Sourdough Fermentation Process Shows Promise for Gluten-Free Baked Goods

July 15, 2015

CHICAGO—Using sourdough fermentation to manufacture baked goods may make them safe to eat for people who are sensitive to gluten, according to a July 14 symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.

Carlo Giuseppe Rizzello, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Bari, Italy, presented findings that show baking bread and other products with wheat flour rendered gluten-free by sourdough fermentation can be digested by people with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. In addition, bread made this way tastes more like regular bread than the typical gluten-free breads, has an extended shelf life, and contains more minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fiber.

Sourdough is fermented with naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeasts. In comparison with breads made with cultivated yeast, it usually has a mildly sour taste because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli. It was commonly used in baking until about 50 years ago, when it was replaced by the much-quicker baker’s yeast for leavening.

“The advantage of this bread is the taste,” Rizello said. “This bread is refined so it is more similar to conventional white flour bread, but is more nutritious.”

The process Rizzello studied uses water, wheat flour, fungal proteases and sourdough lactic acid to produce a hydrolyzed wheat flour suitable for baking that reacts like gluten flour.

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Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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