and yeasts that exist naturally in the air, in the water, and on grains grow and multiply, creating active live cultures which cause dough to ferment. They feed on grain starches and proteins, one of which is gluten, as well as the sugars contained in grains. These sugars are turned into compounds that our stomachs absorb slowly and with relative ease. As these microbes eat, they leave behind gases and more bacteria which result in enzymes, amino acids, and more than two hundred flavor compounds that are the main elements of sourdough’s complex flavor. Some microbes in sourdough can survive the heat of the oven, causing the resulting bread to be a truly living food, containing more probiotics and other nutrients than uncooked fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.

 2007 study… when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented,  it reduces gluten levels from roughly 75,000 ppm to 12,  which qualifies it as gluten-free.

In the mid-late 1800’s, Louis Pasteur identified and isolated a single strain of yeast. This one isolated strain named Saccharomyces Cerevisiae was targeted by Pasteur due to its vigor, and at the turn of the 20th century it was commercially produced in powder form. Baker’s yeast offered a significantly shortened fermentation time which appealed greatly to the mass-production mindset, as well as to the busy homemaker. It being one isolated strain of yeast, in addition to its abbreviated fermentation time, does not allow for complex flavors to develop nor for microbes to break down proteins and starches to facilitate easier digestion and greater nutrition.

A study published in 2007 in “Applied and Environmental Microbiology” purported that when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented, it reduces gluten levels from roughly 75,000 ppm to 12, which qualifies it as gluten-free.

Unconventional uses for gluten

Gluten is used as a binder and texture stabilizer in many foods one might not expect to find it, such as salad dressings and catsup to name just a couple. These hidden sources of gluten make it difficult for one to easily monitor how much gluten they’re consuming on a daily basis. One theory about the increased prevalence of gluten sensitivities is twofold: that the increased exposure to gluten we now experience causes an overload; and that gluten in this isolated form makes it difficult for the body to digest.

Is gluten to be avoided altogether?

The field of gluten intolerance and baking is replete with information and theories, but until the scientific community comes up with hard, indisputable facts, the jury’s still out. That being said, it is conceivable that gluten-containing bread and/or pasta might be accessible and enjoyable to those with gluten intolerances. Anecdotal evidence though it may be, some people with gluten sensitivities claim successful bread and pasta-consuming experiences based on the presence of all nutrients inherent in the grain due to stone milling. Some claim success after eating sourdough bread that has been fermented for long periods of time and therefore benefit from the assistance of natural microbes breaking down gluten. Still others claim their success in consuming gluten-containing food is due to the ancient wheat varieties used (which contain only 2 or 4 sets of chromosomes). The cause of gluten intolerance and bread’s potential role in it is an intriguing mystery, and one which will almost certainly be solved in a matter of time and scientific curiosity.


Gluten Intolerance and Bread

Earlier Comments

37 thoughts on “Gluten Intolerance and Bread

  1. It seems like every second person is “Gluten Intolerant” these days… Thanks for shedding some light on the issue.

  2. JANE

    Although I realize this is an older thread, I’d like to say that I agree with Bob Tow’s assessment. I suspect further that many -if not most- cases of gluten intolerance is more likely glyphosate intolerance. Farmers (too) often use glyphosate not only for its systemic herbicide properties, but also as a desiccant on wheat crops. This practice gets the grain ready for market quicker by killing the plant sooner, and causing the grain to dry more completely. The drier the grain, the higher the price paid for it. Now. Along with the staggering amounts of glyphosate inherent in U.S. soil (one of the several reasons genetically modified..umm, “food” was created) -and taken up by the plant, this end-game application of glyphosate = meaningful amounts of this toxin entering our guts. I don’t think our livers and kidneys have evolved to the point of successfully filtering high daily doses of synthetic toxins. Common sense tells us (at least it *should*) that constant consumption of such things is going to result in very bad results.
    As always, caveat emptor; use toxin-laden grain products at your own risk. Or, go organic to reduce your exposure. Sure, it’s a commitment. But it could mean the difference between health and strange illnesses that doctors can’t seem to cure. We deserve to be healthy; we need only make the choice.

    • AHK

      It would seem likely even organic plants contain glyphosate if thy are planted in soils where the chemicals were previously used. Also, how does one “thoroughly ferment” wheat bread?

      • Doesn’t a field have to be chemical free for a few years before it can gain organic status?

        I would consider slow fermentation (of at least about 8 hours) using sourdough starter as the leavening to be thoroughly fermented.

  3. Bob Towers

    Augustin, thanks for the interesting feedback about your experiments with non organic locally grown wheat. Maybe locally grown might be a clue. I don’t know. We are all learning from each other. One thing we all know that every persons ability to digest certain foods do vary considerable.

    As a person who taught statistcal process and experiments fro many years at the University graduate level, I can say that the number of variables that would be needed to take into account all the factors that might influence gluten intolerance, to do such an intolerance experiment is very large indeed. Therefore it is not very likely to be accomplished with any valid statistcally proven results . All we can do is share our own individual results. As we are doing on this wonderful Breadtopia forum.

  4. Bob Tow

    Wow when I made the initial post on this subject I had no idea how much interest there would be in this subject area.

    Let me pose a theory and and a personal observation.

    I believe that the underlying problem for gluten intolerance which has increased over the last number of years comes directly from Monsanto. I am 75 years old and years ago people did not have these acute gluten reactions. Bread baking has been on this planet for thousands of years. Please read the following articles and I am sure you can find others. GMO food is poison to the human body. I was baking sourdough bread for several years then went back to store bought bread, easier. I noticed that store bought bread, even so called whole grains caused bloating and acidic stomach. A few months ago I started to bake sourdough bread again with only non GMO organic flour. I found that my home baked sour dough bread does not cause me to have bloating or acidic stomach.

    This would be a good experiment for a bunch of us to try as a group. Eat store bought bread for 30 days observe the results. Then switch back to home baking sourdough bread using ALL organic flour and report the results to this group.

    Here are a few URL’s to reports for your consideration.

    If you research this subject you will find a lot of reports on this matter. You will not get the truth from those who have vested interests and profits as their operating paradigm.

    Bob T.

    • Annie

      I tend to agree with you Bob.

      The trouble we have nowadays is that people have been eating poor quality bread/wheat foods made with poor quality flours and refined wheat products for so long that their poor bodies have built up what is called a “sensitivity” to wheat and gluten. It is very frequently impossible for a person to get over that in a month. It normally takes a year or lots more time of abstaining from wheat/gluten for a body’s immune response to settle down.

      This is the same story with the milk/dairy “allergies” that are so prominent these days. Almost everybody has been eating milk proteins extracted from pasteurized and mass refined milk. These over-cooked proteins are in so, so many manufactured foods.

      Our bodies can only take so much before they rebel!

      I find that I can do pretty well on my own sourdough and 18 hour proof breads. It’s the soaking, proofing and fermenting that improves digestibility.

      Thank you for your post, Bob; it needs to be said.

    • augustin

      I’ve already done the experiment, and that’s what’s prompted me to share my experience. I don’t even use fancy organic flour; I use plain vanilla, cheapest available flour manufactured in Thailand. I have no idea what is the origin of the wheat, but I can confirm the Thai flour is 4 to 6 times cheaper than imported American or Australian organic flour.
      I’ve tried using expensive flour, but my bread didn’t come out right (behaves very differently from local flour; I would need to experiment and alter my normal proportions of water, all-purpose and bread flour). I didn’t pay much attention to the digestive aspects as the taste was passable at best.

      Back to plain/cheap local flour: it’s unlikely to be organically produced, yet it causes no bloating what so ever…when fermenting overnight with sourdough: I cannot blame Monsanto et al. with the evidence in hand (I’d love to though 🙂

      And I’m still stuck with my gluten paradox: I thought the stretch and elasticity in the bread dough came from / was gluten? If that’s the case then my dough is as full of gluten as it can be when it enters the oven. I’ve been watching bread shaping videos to improve my technique, and I get really impressive loaves that hold up just like in the videos. But it doesn’t affect my digestive system…so it’s not a gluten issue either?

      • Annie

        Augustin, there’s a lot more to it than what you seem to think.

        Monsanto’s toxic GMO issues, in conventional wheat, are not related to the problem with the digestibility which might lead to gluten sensitivity. It’s a problem all by itself–it’s toxic. It gradually sickens those who eat it. Like sugar; you don’t get diabetes from eating some sugar. You get it from making sugar a daily part of your diet. Some people die from it quicker than others but the damage is real.

        Some researchers though, have seen a connection between GMO products and some allergies but that really is a different subject from what we are saying here about sourdough and soaked flours.

        Soaking and fermentation are what helps digestion which directly relates to the food sensitivity issue. There are a few good articles on this phenomena on the web. In grains it has a lot to do with proteins and how they break down so that our bodies can use them efficiently and not have a sensitivity or even a more serious allergic reaction to them. gluten is a hard-to-digest protein.

        And, as Tom says, each person has their own level of sensitivity to things.

        You are right when you say gluten gives elasticity to bread–that is exactly it. It is a bit like rubber. You can do another experiment if you can get your hands on some whole wheat kernels. Pop a small handful of them in your mouth and start chewing. As the wheat is broken down in your mouth the bran, germ, and starch will fall away and be swallowed leaving you with something like tasteless chewing gum in your mouth.

        • augustin

          OK now this is starting to make some sense: matters are being mixed up 🙂
          If I understand correctly, I probably never really had a “pure gluten allergy”, unlike what the doctor told me:
          – Industrial wheat contains pesticides and fertilizers, some of which end as trace chemicals in the flour, and being toxic, cause all sorts of allergies and extra sensitivities to otherwise more or less benign ingredients/proteins in the flour
          – Fermenting dough doesn’t do anything to reduce or modify gluten, but it does help to break down some of the benign substances that I’m becoming intolerant to, thus helping the digestion process (quite sensible, fermentation is very much like a pre-digestion). I am eating significant amounts of gluten in my bread right now, with no allergies to it.

          That leaves one grey area: what happens to the trace pesticides and fertilizer in my fermented dough? Do you believe fermentation can also breakdown those chemicals? I find surprising; by design they are supposed to resist to rain and weather, so 6 hours proofing in my fridge should have minimal chemical effect…

          Anyway, thanks for enlightening me, I do see some light in this tunnel and will continue my experiments with those ideas in mind. First one I want to try is exactly same process, but with industrial yeast instead of sourdough starter. Let’s see what happens!

          • Annie

            Yes, very well put, augustin.

            The question about whether or not the toxic fertilizers/herbicides/pesticides can be broken down by fermentation is a good one. I really don’t know for sure but I really don’t think so. And the genetic modification in itself has some very questionable effects on our health that, to tell you the truth, frighten me.

            Also, about Allergies. Many people use the term “allergy” when they really are talking about a “sensitivity”. Allergies are much more dangerous than sensitivities. Though, if a sensitivity isn’t addressed and is allowed to go on for years it could push a person into an allergic state. But most allergies are a state of a person’s body that they were born with.

            Sensitivities happen when our immune system becomes unable to properly process particles of food because of the constant destruction of the organs of digestion that happens over time. Have you ever heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? The walls of our intestines actually develop holes so that undigested particles of food “leak” through directly into our blood stream where they meet up with antibodies that, like good soldiers, jump into action to rid the blood of those intruders. This can happen even if the food itself isn’t bad for us.

            When our immune system goes into high gear then we have distress that can erupt in different ways. The base of the eruption is inflammation but we feel it as any number of symptoms. Runny nose, hives, bloating, fatigue, sleeplessness, inability to get over common ailments like colds, flues, or even injuries. These are just a few.

            If a person has a sensitivity to a food then the best thing to do is to back off it for a while; maybe even for a long time to enable the immune response to go back to “at ease” and to let the gut get healed through healthy eating and lifestyle. Notice how many people these days are diagnosed with colon cancer? …poor eating mixed with a general existence in poor environmental situations which, pretty much, we all live in anymore.

            I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

  5. Darlene

    Annie, thank you for replying. This is the best answer I have gotten, and makes a lot of sense. My husband has health problems, and I try to cook and bake with that in mind. Answers on this forum are interesting and informative. Thanks in advance to all bloggers who take the time to help others and pass along ideas.

  6. augustin

    I’ve got an interesting experience to share, and would welcome any educated feedback:
    I’ve been suffering from bloating and poor digestion for years. After a full blown endoscopy/coloscopy, the specialist advised me that I was gluten intolerant (but not celiac). I then proceeded to live a boring life of bland food, until I stumbled by accident into home bread making.
    I’m a complete amateur in this area, learning from blogs, youtube, and my own experiments. I live in Bangkok Thailand (hot+humid) and for practical and experimental reasons, I make my bread with 100% hydration sourdough, naturally occurring with “Bangkok yeast and pollution” :-). I use local Thai white wheat flour, usually a mix of 20% bread flour and 80% all-purpose.
    I use a fridge retardation process, leaving my dough to ferment up to 12 hours in the fridge, and anywhere from 2 to 6 hours (depending on my experiments) outside the fridge to warm-up & proof .
    I sometimes add a tsp of dry yeast, sometimes not.
    In all cases I am able to eat my bread without ANY digestion problems. I can swallow a 400g loaf in one day and not suffer any digestion issues.
    – This tends to confirm the idea at the start of this post, that fermentation does something to the bread dough that removes allergens (if I eat regular industrial bread, whether “square white” bread or industrially produced “crusty loaves”, I will experience bloating within 60 minutes of eating more than 1/2 slice – until today)
    – However, I do agree with subsequent comments, that if the action of fermentation was to remove/reduce “gluten”, then my bread would not be able to pre-shape / shape properly. I would need a mold to hold the dough during baking. Instead, I take great pleasure in learning techniques for baguette and batard, to make the most beautiful breads with strong oven kick and bursting crumbs…all holding by themselves and without any additives or molds.
    My interest / focus lies in shaping bread dough, and I can attest that there is a huge difference between poorly / well kneaded dough, under/over proofing, and suitable pre-shaping/shaping. When I get it right, my dough is extremely elastic and has impressive inner tension holding up the loaf shape. Based on everything I’ve read, this mechanical property is due to what bakers call “gluten”. So my dough is definitely NOT short of gluten at all.
    Anyone has any intelligent suggestions on what is happening to my bread and why sourdough + long fermentation is so digest?

    • Annie

      Can’t imagine anyone eating a whole loaf of bread in a day…well, maybe I CAN imagine it. That in itself could cause health problems. Oh my!

      Anyway, since I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist or a chemist I won’t try to answer your question myself but I will paste something from the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon…

      “All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorous is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

      Soaking allows enzymes, Lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralise phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralise a large portion of phytic acid in grains.

      Soaking in warm water also neutralises enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins

      During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. If the fermentation process continues for long enough and the requisite bacteria are present then most if not all of the gluten may be broken down. This would explain why some gluten-intolerant people can digest sourdough bread without any symptoms of gluten allergy.

      In India rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days, in Africa corn, millet and teff are fermented for several days, Mexican corn cakes are fermented for up to two weeks, in Europe grains were fermented for several days…” (p452-453 Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.)

      So, if Ms. Fallon is right then the longer we let our sourdough proof the easier it will be to digest. I’ll buy that.

  7. Darlene

    I have a question regarding your recipes, in which some give the option of using either a small amount of yeast or sourdough starter. Does sitting 12 – 14 hours overnight give the version using yeast the same health properties as using a starter? I have proposed this question on another forum of professional bakers, but felt the answer they gave was inconclusive. Yeast would be so much less work than maintaining a starter, and if sitting overnight gives it the same health properties, would certainly be a time savor. However, if using a starter gives health benefits that cannot be obtained from using yeast, I would be willing to invest the extra time. Please clarify this issue, because I cannot seem to find a conclusive answer. BTW, I love this forum, and regularly make the sourdough rye, using rye 100 per cent starter. I absolutely love it! Thank you.

    • Annie

      Darlene, I don’t believe that using the long proof yeast method gives the SAME health advantages as a well developed sourdough starter. I can’t prove this but it’s an educated guess.

      I believe there is a health advantage in both methods though. I love to make a whole grain bread using just 1/2 tsp yeast, letting it proof for 12 hours, form it and put it in a proofing basket and let it rise for about 8 more hours. The rise I get is incredible! The advantage here is that you are soaking your flour which removes the enzyme inhibitors making the grains easier to digest.

      Sourdough is a probiotic culture. Naturally, when you bake the bread the probiotics die but even still, they have done a wonderful work on the flours and other ingredients to help digestion. And this method soaks the flours as well.

      I do both methods and love them both. I don’t find maintaining a starter hard at all. There was a time a long time ago when I would forget my starter in the back of my fridge for several months. No more! I bake too much to forget about it!

      • Frank

        You stated “Sourdough is a probiotic culture”. There are many companies currently making probiotic capsules to aid digestion. Phillips company runs adds for these. Silly question probably, but will the contents of these capsules help a loaf of bread to rise in place of yeast?

        • Annie

          No, I don’t think so anyway. “Probiotic” simply means the opposite of antibiotic. Antibiotic kills bacteria while probiotic increases bacteria. We need many strains of bacteria in our guts to make digestion possible. Most probiotic supplements (capsules and liquids) contain any number of types of cultures depending on the type of digestive help a person is looking for. The type of probiotic that grows in sourdough is called “lactobacilli”. I’ve never tried to make a sourdough starter with a lactobacilli capsule. Never heard of anyone doing that. Besides, you have to buy a whole bottle of those and most people who take a probiotic supplement want more cultures than just one. They will take a more full spectrum variety. Beware of mainstream supplements promoted by ads as they almost always are poor quality.

    • Annie

      Darlene, I forgot to mention that when I make sourdough bread I let it proof for 12 to 14 hours anyway (overnight) getting to it in the morning when…I get to it LOL. It is very forgiving and doesn’t seem to mind whether I proof it for 12 hours or 16 hours.

      The yeast method just takes a bit longer which only means you might have to time it so that you will be there to bake it in 18 to 20 hours. I normally start mine in the afternoon of one day like around 2pm and then by 8 or 10 the next morning it’s ready to bake. I also use the method I’ve mentioned below but I’m still working on perfecting that one; the double proofing which I sometimes need because of timing logistics that happen in my life.

      My loaf contains about 550 grams or more flour, 2/3 cup water and 1/2 tsp yeast. I use mostly whole wheat with a little refined white…maybe 3:1 ratio.

  8. David

    I have made a couple of bakings of English Muffin Bread,
    using the recipe from Cook’s Country. Excellent results, but
    I thought I’d like to add another dimension of taste by
    using sour dough. Anyone made this bread with the Cook’s
    and added the sour dough?

  9. Eric

    The regular sourdough process that you would use at home or in bakeries would not create a gluten free bread. The study says that fully hydrolyzed wheat flour treated with a unique culture of lactobacilli and fungal proteases to reduce the gluten, when baked into goods, does not seem to trigger problems in celiac patients. There was also only 16 people in the study divided into 3 groups, so very small sample size. In other words, it’s suggestive of a way to process wheat that might make it safe for people with celiac, but it is no way definitive.

    Personally, it doesn’t seem to me the lactobacilli would have much to do with the gluten, since those bacteria feed on sugars not proteins. The fungal protease mentioned I imagine is the key. However, it seems likely that the long fermentation and starch breakdown would make it easier to digest, so non-celiacs who are sensitive to wheat breads may find that quality sourdoughs don’t trouble them.

  10. Frank Tokarchik

    I read your article with great interest. I have 2 questions.
    “To create white flour, the bran and germ of the now powdered berry is separated out, leaving the starchy center for the consumer.”

    1st. How is this done?

    2nd. I have often wondered why whole wheat flour costs more at the store then white flour. It should be less. There is extra work involved in making white flour, separating the bran and germ which has to cost money to do. And, 5 lbs. of whole wheat berrys will make 5 lbs. of whole wheat flour but you would need more then 5 lbs. of whole wheat berrys to make 5 lbs. of white flour since you are removing the bran and germ. Can you explain please.

    • Annie

      It’s all about marketing and manufacturing. It’s cheaper to make refined white flour because the machinery is all set up for humongous runs of the product and also there is less spoilage with flour once you take out the germ which holds the oil. This makes it easy to store and ship lots more of the stuff.

      On the other hand, whole grain flours are harder to manage so the profit margin goes down. They don’t keep as well, becoming rancid if not refrigerated AND they don’t have the large customer market that white, refined flour has. You know, the more you sell of something the more you can reduce the price.

      So yes, it does SEEM like whole wheat ought to cost less but as you can see, it can’t do that.

      If you want to have less expensive and exceedingly more tasty whole grain flours then the best way is to grind your own and buy your grain from an outfit you trust.

      Hope this helps

      • Frank Tokarchik

        Thanks for you answer. What you say does make sense. I own a Vitamix blender with the dry-grain container and it does make wonderful flour. There is absolutely a difference when making bread using fresh whole wheat flour. I use a 50/50 mix between whole wheat and white.

    • Annie

      Wow, interesting. I have been wondering about this. I had read several articles about soaking grains to remove the phytates and knew that this process happened in sourdough bread making. But still…Do you know of any recipes for the bread that is written about in the article–“made with 30 percent wheat flour and a combination of oat, millet and buckwheat flours. “? and I am wondering how to incorporate the lactobacilli culture. I wonder if one could find a probiotic supplement that had only that strain and add it. But how much to add is the question.

  11. Annie,

    Sorry, my bad! It’s not you……it was posted using my smartphone (which is not so smart most of the time). Seems that it went to my personal fb page. I have now re-posted and it should now be right at the top of the super peel facebook page.


    • Annie

      THANK YOU!!

  12. I have read before, the fact that sourdough fermentation reduces the gluten content. If reduced to the levels cited in this article (12ppm), it seems that the bread would not be able to rise properly, just like GF breads. It is always stated that GF breads need gums, etc. added to replace the gas holding power of the gluten. Seems a contradiction. Something is missing here…… Any thoughts?

    BTW, I have had fantastic luck with gum free GF pizzas – I am adding a significant amount of GF oat bran and it works very well, holding enough gasses to create nice air pockets in the dough – the other secret is very high heat baking!

    • Annie

      Looks really good. Would you share the recipe?

      • Hi Annie,

        I have posted the recipe and technique in detail at in a post from Aug 23, 2013. I trust Eric will not mind the offsite reference. Since that time, I have been experimenting with even higher heat and shorter cooking times. The results have been quite encouraging with bake time down to 3 minutes in a modified broiler method on a 650F stone.

        • Annie

          I feel stupid. I’ve scrolled all over your FB page and only could find a recipe for the Margarita Pizza which uses xanthan gum. I see lots of info on your peel invention (looks cool) and a list of ingredients for the gluten free pizza but no amounts or instructions. Can you point me to it? The pictures look amazing. Thanks

  13. Annie

    Thank you for this very informative article.

Comments are closed.