Sourdough in gluten-free bread-making: an ancient technology to solve a novel issue?

Food Microbiol. 2009 Oct;26(7):676-84. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jul 26.


The increasing demand for high quality gluten-free (GF) bread, clean labels and natural products is raising the need for new approaches in GF bread-making. Sourdough is the foremost fermentation used for baking purposes and it has been proven to be ideal for improving the texture, palatability, aroma, shelf life and nutritional value of wheat and rye breads. These characteristic features derive from the complex metabolic activities of the sourdough-resident lactic acid bacteria and yeasts, e.g. acidification, production of exopolysaccharides, proteolytic- amylolytic- and phytase activity, and production of antimicrobial substances. These effects have been extensively studied and well described for traditional baking, whereas little is known about the role of sourdough in GF baking. Yet, the microbiological and qualitative characterisation of local GF fermented products indicate an overlap with the microbiota of wheat/rye fermentation and suggest that the positive metabolic activities of the sourdough microbiota are still retained during fermentation of GF crops. Thus, the use of sourdough in GF baking may be the new frontier for improving the quality, safety and acceptability of GF bread.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bread* / microbiology
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free / methods*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Glutens* / analysis
  • Glutens* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus
  • Yeasts


  • Glutens