Only four ingredients are actually needed to make bread (flour, water, salt, and yeast), but today bread is made from more than 30 ingredients. During the 50s and 60s food industries learned they could separate the wheat kernel into white starch and fast acting yeast to make Wonder Bread. Instead of using the fermentation process to break down gluten naturally, which takes 20-60 hours, the process of baking bread was sped up so bread could be made from start to finish in four hours. The significant drawback is that now the human body has to do more work to break down the gluten, causing irritation in the digestive system, which is why many people are cutting gluten out of their diets today. Science shows this likely wouldn’t be necessary if bread was made using the fermentation process.
Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. Most commonly people associate gluten with wheat, and a wheat kernel split into three parts, endosperm (starch, where gluten is found), germ, and bran. Gluten gives bread elasticity and extensibility. It acts like a balloon so air gets trapped in gluten through the baking process causing the bread to rise. Gluten is not inherently bad, as some would believe. It can be good for you if you are not allergic or have a severe sensitivity. Gluten is a protein comprised of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. When people eat gluten, an enzyme in the digestive tract breaks down the gluten protein so it can be absorbed. Some people can’t properly or efficiently break down the gluten found in modern day bread and wheat products, due to how bread is made today.
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to make a starter that breaks down gluten naturally using fermentation. The starter can then be used to make delicious sourdough bread—in your very own kitchen!
Download our Pastry Chef Leah’s recipe to use your starter to make sourdough bread.
Making a Starter:
Kitchen equipment needed:
1 glass jar with a lid, at least 20 ounces.
A digital scale. We highly recommend using a scale since ﬂour and water weigh differently.
Equal amounts of ﬁltered water and bread or whole wheat ﬂour (in our example we will use 4 ounces).
Follow the steps outlined by scrolling though the picutres below: