Bread has been a staple in our diet for thousands of years and for those thousands of years, humans have been eating bread with little to no problems. So what changed?
According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, in recent years, the number of people without celiac disease avoiding gluten (PWAG) has increased dramatically while the number of people with celiac disease has remained steady.
Read the study here: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2816%2930634-6/fulltext
(That's right, in addition to making bread, we also read peer-reviewed scientific literature!)
So what does this mean? It means that people are actively choosing not to eat gluten even if they have no problem processing it.
This isn't good news for a start-up bread business. But we hope we can shed some light on how we got here and how to make better decisions when it comes to gluten.
First of all, what the heck is gluten?
Probably the most common question we get is: is your bread gluten free?
Gluten is a protein found in different grains. It is what helps bread keep its shape. Rather than avoiding gluten, bakers actually work really hard to help gluten develop so that their bread doesn't fall flat. Any bread made from wheat flour will contain gluten, but not all wheat flour is the same.
Over the last century, the quality of the flour we use has changed significantly. Flour used to be purchased from local mills that would grind down grain which would quickly be turned into bread and eaten. However, as bread companies grew bigger, there was a need to have consistent breads across factories, make breads last longer, and make breads cheaper.
This was accomplished by bleaching flour (to make it consistent), loading it with additives (to make it last longer), and using chemical pesticides (to grow more wheat at cheaper prices).
This is why, today, so many of us have such a hard time digesting bread: because of the flour, not gluten.
As the quality of flour changed, so too did our ability to process and digest it. In time, the recipe for bread also changed. What was once a combination of only flour, water, and salt has evolved but not improved. Next time you are in a supermarket, take a look at the ingredients in the breads being sold, particularly those not in the freezers. You may be surprised to find that even one's boasting "100% Whole Wheat" may have up to 40 ingredients. These additional ingredients can make bread harder to digest.
Because we use organic wheat that has never been bleached, we don't need all these extra ingredients. Our bread takes it back to the classics and is made with just flour, water, and salt. Our sourdough bread has been partially baked then frozen, which keeps it fresh without any additives or preservatives.
Not to mention they have 5x the fibre of white sliced bread which also aids in digestion.
There is currently no scientific evidence to support the current demonization of gluten for the general non-celiac population. Further, undertaking a gluten free diet may actually have some health consequences as wheat, rye, and barley are a good source of dietary fibre as well as certain vitamins.
It's time to end the war on gluten and identify the real enemy: bad bread.
Our sourdough tastes good and is good for you, and we're proud of that (gluten and all!).
*Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before changing diets. If you suspect that you may not be able to digest gluten, a simple test can be performed to diagnose Celiac Disease.