Bakers Journal

Cross-border initiative studies gluten sensitivity

May 1, 2018
By Bakers Journal

Two different Canadian wheat commissions and an American council are collaborating on research into sourdough bread.

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotional Council (MWRPC) are funding a three-year project to determine whether the process used to create sourdough bread could lead to more easily digested bread for the wheat-sensitive.

Headed Dr. Michael Gänzle, a food microbiologist at the University of Alberta, the study will focus mostly on the fermentation process, which breaks down the proteins and the carbohydrates in flour, which have been linked to wheat sensitivity. Inspired by anecdotal evidence that sourdough is easier to digest for those who identify as being sensitive to wheat, the project hopes to develop more easily digestible products for the gluten-sensitive. However, it will not create any new products for people with celiac disease.

In a press release, Sask Wheat Chair Laura Reiter stated, “this is a unique project that has exciting potential for the baking industry. We hope the results will lead to products t­­­­­­hat more people can enjoy while creating new market opportunities for grain farmers.”

Funding for this project includes $70,000 from AWC, $57,250 from Sask Wheat and $20,000 from MWRPC for a total of $147,250 over the three-year period. This cross-border initiative looks forward to working with Gänzle to report the results of this project upon completion in 2021.

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