The ‘real bread’ pioneer Andrew Whitley says that the rapid fermentation processes used in modern breadmaking could be responsible for surging rates of coeliac disease.

Whitely, founder of the Village Bakery and author of a new book Do Sourdough, told The Times this week that beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB) released during traditional long fermentation of yeast can neutralize the protein molecules in wheat flour that are toxic to people with coeliac disease.

Whitley told the newspaper: “Molecular technologists have identified the bits of protein molecules that cause the problem. We know that the longer you ferment wheat dough then the longer the LAB have to do their work. Over time we have moved away from slow fermentation in Britain so more of these toxic elements are getting through into the bread supply and causing health problems.”

Whitley’s comments coincided with publication of a new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham showing a fourfold increase in the number of people diagnosed with coeliac disease between 1990 and 2011.

Whitely stressed that: “(not all) sourdough bread can be eaten by coeliacs because a lot of bread sold as sourdough bread is not really sourdough at all.”

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About the Author

Jim Manson

Jim Manson is Editor-In-Chief of Diversified Communication UK's natural and organic publishing portfolio. He’s written widely on environment and development issues for specialist magazines and national media, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, Time Out and World Bank Urban Age.

Articles by Jim Manson
Jim Manson


  1. Nutrition and Healing Foods Advice | Why did I stop eating bread? - July 21, 2014

    […] But anyway, even if it wasn’t for the yeas, the bread made nowadays is just not proper bread. As the founder of the Village Bakery, Andrew Whitley, pointed out in the Times (reported in Natural Products News) […]

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