Sourdough’s Bread-making Solution

in Celiac
Published: March 20, 2012

For those living with celiac disease, finding the perfect gluten-free bread is like the search for the holy grail of gluten-free foods.

While the availability of safe breads has certainly risen, the loaves often are still lacking in nutritional value and come out too dense, or too crumbly, or too small, or too hard, or just not that appetizing. As well, shelf life tends to fall a little short.

The good news is that new research published in the online journal Microbial Cell Factories suggests that making gluten-free sourdough bread may solve all of these issues.

Sourdough is made from mixing flour and water and fermenting the mixture with specific bacteria strains and yeast. Researchers have been working on figuring out which strains of bacteria would match up best with different gluten-free flours such as rice, corn and amaranth.

Elke Arendt, co-author of the study and a researcher and professor at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork in Ireland, told Allergic Living that she is encouraged by her team’s research.

She also noted that while another recent study suggested sourdough in breads made from wheat may help to “degrade” the gluten sufficiently for those with celiac disease to tolerate, she would not recommend this, advising instead sticking to a gluten-free diet when medically necessary.

Arendt says that consuming gluten-free sourdough is not about health benefits but “the reason you would add sourdough to [gluten-free] bread has mainly technological functions,” such as the structure and taste.