“Is this bread gluten free?” A question we are often asked by well meaning albeit maybe visually challenged gluten free cheerleaders. We love you guys and truly believe in your gluten sensitivities but first of all, if its gluten free it ain’t bread. Bread has gluten. Yes? Yoghurt has active bacterial culture; bread has gluten. Call it want you want; cardboard, drywall, or insulation but ‘gluten free’ is a descriptor that disqualifies a loaf as real bread. Tofu ain’t chicken no matter how much you try.
Gluten free bread is kinda flat. Opposite of lofty. You can see that too.
Second, we believe commercial yeast is also at blame. In a gluten free nutshell here is why. Commercial yeast is designed to react very quickly and doesn’t allow sufficient time for enzymes to break down starch molecules. That means your digestive system must work very hard to finish the process of breaking down the starches and in some people that can lead to a bloated feeling. Hence the term gluten sensitivity. A naturally leavened bread like ours mitigates that demand on your digestive system and thus can be better tolerated.
True sourdough breads are made using a starter that contains a culture of naturally occurring yeasts and lactobacilli or lactic acid bacteria. The yeasts produce carbon dioxide (CO2) that makes the bread rise and the bacteria produce lactic and acetic acids that affect characteristics including taste, texture and sourness of the finished bread. In the right quantity, the acids also act as a preservative, slowing the onset of mould – a much more natural method than the spraying of calcium propionate that many modern factory loaves get.
From a hundred or more species of yeasts, saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer’s sugar fungus) is the one usually predominant in sourdough cultures, the same species that’s sold as fresh, dried or instant bakers’ yeast. The main difference is that these industrialised versions are specific strains that have been bred (or even spliced together using GM technology) for characteristics such as speed and/or volume of CO2 production… © 2009 The Real Bread Campaign.