Is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

Some types of bread have little or no gluten and are safe for people with gluten intolerance. Is sourdough bread gluten-free?

Most sourdough bread is not gluten-free, but it is low in gluten. People with celiac disease should avoid gluten completely and not eat sourdough. However, sourdough bread can be fine for people with moderate gluten intolerance.

Sourdough bread is fine for gluten-intolerant people to eat, in my experience. I do not get digestive problems from sourdough, but they return if I go back to regular bread. There is truly gluten-free bread out there if you are more seriously gluten intolerant than I am.

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Digestive Issues

Digestive issues are not only uncomfortable but can drag down your overall health. If you aren't digesting your food properly, you won't absorb all of the nutrients in your food.

If you can fix your digestive problems, your overall health will increase. You will feel better and have more energy.

Some other health problems might become less serious or disappear if you solve your digestive issues.

Ingredients in Food

A lot of the food we eat contains a lot of unhealthy ingredients. Ingredients that are fine for some people may cause problems for other people.

People are not aware that the food they eat is making them sick. They may not know which ingredients are dragging their health down.

What is Gluten and Why Does it Harm Some People?

Gluten is a form of protein found in many types of bread and other grain products. It is not only found in wheat but in barley, spelt, and rye.

Gluten is not all bad. It helps bread rise, and it might improve the taste and texture of the bread. However, gluten is bad for people who cannot digest it.

Why Does Gluten Cause Health Problems?

Everyone's body naturally produces a protein called zonulin. Zonulin is harmless in small quantities, and it is harmless in larger quantities for many people. It is not inherently bad for everyone.

However, too much zonulin is bad for many people and can lead to a leaky gut. Since gluten causes your body to produce zonulin, it is very unhealthy for some people to eat it.

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a poorly understood medical problem where your gut lining leaks and allows bacteria to escape into your bloodstream. This leads to inflammation, feeling bad all the time, and many health problems.

Your gut contains a mix of good bacteria and bad bacteria. Eating sourdough bread and other fermented foods can help the beneficial bacteria and improve your gut health.

How Much Gluten is Safe?

Science has not yet answered this question. Gluten is clearly harmful to some people, but others eat it without health problems. Some doctors say that everyone could benefit from eating a gluten-free diet, while others strongly disagree.

Eating a gluten-free diet is common. People are aware that gluten may cause health problems, so many people avoid it. A lot of people are already on a gluten-free diet.

How Many People Avoid Gluten?

As many as 15% of households in the UK avoid gluten. For many people, avoiding gluten is the best thing you can do to improve your health. Bread is not gluten - eliminating gluten may involve avoiding some other foods and does not always involve avoiding bread.

Do You Have to Give Up Bread to Minimize Gluten?

Thankfully, you do not have to give up or minimize bread. Some types of bread have less or no gluten.

You can reduce gluten if you eat sourdough bread and avoid it if you eat sourdough bread made from gluten-free flour.

This is Not a Restrictive Diet

A gluten-free diet is not a restrictive diet. You may find that you prefer the taste of homemade sourdough bread and other gluten-free bread after you switch to them.

Other grains often contain gluten, so you have to be careful with certain foods to avoid digestive discomfort.

Is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free?

Sourdough bread is not gluten-free, but it is lower in gluten than most other bread. A lot of the time, merely eating less gluten is enough to cure your problems completely. The process of making sourdough bread breaks down a lot of the gluten.

What is the Sourdough Process?

Home-made sourdough bread is very different from the mass-produced bread you can find in supermarkets.

The difference between sourdough and regular bread is the process, not the ingredients. The two main ingredients are flour and water.

Yeast is added to the mix of flour and water, and other microorganisms that are common in the air enter the mix. You then add more flour and water to the mix over the next few days. Eventually, the sourdough mix is ready to bake.

What Happens When You Make Sourdough?

Regular bread is fermented, but not in the same way as sourdough. It takes only a few hours to make regular bread.

The different fermentation is what gets rid of a lot of the gluten and makes sourdough healthier for a lot of people.

Other Benefits Beyond Low Gluten

Gluten isn't the only potentially unhealthy ingredient in bread. Bread also contains Fructans, which are a type of carbohydrate. Fructans feed certain bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive problems for some people.

Other food besides bread contains fructans. Fructans can be found in any of:

  • Watermelons
  • Garlic
  • Kidney beans
  • Cashew nuts
  • Plums

Many people go on the low-FODMAPs diet to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Fructans are among the foods you avoid on this diet.

Many people who think they have gluten intolerance are actually intolerant to fructans. You may have to experiment to find foods that are easier to digest. Probiotic foods/drinks that contain active cultures can help people with digestive problems.

Sourdough Bread is Low in Fructans

Sourdough bread isn't completely free of gluten and it isn't completely free of fructans either. However, you don't necessarily need to avoid gluten or fructans to fix your digestive problems. Your digestive problems might go away completely if you switch to sourdough bread.

Sourdough bread is low in gluten and low in fructans because of the non-typical fermentation process. Switching to sourdough bread won't fix everyone's digestive problems - there are many causes and many solutions.

However, it worked very well for me and it works for many other people. Traditional sourdough bread is much easier on your digestive system than non-gluten-free bread. People with celiac disease should eliminate gluten completely, including regular sourdough bread.

Can You Get Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread?

Yes, you can make truly gluten-free bread if the basic ingredients are gluten-free. Sourdough bread made from gluten-free starter is considered gluten-free. You can make your own sourdough bread using gluten-free flour.

Where Can You Buy Gluten-Free Flour?

Ordinary wheat-based sourdough starter always contains gluten, and not all of it will be broken down by the long fermentation process. You need gluten-free starter.

Thankfully, gluten-free flours are asy to find. Grocery stores and supermarkets have flour labeled gluten-free. Gluten free breads are also available in regular stores and supermarkets.

Should You Be Eating Sourdough Bread?

Yes, sourdough bread can be a great choice even though it is not considered gluten-free. The mildly sour flavor makes it tastier than plain regular wheat bread. You may completely fix your digestive problems if you switch to low-gluten and gluten-free products.

Remember that sourdough breads aren’t always healthy for everyone. If you have a wheat allergy, whole wheat sourdough breads aren’t any safer for you.

Is Rye Bread a Good Choice?

Rye is not gluten-free or good for gluten-intolerant people. Rye bread is not made out of wheat, but it is made out of grain with gluten in it.

However, rye bread can be easier to digest for some people. It depends on the cause of your problems, which might not be gluten intolerance.

About THE AUTHOR

Mark Walker

Mark Walker

I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.

Read More About Mark Walker