Sourdough for Celiacs article

Now, this is going to be controversial, but it gets to the heart of why I offer the type of breads I do, namely all-and-only true, natural sourdoughs.

Food processing by selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases to create detoxified wheat flour may be considered an efficient approach to eliminate gluten toxicity. – GreenMedInfo Summary

Abstract Title:

Highly efficient gluten degradation by lactobacilli and fungal proteases during food processing: new perspectives for celiac disease.

Abstract Source:

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul ;73(14):4499-507. Epub 2007 May 18. PMID: 17513580

Abstract Author(s):

Carlo G Rizzello, Maria De Angelis, Raffaella Di Cagno, Alessandra Camarca, Marco Silano, Ilario Losito, Massimo De Vincenzi, Maria D De Bari, Francesco Palmisano, Francesco Maurano, Carmen Gianfrani, Marco Gobbetti

Article Affiliation:

Department of Plant Protection and Applied Microbiology, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


Presently, the only effective treatment for celiac disease is a life-long gluten-free diet. In this work, we used a new mixture of selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases to eliminate the toxicity of wheat flour during long-time fermentation. Immunological (R5 antibody-based sandwich and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] and R5 antibody-based Western blot), two-dimensional electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight, strong-cation-exchange-liquid chromatography/capillary liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-quadrupole-time of flight [SCX-LC/CapLC-ESI-Q-TOF], and high-pressure liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry) analyses were used to determine the gluten concentration. Assays based on the proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and gamma interferon production by PBMCs and intestinal T-cell lines (iTCLs) from 12 celiac disease patients were used to determine the protein toxicity of the pepsin-trypsin digests from fermented wheat dough (sourdough). As determined by R5-based sandwich and competitive ELISAs, the residual concentration of gluten in sourdough was 12 ppm. Albumins, globulins, and gliadins were completely hydrolyzed, while ca. 20% of glutenins persisted. Low-molecular-weight epitopes were not detectable by SCX-LC/CapLC-ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry and R5-based Western blot analyses. The kinetics of the hydrolysis of the 33-mer by lactobacilli were highly efficient. All proteins extracted from sourdough activated PBMCs and induced gamma interferon production at levels comparable to the negative control. None of the iTCLs demonstrated immunoreactivity towards pepsin-trypsin digests. Bread making was standardized to show the suitability of the detoxified wheat flour. Food processing by selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases may be considered an efficient approach to eliminate gluten toxicity.

Article Published Date : Jun 30, 2007
Study Type : In Vitro Study

Salt and Walnut articles

In my inbox today, two articles about two of my ingredients with honourable mention to a third (flax seeds), namely Unrefined Salt and Walnuts.

Salt: Your Way to Health

Walnuts Can Help You Beat Stress

By the way, what I use is organic Portuguese sea salt, organic Californian walnuts, and organic flax from Canada which I grind myself immediately before mixing in with flour, so they soak for 20-30 hours with the dough, as with all seeds and spices in my recipes.

The Walnut loaf usually features only Red Fife flour, although for a couple of months, since I have run out of my first test batch of white, I will be using Milanaise Sifted 50 again, which I think is the single best white flour available anywhere. Except for their Red Fife white, that is! Once I have run through the current 2-month stock of the normal white, the plan is to switch over to heritage grains only, i.e. spelt, rye, red fife, and I might play a little bit with Kamut, although personally I don’t find it a very interesting bread grain.

More of the same – corporations rule, dehumanizing our food and culture

—–Original Message—–
Subject: National Food Strategy: Update from Conference
Board of Canada Consultation

Farmers’ Market Community,

At the end of January I attended the Halifax consultation of Conference Board of Canada’s National Food Strategy.

Along with the consultations, the Conference Board of Canada created an online survey available for anyone to complete. The original deadline to fill out of the survey was January 31st. Thanks to many in the room at the Halifax consultation, the survey deadline was extended to Feb 28. You can complete the survey here:

Regarding the integrity of the Conference Board of Canada’s National Food Strategy, I will share the words of a number of respected experts in the field –

. from Food Secure Canada :

. from Steffanie Scott, director of the local economic development program at the University of Waterloo. She is also vice-president of the Canadian Association for Food Studies and was founding co-chair of the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable :–more-voices-needed-on-national-food-strategy


It has been suggested that the best thing to do is offer our thoughts and, if appropriate, our dissent and concern. After attending the Halifax consultation, I am very concerned.

Thanks, Keltie

Keltie Butler
Executive Director, Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia

Comments: first, a quick summary: a grassroots effort involving many people is followed up by a corporate initiative which essentially continues the over-centralising, profit-obsessed trends evident in most so-called ‘industries’ these days, following which some people are complaining and seemingly requesting that they be included in this process which is otherwise unfair or unbalanced or otherwise inappropriate.

My feeling is that, although the above is reasonable, in fact there is little point in working with these large, dominant corporate ‘special interests’. Rather, the emphasis should be on the grass roots style organisations using Common Law norms (Notices etc. ) to establish certain basic rights or practices. For example, I believe it might be possible to establish that if food is being purchased in X county of Y  Province (i.e. where the Notice is published and later filed) the undersigned hereby establishes the right to grow or purchase any food or drink product that he/she desires unless it can be proven in a court of law that such activity endangers the life of anyone involved in such intercourse. Or something like that.

In other words, more effort has to go into creating more understanding about the role and effect of promoting local culture, including local business, including local food production and services, thus especially the role of Farmers Markets in the local community context. We need more research with data, but also less looking to government and big business, which are essentially the enemy on several levels. Wasting time petitioning the government, waiting for their largesse, lobbying them to change rules etc., though well intentioned, even correct, won’t work.

Why? Because large corporations, with practically unlimited amounts of money to throw at legislators and legislative systems, will undermine any changes you/we manage to effect. Look what they are doing with ‘organic’. In a few more years it will be more or less meaningless with many of the products so labelled. Is hydroponic lettuce using ‘organic’ liquid fertiliser meaningfully ‘organic’? Is organic lettuce grown in California really necessary in Nova Scotia, or rather is it all that significant that it is organic if it comes from California?

Further, I think it is time for more people to learn how to grow their own food. That in itself will put great pressure on the Loblaws of this world to raise their quality and lower their prices. And to do that, guess what? They will have to promote and then contract with more local producers. Locally grown lettuce, picked the day before it is presented on the supermarket shelves when it is ripe with the ideal sugar content will beat long distance stuff picked early and then chemically treated any day. More sophisticated winter greenhouse operations within Canada, but especially Nova Scotia, and in particular for the author of this blog, Cape Breton Island, will be far more nutritious and delicious than anything either Sobeys or Superstore are offering by the Big Bear Farms in Texas.

Yes, ideally our local Farmers’ Market could get the ball rolling in this direction, but the reality is that only supermarkets supply a meaningful variety of produce and other goods and it is very difficult for a small scale, usually amateur, producer to offer a sufficiently broad product line since so few people from the town come to the market. And of course one could argue that so few come because there is not enough offered and so on ad infinitum.

But still, somehow we have to find a way to grow and consume locally grown and/or processed foods. That’s the bottom line.

So when you go shopping for stuff to eat, please consider taking this seriously, whether you are buying meat, fish, cheese, eggs, bread or vegetables. As much as possible, buy the local offerings and as much as possible/reasonable, cut back on commercial processed or transported foods. Within reason of course.

But if you do start choosing local over global, so to speak, you will find there is more variety than you might think, and also you might find yourself developing a taste for basics and buying those rather than packaged foods, i.e. vegetables, spices, grains, nuts, fruits and veggies especially during the cold season, and so forth.

The more we support good food by not buying junk food, the more these corporations will have to work harder to supply good food and not junk food. But if we keep buying the junk, they will keep trying to push it further, because of course one of the main reasons junk food has been pushed in the first place is that it is the most convenient money-maker for corporate food industry players.

Stop buying their junk!!!

P.S. An example of why the label ‘organic’ is increasingly meaningless. Look at how one manufacturer (for that is what it is) of ‘organic spinach’ is having this product recalled in over thirty States in the U.S.  And for salmonella, which, I think, comes from manure. I very much doubt this manure comes from animals that are grazing on the same property as the farm, probably it is shipped in, and probably this brand of spinach is being grown in many different farms, or greenhouses, or hydroponic units. I don’t know, but I very much doubt that true organic production is taking place in such large volumes. I do buy such stuff from time to time because I prefer to give money to organic producers, but I hold my nose a little every time I do, and meanwhile am taking steps to grow all my own produce, including winter production which hopefully will take place next year.

Beer – the oldest (and life saving) profession

10-02-2013 12-41-26 PM-beer yeast

A couple of nice articles about beer, the first short, the second a much longer, but well written, pdf.

This is not a huge thing to point out, but here is a very good example of a traditional craft, or way of doing things, that along with having no end of cultural subtleties (flavour, aroma, effect etc.) is not only healthy, but also harnesses microbial processes, including those including members of populations that in some cases are blamed for causing disease, even death, such that we can take questionable ‘wild water’ and purify it; not only that, but it provides quite a lift, psychologically, as we all know.

I doubt that such a drink could ever be invented in our modern world. Look what has happened to cheese! If the modern world has its way, there won’t be any real cheese available in a few years because of our desire to fully control wild microbial populations, our distrust of them. So instead we make fake cheese on pasteurised milks; now some of it seems alright, but there is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ vitality quotient missing from the delicious, pungent, potent cheeses I used to enjoy in France back in the sixties when I was still a young thing and took vitality (of all sorts) for granted.

And don’t get me started on bread, the main subject of this baker’s blog! Bread used to be a great (albeit always essentially very simple) thing, nourishing, tasty, aromatic, truly a luxury food enjoyed by peasant and Lord alike. But what passes for bread now in the supermarkets…. well it has a somewhat good light texture and there is an aroma and flavour there, but really it is both a pale imitation of the real thing in those terms, as well as being demonstrably bad for the health when eaten regularly because of the lack of proper pre-digestion from authentic fermentation using cultures which attach themselves naturally to the grain as opposed to single strain sugar-only trained laboratory grown derivatives. The production of gas is rapid and dependable, but the grain is not nearly as digestible. Nor as tasty or aromatic.

Anyway, enjoy the beer!