From Gluten-Intolerant to Sourdough Daily:
A Story of Healing the Gut and Finding Healthful Balance
An interview and recipe with Kristyn from Old Oak Sourdough
When Kristyn from @oldoaksourdough reached out to us sharing her personal story of healing with sourdough, we found it so inspiring that we wanted to ask more and share it with the world. In this interview, she shares about her gluten intolerance and how she came to find a sourdough solution. We want to celebrate bakers like Kristyn, who is working toward starting her own small business, focusing on sourdough exclusively, and teaching families with gluten intolerance how to bring sourdough into their lives.
- Can you tell us about how your gluten intolerance presented itself?
Before starting my healing journey, I spent about 7 years having increased digestive issues. This is what prompted me to start looking more closely at the foods I was eating. My current doctor unfortunately, was not too helpful during this time, and I really struggled to find a doctor that would listen to me. My digestive issues included daily stomach bloating, distention, and pain. Whether I was sleeping, sitting, or walking, my stomach always felt very tender. The discomfort impacted me daily. I would find some relief while I slept, but I still had a low constant ache; the cycle would start new every day. The inflammation caused my bladder to feel constricted and it felt almost like UTI or cystitis of the bladder; there was a constant pressure and ache. There was so much inflammation within my stomach, it was putting pressure everywhere.
I think our bodies are very capable of healing given the correct support. I finally found a doctor that listened and said my discomfort might be caused by a gluten sensitivity. Removing gluten gave me the most immediate results and reduced my discomfort, however it wasn’t a cure all.
- Were there other things that helped in your healing journey?
Moving away from gluten was one of my biggest dietary adjustments. It can be an overwhelming process to really heal your gut, and I was grateful to work with an Integrative Medicine Doctor and Nutritionist that listened and helped look at the big picture. I made some significant dietary changes for about a year and removed inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, alcohol, and raw veggies from my diet; I also ate grain-free for about 6 months. During that time of healing, I took in gentle, healing foods like bone broths and soups. I also worked with a chiropractor to adjust my stomach, which brought me a lot of relief as well. Healing was and continues to be a layered process working with different doctors, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes. I also integrated yoga to help move my body gently, specifically my stomach.
During this time, I also had my 2 children and my son, specifically, started having tummy discomforts around age 2, saying his tummy hurt and spending a lot of time in the bathroom. We came to the same conclusion, that gluten affected him as well. After making this dietary change, he immediately improved.
Sourdough didn’t become part of my diet until I slowly had re-introduced many foods back, but gluten was still something my stomach could not tolerate. As I continually researched health and wellness, I often read that eating sourdough was a possibility for those that could not tolerate gluten. The first sourdough I ate was my own homemade loaf, and from there I found that properly prepared sourdough with organic grains, long and slow fermentation, and minimal pure ingredients was gentle enough for my body to tolerate. As I learned and began baking sourdough for myself and my family, it has now become a central part of our meals! My son also digests it very well, and while we still consider ourselves gluten-free, the exception is sourdough!
- How often are you able to eat sourdough now?
Sourdough has become a huge passion and part of my life, as well as for my family. I make fresh loaves each weekend that the four of us enjoy all week. We use it for French toast and sandwiches and it’s in most of our main meals during the weekend. Whatever is left, I pre-slice and freeze for use during our week. I introduced it very slowly, but now I eat sourdough daily.
- Are there any flours/ingredients that you like best?
I like using a blend of flours to develop different flavors and nutritional components, as well as producing a beautifully baked loaf! I consistently use Organic APF from Central Milling and love that it is available at Costco for a great price. I use Organic King Arthur bread flour because it’s a higher protein flour and gives great strength to dough structure, and I use an Organic Sprouted Spelt flour by One Degree Organics that I get at a local health food store. The recipe I am sharing today is a blend of all these; the flavor of the spelt gives a nutty and rich flavor profile. It produces a hearty and dense loaf, and it is my favorite for morning toast and to eat with soups!
All images courtesy of Kristyn @oldoaksourdough
Old Oak Sourdough-Ancient Grain Spelt Loaf
150 g Organic Sprouted Spelt
150 g Organic Bread Flour
150 g Organic AP Flour
335 g Filtered Water
150 g Levain (sour starter)
12 g Fine Sea Salt
- Build your levain/active starter for your dough. Recipe calls for 150g. Use at peak activity level.
- Approximately 1 hour before your levain is ready, autolyse your dough. Combine your flour blend, stir to evenly combine and add water to hydrate the flour well. Mix gently until dough just comes together. It will still feel a bit dry but should form a ball. Cover with tea towel or plastic and allow to sit for 1 hou until your levain comes to peak.
Add levain when at peak and incorporate into your dough by hand (approx 3-5 minutes). Dough will be very sticky and wet. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
- Add salt and dimple in and mix using folds to incorporate. The salt will tighten up your dough and you should observe a noticeable difference. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
- Do 2-3 sets of stretch and folds 30 minutes apart. Your dough should be extensible and smooth and begin holding shape. Cover.
- Proof at room temperature for approximately 8 hours or until dough has more than doubled and is light and airy.
- Using a dough scraper release dough from your bowl on either a lightly wet or floured surface. Wet will preserve your overall hydration, floured may help you shape the dough with a bit more ease. Shape and place seam side up in a lined or floured banneton.
- Let rest in banneton for 30 minutes and then cold proof in refrigerator for 12 hours.
- When ready to bake, Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Turn dough out onto Fourneau tray, seam side down, score with lame for steam release and bake in a Fourneau bread oven 25 minutes with hatch on.
- Release steam by removing lid and bake for another 25 min at 450 degrees to develop a golden crust.
- Cool for 1 hour on a baking rack, slice and enjoy!