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Why is it that I can digest sourdough bread and not commercial bread?

So why is Sourdough bread healthier than ordinary bread?

One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked is why can I digest Sourdough bread, but not ordinary commercial bread? The answer seems to be that the principal storage of phosphorus in seeds is found in the bran part of wheat and is called phytic acid. In humans, and animals with one stomach, this phytic acid inhibits enzymes which are needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch in the stomach. It is this lack of enzymes which results in digestive difficulties. Ironically, commercially produced whole grain bread, generally perceived as “healthy,” is often the worst thing a person with a wheat intolerance should eat.

” Part of the reason commmerical breads are apparently so hard to digest I believe is the problems caused by ingestion of preservatives. These give rise to what many suffers have been diagnosed as gluten sensitive (if your gluten semsitive you are celiac sufferer. Why No Preservatives? Simple it’s better for you.”
Auther Ian Manson

Luckily we have an ally, sourdough.  The wild yeast and lactobacillus in the leaven neutralise the phytic acid as the bread proves through the acidification of the dough. This prevents the effects of the phytic acid and makes the bread easier for us to digest. These phytic acid molecules bind with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, which make these important nutrients unavailable to us. Long slow fermentation of wheat can reduce phytates by up to 90% (Lopez et al 2001) The sourdough bacteria pre-digests the flour, which releases the micronutrients. This process takes place over a long slow fermentation, which gives your loaf a superior taste and texture. Sourdough bread also takes longer to digest; studies have shown that rye flour added to sourdough can help regulate blood sugar levels which helps ward off diabetes.

Cotswold crunch Close up- 680

What are the ingredients in Sourdough?
Just flour, water and salt – all the other unnatural ingredients that commercially produced bread include are eliminated.  Cheap, industrially manufactured, Chorleywood processed bread relies on enzymes, preservatives, emulsifiers and improvers to bake bread at speed.  These additives are also to blame for some people’s wheat intolerance.

Is sourdough expensive to make?

No. Using ordinary strong flour means you can make an 800g loaf for as little as 28p, although I encourage my students to use organic locally milled stoneground flour if they are able to

Is sourdough easy to make?

Yes. It takes about 15 minutes spread over the course of 24 hours. Ironically sourdough has a reputation of being difficult, but it is just a matter of understanding how the dough behaves and what factors affect it.

To find out more about Digestible Sourdough there is a limited Edition course.



 Lopez HW, Krespine V, Guy C, Messager A, Demigne C, Remesy C. Prolonged fermentation of whole wheat sourdough reduces phytate level and increases soluble

magnesium. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 May;49(5):2657-62. PubMed PMID: 11368651.

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