Can Celiacs Eat True Sourdough Bread?

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 112

A 'levain' sourdough bread
Most breads labeled as “sourdough” on the market today are anything but.

These breads typically contain yeast which is the giveaway clue that the bread is a fake sourdough and should be avoided if one seeks a traditionally baked loaf.

True sourdough bread does not contain yeast and instead utilizes a lactobacilli based starter culture. True sourdough bread is also baked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time which protects the integrity of the cereal grains and preserves the nutritional value.  Not only is the nutritional value maintained, but antinutrients such as phytic acid are eliminated and gluten, that very difficult to digest plant protein, is broken down.

When baker’s yeast was first introduced as an alternative to sourdough starters in 1668 in France, it was strongly rejected because scientists at the time already knew that it would negatively impact people’s health. 

While yeast is used almost universally for baking breads anymore, the skyrocketing cases of gluten intolerance and celiac disease are causing many to look backwards at how nonindustrialized peoples consumed gluten containing breads with no digestive difficulty.

One study that examined how celiacs tolerate true sourdough bread was conducted in Europe.  17 people suffering from celiac disease were given 2 grams of gluten containing bread risen with either baker’s yeast or a normal lactobacilli culture.   13 of the 17 showed negative changes in intestinal permeability consistent with celiac disease.  4 people did not show any negative changes.

Then, the 17 study participants were given true sourdough bread risen with a special lactobacilli culture able to hydrolyze the 33-mer peptide which is the primary amino acid building block that causes an immune response in people with celiac disease.  None showed any negative changes in their intestinal permeability after consuming the bread which was made up of 30% wheat flour and a mix of oat, millet, and buckwheat flours.

The researchers’ conclusions were summarized as follows:

These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.

What I find interesting about the study is that even when the people who consumed the gluten containing bread risen with either baker’s yeast or a normal lactobacilli culture, 4 did not show any negative changes to their baseline values of intestinal permeability.   Did these 4 consume bread raised with a normal lactobacilli culture?  If so, perhaps even a normal sourdough culture would be sufficient for many celiacs to consume.

Certainly, most with simple gluten intolerance would find true sourdough bread to be easily consumed with no digestive distress.

Clearly, more study on this needs to be done, but the results are incredibly promising.

It seems that the noblemen in the court of Louis XIV of France back in 1668 had it right all along.  Abandoning the traditional methods of bread preparation in favor of baker’s yeast would have disastrous effects on people’s health.  Little did they know that their wisdom several centuries later would be termed “novel” by scientists in the biotechnology industry!

Sarah, The Healthy  HomeEconomist


Sources and More Information

Study Finds Wheat-based Sourdough Bread Tolerated by Celiac Patients
Einkorn Sourdough Crackers with Nut Butter
No-Knead Einkorn Sourdough Bread
The Good Gluten You Can Probably Eat Just Fine
The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (It’s Not the Gluten)
Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Comments (112)

  • Brett Wolff

    To say that sourdough bread does not contain yeast is completely incorrect. It is the fact that it contains yeast (that produce CO2 that get caught in a developed gluten matrix) that has allowed it to leaven bread for thousands of years. The difference is that it contains one or several “wild” yeasts found on the surface of the flour itself as opposed to the single strain of commercially produced wheat. These yeast proliferate and feed on the flour added to “feed the starter.” True, it does also contain lactobacillus bacteria that are partially responsible for affecting and transforming the gluten. These bacteria are also part of the equation in developing that delicious sourdough flavor.

    The other aspect of making good sourdough bread that differentiates it from wonderbread, et al is the exceptionally long fermentation/rise/proofing times. Amylase converts more starch into sugar, the yeast eat more of the sugar, multiple acidic compounds are produced, and yes, the gluten is partially broken down. That is why sourdoughs tend to have a lower glycemic index and pose less of an issue for some with gluten-related conditions. However, long fermentation is not limited to sourdough though–many good breads use long-fermented doughs and pre-fermented dough components.

    I truly feel for people suffering from celiac disease, and I cannot imagine the implications of living with an autoimmune condition. However, I would argue that the rest of the recent gluten mania is likely more attributable to eating terrible, hyper fast-fermented breads/pretzels/whatever that include ADDED gluten that makes bread faster, less good, and less healthy. Also, frequently the initial cut of gluten from the diet is accompanied by more attention paid to all aspects of the diet–no wonder folks feel better!

    August 1st, 2015 7:35 pm Reply
  • paujos

    Even though this is an older post, I am glad I found it. I bought Purbread gluten neutralized winter wheat bread at a farmer’s market. I had a slight sinus reaction, but goes away quickly. I normally get a headache immediately after encountering any wheat. I did not have that. I also gain weight literally over night, and get a wheat or grain belly. This did not happen. I am hoping this will be the answer. I did find a website where a woman did an experiment with soaking grains from 12 to 24 hours in either buttermilk or sourdough. The ones soaked in sourdough worked best. It didn’t seem to help soaking longer than 12 hours. I have tried spelt, einkorn, and sprouted wheat (Ezekiel), and got a headache with all of them. I plan to make my own sourdough starter as it’s hard to find sourdough bread that says “sourdough starter” on the package.

    June 8th, 2015 4:50 pm Reply
  • CarmenB

    I tried this last year and it was DISASTEROUS! Celiacs beware! I think that once the damage is done even sourdough can be just as bad as “regular” bread.

    May 21st, 2015 2:42 pm Reply
  • Marvin

    Hi Sarah, great article! I found a yeast free “Coarse rye” bread at the store that I am hoping is a true sourdough..

    These are the ingredients: Coarse cracked rye, filtered water, sourdough (Whole rye, filtered water), seasalt

    Is this a true sourdough? Thanks!

    April 14th, 2015 2:03 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It sure looks real! I would double check with the company that sells it to see how long the dough ferments before the bread is baked. The longer the better!

      April 14th, 2015 7:16 am Reply
  • Jean |

    Sarah, I’ve been telling the world about this new-to-me information learned here and today linked to one of your related sites in my post about (True) Sourdough Artisan Bread.

    January 15th, 2015 9:14 am Reply
  • Jean |

    Sarah, I just recently started making true sourdough bread and found this older post of yours when I was looking for some info to share with a gluten-free friend tomorrow. Your blog has been on my Sites I Visit list for years!

    December 11th, 2014 3:26 pm Reply
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  • sgcr

    In AZ/USA Trader Joes or Sprouts have no added yeast white sourdoughs:TJs has cornmeal on the bottom of their artisan paper bagged loaf, in case of people not intaking corn. TJs also have plastic bagged version of sourdough:Some have whole grain. I can’t find a true and white spelt sourdough here in the US since Pacific Bakery’s is’nt anywhere to be found. That was the ultimate in convenience!

    August 6th, 2014 4:15 pm Reply
    • sheri

      I buy the plastic bagged version of sourdough at TJ’s. It says whole wheat. Does that type have the added yeast or is that the real stuff? Thanks

      November 18th, 2014 2:25 pm Reply
      • sgcr

        As in the article, if it’s true sourdough, yeast won’t be in the ingredients.

        August 20th, 2015 4:02 pm Reply
  • Crystal Jones Hitchcock via Facebook

    Lacy Benkley

    April 5th, 2014 3:06 pm Reply
  • Francesca Accardi Jackson via Facebook

    This is just stupid…. So celiac should avoid ALL the other similar proteins, like those found in coffee say… ( Recent article I just read.) but sour dough shouuuld be ok? Um, thanks, No.

    April 5th, 2014 12:29 pm Reply
  • Terri Warriner via Facebook

    I so look forward to trying this after I finish healing my gut on GAPS.

    April 5th, 2014 9:25 am Reply
  • Billy Brown via Facebook

    Love that you covered this subject. I’ve been wondering about this for the past few weeks.

    April 5th, 2014 9:19 am Reply
  • Lysia Jones via Facebook

    Very interesting, since stopping wheat i also cannot tolerate gluten free yeasted breads. Cultures for health has a brown rice sourdough culture i would love to try.

    April 5th, 2014 9:01 am Reply
  • Howard Gray via Facebook

    Those were sensitive to gluten lack the gut bacteria B. lactis, which breaks down and consumes gluten. It’s all about your gut microbiome people…

    April 5th, 2014 6:43 am Reply
    • sgcr

      You should still properly prepare grain foods anyway..

      August 6th, 2014 4:01 pm Reply
  • Sonia Johnson via Facebook

    Brittany any sort of inflammation can lead to disease,if your immune system is being constantly compromised by a reaction to gluten it cannot be expected to fight cancer,infections,viruses etc it will be a slow slip into joint pain IBS in my husbands case MS weight gain etc I strongly suggest you read Paleo solution by Rob Wolf,wheat Belly by Dr William Davis and Grain Brain by Dr David Purlmutter it is a very serious condition Gluten intolerance not to be taken lightly

    April 5th, 2014 6:19 am Reply
  • Lisa Outhwaite via Facebook

    I don’t know about celiac but my partner is sensitive to standard bread, as I think we all are really, but has no reaction at all to the home made sourdough.

    April 5th, 2014 4:35 am Reply
  • Ashley Parker via Facebook

    Hayley Wade
    Allison Bearden

    April 5th, 2014 3:53 am Reply
  • Rachel McAtee via Facebook

    My husband either has a wheat allergy or is gluten intolerant. I just ordered 5 lb of eikhorn wheat berries and I’m going to make a sourdough starter from it then try making a long-ferment sourdough bread from the freshly ground flour. That’s the way bread is SUPPOSED to be made. I am so excited and hope that he will have NO reaction to it!

    April 5th, 2014 12:08 am Reply
    • sgcr

      You’re a great woman to do that for him!

      August 6th, 2014 4:04 pm Reply
    • Tatjana Bullen


      I have recently been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My husband and I have been doing everything to keep me off the strong drugs. But my Naturopath has had me on a diet of no gluten, sugary, dairy or grains for about 4 weeks. My hands are better but noticed they got inflamed from bread the other day. So I am still testing the other things by seeing how my hands are after introducing a food type per day and working out if any other food groups.

      I am only 50 and it could also be hormones and pre menopausal that has triggered it. But my husband is not suppose to have yeast beer only wheat beer. He is lactose intolerant as well We both love our bread so I would love to know how your sourdough turned out and if you would like to share and send me the recipe for the culture and sourdough.

      How is your husband going as well.

      Bye for now

      Kind regards


      March 1st, 2015 10:23 pm Reply
  • Raechel Nicole via Facebook

    Sourdough still stuffs my sinuses up.

    April 4th, 2014 11:41 pm Reply
    • paujos

      I just bought Purbread gluten neutralized sourdough bread with an actual sourdough starter. I also got a instant sinus reaction, but it went away as fast as it appeared. I didn’t get headache on left side like I usually do when I encounter wheat. I am hoping this is the answer. I didn’t gain weight or have grain belly, so time shall tell.

      June 8th, 2015 4:43 pm Reply
  • Keri Hessel via Facebook

    Kiki Oosterbroek – Sourdough is much better for us!

    April 4th, 2014 11:12 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Condon Krause via Facebook

    Deena Di Meglio Ellson you may like to read this.

    April 4th, 2014 11:07 pm Reply
  • Brittnay Rene Rigdon via Facebook

    Rebekkah you mean for celiac people or people in general? I’ve never heard of gluten causing these things in a “normal” person. I have a gluten sensitivity which is a new thing to me, just recently figured out the source of my stomach problems so your comment are interesting to me.

    April 4th, 2014 10:58 pm Reply
  • Rebekkah Smith via Facebook

    It’s not worth it, if you have celiac disease. One crumb is enough to trigger a reaction. I’m not going to risk my kid getting cancer, thanks. Because that’s what happens when you allow traces of gluten. Cancer. Or diabetes. Or neurological problems. Not even going there.

    April 4th, 2014 10:38 pm Reply
  • Meag Olson via Facebook

    Crystal Jones Hitchcock Tedra Cornelia

    April 4th, 2014 10:30 pm Reply
  • Christa M. Wells via Facebook

    I’m not even going to chance it.

    April 4th, 2014 10:23 pm Reply
  • Leah Hudson via Facebook

    Greg Burdett this is an interesting article. Thoughts?

    April 4th, 2014 10:17 pm Reply
  • Lydia Kou via Facebook

    Interesting post. This is something that I have thought and wondered about.

    Overall, I don’t think that a blanket statement applies. I think it strongly depends on the type of issue that the person has — as well probably as whether or not they have been able to heal the gut.

    I have a severe wheat sensitivity/intolerance and I cannot even have wheatgrass which has been shown to contain no gluten. It’s not always a gluten issue. I believe that, once a person develops a sensitivity to a certain type of food, the body can often still recognize it even if it’s properly prepared. I think the ideal is for everyone to be properly preparing food in the first place to minimize the chance of developing food sensitivities.

    April 4th, 2014 10:02 pm Reply
  • Elle

    would you be willing to share your recipe?

    February 26th, 2014 6:13 am Reply
  • Karen

    “Novel” cracked me up, too!

    December 17th, 2013 3:29 am Reply
  • Cheryl

    Since I was a young child, I could never digest anything made from flour. Many visits to hospitals and not one diagnosis. Wasn’t until my mid 20’s that after eating a piece of pizza, I had to visit a doctor, and she said I could be Celiac and did a blood test. when the results came in,, I was told that I have a high probability of being Celiac, and wanted me to have a biopsy done, Which I have not done. Pretty sure I just have a severe intolerance to gluten.
    I have always avoided heavily floured foods, but I can tolerate some gluten, in small doses.
    I have avoided all floured foods for many many years now. I have tried gluten free bread.. but… really??? OMG disgusting!!!

    One day, my man had been shopping and brought home some sourdough. I looked at the ingredients, it showed that it contained wheat and everything else. But then showed ” 2 % or less of wheat gluten”. AH HA! So I tried half a slice… and didn’t have a problem. OMG…. I was sooooo happy, not only could I eat it, it tasted AWESOME. Don’t be fooled by fake sourdough!!! Many companies use commercial yeast and add a type of acidity to scrupulously make it sour. and call it Sourdough.

    So I looked into “How and Why” I could eat true Sourdough, but “why not other breads/flour based foods”. I did an in depth study. Came to understand the full process of making true sourdough and what Lactobacilli does.
    So I began the process of making my own sourdough culture. I have made many dozens of loaves and have not had one issue!!! I can eat a piece everyday, with no problems. I have also made pancakes, muffins, cakes and pizzas.

    I do not however recommend anyone to go ahead and try it. Unless you understand the whole process of sourdough bread making with a culture, What correct flour to use, and how to make it in the way that makes it safe to eat.
    I learned that I have to proof my dough for at least 19 hours in the fridge ( a slow ferment to break down the gluten) before bringing to room temp to bake, any earlier and I then have some symptoms.
    It took me quite awhile to get the whole process right, right for me to eat without any issues.
    Everyone who has tried my true Sourdough, LOVE IT and want MORE LOL,

    October 9th, 2013 5:17 am Reply
    • Lisa

      Not sure I am ready to give this a go, but would you care to share your exact recipe and process in case I get the nerve? Thanks!

      May 21st, 2015 9:15 am Reply
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  • Phil

    All sourdough bread contains yeast. The bacteria are NOT the rising agent, they simply flavour the bread. Sourdough is just the ancient way of making bread with wild yeast (they are everywhere), which is what makes the bread unique to wherever you live … so you’ll never get true SF sourdough if you don’t live there :) And the moral of the tale is don’t take medical advice from the internet, especially if it’s dated 1668.

    June 21st, 2013 7:23 pm Reply
    • cheryl

      Sourdough culture ( Lactobacilli) do not simply flavor the bread. The Lactobacilli (wild yeast) feeds off the gluten, which breaks it all down into tiny pieces, which makes the bread rise.

      October 9th, 2013 5:21 am Reply
    • paul konkowski

      Distrust of the Internet is irrational. It’s just another medium for communication. You should be questioning of all sources including books, magazines, papers and ” experts” .in the long run all educated sources are just informed opinions.

      November 16th, 2014 3:03 pm Reply
  • jessica

    Just realized the Cultures for Life has great videos on making sourdough, but I am still wondering what type of flour you recommend and if I have to use a bag of Bob’s Red Mill, should I sift out the germ and bran, if possible?

    May 5th, 2013 9:27 am Reply
  • Jess

    Sarah, If you ever find it possible, please consider making a sourdough video. Please include info. on the best type of sprouted, milled, flour to use (and if we should remove the bran and germ), etc. Thank you! If you already have this and I missed it-sorry, do you have a link? TIA

    May 5th, 2013 9:09 am Reply
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  • Cynthia

    I tried a fermented sourdough by a baker specializing in long fermentation to eliminate the gluten problems. He has been written about in many publications and blogs, including Mark’s Daily Apple, where I read about the bread. Nice man, he warns that this bread won’t work for everyone (and nobody should use raw flour to dust pan, boards, hands, anything…).

    The bread tasted good, I was fine for about an hour and happy to be able to eat true sourdough, but then I spent the next 18 hours with severe diarrhea. So be very careful.

    December 4th, 2012 5:52 pm Reply
  • johnny

    Can you please tell me where i can buy sourdough bread made without yeast.


    November 24th, 2012 12:59 pm Reply
    • Hlias

      You dont have to buy any sourdough starter. Just mix previous boiled water – now att room temperature with any good quality organic flour untill a thick consistency. Place it at a warm place and wait 4-7 days untill it bubbles. And voila! :-) you have your sourdough yeast. All grannmas hwho know are making it the same way 😉 Enjoy!

      May 21st, 2015 9:07 am Reply
  • Claire

    One thing I’m not clear on from the article is the difference between the bread raised with normal lactobacilli culture and that raised with the ‘special’ lactobacilli culture. It does not explain the difference. We make our own sourdough bread just with flour and water, having made our own starter. Does this mean we have the ‘normal’ or the ‘special’ culture???

    September 23rd, 2012 5:44 am Reply
  • Susan

    Thanks for the article, it’s not dangerous to publish these findings, I think it’s dangerous not to, as you said, more work needs to be done, but it’s encouraging – we need hope and solutions beyond the grocery store or the M.D’s. I believe there’s a nutritious way to consume grains because God told Joseph to store grains for 7 years of famine – which saved their lives. Hopefully, we can heal our guts and again enjoy grains in some manner, yes, processed grains have in part devasted peoples health, but perhaps with brave studies like this, we will uncover lost knowledge and learn a way they actually contribute to our healing. Times are tough, getting tougher. Our bodies are resilliant and God gives many ways to nourish them, if even for a limited time –

    June 30th, 2012 5:47 pm Reply
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  • Cassie

    One thing to remember here is that the research shows that the bread contains only 25-30% wheat. Using other grains cuts down on the amount of gluten involved. The other part to remember is that the bread needs to sit on the counter to rise for at least 12 hours to allow the Lactobacilli to build up do it’s digesting work. This is also what gives sourdough it’s sour taste.
    Spelt could be a good option as it is much lower in gluten than wheat.

    Jessie Hawkins at Vintage Remedies will be coming out with a bread book next spring that focuses on sourdough and it’s history. It will discuss the gluten intolerance/Celiac issue and include gluten and gluten-free sourdough recipes.

    September 30th, 2011 4:45 pm Reply
    • sgcr

      Aaaand, thank you for someone finally mentioning using spelt which is what they’re recommending sourdough’d on the fodmap diet to also break down the carb. part of flours now thought to be a problem for people too.

      August 20th, 2015 4:24 pm Reply
  • Anne Luck via Facebook

    Check out “wheat belly ” on Facebook, Dr. Davis claims it’s wheat that is causing all our health issues, I just purchased his book, looks good:)

    August 28th, 2011 6:04 pm Reply
  • Dawn

    Thanks for all you do Sarah in educating people about real foods.

    This is an interesting article, and of course, many of us that are gluten free would love to go back to eating crusty sourdough bread… but is trying it worth the risk? Thomas O’Bryan, MD ( describes cases where people who were gluten-free went back onto gluten just to be officially tested for Celiac and then had major health setbacks with irreversible damage.

    A big problem is that wheat has been hybridized to contain a LOT more gluten than it did 2000 years ago.

    Gluten “intolerance” is not milder than Celiac or less sensitive to gluten, it is just manifesting in other ways. The immune system might not be attacking the gut, it might be attacking the thyroid, the brain, or the skin. And many Celiac’s do not have gut symptoms. For more info, check out the web site I mentioned above. Dr. O’Bryan is gluten intolerant.

    August 26th, 2011 12:06 am Reply
    • Dawn

      Whoops, my fingers slipped! Dr. O’Bryan is a DC, not an MD.

      August 27th, 2011 11:47 pm Reply
  • Margo McIntosh via Facebook

    I would love to believe that sourdough gluten bread is safe but, as a celiac myself, I’m not sure I want to find out the hard way. Some celiacs have silent symptoms that don’t affect the bowel but create severe fatigue over time and I don’t want to go back there. :0)

    August 25th, 2011 3:44 pm Reply
  • shauna

    I”m sorry to say that this piece is dangerous. From the comments it already appears that people are going to try eating sourdough bread if they have celiac.

    I can’t say this clearly enough: even if made by a sourdough starter, bread made from wheat flour still contains wheat. It contains gluten. Sourdough bread will make someone with celiac sick.

    A study of 17 people (17 people?!) is not nearly big enough to be statistically accurate for anything. Please, please don’t post something like this unless there is solid science.

    Christy, you said that kneading the dough for 20 minutes “develops the gluten.” You’re right. It develops the gluten. Gluten.

    It’s possible that those who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive might have fewer reactions to bread that is made from sourdough. However, for those who have celiac, only 1/8 of a teaspoon of gluten is enough to damage the intestines and set off the autoimmune reaction. And there are many with celiac who don’t have big outward symptoms. They could now go out and buy sourdough and be making themselves sick after reading this article.

    August 25th, 2011 11:34 am Reply
    • Rebekkah Smith

      Exactly! It’s not something you play around with! The reason most celiac cases are undiagnosed is because many have NO DIGESTIVE SYMPTOMS! It’s not a great indicator of what’s going on with your autoimmune responses.

      April 4th, 2014 10:57 pm Reply
  • makeing health

    Every line of content is nice and helpful. thanks to Sarah.

    August 25th, 2011 5:46 am Reply
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  • Mary

    Hi Sarah,

    Is it ok to eat sourdough if it is made with white flour?

    Thanks so much,


    August 24th, 2011 8:57 am Reply
    • sgcr

      Make your own sourdough’d white spelt, not wheat, and ferment/culture using the natural inherent wild yeast in the air and already on the flour for I’ve read 3 days to really break down the easier to digest gluten and carbs. as well.

      August 20th, 2015 4:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for this article, Sarah! I used to make the Nourishing Traditions sourdough with Rye and Spelt ages ago. For about 2 years, I only made that bread, it was so easy. Then I transferred to all spelt. I wanted variety so began sprouting and making regular breads. Since then I have become gluten intolerant and never even thought about trying sourdough again! The key with sourdough is to make sure you wait until the starter is bubbly to use it in your baking. Timing is so key. Do not let it bubble and then go flat again. If you do, you need to feed it again, but don’t make bread with flat starter or else it will not rise. I got rid of all my wheat grains but I still have a huge bucket of spelt so I will incorporate this again! If anything, I remember sourdough being so easy, and I am the only GF one in the family, so at least so the family can have “normal” bread again! :)


    August 24th, 2011 8:46 am Reply
  • Michael Acanfora (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro)

    Can Celiacs Eat True Sourdough Bread? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 24th, 2011 3:50 am Reply
  • Tami berman

    I learned how to make a starter and bread from a great online course at The subscription is good for a year and she really explained everything in detail with video demonstrations and the science behind it. You have to pour off some starter in the beginning so that the colony of yeast get’s stronger and the yeasts proliferate. I just divided mine and kept a few going at the same time. There were great recipes on the website for using your starter to make cakes and potpies, traditional pita, cookies, etc… There are also other lessons on traditional food prep. That you have access to with the subscription. It really helped me hone my kitchen skills. I bake fresh sourdough bread every week now. It’s delicious!
    Good luck out there. It’s worth the effort to figure it out.

    August 23rd, 2011 11:19 pm Reply
  • Monica de la Rosa

    My sourdough bread recipe is to mix 1 cup of sourdough starter with 1 cup of water. In another bowl combine 2 teaspoons of salt with 3 cups of flour. Combine the two. Cover the bowl and let rise for 8 – 12 hours. Preheat a covered pot in a 350 oven. Grease pot and add dough. Bake for 30 minutes covered and then 30 minutes uncovered.

    August 23rd, 2011 10:58 pm Reply
    • charlotte

      This recipe worked great! Thank you.

      January 16th, 2015 10:32 am Reply
  • Theresa

    I’m lazy and don’t want to bake my own bread. I’ve been eating Berlin Bakery’s Old Fashioned Sourdough Spelt Bread. The only ingredients are whole spelt flour, water, and sea salt. Sarah, do you think this qualifies as a true sourdough?

    August 23rd, 2011 7:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I’ve used this one in the past and I really like it.

      August 23rd, 2011 8:30 pm Reply
  • Christy

    My mom has gluten issues and recently began making sourdough. She can only eat it without trouble if she kneads the dough for at least 20 minutes. It has something to do with developing the gluten. I’m sorry I don’t have a reference but she read an online article about it.

    August 23rd, 2011 7:18 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this tip!

      August 24th, 2011 7:55 am Reply
  • James Knochel

    This point confused me as well… “didn’t sourdoughs use natural yeasts?”

    Indeed: “Sourdough is a dough containing a lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts.” What’s important is giving the lactobacillus time to deactivate the nasties. :)

    You can buy “San Francisco Sourdough Starter” online, which is a powder with lactobacillus and San Francisco’s native yeasts, or just make your own starter using whatever’s in the air. I think /Nourishing Traditions/ has directions.


    August 23rd, 2011 4:09 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Lactobacilli is in the air everywhere and on all living things even our skin. So if you make a sourdough culture, it will have lactobacilli in it as well as natural yeasts.

      August 23rd, 2011 4:56 pm Reply
  • Pavil, the Uber Noob

    The sourdough starter looks like a variation of soaked flour. Wonder what would happen using whey and flour?

    Ciao, Pavil

    August 23rd, 2011 3:56 pm Reply
  • D.

    There is no recipe for sourdough starter. It’s flour and water. Period. It sets on the counter until it bubbles and then you feed it again, and it sets for a while longer and then you feed it again. I keep mine in the fridge when I know I’m not going to be using it for a while and I’ve never had a problem yet. It is sometimes in there for two-three weeks between feedings. I never throw away starter either – I use it for biscuits or pancakes or something.

    Here’s a web site with some good information, although it is not the one I usually refer people to. I can’t find my information on that other one right now! If I find it, I’ll post it later. But this one has pretty decent advice:

    *Hint: Sometimes I take advice from one site and combine it with info from another site, too. Such as take the recipe from one site and then the storage and use information from another. Make good use of all those blogs out there, ladies!

    August 23rd, 2011 2:37 pm Reply
  • Leigh Layman via Facebook

    Now I am searching…how can I become a Sourdough bread purest!

    August 23rd, 2011 2:14 pm Reply
  • Leigh Layman via Facebook

    Now I am searching…how can I become a Sourdough bread purest!

    August 23rd, 2011 2:14 pm Reply
  • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

    I second the cautious approach that Rachel mentions. However, I’m celiac and I personally have been able to eat true sourdough (meaning traditionally prepared, not with yeast) SPELT bread; even though that contains gluten, it’s not wheat and is an older grain. Now, I have only eaten a couple of pieces at a time, and only on a couple of occasions (once was at the WAPF conference) but did not notice any troubles at all with it. No digestive upset, pain, autoimmune issues, etc. I have done a lot of work on my gut, though, and do tolerate more foods than I used to. I still think most grains need to be avoided for a while to allow the gut to heal (a la GAPS) but that traditionally prepared (soaked, soured, fermented) grains CAN be a part of a healthy diet for most people. (Modern grains that lack proper preparation are NEVER a healthy part of anyone’s diet in my opinion)

    August 23rd, 2011 1:36 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Amy, thank you for sharing this testimonial! :)

      August 23rd, 2011 1:44 pm Reply
      • Mary

        Hi, Sarah,
        This is very interesting article.
        Do you know about any research indicating sourdough spelt bread is good for people with celiac/gluten intolerance?

        July 21st, 2013 2:40 pm Reply
  • Susie

    Sounds like we all want a “real deal” recipe! For starting a culture AND for making the bread!

    August 23rd, 2011 12:47 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    I think it’s important to point out that the bread that caused no reaction was made with special culture that I’m assuming isn’t easily available and only contained 30% wheat, which was combined with gluten-free grains. This is great and a very positive finding for those who suffer with celiac or gluten intolerance, but it is NOT a green light to safely start eating gluten-containing sourdough bread. For those with gluten damage, even a small amount causes more damage and for those who have healed, they may not see side affects of damage for a while. I guess while this is exciting news, I’m also cautioning those who have been concerned about possible gluten sensitivities of one form or another (and if you have a compromised gut, gluten is going to be harmful whether you have the genes for celiac or not) to not rush out and start making or buying sourdough without first carefully considering the risks.

    August 23rd, 2011 12:39 pm Reply
  • Jackie Fisher via Facebook

    Yes, we’d love a good, trusted sourdough starter/recipe as well. You’re full of wonderful information Sarah, continual thanks!

    August 23rd, 2011 12:25 pm Reply
  • Michelle McGuffin via Facebook

    Tested and didn’t work for me (mental health issues with gluten consumption – not confirmed celiac). I didn’t make it myself though, so perhaps… perhaps. I do better without eating “bread” on a daily basis though, so I’m not too eager to leap into it. One of these days maybe. Options are nice to have…

    August 23rd, 2011 12:01 pm Reply
  • Tom Bolander via Facebook

    nder if that goes foe Sourdough Pretzels too ??

    August 23rd, 2011 12:00 pm Reply
  • Ronita Anderson Lussier via Facebook

    I have never been diagnosed but have gluten isseus quite badly. I eat sourdough without issues.

    August 23rd, 2011 11:56 am Reply
  • Kelsey

    I found out last summer that I am sensitive to gluten AND yeast, so sourdough seems to be a win-win option, I just haven’t had the guts to try it yet. I am planning on ordering a starter, though, and trying it with spelt. Luckily my hubby loves sourdough, so he doesn’t need convincing. Thanks for the post!

    August 23rd, 2011 11:52 am Reply
  • Kristi

    Nourishing Traditions has a sourdough recipe in it. But I haven’t tried it yet.

    August 23rd, 2011 11:50 am Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Fascinating to learn that traditional sourdough does not include yeast. It seems the further we get from the traditional food wisdom of our ancestors, the more trouble we get in.

    The natural, traditional foods are the best.

    August 23rd, 2011 11:44 am Reply
  • Rebecca Flannery via Facebook

    Yay! I’m working toward this!

    August 23rd, 2011 11:41 am Reply
  • M1ssDiagnosis

    This is a very interesting article because I follow the Know the Cause (Doug Kaufmann, The Fungus Link) diet to eliminate fungus and yeast as the cause of inflammation/disease in the body. The first phase eliminates ALL grain, but eventually you can have true sourdough bread. I’d always wondered why that type specifically was recommended and how to know if it was “true” sourdough or not. This article really clarifies it for me! I’m with all the previous comments that are asking for a recipe for how to make this. If anyone can share this, I’d be most grateful!

    August 23rd, 2011 11:28 am Reply
  • Connie Finch

    can anyone send me a recipe on how to make this sourdough bread?
    I would love to try it.


    August 23rd, 2011 11:16 am Reply
  • Rachel

    True sourdough bread starter does not use yeast. You can catch the wild yeast by using a starter made from whole wheat flour and water. There are some great recipes for both starters and bread online just be sure the recipes do not use yeast :)

    August 23rd, 2011 11:10 am Reply
  • Mickie

    I’ve had a difficult time maintaining a sourdough culture — seems the recipes always call for all of my starter and I have a hard time continuing after that. Like others have said — I’d love a recipe for starter and bread.

    August 23rd, 2011 10:59 am Reply
  • Melissa

    check this out:

    I’ve made this sourdough many times,and it always turns out great! It’s a true artisan bread, but can be made into loaves, also :)

    August 23rd, 2011 10:49 am Reply
    • Melissa

      Sorry- I noticed that the original recipe does ask for yeast- I just leave it out, and my sourdough is fantastic :) I also halve the recipe:

      1/2 c sourdough starter
      1 1/2 c water
      3 c flour
      1 t salt

      Mix and let sit overnight 12-15 hours, covered with damp cloth.

      Flip with floury hands in morning, then let rise another 2-4 hours in a greased bowl.

      Pour into pre-heated baking dish with lid (400 degrees F) and bake for 30 min with lid ON
      Bake for additional 15 min with lid OFF.


      August 23rd, 2011 1:42 pm Reply
      • Melissa

        I’m such a scatterbrain… 450 degrees, not 400 😉

        August 23rd, 2011 1:56 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Hi Melissa, love the recipe. Have you tried baking it at 350F for about an hour instead of the higher temp 450F for a shorter period of time? This would preserve more nutrients and damage the cereal grains far less.

        August 23rd, 2011 2:07 pm Reply
      • teresa

        This sounds easy and simple. I will try this one! Do you mix it first by hand or mixer. i have a Bosch and would love to use it more esp for breads like sourdough. Also what kind of flour do you use for this? Have you tried the 100% hard whole wheat? What is the texture like?

        August 23rd, 2011 4:06 pm Reply
        • Melissa

          Spelt works great, but whole wheat gives a really dense loaf! Thanks for the advice, Sarah, I’ll give it a try and see how the finished product compares.

          I mix it by hand using a wooden spoon. There really isn’t much mixing to do! For the second mixing/flipping, you just use your hands :) Oh, if you do make it with a mixer, be prepared for the clean-up- it’s really sticky!

          August 23rd, 2011 6:35 pm Reply
  • Howard C. Gray via Facebook

    I always make it a point to confront “artisan” bakers and question how they make sourdough (or any bread for that matter).

    August 23rd, 2011 10:41 am Reply
  • Amethyst Dowdell via Facebook

    Sarah, I would SO APPRECIATE a recipe of the kind of Sourdough that Celiacs can eat! I MISS my sourdough!!! <3

    August 23rd, 2011 10:40 am Reply
  • Erin Boyd Odom via Facebook

    Thank you for posting this! My daughter is having some issues, and she is currently dairy free (but it doesn’t seem to be helping). She has some symptoms of celiac (praying not!) and her doctor said removing gluten is the next step.

    August 23rd, 2011 10:39 am Reply
  • HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)

    Can Celiacs Eat True Sourdough Bread? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 23rd, 2011 10:32 am Reply
  • Kelli

    I love the sourdough bread I buy at my local farm though I’d still like to attempt to make it myself.

    August 23rd, 2011 10:02 am Reply
  • teresa

    I love sourdough but have never had good success with baking it myself. And as stated in your article, most sourdough bread you buy is not real sourdough. Anyone out there have a good recipe for sourdough dummies like me?

    August 23rd, 2011 8:04 am Reply
    • Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

      I need this, too!

      August 23rd, 2011 10:41 am Reply
      • Emily @ Butter Believer

        You should check out the GNOWFGLINS blog! Wardeh just held a webinar about a week ago addressing how to fix common problems in sourdough baking! I registered for it but missed it, so now I have the link to watch it, I just haven’t yet. I believe the blog also has online classes you can pay to take at any time, though. It’s a great resource!

        August 24th, 2011 4:22 am Reply
    • Jim

      I had problems also. Try this link and his simple sour dough recipe. The main thing I found out about real sour dough is the time. Since using this sites tips and recipes I have never had a sour dough recipe of any kind not turn out perfect. Good luck.

      September 6th, 2012 8:30 pm Reply

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