The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Does sourdough bread ever make you sick?

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SofiasDad's picture
SofiasDad

Does sourdough bread ever make you sick?

Hi all, I started baking using the La Brea Bakery basic white bread recipe yesterday and thought the first loaf was gorgeous and tested great - until my kids all got stomach aches a few hours later. I suspect the bread and don't doubt I did something wrong - it was my first try with this recipe. I wonder if other bakers have some experience with this issue. Thanks in advance, Michael

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

More seriously, no, sourdough bread should not make you sick.  Just as seriously, how much did the kids have?  And do any of them have any food allergies?

It may just be that I am concatenating two things that should stay separate but when I read the statement "I just started baking...yesterday" I am left with the impression that this is your first-ever loaf of bread.  Is that a correct impression, or is this just the first time that you made this specific bread?

If you tell us some more about the sourdough starter that you are using for this bread, it may lead to an understanding of what is going on.  How long have you had the starter?  How was it developed?  What sort of feeding regimen (timing, quantities, etc.) are you using?  Does it stay at room temperature all of time or is it refrigerated between uses?

It may also help to know more about the bread, too.  I'm not looking for the explicit recipe but a list of ingredients and the process you used to make the bread might also shed some light on your experience.

Paul

SofiasDad's picture
SofiasDad

Paul, I have baked challah and parker house rolls for years but my sourdough was never anything special so I bought the book, "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" a few weeks ago to inspire myself. I used the Ischia Island starter from www.sourdo.com and prepared Silveton's basic white bread. The starter is two weeks old, fed APF and a whole wheat starter twice a day in the ratio 1:1:1. The kids ate just a few thick slices but what struck me is that they all had stomach aches. It may not be the bread - just a random thing but was nervous about getting the bread right and then thought it odd that they all felt bad.

tomcatsgirl's picture
tomcatsgirl

My father in law gets a stomach ache if the bread is to sour. I think maybe if you did something wrong then you would all be sick not just the kids. Maybe a stomach bug? Hope they are on the mend!

placebo's picture
placebo

I make this bread too. It uses just flour, water, starter, and salt. The process is: Combine water, flour, and starter. Knead for about 5 minutes. Autolyse for 20 minutes. Add salt and knead for about 5 more minutes. First fermentation. Divide dough into two pieces, degas, and preshape. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape into boules and place into bannetons. Let it rise for another hour or so. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and let it finish rising. Bake.

placebo's picture
placebo

I make this bread too. I love it.

I think Nancy says you should let the bread cool for at least an hour after you take it out of the oven and warns eating it too soon can cause an upset stomach. (I might be wrong. I'm just too lazy right now to go get the book and check.) Perhaps they just ate it too soon after it came out of the oven?

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Does she say why that happens?  I have often eaten my sourdough bread barely ten minutes out of the oven.  The only bad thing I have seen happen is that the loaf gets somewhat squished when I cut it that soon.

placebo's picture
placebo

I just checked the book, and I did remember correctly. She says the bread is "still 'cooking' in a manner" and giving off carbon dioxide, which in some people can cause an upset stomach. Danielle Forestier said something similar when she was on Julia Child's show, although it was about non-sourdough bread. She said it isn't very digestible straight out of the oven, thus it's a law in France that bread must be allowed to cool for 20 minutes before it can be sold.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Well, okay, but then they should get sick from carbonated beverages as well, shouldn't they?

placebo's picture
placebo

Yeah, you'd think.

SofiasDad's picture
SofiasDad

When I got reports of stomach aches, I remembered something she said about this and searched for over an hour in the book, then googled it, then posted it here. I did cool it a little, but first loaf excitement overcame me and the bread was gone in 5 minutes!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

My nephew used to get gassy when he drank too much soda, but he usually just burped it out.  Sourdough is supposed to be eminently digestible, but if it were too warm when the kids ate it and they didn't get the burps out, that would lead to stomach pain.  Don't forget, soda is lighter and liquid while bread is more solid and more likely to just sit there in stomachs.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I made sourdough pizza crust today and paid special attention to the state of my gut afterwards.  I did burp a little bit.  I can't say whether that was from scarfing down one half of a 12" homemade pizza, or because it was a sourdough crust.  I guess to test that I would have to make some crusts in advance and store them for a couple of days before using them.  In either case, it wasn't enough to make me feel ill.  I did drink three cups of a hot beverage with the pizza, though.  That might have helped the gases to emerge properly.  Maybe the moral is that if you are going to eat freshly baked sourdough then you should drink enough liquid with it that the contents of your stomach can degas.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Although it's always tempting to slice into a fresh loaf asap, in my experience, my sourdoughs have always tasted the best after 24 hrs -minimum-. I bake ahead of need, so that we're currently still eating the last loaf before a bake. That way, it will be at least one or two days before the newest loaves are sliced into. Seeing as this recipe is just flour, water, levain and salt, it seems to me to be a prime candidate for HANDS OFF status out of the oven. Give it 24-48 hours to gain some character. That's real sourdough, to me at least... It's easy enough to broil or toast if you want to add crispiness. You can micro for softness, or even steam if you want dripping moisture with your warmth. At any rate, the charm of bread right out of the oven is the warmth and freshness. For me, sourdough is the worst candidate for this, because it takes awhile for it to develop its full flavor profile. If eating it too soon out of the oven might have been the problem for the nausea, the solution is not a downgrade at all, it actually will make a lot of things about your sourdough better. ; )

- Keith

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Lionel Poilâne said that his breads were best eaten the day after the bake.  I've oft wondered what causes the taste transformation as it is remarkably better after the rest period and is even better 2 days after.

Wild-Yeast 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

While clearly if the bread is making someone ill when freshly baked, they should wait to eat it, there is something to be said for sampling it all along.  How else would one know when the bread is at its best?  *smile*  I do usually make our new bread in time to not run out of the old loaf before the new is ready, but there would be disappointment in my house if the new bread was not sampled while still warm from the oven.  France's 20 minutes is probably pretty close to how long I have settled on for the wait, but that has been dictated by how long it takes to let the loaf cool enough for comfortable handling and with some hope of cutting a few slices without crushing it.  At 3.5 - 4 lbs each, my whole wheat sourdough loaves can afford to lose a couple of slices for each of us at the beginning and still have plenty left for eating at their flavor peaks, whenever that occurs.  It should certainly change with time, with all that chemical complexity from the sourdough component as well as the tannins from the whole wheat and all the normal stuff from ordinary bread.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I too get frequent stomachaches from eating bread, and it's a major annoyance to me, with lots of burps and cramps and sleep interruptions. Fortunately it comes on fairly slowly, so I can feel it starting and get away from the bread before it gets too bad. Any tips on how to minimize it would be greatly appreciated!

As best as I can figure out, my genetics include a very mild wheat intolerance (nothing that triggers an "allergy test" or results in a medical diagnosis), and eating more than 3-6 slices of bread per day will trigger it. Interestingly, I seem to be somewhat more sensitive to what I bake myself than to the commercial stuff I eat elsewhere; my best guess "explanation" is the commercial stuff actually has significantly less wheat because so much air is beaten into it. Also interestingly, I seem to be somewhat less sensitive to "whole wheat" than to white flour (various good unbleached/unbromated brands, including GM and KAF); currently I've no "explanation" at all for that.

My sensitivity seems to be to any style of bread, no matter when it's cut nor when it's eaten. nor what kind of raising agent I use.

gretastein's picture
gretastein

I have lactose issues and that is why I make my own bread now.  Many breads are made with milk or milk byproducts and even the smallest amount will effect me.  I can eat cheese but not milk or ice cream for some reason.  Also when baking bread it is important to rid the dough of yeast gas which shows up in bread from stores as holes in baked dough.   That could also affect stomachs.  

Trialer70's picture
Trialer70

My father-in-law suffers from interstitial cystitis and has had to go onto a special diet which bans, among other things, any sourdough bread or rye bread or store-bought bread.  He is extremely limited on this diet with regards to fruit as well and no pickled items or preserved meats, so perhaps the sourness may have something to do with it, if enough sourdough was eaten at one time...and how tempting it is to eat and eat and eat good sourdough bread.  He's seemed to improve from being on the diet, so that is a good thing.