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Are Shorter Rising Times for Bread Driving Higher Celiac Rates? 02/23/2015 - There's an interesting article over at Mother Jones regarding the possible role that shorter rising times in most commercial bakeries might play in celiac disease and gluten-intolerance.

Photo: CC--Cost of LivingIn the article, author Tom Philpott interviews Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder at Washington State University, who points out that bread rising times in commercial bakeries has been cut from hours or even days down to just minutes, through the use of fast-acting yeasts and additives.

What's more, Jones points out, commercial bakers add a lot of extra gluten to their products. Many supermarket sliced breads, especially whole-wheat breads include something called "vital wheat gluten" among the top four ingredients. Because whole-wheat flour has a lower gluten density than white flour, and to make the bread more soft and chewy, like white bread, commercial bakeries add extra gluten in the form of vital wheat gluten.

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So bakers are using more gluten and fermenting very rapidly, compared with traditional fermentation techniques that take up to 12 hours and more. By contrast, the team in Jones' laboratory, located in a rural stretch along Puget Sound has found that the longer the bread rises, the more the gluten proteins are broken down in the finished bread.

It's certainly true that long fermentation reduces the amount of gluten in bread, and that long fermentation using strains of lactobacillus, as in many sourdough breads, breaks down even more of the gluten; in some cases, enough to be tolerated by people with celiac disease. has written about this in several articles on the future of long-fermentation sourdough, its tolerability and gut healing potential in people with celiac disease.

However, Jones' notion that modern baking techniques, rather than modern wheat breeding techniques, are responsible for rising rates of celiac disease, and gluten-sensitivity remains unproven. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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9 Responses:

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said this on
23 Feb 2015 10:11:52 AM PDT
This article is completely incorrect. Fermenting or long acting yeast does NOT make wheat bread safe for celiacs to eat.

This article should be removed.

( Author)
said this on
23 Feb 2015 10:25:46 AM PDT
We do not claim that celiacs should do anything, including eat any wheat products. That said, there is evidence that wheat-based breads can be rendered gluten-free through fermentation. Please just click the link to see the reference.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
26 Feb 2015 4:00:47 PM PDT
The article does not claim that fermentation "makes wheat bread safe for celiacs to eat." It simply discusses the claim that short fermentation may be contributing to higher celiac disease rates, and points to some recent studies confirming that long-fermentation reduces the amount of gluten in breads, especially sour dough breads. Currently, the only safe gluten standard for people with celiac disease is under 20ppm. That remains unchanged.

Carol Sidofsky
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said this on
02 Mar 2015 2:56:32 AM PDT
I agree with Nicole! The article is written by a man who means well, but doesn't know even ONE person who has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity! The author interviewed a WHEAT farmer (and wheat is loaded with gluten), and wheat farmers want to sell their wheat. Need I say more?

( Author)
said this on
03 Mar 2015 2:57:39 PM PDT
Carol, the author is just reporting the news...not being paid by wheat farmers. Since he is my brother, he know me, and I have celiac disease--as does our mom...please don't jump to negative conclusions. This is simply saying that the higher CD rates now may be driven by changes in how bread is made now.

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said this on
25 Feb 2015 9:35:44 AM PDT
I'll be very interested to see where this leads. ...

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said this on
02 Mar 2015 1:38:39 PM PDT
People with celiac disease should NOT eat sourdough bread. It does not completely remove the gluten from the product. Please do not do this and harm yourself. It is a myth resulting from an isolated, small scale study, in which the study scientists even say that more research is needed before a conclusion is drawn.

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said this on
03 Mar 2015 8:12:55 AM PDT
In the end it comes down to you knowing your body and how gluten, even the slightest amount, works against you and your body. I am severely sensitive and get super sick. So matter what the process is I know I wouldn't take the chance. It's a good article and it helps bring to light one of the reasons celiac is becoming such a big deal these days.

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said this on
20 May 2015 2:54:19 PM PDT
This is very interesting. I wonder how many people will be affected by this added gluten and shortened fermentation cycle. One thing is certain, there is a growing increase in the number of people who have developed celiac disease within the last 15 years.

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