The Only Bread You Should Eat
Maybe you gave up gluten because you have Celiac's disease...
Or perhaps you have a less serious gluten intolerance. Or maybe you just don't like how it made you feel.
Whatever your reasons for giving up gluten, we can all agree on one thing:
It's a hell of a problem giving up bread.
I miss roast beef sandwiches. And dipping a chunk of freshly baked bread into my tomato soup. And lathering a slice with butter to sop up my gravy.
I can handle the rare indulgence — but if you're one of the millions of people with a diagnosed gluten issue, even the rare consumption of gluten can wreak havoc on your digestive system...
Fortunately, many natural health stores have responded to our call for gluten-free bread by stocking hundreds of alternatives to traditional wheat bread.
It can be hard to narrow down which ones will treat your body and digestive system the best, especially when you're standing in the bread aisle staring at hundreds of loafs of bread.
That's where scientific research comes in.
Most of the gluten-free breads — like most traditional bread — is nothing more than calorie rich, nutrient poor filler.
But some recent research suggests that a certain kind of ancient bread may benefit the gluten intolerant population.
And it may surprise you to know that you may have had this kind of bread before...
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Sourdough bread — which gets its name from its unique sour flavor — has been around in some form or another since the Ancient Egyptian Empire, as far back as 1500 B.C. It was made popular in the U.S. during the California Gold Rush, which is why San Francisco is often considered the sourdough capital of the country.1
The bread is traditionally made sour by an interaction between lactobacillus bacteria (which are responsible for the fermentation of yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and other fermented foods) and the yeast found in the bread.
The same process that makes the dough sour may also actually be responsible for some of its benefits...
It's thought that the lactobacillus bacteria — which is the probiotic bacteria found in those other foods I mentioned — may help repair the guts of people suffering from Celiac's disease when it's prepared with a gluten-free dough2.
In a study conducted by Italian researchers and published in the European Journal of Nutrition, gluten-free sourdough bread was made from corn, rice, and amaranth (a type of ancient grain) flours.
The sourdough bread was then fed to Celiac patients. Afterwards the researchers took tissue samples of a part of the subjects' digestive tracts and measured the release of inflammatory markers (gluten intolerances are marked by heavy inflammation of the lining of the intestine).
The scientists found that after consuming the sourdough bread, the patients showed reduced levels of the inflammatory chemicals in the body that are responsible for the damage done by gluten.
They even went a step further and concluded that “sourdough fermentation might offer an easy and effective way to speed recovery from intestinal inflammation of celiac patients beginning a gluten-free diet.”3
While gluten-free sourdough is a safe bet for Celiac's patients, more research suggests that traditional sourdough bread — made with gluten-containing wheat — may be okay for people with mild gluten sensitivities...
Apparently something in the fermentation process was able to break the gluten down into levels that were digestible — low enough even for some Celiac's patients to consume with no side effects.4
So if you're going to give into your bread cravings, it looks like gluten-free sourdough is the way to go. If gluten-free just doesn't cut it for you, and you can handle a little bit of gluten, then you may be able to consume regular sourdough bread with no problem.
I've found that gluten-free sourdough may be hard to come by in your grocery store, so here is one of my favorite recipes, from Living Without:
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend of choice
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup “fed” Sourdough Starter
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter replacement, melted and cooled
- 1½ cups warm milk or milk of choice (about 100°F)
1. Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar, salt and yeast to combine. Add Sourdough Starter and butter and mix to combine.
3. With the mixer on low, pour in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Once the flour has begun to incorporate the liquids, beat the ingredients on at least medium speed for 4 to 6 minutes. The dough will be pretty sticky—thicker than cake batter, not quite as thick as cookie dough. Scrape the dough into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top with wet hands.
4. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, humid place for 30 to 45 minutes or until it has about doubled in size. (In a colder, drier environment, this will take longer. If the environment is warm and humid, it may take less time.) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
5. Bake the loaf in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a nice, golden brown crust has formed on top.
Yours in health,
Contributing Editor, Clear Health Now