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Teri Gruss, MS

Does Fermentation Break Down Gluten in Sourdough Bread?

By June 6, 2011

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Sourdough Bread FermentationI recently received an email from a reader who asked me if the fermentation process breaks down gluten in sourdough breads made from wheat to levels that are safe for people with gluten intolerance to eat.

It's a very good question because several studies and articles have suggested just this. The prospect is very exciting but please don't run out and buy a boule of bakery-fresh sourdough bread just yet. Read more about the study and what it may mean for the future of gluten-free baking.

Is Fermented Sourdough Wheat Bread Safe for Celiacs?

Image 2011 (c) istockphoto.com


December 24, 2011 at 6:15 am
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February 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm
(3) Gertrude says:

It seems that adding kefir to your sourdough starter will do this. I’m in the process of experimenting on myself. I don’t have celiac disease, but I do have narcolepsy and cataplexy (we seem to have a similar gene to those with gluten intolerance), both of which seem to be triggered by too much gluten. I know I’ve had some sourdoughs I did not make that did not trigger any attacks, and I’m wondering if they used something with good bacteria in their starters?

I have been grinding my own grains, and making sourdough, and am now on my fourth batch. The first was fine – it was spelt and rye. The second was the same as the first, the third had wheat in it, and my current one I’m baking right now, is 100% rye. It seems the ones without plain old wheat I did better on, and I actually WANTED to eat, like I was craving it. The wheat one has cause severe narcolepsy and cataplexy attacks, so I won’t do that again. I’ll try making a starter with kefir in it for the next one, and see if there’s any improvement on top of that. I mean, heck, it’s nice to have a sandwich here and there!

The reason I’m so determined though, is I’ve notice other health benefits to adding whole grains back into my diet, so if I can do it safely, I will be one happy, and functional, camper!

February 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm
(4) nancy says:

I am gluten sensitive and my friend whom also is the same ate sourdough bread and was fine. So i tried it and so far after 3 days I am fine. However, I am going to space myself.

July 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(5) dave says:

I experimented with sourdough bread and have found that certain types of sourdough have no gluten effect. Something about the fermentation process combined with starter bacteria makes the gluten digestible. Boudin bakery is a good source. Trader Joe’s no good.

August 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm
(6) Teri says:

Thanks for the insight Dave. i agree. It all depends on individual sensitivity to gluten.


September 2, 2013 at 10:30 am
(7) Barbara says:

I am gluten sensitive and have been very happily eating sour dough bread with no symptoms!

February 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm
(8) Ken says:

I have the original sourdough starter my family brought over in the late 1800′s, I am gluten intolerant like many friends and family, The turn their nose’s up at this ancient sourdough, I make waffles and pancakes regularly. Suprisingly with my patients and determination they will eat my sourdough delights and have never had any ill effects. I am aware of only three sources of this original batter, mine included, a commercial outfit that will not share any, and another private person who sells it for a lot of money.

April 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm
(9) cassandra hansen says:

Wow Ken, that is absolutely fantastic :-)

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