Natural Leavening Doubled Volume Uses and Healthy Culture Times

Airy, structured, light, almost double in volume, Leavening.

What if it looks like my natural leavening has doubled in less than the 12 hours for glutenous grains?  Mine has doubled and it’s only been 8 1/2 hours…is that long enough for the yeast to reach it’s digestibility stage? The bubbles are big all the way to the top!  🙂 Peggy


Dear Peggy,

We love to see those big bubbles rising high!

Doubled Volume Uses

After refreshing, Natural Leavening will usually double in volume in less than 12 hours (68-78’F). This is especially true when the room temperature is warmer. Doubling also occurs faster with an established, regularly used Leaven, whether gluten-free or wheat.

What can you do with 8 hour Leaven that has doubled?  It functions very well for batter breads like muffins, cakes, cornbread, biscuits, and of course pancakes and waffles.  When you have mastered batter breads, this type of Leaven will function very well for flat and loaf breads.  Read on if you are interested in the grain digestibility of naturally leavened breads.

Healthy Culture Times

Is an 8 hour natural leavening culture time healthy for you?  With natural leavening, a primary goal is to mitigate potential sensitivities and increase grain digestibility.  Many people are sensitive to gluten, some are sensitive to certain yeast strains, others are sensitive to modern wheat, or even pesticides on wheat kernal. There are also players, such as phytic acid, lectins, and lignins that may be affecting digestion. Some people, who cannot tolerate wheat breads, can eat naturally leavened breads.  We know that natural leavening breaks down phytic acid, which in turn, releases minerals. We know natural leavening employs a variety of yeast strains not found in baker’s yeast.  We know beneficial bacteria abound in natural leavening.  We know that gluten begins to break down in natural leavening.  This is a taste of what we know.

Studies show that wheat gluten can be broken down completely in a lab over 12-72 hours when enzymes are added to natural leavening. What does this mean to us? Culturing wheat 12+ hours produces a more broken down, more digestible product. Some people require longer cultures, or ferments, to avoid reacting to grain.  Most batter breads can be made from longer ferments.  Flat and loaf breads are possible, but tend to be flatter, because the gluten is more broken down.  Flat and loaf breads also tend to be sour when fermented longer, because of the acid produced by the bacteria at this point.

More commonly, grains are cultured for less than 12 hours. Most people agree that this shorter culture time is healthy for gluten-free grains. Many believe that a shorter culture time for wheat grain can be healthy for some, but not others. Flat and loaf breads are typically made with a shorter culture time.

We do not yet know what effects natural leavening has on lectins, lignins, and pesticides.





so far.

  1. Cath Courtney says:

    I am a wannabe and trying to understand. We do not like sourdough in our house and if I understand correctly – to get a milder starter you advise to ferment for less time (about 8hrs?), however is we want the gluten to be broken down, we should leave the starter to ferment for 12+ hrs? How does one obtain this? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Dr. McClean says:

      You are correct. A longer ferment will create more acid and therefore a more sour flavor. I would suggest not making loaf breads or flat breads. But instead start making quick breads ie. pancakes, waffles, and muffins. With quickbreads you can leaven the batter fully and create a lot of acid but then counteract the acid with baking soda just before cooking. Once you do start making leavened breads, make sure that your starter is very active and that you only leave about a tablespoon of starter in your jar after each feeding so that you don’t get a build up of acid and therefore a more sour flavor. Then start with shorter leavening times and and your family gains a liking for sourdough, you can increase the leavening time.

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