2013-07-11 HEY!!! What Happened to the Gluten-Free Page?
I'm sorry, really I am. I had hoped to investigate gluten free sourdough in hopes of producing a line of gluten free sourdough breads to sell through health food stores and share such information as I found. As you may recall, most of the gluten free breads taste like overly-sweetened Styrofoam and don't really deliver what I call "true bread satisfaction."
One of the major pieces of research I was engaged in was to determine if I could safely produce gluten-free breads in a kitchen that also produces wheat and rye based breads. After a good bit of research, the answer is an unequivocal "NO!". Contamination of the gluten free products with wheat WILL occur (wheat flour will stay in the air for several hours). While some celiacs say a bit of gluten won't cause problems, the medical community and the celiac organisations feel that it will.
As a businessman I can't afford to make people sick. As a human being, I wouldn't want that on my conscience in any case. So, all plans for a gluten free line are on hold, until such time as we can afford to have a completely separate gluten free production facility, and have arrangements to distribute the products beyond our small area. It's a separate business, a separate business plan, and I really don't have time to pursue it now. The bottom line is, if I can't do it right, I won't do it at all.
Yeah, but what about the gluten free sourdough web pages? Since they won't be worked on, I wanted to remove them so they wouldn't get people's hopes up. I have too much to do to pursue something that isn't of personal interest at this
Yeah, but what about gluten free sourdough? Well, that's still a tough question. I tried several times to start a culture with rice, and each time the culture got nasty. When I used a bit of wheat raised sourdough culture to start the rice culture, it started well. I used 1/2 teaspoon of wheat based starter to 1/4 cup of water and 3/8 cup of rice flour. It took off well. In
1/2 teaspoon of wheat based starter, you'll find about 1/8 teaspoon wheat flour. I took 1/2 teaspoon of that starter and again fed it 1/4 cup of water and 3/8 cup of rice flour. It took off again and smelled nice. I used that starter to make some bread, and it turned out nicely.
At this point, I'd be concerned that was still too much wheat. You make up your own mind. The residual flour in the starter at that point would have been about 1/384th of a teaspoon of flour. And it would be further diluted in making bread. Still..... the peanut butter story haunts me. You haven't heard the peanut butter story?
It was, if memory serves, in an article in Reader's Digest, and it went something like this.... A young college girl was out on the town drinking with some friends. They stopped for something to eat. She ordered a bowl of chili. She touched a teaspoon of it to her lips. And said it didn't taste right and had no more of it. An hour later, she was dead. It turned out that the cook felt the chili was too thin, so he thickened it with a cup of peanut butter. In about 5 gallons of chili. She touched a spoon of it to her lips, and her peanut allergy killed her.
I feel terribly sorry for her. And her parents. And her friends who saw her die. And I feel especially sorry for the cook. He didn't do anything wrong, and someone died. And he has to live with that. I am determined to do all I can to never have to stand in the poor soul's shoes.
So, I won't make a gluten-free bread, or pursue doing so, until I can say, "No wheat, no gluten. Not even a trace!"
I did find a number of good looking gluten free good recipes on the Red Star page , as well as on the Bob's Red Mill pages. Nothing that was really sourdough, but they could be converted. I also got a copy of "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread", which has some good recipes, though I don't like her idea of sourdough. You don't need commercial yeast in sourdough. You shouldn't use commercial yeast in sourdough. Anyway, until such time as I start a separate facility, adieu and best wishes to my gluten intolerant friends.
(Edit from 2019 - In the end, I relented and made the gluten free pages available. My whiny explanation and a link to the gluten free pages is here.)