So. You don't eat bread anymore because it's such a pain — literally — to digest. Or because you hear gluten is bad for you. Or because it's bread, and that's just not done these days. Well, food writer and activist Michael Pollan is going to sort you out. He's found a way for most of us (excluding those of you with celiac disease) to eat our bread and digest it too.
Pollan brings this up in his Netflix documentary series Cooked and explained more for Well and Good. According to him, the key is fermentation.
Back in ye olden days, people made sourdough bread by letting flour and water (and sometimes other ingredients) ferment over a period of time. Turns out there's yeast just floating around in the air, and it'll work its magic with your starter if you give it enough time.
“[The] tradition of fermenting flour with sourdough breaks down the peptides in gluten that give people trouble,” Pollan tells Well and Good. But then commercial bread companies took over and sped up the process, and that's when our bread-digesting problems began.
So! If you want to eat bread, all you have to do is bake it yourself using your own long-fermented sourdough starter. But who has time, what with your busy schedule foraging wild ramps and hunting for truffles with your heritage-breed pig in your orchard in Umbria?
Or you could buy sourdough from a bakery that makes its own fermented starter. Good luck finding one! And paying for that bread. But it's worth looking around for it, because slow-fermented sourdough bread is freakin' delicious.
You never know — there could be a bakery doing just that right by your office. And then, yeah, bread is still an expensive sometimes treat. But at least you get to enjoy it without dealing with additives-filled, gluten-free bread from the store.
Now, will this really do the trick for the gluten-intolerant? “Anecdotally, I’ve heard from lots of people that when they eat properly fermented bread, they can tolerate it," Pollan claims. Uh-oh, the infamous scientifically unproven anecdotal evidence. Oh well... Give it a try, and let us know if it works for you.
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