Ever had that bloated feeling after eating a sandwich? Coeliac disease researchers and plant geneticists are finding more evidence to suggest that the cause is the industrialisation of baking, with it's drastically abbreviated fermentation time less than an hour.

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Wheat and grains generally are not digestible in their raw form. Putting grains through the age old 'slow' production process such as sourdough starters or natural fermentation methods (traditionally between three and 25 hours), changes its chemical structure.

You can feel the difference between a dough that has just been mixed, and a fermented dough. The fermentation, or rising process, allows the natural enzymes to break down the complex carbohydrates and gluten proteins, aiding digestion.

These traditional methods have several benefits, such as improved digestion, better absorption of the many vitamins and minerals present in grains (the purpose of our digestive system after all!), and a reduction in the amount of yeast used (about a quarter of the yeast required to make a quick dough), as old man time allows the yeast to grow on itself. These important differences result in optimum nutrition from bread.

It is my opinion that much of the gluten intolerance out there today is partly caused by the 'modern', rapid methods of bread baking. The reduced digestibility can damage people's guts, leading to sensitivity.

In a recent article, Sue Kedgley said, "It's interesting that until the 1950's, ceoliac disease was extremely rare. But from the 1960's it began to increase sharply. It's around that time that the new mechanical methods of bread-making, called the Chorleywood Bread process or 'no time' method, were introduced in the United Kingdom, and taken up by other countries like the United States, Australia and New Zealand."

Certainly countries who maintain the 'old ways' of natural fermentation or sourdough bread making have far fewer cases of gluten intolerance. So, trust your gut, and where baking is concerned, go slow! Happily, it tastes superior too.

Bobs Organic Bread Recipe
This recipe makes one large (1 kg) loaf, or two small loaves.
Use quality organic ingredients where possible for optimum nutrition. (Organic is more about what is omitted, i.e. containing no artificial chemicals and pesticides, which are unfortunately common in non-organic food.)

600mls or 2 cups cold water
1 dessertspoon honey
1 tspn dried yeast (without improvers)
90g or 0.6 cups of rolled oats
280g or 1.4 cups wholemeal flour
280g or 1.4 cups white flour
1 dessertspoon sea salt or table salt
(Later after first rise) 1 Tablespoon coconut, olive or vegetable oil.

Dissolve honey in water in large bowl or bucket. Add rolled oats and yeast and leave for 5 minutes.
Add flours and salt and mix very well.
It is very wet to start as classed as a batter dough.
Cover and leave to rise either overnight or through day. Almost the longer the better so don't worry about it. It should double in size and wait till you return whilst the magic happens.
Oil or butter your tins and fold in the oil to dough (you will feel the difference to earlier.)
Turn into tins no more than half full.
Leave to rise and when nearly double in size again place into the oven, preheated to 180ºC.
One loaf will take about 50 minutes. Two smaller loaves will take about 40 minutes, or until well browned.
Turn the bread out of the tins and leave to cool on rack or eat HOT.

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