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Sourdough research may lead to more options for wheat sensitive consumers

The Alberta Wheat Commission, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotional Council have contributed funding to a research project that will look at the process used to make sourdough bread and if it could have more far-reaching benefits


Calgary – Several organizations are collaborating on a research project that will look into “whether the process used to produce sourdough bread could lead to a more easily digested food option for individuals who are sensitive to wheat consumption.”

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) released the news in an article on its website (“Sourdough bread research aims to improve prospects for wheat sensitive individuals” by Victoria Decker on April 24, 2018).

The article says the AWC, the Saskatchewan  Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotional Council (MWRPC) make up the team collaborating on the research project.

The AWC has provided $70,000 in funding for the research, $57,250 came from Sask Wheat and $20,000 from the MWRPC.

Dr. Michael Gänzle, a food microbiologist at the University of Alberta, is leading the research project, which will look “at the sourdough bread fermentation process that breaks down proteins and carbohydrates in wheat flour that are known to cause wheat sensitivity.”

The article explains that Gänzle wants to examine if this fermentation process could lead to less discomfort.

In turn, says the article, he “will define best practices so the resulting bread can be more easily digested by these individuals.”

Terry Young, the director and Research Committee chair at AWC, says in the article that investing in this research was a chance to see if there is something in the way bread is produced that causes some consumers to experience digestion sensitivity.

Gänzle adds in the article that “there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that sourdough bread is tolerated by consumers with non-celiac wheat or gluten intolerance but the science is not available to back up these claims.”

Also, he says, using “sourdough in industrial baking can reduce ingredient cost and can improve the quality of the bread.”

For more on the research project, click here.


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