Feeding the Starter
frame for photo courtesy of cottagearts.net
With all the excitement about gluten free diets, it might seem at first glance that sourdough bread is an unhealthy choice to promote. So, I want to explore how this bread has health benefits to offer, particularly if you are not ready to go gluten-free.
Sourdough bread naturally has less gluten in it compared to our more modern yeast breads. The live and active culture in the dough pre-digests the gluten for us, providing a naturally lower gluten bread. (Please note: If you have a gluten allergy/Celiac disease, you should not consume products containing gluten, even if they are sourdough.)
Making your own sourdough products, you can also control the ingredients used. Two main ingredients I try to avoid are bleach and potassium bromate in my flour. Potassium bromate is a class IIB carcinogen (meaning it possibly causes cancer in humans, depending on the exposure). It is a common flour additive used to improve the rise in yeast breads. Its use as an additive to flour is banned several countries including the countries of the European Union, China and Canada. Potassium bromate is not banned in the US, but the FDA does discourage bakers from using it. Based on experience, people with gluten sensitivities often find they can better tolerate authentic sourdough breads made from non-brominated flour, consumed in moderation.