The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stomach Pain After Eating Sourdough Bread

cfiiman's picture

Stomach Pain After Eating Sourdough Bread

Hey everyone,

I finally baked my second real sourdough loaf using my sourdough starter that has been doing great for the last couple of weeks.  It smells wonderful and raises wonderfully.  My question is I'm experiencing stomach pain almost within minutes of eating the bread.  I baked it last night and about 10 hours overnight letting it cool I had 2 small slices with butter and jam for breakfast, it tasted great, but within 3-5 minutes I felt my stomach start to hurt.  It has been almost 2 hours since and while it isn't nearly as bad I still feel that "over-full" feeling and seem to burp up some acid (gross I know sorry).  My wife doesn't get sick nor others that ate it.  I have a sensitive'ish stomach but bread has never been an issue, well unless I pig out on it or something lol.  I don't seem to feel this way if I don't use my starter so i'm sure it is something to do with the wild yeast.  Just seems like to me it can't be bad, b/c there is no signs of that, the look is great, smell is great, etc. plus no one else feels bad after eating it.  This comes on almost immediately so wouldn't if the starter had gone "bad" it would take longer before I felt sick, like a couple hours or something?  I'm basing this off of a food poising scenario, it doesn't happen within a couple minutes, more like a couple hours right?  I'm thinking I may just be sensitive to the wild yeast if that is possible, which really sucks b/c the bread taste great, and I don't want to have to go back to eating "regular" bread :)  If I buy sourdough from Panera, grocery, whatever this never happens, just my own.  I tried a loaf that I made with my starter after less than a week and when it happened I thought maybe it just hadn't "matured" enough, so now it has been 2 weeks + and it happened again.  Not sure what to do, b/c even though I love the taste I hate feeling like this for a few hours afterward.

Blacksilk Helen's picture
Blacksilk Helen

Could be that your dough is too sour.  If there is an acrid afterburn that's probably what's going on.  Just Try a shorter ferment or perhaps a smaller percentage of prefermented flour.  Depending on your climate your dough could be overfermenting if the weather is hot. 

Blacksilk Helen's picture
Blacksilk Helen

Could be that your dough is too sour.  If there is an acrid afterburn that's probably what's going on.  Just try a shorter ferment or perhaps a smaller percentage of prefermented flour.  Depending on your climate your dough could be overfermenting if the weather is hot. 

pmccool's picture

None of us can diagnose you, but we could make an attempt at diagnosing the bread if you share some more information.  Things that come to mind:

- formula (ingredient types)

- process (temperatures, times, methods)

- observations (what did you see / feel / smell / taste at different stages of making the bread?)

Perhaps something you describe will spark a thought for someone.  Of course, it could just be something in your individual makeup that doesn't respond well to this kind of bread, although I have no idea what or why that might be.



cfiiman's picture

Thanks for the responses, I think it is just me, I gave a piece to another friend and he was find and loved it, and I took a small, just a bit size piece off of his and within a minute or two I seemed to have a flare up.  I still feel full right now, like a brick in my stomach and I haven't had anything today except the 2 small bread slices this morning around 9:30am and a banana.  I haven't eaten lunch yet b/c I don't want to aggravate the situation.  I'm going to try an experiment and make a plain loaf with regular yeast and then try that tomorrow morning, then when I'm feeling fine i'm going to try a small bit of the sourdough and see if the same thing happens, which I'm assuming it will :(  My process is as follows:

3.25 cups flour
1/5 cups water
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup starter which is mixed 100% by weight

Mix all ingredients, allow to rest 30 minutes, preshape and rest 30 minutes, final shape and proof 1.5-2 hours then bake.  Everyone loves the bread and no one feels the way I do when they eat it, very frustrating.  I know it has to be MY starter b/c I can eat commercially made sourdough no problem, ugh...


placebo's picture

I don't see how your recipe could possibly be right. Only 1/5 cup of water? Your bread would be a brick if that's even enough water to incorporate all of the flour. And there's no way that a sourdough will ferment in 2 or 3 hours. The first bulk rise by itself will take probably on the order of 5 hours. Are you sure you've described your procedure accurately?

Also, how long after feeding your starter do you mix up the dough?

cfiiman's picture

Sorry that was suppose to say 1.5 cups, not 1/5.

mardorch's picture

the fact that others eat it and feel fine means that either it is not the bread or that it is your body alone which is reacting.  you have already removed the jam and butter as a possibility. that leaves your body as the reason.  with that in mind, you may have celiac.  can you eat pasta and white bread products?  you mention that you eat sourdough bread without a problem, but true srdgh bread is fermented for 8-12 hours and acts on the gluten to render it harmless for all practical purposes to those with celiac or gluten intolerance.  SO, if you are using a high protein flour (12+% gluten protein) AND only fermenting it for 3 hours (literally nothing), then a person with celiac or gluten intolerance would certainly have a problem with this bread and not necessary with other flour products such as white bread or pasta.

ndechenne's picture

Lose the butter and jam. Eat a plain piece and see how it goes. Bet a dollar you're fine.

ndechenne's picture

Lose the butter and jam. Eat a plain piece and see how it goes. Bet a dollar you're fine.

cfiiman's picture

I've had both the butter and jam on other things with no stomach issues so I doubt either of those is it.  Honestly my stomach still hurts, that is what happens when I eat this stuff, it is like an all day sour stomach from 2 minutes after eating it....

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that agrees with your stomach, don't run around with an empty stomach.  Some folks do get more gas and stomach problems with fresh bread.  Wait a few days to try it again and then go seek out a health care professional.  Take note of your ingredients, especially the flour and any prescriptions and/or supplements you are taking.  

Do you have the same problem if you make pancakes with identical ingredients subbing baking pwd for sourdough?  Or what about the same ingredients with instant yeast instead of sourdough?  Sub out the flour and see what happens.  

Wild-Yeast's picture

Mini's advise is echoed.

Suggest that you might try retarding the formed dough overnight to see if this changes the "stomach outcome". Longer, lower temperature ferments and retarding help lower elements that cause digestive upset.

Yerffej's picture

If you are not already, I would use organic flour.


MangoChutney's picture

Try drinking a glass of water with the bread. I find some foods that give me heartburn don't do so if I drink a glass of water as I eat them. Coffee or juice would probably work just as well, but nothing carbonated.

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

You should mention this to your doctor. Maybe you have a unique intestinal flora that reacts to ingredients in the bread? But please talk to a doctor about this!

Fatmat's picture

I get a tummy ache if bread is undercooked.

phaz's picture

 how do you feel after eating regular, non sour bread?  my sister developed gluten intolerance at the age of 40, and also can't handle milk products anymore.  it just poped up, almost overnight.  but the best thing to do is see your doctor.  it's probably nothing serious,  but odd things like this should be checked by a professional. I wish you luck, I don't think I could live without bread!

cfiiman's picture

Hi everyone, sorry it has been a while I meant to get to your responses sooner!  Well I think I found the issue, well hopefully.  A lot has been going on so I didn't get a chance to try any of the suggestions but tonight I got too.  I went ahead and made a new loaf of sourdough and my wife said "how about pancakes for dinner?" since I had already made a mess.  Yes! I thought, this would make a good test.  I was suspecting the flour b/c it was the "new" ingredient, I switched to Gold Medal Bread Flour to get better gluten development.  Anyway I ate about 1/3 of a 2 pancake stack and decided to just stop after a weird aftertaste/feeling in my throat, and sure enough several hours later my stomach hurts almost the same way as I remember, so the starter has nothing to do at least with this episode.  I've never had a problem eating bread and have no known allergies but something is disagreeing with me and this flour is the common denominator.  When I used KAF I never had an issue, or GM Bleached was fine as well, I'm chucking the bread flour.  Sad too b/c this is how my new loaf came out, I tried a new method from my trial and error to get a good oven spring which I haven't really got and wouldn't you know it, it came out like this but I can't eat it lol, well my wife is excited at least.  Hopefully I can get just as good looking a loaf with new flour:


jey13's picture

There was a recall on some KAF recently (Experation:  December 2019 lots), but KAF is otherwise very reliable and I recommend you go for unbleached organic bread flour if you can get it. I’m sorry to hear you got a batch of flour that you reacted badly to for whatever reason. Quite possibly, as noted in another post here, you had an allergic reaction to something in that flour. Not fun!

Optimally, your experience eating sourdough should be the opposite of what happened. You *should* be able to consume it and not feel stuffed at all. When I started making this bread, my husband was amazed that it didn’t make him feel over-full like bread bought at the store. There really is something in sourdough, fresh made and especially if using good, organic and/or whole grain flours that makes it easy on the stomach and gut—or at least, it should be easy on the stomach and gut.

Maybe you should check around and see if there’s a small, local mill where you can buy organic, whole grain flours in small batches? I was amazed to find such a small, local mill about an hour from where I live. It’d be too costly to buy all my four from them if I baked bread daily, but as a weekend baker, it’s great. They don’t make bread flour (I use KAF bread flour), but I can get awesome, fresh, organic whole wheat and rye from them. As I don’t use a lot of either in my sourdough recipes, their small bags go a long way. I still haven’t depleted the “spring wheat” I bought two months ago. 

Mrsblackard's picture

Its the yeast i make homemade yeast rolls and just after one my stomach hurts like you wouldnt believe and I burp like crazy and tons of acid. I have alot of stomach issues and I'm getting ready to have a hida scan so ill let ya know what my dr says cauaes it but it is 100% the yeast! No other bread bothers me but bread with yeast 

David R's picture
David R

Unfortunately, you're wrong. The fact that your problem turns out to be yeast, doesn't mean it's the problem for everyone else.

Mrsblackard's picture

Unfortunatly, your grumpy and rude you havent commented on a single post up until mine so what you dont like me name or what your just a grumpy person who thinks I care about what you think You know. I never said it was the problem for everone else I said it was the problem for me and it sounds like its the problem for them also considering he had the EXACT SAME OUTCOME!!!!! So until you can become a Dr., actually know how every food affects him and be able to look into his stomach and see the problem  go be rude to someone else! 

Lucidcat2's picture

I have had a problem for many years with eating sourdough. It immediately makes my stomach swell to epic proportions, is extremely painful and takes hours to calm back down. I quit eating it years ago. I have recently started making bread & decided I would try homemade sourdough. The company I buy my flour from had a pop up store recently & were giving out starter to those who made purchases and brought a jar. I bought their sourdough & have had a few nibbles of it without any problems. I have recently found out that if you have pollen allergies, your body will often react to different foods (burning, tingling in the mouth, which I do get from some flours) & am wondering if this is an extension of that. If you have a pollen allergy, that could be one explanation.

simon m's picture
simon m

I'm surprised there aren't more complaints of this kind here and wider out but some complaints are deservedly rare. I've been suffering from this - sharp recurring pain turning into a cramp in my upper stomach - ever since I started eating sourdough, a couple of years ago. Obviously, I stopped eating it as part of my regular diet but since I really like it I sometimes come back to it. I don't bake my own bread so what experience I have with SD is based on what I buy from good London bakeries. Poillane kills me. Some Gail's SDs are even more dangerous. It appears that this problem for me happens when I eat SD on an empty stomach, which is typically in the morning. I used to put it down to coffee but having experimented I had to conclude that the drink has nothing to do with it. Neither is any other type of bread capable of producing this effect on me. The pang in my stomach comes and goes every couple of minutes and the whole bout lasts for 5 - 7 hours. Like I said, I stopped having sourdough in the morning but the last two days I had a slice and both days I paid the price. At least now I'm in no doubt as to the real cause of this awful reaction I have to the food I eat. 

jey13's picture

A friend of mine who lived in London had the same problem, to the point where he was sure he was gluten intolerant and didn’t eat bread hardly at all. But then he visited us and found that he could eat U.S. bread. No trouble at all. 

Have you visited other countries and had the same reaction to “country”/ sourdough bread?