Top 10 Reasons To Eat Sourdough Bread Even If You’re Gluten Intolerant


Jack Bezian of Bezian's Bakery Home of Los Angeles Sourdough Bread

The other day I went to the farmer’s market in Santa Monica and spent some time talking to Jack Bezian of Bezian’s Bakery, the home of Los Angeles Sourdough. I say “spent some time” which makes it sound like twenty minutes or so, but the truth is I must have talked to him for a a couple of hours.

The man is a font of fascinating information about health, nutrition, probiotics, gluten intolerance, and fermented foods. He’s been baking traditional sourdough bread since 1966. I’m not talking about the fake stuff you find in grocery stores — this is bread made from a living sourdough starter.

Most modern bread is made with baker’s yeast. Sourdough starter is the traditional way of making bread. It’s how everyone used to make bread before they had commercial baker’s yeast. There are many advantages to eating naturally fermented bread instead of modern bread made with yeast.

Let me share with you some of the things baker Jack Bezian teaches about real, traditionally prepared, naturally fermented sourdough bread — and why it’s so much healthier for us than yeast bread.

First of all, the real sourdough they bake at Bezian’s Bakery is probiotic, like kefir or yogurt, containing multiple strains of beneficial microflora. Bezian’s Bakery has a very slow process of baking which allows the bread to ferment for several days up to a month. This helps to promote the growth of more probiotic organisms.

These probiotic microorganisms:

1. Digest and assimilate (properly absorb) the foods you eat. Without adequate beneficial microflora in your gut, you can’t absorb nutrients in the foods you are eating.

2. Are necessary in order to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.

3. Contain uniquely balanced proteins, fatty acids, cellulose, minerals, and innumerable other nutrients our bodies need.

4. Provide vitamins B1 through B6 from lactobacillus and B12 vitamins from wild yeast. Wild yeast multiplies aerobically. This is because they have oxygen in them (not free radical oxygen ions) that feed your blood cells and not cancer cells. Most plant proteins including grains, seeds, cereals, beans, nuts, and some grasses form gluten. However, sourdough microflora has all the amino acids available, without the protein that forms gluten.

5. Depletes damaged starch in bread, thus diabetic people should not get insulin shock. It is a misconception that whole wheat is better than white flour for diabetics (the Glycemic difference is only 1%).

6. Produce acids, which will break down and remove some of the glutens from the bread. Acids do not allow mold and most bad bacterial growth. Alkaline with high pH allows mold growth and toxins. Mold ferments at a higher pH, allowing bad bacterial growth and the secretion of toxins. The absence of acids is abnormal, even animals have acid stomachs to kill bad bacteria.

7. Offset the effects of phytic acid, which robs your body of precious minerals.

According to Wikipedia:

Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. In-home food preparation techniques can reduce the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree. More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting.

Phytic acid is a strong chelator of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and can therefore contribute to mineral deficiencies in people whose diets rely on these foods for their mineral intake, such as those in developing countries. It also acts as an acid, chelating the vitamin niacin, which is basic, causing the condition known as pellagra. In this way, it is an anti-nutrient. For people with a particularly low intake of essential minerals, especially young children and those in developing countries, this effect can be undesirable.

“Probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora as well, are an important source of the enzyme phytase which catalyses the release of phosphate from phytate and hydrolyses the complexes formed by phytate and metal ions or other cations, rendering them more soluble ultimately improving and facilitating their intestinal absorption

8. Dissolve proteins by producing protein enzymes, thus loosening multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids into your body. They dissolve four gluten-forming proteins: albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutalin. They also produce alcohol that dissolves the most stubborn water insoluble protein bonds. These bonds are the reason why so many people have gluten intolerance.

9. Inhibit the growth of bad bacteria by: (1) creating a more acidic environment (2) producing anti-bacterial agents, and (3) absorbing all the B vitamins from their surroundings leaving none for the harmful bacteria.

10. Have most everything needed for optimum nutritional absorption. To absorb calcium, you need magnesium. To absorb magnesium, you need vitamin E, C, etc. Most of these are in the sourdough microorganisms, thus providing optimum absorption.

Bezian's Bakery Home of Los Angeles Sourdough Bread

Here’s the most exciting part: I took this bread home and gave some to my daughter, Kate. Kate normally cannot eat wheat bread, even sprouted bread. But she could eat this bread! She had no reaction like she normally does with wheat bread. Words cannot express how happy this makes me. Now I can make her sandwiches!

Jack told me that their ultra-slow method of making sourdough bread (fermenting it for several days and up to a month) is what breaks it down to the point that gluten intolerant people can eat it.

He told me the story of one of his customers, a celiac. The guy could not eat any bread whatsoever — but when he tried it, he found that he could eat Jack’s bread.

Then he tried making sourdough bread at home. He found that he could eat his own bread that he made, but not his wife’s. He couldn’t understand this — since they were using the same starter, the same flour, the same water. It turns out that the wife was not kneading her bread as long — and this was what made it impossible for the celiac to eat.

So clearly, not all sourdough bread is the same, and the fermentation time and process does matter.

Of course I have to also mention that this bread is wildly delicious. Some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten award-winning baguettes in Paris. Jack’s bread is just as good.

I wish I could tell you that Jack ships his bread all over the country but sadly, I don’t think he does. If you live in Los Angeles, you can get his bread at the following farmer’s markets: Santa Monica (Wednesday market only — he’s not there on Saturdays), Pasadena (Saturdays) and Hollywood (Sundays).

You can try making your own sourdough at home.

I also recommend using sprouted flour. I’m not sure about this but I think if you start with sprouted flour (instead of regular flour) and ferment it with a sourdough culture, you might not have to ferment it as long, since you’re already starting with sprouted flour. For sources of sprouted flour, visit the marketplace.

Don’t forget to visit Kelly the Kitchen Kop for more stories about real food.

Photo credit: Yelp

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

175 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons To Eat Sourdough Bread Even If You’re Gluten Intolerant

    1. Can you buy real sourdough bread like this online anywhere? In health food stores? I am talking about the real deal. Thanks!

        1. Have you tired to make your own version that your daughter can handle. I am in Europe so have no chance to get to his yummy bread.. though I have been seeing it all over online..

          I would like to try to get my own version going. I have a friend who have a starter I could get some of… but I am really unsure if that is ok or really where to start…

          1. If you are in Europe, you have in fact 100x more chance to get this yummy bread… As it is much more common here.

            1. I agree with Ricardo. You are much better able to find awesome sourdough in Europe than in the US. Some of the best in the world sourdough rye comes form Latvia. The company is called Laci. All old world, hand done. If you can get it try it!

    1. Yes, please share with us what you learn from him. I miss bread SO MUCH! And I can’t afford to travel to CA and take his classes.

  1. In Adelaide, South Australia – I am proud to say we have one bakery that makes traditional sourdough bread – Paolo’s Bakery! You can buy Light Rye, Rye, & Spelt. They have just started making it in a small sliced loaf (its always in a round loaf) that our local grocer is stocking for us. I am so thrilled about this as I dont have time to bake my own & now I can rest a little easier knowing my family are taking great sandwiches to work, school & day care 🙂

  2. Hey Ann-Marie – This sounds too good to be true – three in our family cannot eat wheat bread, but we used to love sourdough bread…. PLEASE SEE IF HE WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO DO IT, OR SELL THE STARTER OR SOMETHING….

  3. I wonder if this would help my mom who has fibromyalgia? I have read that one of the things that you shouldn’t eat with fibromyalgia is gluten. Thank you for sharing this!

    Relishing Life’s last blog post..Feeding My Family Frugally

  4. Nice! Now, i gotta get my hands on some sourdough bread (this is the first ive truly understood why its so good to eat, thanks for breaking it down like that :^) ).

    I wish I could make some on my own, but i literally have no room in my kitchen to do so :^( Maybe once we move (we are looking to move to GA either later this year or next year).

  5. Thanks for all this info, Ann Marie. I really need to get back on my sourdough experimenting after I have this baby!! I’ve even got a quart of sprouted wheat so I can experiment with sprouted wheat tortillas! Ah, one day soon I shouldn’t be quite so large, right? Ever hear of anyone being pregnant forever?

    I am wondering how using sprouted wheat changes the gluten and therefore the texture of the bread. I once tried to make a sprouted wheat bread and the gluten was broken…..just not great bread structure.

    Also, how sour is Mr. Bezian’s sourdough? I would think with days of fermenting a loaf, it might get very sour. Looking forward to your details from his classes!

  6. Hi, LYM,

    I saw that article about the Australian breadmaker.

    I don’t think the center of the bread gets heated to the point of killing the good bacteria. But even if they are dead, they still have produced all the acids, vitamins and minerals, etc. that we need.

    I don’t know if the Romans ate white or wheat — I will have to ask Jack if he knows. He uses white flour for most of his bread, but he has other varieties as well.

    No, most storebought sourdough bread is fake — made with commercial yeast. However, the TJ’s sourdough bread is made with a starter. It’s good. I don’t know how long they ferment it, though.

  7. Kristin, I know how it is when you are tired of being pregnant!

    The Bezian’s Bakery sourdough is delicious. I think it rivals any of the Presidential award winning baguettes I’ve had in Paris.

    Some loaves are more sour than others — it depends on how long he ferments each one.

  8. Good morning.
    Great info in this post. I came to your site via my nieghbor, Kelly’s kitchenkop site.
    For nutritional/health purposes, I cut out almost all gluten from my diet two years ago. I am excited to try the sourdough bread.
    Also, thanks for the link to the sprouted flour store.

  9. I’m sorry to be the downer here, but there’s absolutely no way that the gluten “disappears” in a sourdough bread. Not at all. It may have been tantalizing that your daughter had no immediate reaction, but the auto-immune response (for those of us with celiac) continues, even if we have no outward signs. Please, if you are celiac, don’t do this.

    I’ve been told by different bread makers at farmers’ markets too that I could eat their bread (“It’s so low gluten that you won’t be affected.”). If it comes from wheat flour, it’s still wheat. Seriously, this could make people sick.

    shauna’s last blog post..a love so big, bigger than food

    1. Thank you, Shauna, for being bold enough to give this warning! This is dangerous advice being given here, telling celiacs and gluten intolerant that they can eat sourdough bread just because it’s prepared traditionally.

      My big question is “What is the point?” Sure, we all love the flavor of bread, but even in a supposedly “probiotic” bread like this (which yeah, how do you think you’re benefiting from the probiotics unless you’re eating the dough raw? Baking will kill the good bacteria), there is nothing in bread that you cannot get from other safer sources, so why go through all this trouble for the occasional sandwich, and continued, silent harm done to your body? It just doesn’t make sense, frankly, and to tell celiacs that they can or should eat this is irresponsible, in my opinion.

      1. So why the exponential rise in Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance? This is generally a ‘modern’ disease. What has happened in the last 100 years to have triggered this rise? Commercial bread-making.

        When all bread was made the traditional way there generally was not a problem. Gluten and phytates need to be soaked/fermented for a minimum of 12 hours in order to be properly converted to a form the body can deal with. Commercial – and with the advent of bread-makers, home-made bread too is churned out within 3 hours – and some commercially-made bread is in one end and out the other within 45 minutes! It is in no way long enough to be converted, and is still toxic to the body, and that is why it is doing such damage.

        Rather than give us nutrition, this nasty bread – and other unconverted flour products eats nutrition for breakfast – ours! It is taking far more away from the body than it ever gives – sugar is another culprit, another ‘negative’ food.

        Unconverted gluten turns my husband into Attila the Hun for the best part of a week and gives me raging restless legs, yet we can both eat long-fermented bread (I usually leave mine for 24 hours before baking) without any problems at all. I am on a very highly nutritious all-natural food diet and my body is healing – now the food I eat isn’t preventing it from absorbing the nutrition. Whilst I can eat the bread with no problems, my diet is very low-carb, so I avoid grains because of their carb content.

        1. Hi. Are you still losing weight eating low carb and eating sourdough?
          I'm overweight and just discovered I can eat bread if it's traditionally made sourdough. I would love to hear how you got on. Thank you

      2. I think celiacs should really be cautious about this. Like someone said, silent harm, it may only be a matter of time until you see the damage. Now if you heal your gut first and cure your celiac or gluten intolerance, yes definately I would say you would need to eat this kind of bread your whole life to prevent damaging your gut again. We are doing the GAPS diet and I fully intend to learn how to do this method after we heal our guts and are sure we wont be doing any damage. Its just not worth the risk for us. So really do some research and think it through if you have a problem with gluten.

        1. To be fair, she didn’t say the gluten disappeared; she did say the protein was broken down. And gluten IS a protein so, hypothetically, if this process breaks down gluten, it would be okay. I am skeptical as well. But not totally against trying it. That being said, I don’t think I have celiac…I’m pretty sure I’m just GI.

        2. Appreciate the caution Celiacs and gluten intolerant people show toward the preachings of sourdough bread nutritian. However, there is no denying the natural look, smell, feel, taste, sound of crunching into a crusty sourdough loaf. How does your body feel after eating sourdough bread? Perhaps this should not be ignored.

    2. One more I thought was interesting. Haley already posted the link above, but I wanted to include it again because the article addresses many of the issues about how gluten changes with the fermentation process:

      “One, published in 2007 in the peer-reviewed Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that when wheat bread was thoroughly fermented, it reduced gluten levels from roughly 75,000 parts per million to 12—a level that technically qualifies as gluten-free.”

  10. If I buy sourdough starters to make my own bread, should I use white, wheat or sprouted flour? Or does it matter and I will get the same benefit with any type of flour because I am allowing it to ferment?

  11. But the bread isn’t a probiotic food, though, right? I mean, aren’t the wee beasties killed through the baking process? So surely they don’t colonize the gut after baking, even though they do render the bread more digestible.

    There’s been a handful of studies done on celiac disease and sourdough bread–each indicating that the traditional souring process eliminates gluten toxicity. I was DXed with celiac disease in August of last year and I can now tolerate sourdough without a problem. I tried sprouted grain, but that’s proving to be a lot more difficult.

    Jenny’s last blog post..And the Winner is …

    1. I think that the bacterial spores remain in the bread, Possibly these spores can be colonized in the intestinal tract.

  12. LYM – found this while researching on the internet :

    “The Romans knew several kinds of bread. Mostly these breads were made with sourdough. The bread could be made of wheat, spelt, barley, millet or rice. Even ground pulses were used. In the second century before Christ bread started to displace pottages with pulses as basic food. Bread was eaten every day, at every meal. This explains the “bread and circuses”: both were considered essential to the well-being of the “plebs”.”

  13. Thank you so much for this post! I was hopeful that iodine would help my thyroid but after a brief email exchange with Dr. Flechas found out that my hypothyroidism is most likely autoimmune, which isn’t necessarily caused by an iodine deficiency. It can be caused by gluten intollerance, which I have always suspected I have. My 14-month-old daughter also has a skin rash that has been clearing up since taking her off wheat. I tried making sourdough starter and killed it about 3 times so I think I need to buy some mature starter. I am dying to know how long he ferments the bread to make it tollerable for celiacs. I have done up to 24 hours but I’m guessing that’s not long enough.

    Also, Tamara, don’t give up on bread baking because you have a small kitchen. Mine is tiny. I just let the bread rise on a cutting board so I can move it around and free up my small counter. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

  14. Shauna,

    I really think it depends on the person. My daughter is not celiac. She just gets a little rash on her face when she eats wheat.

    I’m not advocating that celiacs eat sourdough bread.

    Here’s another good article on celiac disease and sourdough bread:

    Ann Marie

  15. Cool information! I highly doubt my abilities to ever consistently make sourdough bread, and we really like our bread in my family. On a whim I googled sourdough bread in Kansas City and found a local place that makes organic, sourdough fermented bread here! The description sounds very similar to the bakery you posted about in terms of the way the bread is made. And the bakery is even right next door to one of our few local, organic restaurants – I’m super excited to go try it this week!

    Here’s the site for any KC readers:

  16. So I wonder how it would be possible to tell if one is able to tollerate sourdough or not if the only effect is an autoimmune response. Is there some kind of blood test that can be taken before and after eating it or something? I have no idea how to tell if it is causing an autoimmune response to my thyroid or not. I am able to tell sometimes if I’ve eating the wrong thin by taking my basal body temperature.

  17. I’m with Shauna on this. The term “Gluten intolerance” is applied to many people who have all the symptoms of celiac disease but who haven’t had a blood test or biopsy confirming celiac disease (often because doing the gluten challenge required to get a postive test would be so detrimental to their health).

    Both are on the continuum of serious autoimmune problems.

    I used to baked, and made wonderful sourdough. But when I became gluten intolerant, I reacted to the sourdough just as much.

    Perhaps if someone has a very mild sensitivity to wheat/gluten, it might not be an issue, but if someone is gluten intolerant due to autoimmune problems, making sourdough isn’t going to fix that.

    I usually agree with both WAP and you, but the effects of consuming gluten when one is gluten intolerant include cancer of the intestines, neuropathies, and brain damage. It’s not something to mess about with just so one can have some delicious bread.


    PS Any idea why your main page has been timing out for me for the past month? I found I could add it as a feed on LJ and go to individual entries (although they’re slow to load), but the main page is still not working. I have a low bandwidth connection,if that makes a difference.


  18. Carys – I found one of your statements very interesting–“when I became gluten intollerant”. Celiac’s is inherited, not developed. I suppose if you inherit celiac’s it can lie dormant for many years before something causes your body to react more severely (like stress, pregnancy, or some other major event). But when you read Dr. Price’s book there is no mention of isolated tribes not being able to tollerate gluten or dairy. They thrived on them. So it makes me wonder why so many of us have such trouble with gluten or dairy. I’m inclined to think our heritage predisposes us to a sensitivity, but if we were raised on nourishing food, full of the enzymes needed to digest our food, rather than junk full of toxins, our bodies would be able to digest gluten and other foods just fine and our immune systems wouldn’t react with autoimmune disorders. In the article referenced by AnnMarie, ( the author’s father wasn’t immediately able to handle sourdough. It took a couple of years of healing. And I doubt that he would still be as healthy and vibrant at 80 years old if he was silently suffering from an autoimmune problem. That surely would have surfaced before now. AnnMarie makes a good point. It depends on the individual and the severity of their condition. One would have to be very self-aware throughout the whole process. Our bodies were designed to heal themselves. It is possible that a person could have a gluten intollerance at some point in life and subsequently be healed from it by following nourishing practices.

    I’m thinking of purchasing the e-book at the end of the author’s bio. after the article you posted, AnnMarie. It’s 150 pages all about sourdough, evidently the sourdough her father could eat.

    1. Also, the industrial processing of wheat and dairy has made it an issue for many more people. The wheat that is readily available today is not the same as the wheat that people were eating centuries ago. There are only a few varieties of wheat that are widely grown today and they have been greatly hybridized. Most people who are lactose intolerant have only ever had pasteurized dairy, which makes a huge difference. I know several people who were diagnosed with dairy sensitivities who tolerate raw milk just fine. This is not to say that there are not people out there who really cannot tolerate these foods, but there are many factors involved.

      1. Personally, I believe that gluten intolerance is only inherited from the point of view that our parents nutritional ‘weaknesses’ are handed down to us. If they were deficient in some areas when we were conceived then we too will be born with similar weaknesses to them. It’s all about nutrition. The nutritionally stronger we are, the nutritionally stronger our children are.

        I’m not saying that gluten intolerance or Celiac wasn’t an issue before the advent of modern processing, but it has really escalated in the last 50 years. Have we really inherited Celiac from our parents, or is the same thing that is damaging them, also damaging us?

        Sometimes, the ‘genetic’ thing can be a bit of a ‘red-herring’. Not all with Celiac have the ‘genetic’ markers. And not all with the ‘markers’ go on to ‘develop’ Celiac. My Mum ‘developed’ Type 1 diabetes, but was it due, like all disease, to nutritional deficiency from conception? Just because it appears to develop ‘suddenly’ doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been ‘brewing’ in the background for several years. Perhaps it just ‘develops’ when the body finally runs out of a particular nutrient.

        What I have discovered (through an obscure book by Clive Lawler – Whole don’t mean wholesome), is that the chemical interactions that take place between the flour, the water and the yeasts helps to break down the gluten into a form the the body can process. Improperly rendered makes the proteins toxic. 6 hours is the minimum needed for the interactions to take place, but the longer it is left to ferment, the better. It doesn’t get rid of the gluten, it changes it – or pre-digests it, just as happens to all fermented food.

        This is an interesting subject, and one that needs a lot more investigation. But it is apparent that our ancestors, whilst they didn’t know why, definitely knew WHAT they were doing. We sadly, have thrown that ancient wisdom out of our ‘modern progress’ window.

    2. I think many may become intolerant due to eating too much wheat it is in so many common products, & as bible says everything in moderation. So after so many years of over use you will get sick as with many other allergies.

      1. I was gluten intolerant in my 20s. I gave it up for 2 years and took strong probiotics. I cured my gluten intolerance and I’ve been eating wheat and wehat products DAILY and often 2-3 times per day ever since — for almost 20 years and I’ve never had any issues.

  19. This was so informative – thank you so much. I checked out Grindstone but don’t see any sourdough bread. Will try TJs sourdough for now.

  20. I was wondering, when you say “Bezian’s Bakery has a very slow process of baking which allows the bread to ferment for several days up to a month. ” Do you mean they ferment the starter for that long, or the actual loaf theyll bake?

    I checked up on sourdough on YouTube, and there are some good videos on how to make the starter yourself – it seems super easy 😀
    Though you say “the real sourdough they bake at Bezian’s Bakery is probiotic, like kefir or yogurt, containing multiple strains of beneficial microflora” – so I suppose their starter is more than just the basic water-flour combo – There is actually a YouTube series on Kefir sourdough starters, though I ahven’t seen it all yet.

    1. The flour/water combo collects wild yeast and bacteria from the air as it is fermenting which is where the probiotics come from.

  21. Great post, I wish I could try the bread. I wish I were brave enough to try to make my own sourdough, but I’m just still learning how it all works.
    One thing that struck me was the claim of the bread containing B12. I only noted it because I was reading the book Wild Fermentation last night and read that B12 is only found in foods from animal source, and that B12 in ferments are actually “inactive analogues”. His footnote showed this information was from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
    Just wondering which was right?

  22. I agree with Shauna. In the gluten-free community, one has to be careful when you say “You can eat this bread, even though it has wheat.” Also, the terms gluten intolerant and celiac are often interchangeable, as the word celiac means you are gluten intolerant– your body cannot deal with the gluten, but it is not “allergic” to it in an antibody mediated reaction. Lastly, having a mild problem with wheat is very different than having a problem with gluten, no matter what the severity. I love your blog, just be sure to keep the facts straight! A lot of gluten-free people are very sensitive to what gluten-eaters say about their condition (because they are often misinformed) and everyone likes to put their two cents in and “correct” them. No doubt this is a great article to spread the word about some fantastic sourdough bread that is very healthy for your body, but I wouldn’t label it safe for gluten intolerants. The wheat-lovers, however, will be very happy to see a new source of delicious bread! Continue to update us, AnnMarie!

    Meagan’s last blog post..Corn Pancake, Egg-Fried Quinoa, Zasagne

  23. Great post Ann Marie! My hubby is very, very gluten-intolerant. We’re incredibly lucky to have Pleasanton Bakery here which makes traditional, slow ferment sourdough and my hubby can eat it! It’s wonderful. I’d like to learn how to make it myself.

    @Kelly – you can drive up here to TC and stock up on bread at Pleasanton :p

    Kristen’s last blog post..Should Midwives be Licensed?

  24. Hi, everyone, sounds like I need to do some more follow up articles on this topic.

    Please read the article I posted above:


    “A study published in February, 2004 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology with the tantalizing title “Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients,” describes the results of an Italian research team which, encouraged by preliminary findings of their earlier work in vitro, designed an in vivo experiment to test their findings. The team’s premise was that lactobacilli, chosen for their ability to hydrolyze or sever protein (gliadin) fractions might be key in processing wheat flour so that its toxic properties would be neutralized and therefore not harmful to celiac patients.”

    This thing is not letting me type a long comment so I will post this broken up into a few comments…

  25. To continue… I also recommend reading the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and Elaine Gottschall.

    Many believe that eliminating gluten is the solution to celiac disease, but Dr. Sidney Haas (and subsequently Elaine Gottcshall, Specific Carbohydrates Diet, & Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, GAPS Diet) have all successfully treated and reversed gluten intolerance by having people avoid ALL complex sugars (disaccharides and polysaccharides), not just gluten, in order to heal the gut.

    Here is an excerpt from

    “Wheras Dr. Haas recognized celiac as a sensitivity to disaccharides and polysaccharides, the Birmingham group isolated it to gluten. The Lancet published the Birmingham theory and the more easy-to-follow regime of excluding only gluten pervades to this day.”

    Many people with coeliac do have damaged digestive tracts (flattened microvilli) and might consider avoiding soy, corn, dairy, refined carbohydrates and sugar. Dr. Haas found that if coeliacs and others with digestive disorders eliminated disaccharides (sugars) and polysaccharides (refined carbohydrates) for a year period (a year or so) then the gut healed and in some cases many foods could be reintroduced.”

    Interestingly, if you read in my post above, Jack Bezian says that sourdough bread that is adequately fermented (over a long period of time — at least a few days and up to a month) produces microorganisms that “dissolve proteins by producing protein enzymes, thus loosening multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids into your body. They dissolve four gluten-forming proteins: albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutalin. They also produce alcohol that dissolves the most stubborn water insoluble protein bonds. These bonds are the reason why so many people have gluten intolerance.”

    What Bezian is saying seems to fit with what Haas, Gottschall & McBride have been saying. They say that it is the lack of enzymes in the digestive tract of the gluten intolerant person that makes it impossible for them to digest gluten. Disaccharides and polysaccharides, unlike monosaccharides, require enzymes to be broken down and digested. People who are gluten intolerant have “flattened microvilli”; it is the microvilli that normally secretes the enzymes that help to digest these complex sugars.

    So, in other words, if sourdough bread is allowed to ferment to the point that the enzymes break down the peptide bonds, the bread is more digestible to those who are lacking the enzymes.

    That said, I do not think someone who has extremely flattened or damaged microvilli should attempt eating sourdough bread. I think someone in that condition should work first to heal the gut and regrow the microvilli — by following either the GAPS or SCD protocol.

    But for those who are mildly intolerant (like my daughter), I think real sourdough bread is something they can eat. And I think all people should eat sourdough or naturally fermented/leavened bread instead of modern bread (made with yeast) in order to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

    1. I found when I first discovered my own gluten intolerance, that when visiting forums, it was very apparently that whilst some recovered after dumping gluten, many didn’t, and would go on to become intolerant of corn, soy, and other bean and grain flours, too, with continuing degenerative health (refractory Sprue).

      If you think about the fact that the phytates found in all seeds – seeds, grains, nuts, beans and pulses are only eliminated by soaking – and that virtually ALL processed carbohydrate foods, including gluten-free, are made with unsoaked seed/grain flours that are not properly prepared, then every time people consume these foods they are getting hefty doses of phytates that are gradually depleting their bodies of more and more nutrition. Many of us already started with a ‘glass half full’ when we were born due to our parents’ deficiencies, so it is no wonder that diseases are hitting us at progressively younger ages.

      What we have in our ‘civilised’ environment is a paradox of being overfed but undernourished. Yes we have lots of food, and that food is making us fat – but it isn’t making us well. When you see images of starving people, they are thin with huge bellies – they are malnourished due to a lack of food. When you look around you you see fatter people with huge bellies – we are malnourished due to a lack of nourishment, but fat because of the calories. It’s like having fuel for you car but no oil in the engine! Calories are not nutrition.

      Since I was a teenager I have been very overweight, but most of it has been confined to my stomach and abdomen. I have relatively thin legs and ankles, arms and wrists, but I have spent the last 40 years looking permanently pregnant. I now realise it has always been due to malnutrition, driven by the plethora of phytates in my diet, the improperly prepared grains, fractionated and denatured food and the ‘dead’ processed and refined garbage that passes for food – the sugar, pasteurized dairy, irradiated vegetables and anything else they can kill in some way or another.

  26. Also I want to add that it takes months to years in order to regrow and repair damaged microvilli.

    I do think it’s possible though, for most people, by avoiding all disaccharides and polysaccharides, and by taking therapeutic grade probiotics. I also think bone broth is essential for healing the gut.

    But I want to stress that it’s not something you can hope for in a matter of days or weeks — it takes months, and more typically years for the microvilli to regrow and repopulate the intestinal lining.

  27. Kaylin,

    Dr. Campbell-McBride says that it is our modern diet that has caused our modern food allergies. When we have a lack of good bacteria in our gut, and when we eat foods that are damaging to our gut (like unsoaked/unfermented grains), we end up with flattened microvilli. Microvilli are tiny microscopic hairs that grow on our enterocytes, which are the cells that line the gut wall. It is the job of the microvilli to secrete enzymes which help us digest our food.

    Bone broth and probiotics are critical in healing the gut and helping the microvilli to regrow. You also can’t consume anything that you can’t digest (starches, sugars, anything that requires enzymes to break down). Monosaccharides (meats, non-starchy vegetables, eggs) do not require enzymes to be broken down — they are digested easily.

    Most of us have a lack of good bacteria due to many things: antibiotics, chlorine in our water, the birth control pill. We also don’t eat fermented foods (sourdough, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchee) like we used to, which helps to add good bacteria to our gut on a regular basis. We also don’t eat bone broth regularly like we used to — which helps to keep the gut healthy (it’s very soothing to the mucosal walls of the intestine).

    And, like I said, we’re eating a lot of indigestible things that damage our gut lining. Soy, for example, is extremely hard on the gut lining, as are any grains, nuts and seeds that are not properly prepared by soaking, sprouting or fermenting.

    Ann Marie

  28. Hi, Meagan,

    Please read my other comments re: healing the digestive tract.

    I should note that my daughter is almost 2. She did not eat any grains for the first 18 months of her life. She pretty much followed the GAPS diet until 18 mos old.

    Since then she has only eaten soaked/sprouted/fermented nuts/grains and seeds. I’ve also been giving her, in addition to fermented foods, the BioKult probiotic every day since she was 9 months old. In addition to that, I add bone broth to everything I can — beans, rice, sauces, gravies, soups, stews, etc.

    So I think we’ve come a long way in helping her heal. And yes she is not as bad off as others who have had limited or no healing. But we are working diligently to help heal her intestinal tract.

    I hope to impart hope and inspiration to those who are gluten intolerant. Maybe you can’t eat this sourdough bread today – but maybe you can within a year or two or three after following a healing protocol to reverse gluten intolerance.

  29. Carys – I’m sorry you are having problems loading this website. I guess it might be the ads. I did recently add the SuperCache plugin which is helping speed the load time.

  30. I still feel it’s irresponsible to tell people with autoimmune gluten intolerance or celiac disease that wheat (or related grains) are perfectly safe if they’ve been fermented.

    I’m also curious whether Mr Bezian has had his sourdough tested to see if it’s below the threshhold that can be called gluten-free (10 ppm? 20?)?

    If he has, then perhaps folks who aren’t as reactive to it really are able to eat it without damage, and more power to them.

    To me, the risk of further brain damage due to my autoimmune reaction to gluten makes sourdough made from gluten grains not an option, and I find it frustrating when ppl ignore my experience and tell me that really, *this* way of preparing it will be fine.

    I have adblocker installed and didn’t realize you had ads. That could be the problem.

    Be well.


  31. Jack does do fermentation workshop. He prefaces these that he will not teach how to make sourdough cultures as one of his concerns is that someone will use his techniques to establish their own business. At least that is how he feels about it at this time. I also feel that he has learned Sourdough breadmaking on his own, intuitively and through trial and error. That’s what makes his bread and insights so unique. He expects others to do the same.

    Maurice’s last blog post..Class Schedule/Rates and Privates at Swami O’Bryan’s

    1. ppl that mystify the simple to elevate themselves to guru status are frauds;
      sourdough starters are elegant in their simplicity-grains such as wheat have wild yeast and bacteria on the grain;I have made sourdough bread for decades using my own starter made from stoneground wheat-flour,mixed with tap water(let sit first to remove chlorine)-the resident wild yeast and bacteria multiply;refresh with flour each day-after a week,you have a starter….add to flour to make bread-remove a portion each time as the starter for the next loaf.

  32. Thanks for the explanation about the villi flattening. I had read that they become inflamed and are subsequently unable to absorb nutrients, but hadn’t read that they actually flatten. I absolutely agree that it is important to cut out sugar as part of the healing process. I have done so much better on a no grain AND no sugar diet than I ever did on just gluten free. I can eat a little gluten once in a while without the ill effects I used to experience. I think my intestines have begun to heal. I did read somewhere that there is an herb that helps the villi to heal and repair but I can’t remember what it was or where I read it. Are you aware of any?

  33. They ferment the loaf(which would be rising it, I suppose. or perhaps rising it, beating it down and rising it again over and over again) for days and up to a month? hmmm how strange – I would have thought that turned the dough into a pure starter again.

    Fascinating – I have to try this myself. lol too bad Jack wont let more on – I’m not interested in opening my own business, and living in Norway buying his breads would be difficult, lol.

    1. kari-
      you are right-the end result would be so acidic and inedible…sourdough fermentation can be slowed via refrigeration overnight,but once the loaf has risen,fermentation is complete-knocking the loaf down over and over doesn’t improve the end result,it degrades it..think about it-for millenia,bread was made daily…nobody waited 1 month to bake the first loaf!

  34. Fascinating stuff. I’m somewhat obsessed with the making and science of sourdough bread. I’ve been on a journey to learn to make good, traditional sourdough for a couple of years. I’d be very interested to hear more of what this guy has to say.

    I’m not to sure about some of these claims, however. For one thing, sourdough is usually baked to an internal temperature of 185-205 degrees. I really don’t think that the beneficial flora can survive this and still live in the bread when you eat it. Yes, the good buggies provide and make available all kinds of nutrients, as well as adding flavor and levening. But probiotic benefits? I highly doubt it.

    Also, the gluten is important for the structure of the dough. If the dough gets to the point (either with over-kneading or over-fermenting) where the gluten “breaks”, the bread has no structure and tastes gross. The gluten is what allows the dough to stretch and hold air bubbles. I think it’s entirely possible that the fermentation of the dough makes the gluten somehow less offensive (my husband has always had a wheat sensitivity, but does great with my sourdough, either white or whole wheat). Gluten is a protein, so it’s probably something to do with the breaking down of the peptide bonds that makes the gluten more digestible.

    This definitely warrants more research! I hope you will post more about this.

    Rosie_Kate’s last blog post..Make-Work

    1. there is nothing probiotic in sourdough bread,rather,the long fermentation enhances digestion by making nutrients bio-available and degrading anti-nutrients in the baked bread-the starch in bread is pre-biotic though,as it stimulates gut flora.

  35. Rosie_Kate –

    I have read elsewhere that sourdough bread does keep some of the good bugs alive. What I read was that the center of the bread does not get cooked at the higher temps.

    “it’s probably something to do with the breaking down of the peptide bonds that makes the gluten more digestible.”

    Yes, that is what Jack says.

    I will keep posting — I am pretty obsessed with this, too!

  36. Another fabulous article – thank you for all the great information. Being so close to San Francisco, sourdough has always been a staple in my life. Now if I could only master the making of it!

    Cook 4 Seasons’s last blog post..Creamy Carrot Curry Soup

  37. “5. Depletes damaged starch in bread, thus diabetic people should not get insulin shock. It is a misconception that whole wheat is better than white flour for diabetics (the Glycemic difference is only 1%).”

    I, too, am interested in the statement about sourdough being better for diabetics. If this is true, I’m gonna be so all over this bread! I’d like to have more explanation of that statement about damaged starch in bread.


  38. Any idea how those of us not local can recreate his process in our own kitchens? Does he bake it at a low temp for long periods or does he ferment for a long period before cooking? I would love to be able to tolerate wheat again.

    Chris K’s last blog post..10/2/06 food log notes

    1. You can feed gradually over two days adding a bit of flour and water at a time so you always have some gluten strengh to hold the air and to slow fermentation. In the final mix add enough flour and water for strengh for a bread texture light enough.

  39. Chris –

    He said he ferments it for anywhere from a few days up to a month before he bakes it. I will ask him more questions when I see him again. Probably gonna go again this Wed. I will post again on this subject.

  40. I have tried making bread using a method from a baking book called:” Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.” The authors came up with a method that is more like the European slow rise bread with some short cuts thrown in that make it doable, without losing the flavor and the benefits. Have you ever heard of the book and or tried the recipes, and if so, what is your opinion? I do not have the book, but found one recipe on line and tried it. It was the classic version using unbleached white flour, ending up with a bread that is much like a French boule. I have not found the whole wheat version available on line yet. So, I may need to purchase the book. The bread is tasty, I’ll say that much for sure.

  41. Did any notice the comment that this Jack dude started baking sourdough bread in 1966? That was over 40 years ago. Was he five when he started baking sourdough bread? Because he doesn’t look a day over forty!

    Geez, I gotta learn how to make sourdough bread. He looks so healthy. I’m highly curious about his age now.

  42. I got to meet Jack yesterday at the Hollywood farm market – you guys would love him, he’s got all these big signs there and flyers with info on his bread to teach people why it is so much better for them. As people walk up he’s always talking and teaching them, too. You should’ve seen his eyes light up when he saw Ann Marie! He must get a lot of business from her, and he should, he’s doing such good things!! He said he’s thinking about shipping – yay! I bought a yummy garlic & chives loaf. Mmmmmmm…

    Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s last blog post..Monday Morning Mix-Up 4/27/09

  43. During the 80s, I played a lot with sourdough breads. It’s not hard at all. I am interested in using sprouted grain flour and on the length of time that Jack ferments his bread. I can’t imagine anyone using his practices to open a bakery that competes with him (after all, it is definitely NOT the kind of thing you can churn out in great quantities) but if he ever decided to do an online/youtube course, I would be willing to pay for it.
    I gave up all grains mid February this year and initially felt much better. I had been eating wonderful sourdough loaves from Diamond Organics and Manna sprouted bread, but by a couple of weeks ago, started feeling bad again. Cutting out entire food groups (for me) is bad — apparently there are too many nutrients I need in some kind of bread. I have been using Manna’s sprouted rice and millet this past week, and it’s still not right.
    I do believe that intestinal healing needs the best food possible. In my case, that’s NO sugar (whole or otherwise, fresh fruit is good), NO chocolate, NO eating out or packaged food, ONLY fresh (not frozen) foods, mostly RAW (I had a reaction to cooked vegetables I had other night — they put me right to sleep).

    1. you went to sleep at night,after eating cooked vegetables?
      praise all…you found a cure for insomnia….

  44. Since no one addressed my (and Lauren B’s) question about sourdough and diabetes, I started doing some online research myself. Here is one site I found, and many others confirmed what they are saying here:

    “Here’s a little gem of a nutrition nugget for people with diabetes. White bread, as we all know, is the quintessential enemy of good blood sugar control. Along with white potatoes and table sugar, white bread sits at the top of the no-no list. However, when lactic acid is added to bread dough, it does two things –– changes the flavor to the tangy, delicious bite of sourdough bread and mediates the glycemic impact of all that white wheat flour.

    We know the glycemic response is less with sourdough because the acid slows the emptying of the stomach, thereby slowing the delivery of glucose to the bloodstream. And research has shown that this anti-glycemic effect can last through to the next meal, slowing the emptying of the stomach even a few hours later.

    White sourdough is better than non-sourdough white, but a whole grain sourdough will still rank highest on the health meter and lowest in glycemic response.”

  45. You should tell Jack to write a book. Then any business he lost by other people starting bakeries would be more than compensated. And it would be a very timely book with all the interest in traditional foods.
    I would also assume that wheat flour would be better than white because of the extra fiber that would also slow the absorbtion into the blood stream. Does anyone have any other info about what kind of flour is best to use?
    Also, does anyone have any info on how to share a starter? My friend is willing to share hers with me, but she needs to know how to re-feed both hers and mine. Any ideas?

  46. Kelli, up in the main body of the post is a link to “Cultures for Health”, you can get your sourdough starter there.

    I’m reading through all this again because I found a sourdough bread vendor at our farm market yesterday and I’m emailing them with questions. Sadly, I have a feeling they’ll never have heard some of the questions I’m asking, but we’ll see! Most of their breads have yeast, but a few don’t…

    Kelly p.s. Naomi, LOVE that great scoop on sourdoughs and diabetes!

    Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s last blog post..What’s Wrong With Breakfast Cereals? Random Reader Question

  47. Pingback: Grape Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter: Part I « Seeds of Nutrition
  48. Coming in late on this but this is a fascinating post and the comments are interesting too. Some thoughts:

    I have also read about the peptide bonds being broken in the gluten of traditional sourdough. Specifically it’s the bacteria that do it. Something was published about this–a research study, I think, and on an actual research study-type website. It’s not just speculation from a sourdough baker. Try googling something like “sourdough peptide bond gluten” to see what you come up with.

    And it’s one particular peptide bond. Breaking it doesn’t mean the “gluten dissolves”–rather that it’s broken down somewhat. I’m not sure whether the entire molecule must remain intact for the bread to turn out well, or whether it being broken down slightly is also acceptable.

    To any diabetic reading this and wondering about the comment about carb counts: Once you introduce sugar-eating bacteria, the equation changes. Technically, from a nutrition label standpoint, you still have the same carb count. Nutritionally, however, those bacteria turn some of that sugar into acid–which is still counted as a carb on the label, because in nutritionlabelese, “carbohydrate” is Latin for “none of the above.” As in, not a protein, not a fat, not a micronutrient, and not ash. Crazy, huh? Lactic acid doesn’t cause an insulin response, though. This is why I don’t eat low-carb yogurt. It’s an oxymoron, and anyway, they don’t make full-fat low-carb yogurts. I just buy full-fat unsweetened and add stevia when I want it sweet.

    Anyway, so if you eat sourdough you’re by definition getting less starch than you would from factory bread. So it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s got to be better for you than that high-gluten, high-soy “low-carb bread.”

  49. Pingback: Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter: « Seeds of Nutrition
  50. Pingback: From Sourdough Starter to Bread: « Seeds of Nutrition
  51. Hi Ann Marie….
    Just came back to this past posting of yours on Jack Bezian’s Bakery.
    I am wondering if you ever got around taking his classes and what you learned.
    With my husband have Celiac’s so bad he can’t tolerate any gluten at all I am working towards the possibility of him being able to eat the wild yeast sourdough bread I am now making.
    What I am wondering do you know if his 3 – 1 month fermenting period for his sourdough breads is when it’s at the dough stage?? If so how is it done….by just covering and letting it sit for ? so long? Or is it a multiple rise / punch down over and over. I’m thinking it’s at the dough stage since then all the flour is added and will have the gluten broken down as where if at the sponge stage you would be adding the final flour in that would not go through this gluten break down.
    I am working on a gluten free wild yeast starter and then try it with the GF bread I make him….in order to make his bread far more nutritious. But ultimately would like to see him be able to eat whole wheat and other grains eventually if it’s at all possible.
    Would appreciate what ever info you may have to share.
    Thank you, Pamela @ Seeds of Nutrition.. this is the post I shared today on Real Food Wednesdays.

  52. To answer Julie’s question about the book Artisanal Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, it is an excellent book, very easy to follow and allows me to make fresh bread for dinner after I get home from work. My guess is that this procedure is something like what Bezian is doing. It involves making a large batch of dough (directions in the book for many types of bread), allowing it to rise for 2 hours then —with a LOOSE cover–refrigerating until use. The following steps are quick and easy to do while preparing dinner and it and the fresh bread can be ready in less that an hour. The longer it stays in the Frig, the more like sourdough it turns out.

  53. Back when my wrists were able to knead dough I caught the sourdough fever from my mother. We all love it. Now that making bread is so hard for me I bought a bread machine (do I whisper that?). My problem is that the dough raises so high it hits the top. But it is oh so good. I am diabetic and all the material I read suggests that sourdough bread is better for you, hence, the bread machine. I think I will have to just knead it in the machine but bake it in the oven.
    Really enjoyed reading the comments on this website. Thanks to all you people who enjoy the art of making sourdough.

  54. Hmmm…. I have some sourdough in the fridge from a large batch I started before my gluten intolerance diagnosis. So it’s been sitting in the fridge for almost 2 months now just… chillin’. lol

    I wonder if I took it out and baked it up if it would be similar to what he’s making out there? Should I try it? aaack!

    It would be truly wonderful to eat some real crusty bread again!!

    1. I don’t know — it really depends on the person and it depends on how much healing you need. It took me 2 years to really heal my gut when I was in my 20s and had gluten intolerance.

      The thing to also note about Jack’s bread is he lets it sit and ferment for a very long time — sometimes up to a month!

  55. What farmers markets is this guy at besides Santa Monica? I may want a friend to buy me some and mail it to me!


  56. I would imagine that Jack, this so-called miracle bread maker, could take a generous moment out of his precious little life and put a donation in the damn basket. You guys are all telling me that ‘Jack’ doesn’t want to offer his recipe? What an A** Jack is if this is the case. Hope you are reading this *Jack-A*** because it appears to me that you have something special your refusing to share. Typical traits of a stubborn and arrogant A** is what Jack is. “Oh well let’s see, I have a cure for AIDS but I think I’m just going to keep my secret cure locked away here in my little Pandora Box and maybe sell a little on the weekends, but only in a very confined area, yeah, this way a lot of the people will die and suffer, which is okay by me.” – The Thoughts Of A JACK-A**

    [Comment edited to remove profanity 3/28/11]

    1. Hey! This is a family blog. Please don’t write profane comments.

      Instead of deleting it, I will just x out your curse words — so as not to offend my other readers.

      Hope your day is going swell, Bread Head Guy! 🙂

  57. Wow – @BreadHeadGuy – take a deep breath buddy….
    I read over this post, as it was referred to in a yelp page about Bezian’s bread, which was referred to in a wholehealthsource blog post comments section… phew! I wanted to add that I specifically read somewhere that Jack uses SPROUTED flour to begin with… Anne Marie, can you confirm this? If so, this would definitely contribute to the digest-ability of the bread.
    To all the celiacs and gluten intolerants who are concerned about mentioning that you could potentially eat this bread – there are MANY people who report having either Celiacs or Gluten Intolerance who have successfully eaten this bread without symptoms – so it is not irresponsible to report what people are experiencing. Blogs like this should never be taken as gospel by anyone, especially someone who may have an intense illness. It’s all in the name of sharing information.
    Thanks for this post. It’s an excellent introduction to the idea – and I would love to see something concrete on the BEST way to assure that your sourdough is fully fermented!

    1. @Ami


      This sentence made me laugh out loud: “Wow – @BreadHeadGuy – take a deep breath buddy….”


      I don’t know if Jack sprouts his flour. I had never heard that. I will try to head over there and ask him. I love visiting with Jack, but don’t normally go to the market on Wednesdays. However I am out of eggs so I need to make a trip.

      Maybe he would be willing to do a special “class” or lecture for our WAPF group in LA. He has come to our meetings before so I bet he might. I will ask him! Then I could of course blog about it.

      I will ask him your question — how to know if your sourdough is fully fermented.

      1. Thanks! I live in uber-northern california, and am taking a road trip down into LA in a couple of weeks – and I am going to do my best to try to make it to the Santa Monica Market so I can talk with him personally. I’d love to know where/how he got his starter, just “how” he actually ferments the bread for a month and about the sprouted flour. I am SO hoping that I can make it, my trip might be off by a day! 🙁 We’ll see! Thanks for updating!

    2. sprouting wheat converts starch to sugar-you are on the way to making beer…
      unsprouted wheat is best for making bread;the sourdough fermentation process is all that’s needed to make the nutrients in wheat bio-available for human digestion,without negative effects-assuming that the consumer isn’t suffering metabolic dis-order such as cealiac.

    3. Bezian uses white flour,not stoneground wholewheat or sprouted flour;sprouted flour is the whole wheat grain sprouted,dried,then ground;
      the way to know the dough is fully fermented is that the dough stops rising-this is also the best stage to bake the dough because left longer,the dough will start to collapse as carbon dioxide escapes from the dough.

    4. Jack uses white flour-I would have though he would use stoneground wholewheat,but no…
      the ONLY way to assure sourdough is fully fermented is to bake the dough when the dough stops rising.

  58. I’d also like to hear more about how a loaf of sourdough can be fermented for a month or more before baking. I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert baker but I do have a working understanding of microbiology and I THINK that he must be kneading in at least a little bit of fresh flour every now and then over the course of this month-long ferment. If you just mixed up a loaf of sourdough then set it to rise for a month it would rise, then fall, then eventually the wee beasties would die of starvation. In a matter of days or maybe a week I would think. So if I am correct about this adding of fresh flour then a loaf of sourdough would contain wheat on a gradient from very well fermented to only a little bit fermented. Given that there would be much more that was very well fermented than not. Perhaps this has something to do with the range of responses to sourdough by those with gluten sensitivity/wheat allergy/celiac?

    1. MacL: Very well put! I knew that something about this was bothering me and never figured it out until now. I think you hit the nail right on the head with your comment. And not only that, but the fact that after a month of fermenting, I question the palatability of this stuff. I’m not a fan of very sour sourdough bread, although I’m sure I could adjust somewhat; but I’m not sure that I could ever abide that degree of sourness.

    2. Save a small amount of old sourdough in fridge, Slowly feed your dough for two days without discarding anything. Then for final mix add old dough and enough flour and water for strength and give one more rise and then bake. Slow Rise !! Take it easy !!

  59. As I follow a primal way of eating I am always very skeptical of grain of any kind but if this bread can really be eaten with no inflammatory/high insulin response it would be amazing!

    1. for me, the less processed the flour and if it’s organic, the less insulin response I have to it.

  60. Wow, that is really awesome. I wonder how they manage to ferment it for so long. I am trained as a baker and the logistics of that are mind boggling!

  61. this makes so much sense. I have some sour dough in the fridge, but am still a bit timid to try it out. hate to ruin a loaf of bread. I should just take the plunge.

    1. I have been experimenting over the past few weeks, and most of what I have made has been barely edible, but on Monday I made the best loaf ever. As good as anything shop-bought, and better because it was long-fermented and well-tolerated. This time I didn’t use sourdough as that hasn’t worked for me very well, but I took 200gms each of wholemeal and white bread flour, mixed well, and added a generous two teaspoons of salt. Before I started I put a scant quarter teaspoon of dry yeast granules into a jug and added a scant half cup of warm water and a small drizzle of honey and left it to dissolve. I then mixed in a half pot of buttermilk (about 150gms) to the dry mix and gradually incorporated the water/yeast mix. I kneaded it by hand for about 3 or 4 minutes, formed it into a ball and popped it into a clean bowl with a plate on the top (some prefer a damp cloth). I then left it just on the tabletop for about 14 hours to prove.

      Because of the long proving time and the fact that the yeast has time to work it’s way through the dough, you only need a very small amount of yeast. When I made it before, I didn’t believe the recipe and added half a teaspoon and it was way too yeasty, but the quarter spoon was just right.

      I then knocked it back, kneaded it for another 3 or 4 minutes, and popped it on to a lightly oiled baking tray and popped it into a slightly warmed oven for about 2 hours.

      Before baking I gently cut across the top a few times and then put the oven on to 200 C and baked it for around 20 minutes once the oven had reached temperature. It looked a bit flat to start with – it had spread out on the tray, but as it started to bake it rose to twice the height and ended up about 10 inches in diameter and around 3 inches high in the centre. The crust was crisp and the centre was pleasantly soft.

      My husband thinks he’s died and gone to heaven! To be eating wheat bread after not having any for over three years, he’s in his element. We have both had some of this bread, and although we are both usually very gluten intolerant (his reactions are mainly mental – depression, brain fog and extreme irritability) and mine are physical (gluten ataxia which manifests as chronic restless legs, plus burning feet and IBS-D), we have been able to eat the bread with no reaction at all.


      I have never been very good at making bread, but this was so easy. This will be our bread from now on.

  62. Yikes, this is a really dangerous article. The author seems to be unaware of how hard it can actually be to prove a lack of harm in Celiac patients and in anyone on the spectrum of gluten intolerance. An absence of symptoms does not equate to an absence of damage, and indeed many Celiacs can go many decades without even being aware that their intestines are being silently destroyed. Yes, if you’re going to eat gluten grains, it’s best to prepare them via traditional methods, but this article/author puts way too much confidence in the fermentation/hydrolyzation process. The fact is that proteins frequently escape incompletely hydrolyzed (even with the longest of fermentations), and there really is no way to know if the process is 100% complete or not. The anecdotes in this article are simply assuming that it “works” because of the absence of symptoms, but again, this is not a correct or safe criteria. We know that gluten/gliadin is not even safe for non-Celiacs (, so it’s certainly not worth the risk for those with the confirmed disease, where even minuscule, nanomolar concentrations of gliadin/WGA can cause serious intestinal damage.

  63. don’t add @#^%$%$ juice,sour milk,yoghurt,etc,in some mis-guided attempt to ‘improve’ the starter-just hydrated flour is all that the wild yeasts and bacteria need to feed on-any other additives will impede and/or damage the starter.

    1. It’s during the sourdough fermentation that the beneficial effects take place,that make sourdough bread more digestible,with less digestive stress than yeasted bread; obviously,the sourdough bacteria and yeast don’t survive baking-they aren’t needed anymore. I presume you are thinking of the supposed probiotic benefits of yoghurt,where the beneficial bacteria is supposed to survive stomach acids and make it through to the digestive tract-this dubious theory is unproven and is highly unlikely.

  64. I am looking for the recipe to do the month or more sourdough. Does it not exist? Is that why the rant from the bread guy?

  65. Is this a whole wheat bread or a white bread? I have just finished reading “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel and he is pretty much anti-whole wheat, even sprouted. Are you familiar with this debate? Ramiel says the traditional way people prepared bread was with partially sifted flour since the bran contains an anti-nutrient called lectin. Since we have been on a Weston Price diet for 4 years now I am getting so confused about what is the best (most traditional flour to use)?

    1. @Marian

      Yes I’m familiar. I do not wholly agree with that.

      I do eat properly soaked whole grains, and I eat refined grains, too. I do not think it is necessary to cut them out — for most people.

      I used to get a lot of cavities but since I started eating this way, I have zero cavities and my tooth decay has disappeared. I think it’s largely due to the increase of grass-fed butter, cream, cheese and milk in my diet, as well as eating more liver and shellfish and bone broth. And to some extent, cod liver oil, but I am not as regular about eating that.

    2. Historically(few thousand years of recorded history)man has eaten wheat as bread;after coarsely stonegrinding,allowed dough to sourdough ferment for several hours,then baking; the sour fermentation mostly eliminates anti-nutrients such as phytic acid,lectins,etc and the baking would also deactivate anti-nutrients.
      Soaking and sprouting grain is less efficient and the WGA lectin,which is in the wheat-germ,is not eliminated with sprouting.

      1. With whole grains, fermentation is faster. With refined flour fermentation is slower because there is less food for the yeast to eat. Although there has been sourdough for many years, the advent of refined flour has provided for the longer fermentation and thus for more nutrition. Yes?

  66. Hey,

    I lived in Hollywood for several years, went to the Ivar St. Hollywood Farmer’s market every Sunday, and I got a chance to chat to Mr. Bezian about his bread around two years ago… after reading Cheese Slave, being a WPA adherent, and reading the abstract on the research in Italy.

    I am a celiac, who used to make her own sourdough. After realizing that the rashes, hair loss, neurological issues, allergies, persistent heart burn, tooth problems, and too many other things to list, were a result of eating gluten, I quit it completely.

    Bezian, himself, told me that he did not recommend anyone with an intolerance, or especially Celiacs disease, eat his bread. He said gluten intolerance might not be a huge problem, but certainly as a Celiac… he said “you shouldn’t even be standing near all of this bread.” haha. He also said that he does not sell his starter or share his secret. (Kinda crappy but, oh well).

    Truthfully, he was a bit short with me. Perhaps he was feeling pressure with regard to this topic, because such a bold statement, if it were made, has severe implications regarding the health of already very sick people. He told me that he gets the question pretty often. Not sure what to make of it all, but I think I have a very good idea after studying this for several years. I’ve surmised the following:

    – Modern wheat hybrids are very high protein, and thus have a very high gluten content. *If* you are a celiac who plans to attempt this… I highly recommend you go with Spelt, Kamut, Rye, or maybe Einkorn if you can get ahold of it. Ancient cereal varietals are probably going to be your friend, here.

    – Organic, unprocessed, sprouted flour simply cannot be a bad idea. There is no way that nutritionless non-organic white flour, is better for you than it’s natural component. You can gild a turd, but it’s still ultimately a turd. Think about it. The fact that it needs to be re-fortified should suffice to explain that it’s probably not very good for you.

    – Sprouting removes the “defenses” that seeds biologically possess. If you’re going to do this, for the love of God, use sprouted flours. All traditional diets did, and still do call for the sprouting of grains/seeds/legumes. There’s a valid reason why.

    – I’ve tried several different methods (all with great care). I find that a bread, which is cold fermented for at least three days, and cooked on a relatively low temperature… does not give me an outward reaction. I am waiting for more evidence and less ambiguity on the part of researchers, before I continue eating. I had very severe problems with my kidneys and liver before I was gluten free. I would prefer not to chance that.

    For a gluten intolerant, or a celiac…. if you’re going to do this responsibly…Heal your gut before even attempting this.
    Go off grains, complex carbs/sugars, yeast, fruit sugar, and heavy starches COMPLETELY. Take your cod liver oil… ferment your food and eat lactofermented foods in place of regular ones, whenever possible. Stay the heck away from soy at all costs. Eat anti-oxidizing foods. Exercise. Get plenty of sunshine, and gradually reintroduce sprouted, fermented GF grains. Never eat processed foods, or unfermented grain again. MAYBE at that juncture, you will be able to tolerate gluten containing cereals, after fermentation.

    just my 2c

    1. Hi, Jess

      I cured my gluten intolerance 15 years ago by doing the following things:

      1. Avoiding wheat/gluten (not all grains or starches) and sugar (still ate honey).
      2. Taking strong probiotics.
      3. Took other supplements to help build up my immune system and help my adrenal glands heal.

      It took me about 2 years to recover but since then I’ve been eating wheat regularly (daily) and have had no issues whatsoever.

      Check out my online cooking class and get the free e-book to learn more:

  67. I accidentally discovered a real easy way to make sourdough.
    I became enamored with making the “No-Knead” style ciabatta bread.

    If you have messed with no knead bread you are really missing out it is the bomb.
    The youtubes are full of recipes and techniques.

    I was doing back to back batches using the same container with out washing it and each successive batch came out more sour-doughy.

    I imagine just scrapping out out of the dough that sticks in the bowl into a jar and adding a little flour and water to it to feed it would maintain your starter.

  68. Pingback: Surdeig og glutenintoleranse – Surdeig
  69. Your blog is great!! I just discovered it and can’t wait to explore more of it!

    I have always wanted to make bread, and I’m interested in anything that helps me to keep the probiotic activity up in my body. Thank you for sharing!

  70. Hi have been on a mission to try and duplicate this long fermentation process for sourdough bread, and came up with one using Einkorn wheat. It was a huge hit and probably the best bread I’ve ever had. I hope this helps those who can’t make it to Santa Monica!

  71. Good blog. I am always happy to see real sourdough promoted. I am working on writing my second book on bread baking. This one is about sourdough.

    What you learned is valuable, however, there are some things the baker told you that stretches the truth a bit. The probiotics are dead as soon as the bread reaches 140 Deg F. They have done their wonders to make sourdough a really healthy food.

    The second misinformation is about the Roman soldiers. They lived mostly on barley and bread made from barley and rye.

    As for Alaskin gold rush minors, they did make sourdough and drink the hooch alcohol from the starter, but there isn’t enough protein to live on. They had stores of dried meat, like venison jerky.

    Still, sourdough is one of the healthiest foods if it is made without added commercial yeast and with good flour.

    Thanks for spreading the word.

  72. I love sourdough! If you use the right flours it doesn’t taste sour at all and is much more digestible! Here you can find some recipes made with sourdough:
    Thank you for this nice article!

  73. I got really excited about trying this out, but the reviews of his bread on Yelp were so terrible. So many people with Gluten intolerance that had had bad reactions warning us not to buy. I’ll try to hunt down some local Sourdough and see where that takes us.

    1. If you have gluten intolerance,you likely have digestion dysfunction,which you should resolve first; if you are cealiac,then you have a genetic disorder that prevents you from digesting gluten safely; that said,proper sourdough bread,made with organic,stoneground flour,will be far more digestible for the healthy digestive tract,than commercial,bakers yeast raised,roller mill white flour bread.

  74. I’m not sure the part about the probiotic content of the bread is relevant. When the bacteria are exposed to temperatures over about 150 degrees, they die. I don’t think you can bake bread below 150… That being said, the slow fermentation time where the bacteria is still alive and breaking down the gluten seems compelling.

  75. Your point has been covered with other comments,however,I think Ann Marie is a little confused with her story;she says Bezian has a slow baking process that allows the bread to ferment up to a month! first,bread is what you get after baking-it’s dough that ferments and second,sourdough fermentation takes 4-6 hours to a maximum of 24 hours if the dough is refrigerated;left longer,sourdough yeasts and bacteria run out of food;the carbon dioxide (that results from yeasts consuming carbohydrate) which causes dough to rise,escapes,leading to dough collapse.

    1. He lets it ferment in the fridge. Which you would think would only delay fermentation and eating the simple carbs, but I believe that’s what gives the bacteria time to reduce phytic acid and add the B vitamins in the bread. Yes, the bacteria would die after being baked, but maybe he does bake it at lower temp. He won’t say much about his recipe, just that it’s a really slow process made possible by the fridge.

      1. You can retard dough fermentation in the fridge,but it will still be ready to bake after 24 hours;but why retard? it will increase the sourness if that’s what you want,but whether there is a nutritional benefit regarding reduction of phytic acid and increasing b vitamins,well,I’d like to see the science on that…

  76. I have a question. (Hey Ann Marie – Kelly/Avi here!) I have a 6 year old daughter that up to about 6 months ago didn’t have much difficulty with any foods, having BM’s, etc. We rarely eat processed foods, I make most things home-made and I have been very conscientious of eating nutritionally. She is a great eater and actually enjoys healthy choices over the traditional American diet. So score 1 for me for all the hard work. 6 months ago my daughter started having loose bowels and mucus in her BMs. Only once in a while and I thought perhaps it was associated with colds and drainage getting into her digestive system. But it has now become more frequent and more severe with even accidents at times due to the urgency of her need to go or the thought she has gas and rather, something comes out. (sorry for the visual). She too gets distended bloat, very loud movement in her bowels (a tummy rumbling) and frequent gas. I have started a food journal to find the trigger points prior to heading to the Dr. for I know that will be where we start and probably dairy elimination (which, I don’t want to do). But, why I’m even telling this story, is the fact that 6 months ago I bought a bread maker. I’m wondering if me making homemade bread with fast rising baking yeast is the culprit. I can’t say that gluten or dairy are the key triggers (thereis no consistency)…. but I’m wondering if I have offset her flora with the added yeast and now dairy eaten on an empty stomach, pizza, etc. will cause problems when before it really didn’t – (maybe she had a sensitivity before for she was a bit gassy, but always great BMs), Because the mucusy, loose bowels is inconsistent with what she eats (happening now 2 to 3 x’s a week), perhaps certain things will trigger it and not the same thing. I’m pushing the probiotics (she being a C section could be low on good flora from the start). I’m upping her yogurt and kiefer intake to at least once or twice a day (making yogurt homemade). Trying to add fermented pickles (she’s not high on the taste). She’s drinking kombucha and ACV in low doses and I’m adding lemon to her water thermos at school. AND, very long story… short… looking into sour dough bread. I’m wondering if in fact, it’s not fully dairy or gluten, but rather yeast that started all this since it correlates with the bread maker?? Any thoughts? Prior to this we mainly bought Ezekiel sprouted bread.

  77. You can reduce gluten to gluten free levels with a 48 hour fermentation, this was actually done in a study. Beyond this time frame, I haven’t seen anything showing higher benefits. I have been contacted on my site regarding a 48 hour einkorn sourdough bread recipe that I made, and have been told many times that they had bad reactions to his bread, but not to einkorn.

  78. I have celiacs. I wouldn’t try this. Sometimes there isn’t a way to tell if you get gluten, but for celiacs even the slicest amount of gluten puts us at risk of unlimited health issues. NO GLUTEN is the best plan for me celiacs, which is vastly different than “gluten intolerant” (for those whose belly hurts when they eat some gluten, or too much of anything). It’s not worth the risk of malabsorption, malnutrition, anemia, endometriosis and other reproductive issues, brain fog, ms, cancer, lupus, GI tract issues, diabetes, hypoglycemia, skin issues, inability to hold a job or focus on tasks, inability to finish a sentence. If you are celiac like me — no gluten is the only way. Sorry to be a bummer. There is a huge difference between those with celiacs and those with an intolerance.

  79. Pingback: What Makes Whole-Grain Bread So Hard to Bake? « Vegetillfarms
  80. I had heard this before – probably from either you or Kelly. I was trying to follow the comments but they don’t seem to be in chronological order.
    I have been trying to find real sourdough bread in my city. I found one in a European market. I didn’t read the label well enough – being so excited to find it! It had prunes in it, which was OK although it was weird to use to mop up soup.
    I tried to find the bakery; will have to make a more concerted effort.
    I would try to make my own but afraid I will kill the starter.

  81. “I’m not sure about this but I think if you start with sprouted flour (instead of regular flour) and ferment it with a sourdough culture, you might not have to ferment it as long, since you’re already starting with sprouted flour.”

    Maybe you could research this and add it to your article.

    1. The only problem with sprouted flours is that wheat based breads are what they are because they have glutens, a family of proteins that can vary in composition from variety to variety and year to year, in them. Sprouting virtually eliminates the factor that makes bread rise into light fluffy loaves. If you can get past the concept that bread has to look and feel like cake then that isn’t a problem.

  82. I just want to remind you guys that, on a culinary level, bread IMPROVES as the dough ferments at lower temperatures. The enzymes naturally present in the flour and the yeasts that you add (from the starter) break down the starch into simpler, sweeter sugars, making the bread bake up darker and more flavorful with deeper, maltier tones. The longer you ferment, the more sour it becomes, but if you’re working with a sourdough anyway, trust me — it’ll be the best, most amazing bread you’ll have if you let it sit for at least three days and up to a couple of weeks.

    You can read up on a little bit of the science here:

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