My eight year old daughter loves nothing more than baking, but her pediatrician wants me to start working on “rebuilding her gut biome” after many bouts of strep throat last year. AND her doctor is concerned with a “possible grain sensitivity”, so that leaves me wondering about all the grains, flours and superfoods for sale on this sight. There are so many, and I’d like to start using some of these alternative products, (we are currently using king arthur unbleached bread flour) but I’m not sure where to start. Just to be clear she does not have Celiac’s disease, just what the doctor is calling a “possible sensitivity”. Does anyone have a recommendation?
I don’t have any concrete advice, just didn’t want to leave your question hanging.
My small experience with elimination diets - when i was nursing a colicky kid, i gave up dairy for nine months based on guesswork - is that theyre really tedious. And almost the only way to rule out issues. I’m glad your doctor isn’t making your daughter do this yet.
In general, my feeling is that gluten is being wrongly demonized by people who dont have a scientific approach. So many people eliminate gluten and then feel better, but dont realize they are making many other changes at the same time. They usually have gluten in the form of sugary commercial cereals, pastries and breads. So in eliminating gluten, they’re also eliminating or reducing a lot of sugar, chemicals, and preservatives. And eating better food instead. No wonder they feel better!
To get off my soapbox, and give you something to work with: trying buying the Einkorn and mixing it with regular wheat or white flour, increasing the ratio to make bread with a higher proportion of this ancient grain. In theory it’s easier to digest and has more nutritious properties.
I basically haven’t bought bread since i made a sourdough starter last July, except for Indian naan. I make about 4-6 sourdough loaves a week. Five people, some teens. I buy a granola cereal that happens to be gluten free. We eat pasta and potatoes 1x a week each. Rice maybe 3-4 times. Sometimes quinoa.
One of our kids was having similar trouble with conventional wheat a few years ago and that’s what actually started us down the path of home baking with sourdough.
The first thing we tried was a sourdough leavened, 100% whole grain red fife loaf using the red fife flour from Breadtopia. Our kid ate most of the loaf over the course of a couple days and had none of the digestive problems that had been plaguing him previously when eating even a small amount of conventional wheat. Since that time, we’ve been baking fresh sourdough loaves with a number of heirloom / ancient grains and it works for everyone in the house.
Although I only have the one data point, I’ve read a fair bit on this and I am fairly convinced that there are two important parts to overcoming non-Celiac wheat sensitivity for most people:
- longish sourdough leavening
- using heirloom / ancient grains that have not had the nutritional value bred out of them
Here is a pretty good article that Eric put up on Breadtopia recently:
Amelia, I work with a baker in Tucson, on occasion. The NY Times called him “a cult star among the nation’s slow-fermentation bread bakers”. He focuses on slow fermentation as a way of drawing out more nutrition and creating less sensitivity. His name is Don Guerra and his bakery is called Barrio Bread. His website has some good information on nutrition for levain-based bread. www.barriobread.com.
If you like Indian food, you might like to learn to make Idli, Dosa, Appam, and Uttapum. These are various kinds of pancake from the south of India that are all made from the same basic batter.
Usually, this batter is made by soaking three parts rice and 1 part “Urad Dal” (called “Black Gram” in English, but you get it at Indian grocery stores where it is called Urad Dal—it’s a legume, like chickpeas or lentils). Soak the rice and the dal in separate containers. Pour off, but reserve, the excess water. Then you grind them, still separately, in the water they soaked in. The water should rise just above the level of the rice and of the dal . You can do this with a blender or with a blender wand if you don’t have an Indian grinder. After grinding, combine the two mixtures. The consistency will be a smooth batter, about like a crèpe batter, and it will feel a bit gritty. If it seems too thick, you can add some of the reserved soaking water to thin it out. Add some salt and a big pinch of fenugreek and let it ferment about 14 hours in a warm place. The natural yeasts on the Urad Dal will commence to work and, Voila! it will begin to bubble just like a sourdough starter. There are some good videos you can look up on YouTube on how to make the pancakes. It really helps to use a non-stick griddle or skillet because these really like to stick to the pan. (In India they use a griddle called a Tawa. It is carefully seasoned and used only for this kind of cooking.)
In India, they usually use white rice, but you can use other grains instead. They often use a grain called “Ragi” (pronounced, Rah-ghee), which is much tastier, actually, than rice, even though it has until recently been considered to be not as genteel—just as whole grains and Rye in the west have been considered not as high-class as bread made with refined flours. Ragi is one of those traditional grains that grow in difficult conditions that rice and wheat do not tolerate. It is supposed to be extremely good for you.
Dosa are made very thin, kind of like a crèpe, but are crispy. They are traditionally eaten plain with a spicy vegatable stew called “Sambar,” or wrapped around some kind of filling. They are usually accompanied with coconut chutney.
Idli are a kind of steamed bun that is made with the same batter, though perhaps made a little thicker by reducing the amount of water a bit. They are a standard snack for children and are often used to sop up “gravy.”
Appam and uttappam (there are various spellings) are also made from the same batter. Appam are a pancake made in a round bottomed pan—a wok will do—so that the batter pools in the center but the edges are thin and crispy. It is not flipped over, so the center remains very white. Uttappam are thicker pancakes that have shredded vegetables, onions and bits of tomatoes sprinkled over them before they have set. They are then flipped over so that the vegetables cook and eaten with various chutneys.
Because of the large amount of dal in this batter, these are quite high in protein. They must be cooked at a higher temperature than grain pancakes and also they need to cook a bit longer on each side.
I have some pretty detailed recipes, but this medium won’t let me upload a pdf or Word file. But look on-line. There are lots of good recipes and descriptions available.
I have a intolerance for wheat. Not for gluten! So I use rhye and that works for me. If you bake yourself, you can try to bake a rhye bread (sourdough) without wheat. this is very important: if you look on recipes on the net, you wil see that there is always wheat in it. You can try my recipe here on Breadtopia what is called: La tourte de seigle, it is French, it is very nice and it is not sour at all.
If she likes sour, you can buy the German Pumpernickel bread (which I hate ! ) but it is a bit strange… The Tourte is as normal bread.
I use the rhye flour T70, while most use T130 or T170. That’s why it is very similar to white bread!