You may be wondering how I am tolerating sourdough with a gluten sensitivity. Does sourdough contain gluten? The short answer is yes it does. Sourdough bread is by no means gluten free, but many who are gluten sensitive (including myself) have been able to tolerate it which is AMAZING!
So before I jump into why I can tolerate it, let’s just talk a little bit about sourdough. Sourdough is a slow fermented bread made without a commercial yeast for rising. Instead, it uses a sourdough starter (a live fermented culture) which acts as a natural leavening agent. It is said one teaspoon of sourdough starter has 15 billion good bacteria in it.
Sourdough has a crunchy crust, tangy flavor, and the perfect chewy texture. Sourdough bread contains folate and antioxidants. It is also easier to digest because it contains a smaller amount of gluten, and prebiotic/probiotic properties which leads me to why I can tolerate it.
Sourdough starter is rich in a bacteria called Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli is great for the gut microbiome but it also helps to neutralize the undesirable phytic acid found in wheat bran. Phytic acid binds to things like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium making it so we cannot absorb these nutrients. The lactobacilli and the longer fermentation time (which helps break down the gluten) makes it easier to tolerate.
I found I need my bread to ferment for 48 hours. A longer fermentation allows for more gluten to be reduced and to lower the glycemic index. I tested different times and even at 24, I had a headache and my stomach was off for about 3 days. 48 hours seems to be the golden ticket for me. I know some even go as far as 72 hours to help reduce the gluten but I personally have not tried myself. I am no expert in this field and still have a lot to learn but I am so amazed and excited after not being able to have any gluten for around 6 years I am able to enjoy it every once in a while.
Please know I am only sharing my experience and am not saying every person who does not tolerate gluten can have this. The last time I had gluten (asked for gf pizza and it was not) it was only a few bites and I felt horrible for months. To go from that experience to no symptoms seems to be a miracle to me. It should come as no surprise though as this was the way we made bread for hundreds of years!
I hope this was helpful for those of you who are curious. Stay tuned for Tip Thursday as I am going to share some tips that have made my journey with sourdough a little easier!