Sugars & Sourdough Starter: Ask the Dietitian

honey molasses maple syrup

Honey, molasses, maple syrup, and probably all sugars will “work with” Natural Leavening.



Dear Amy,
I recently purchased one of your gluten free starters for my sons who has Celiac and a whole wheat starter for me. He cannot have any sugar except dextrose. Will Natural Leavening even work without sugar? C.C.


Dear CC,
Honey, maple syrup, molasses, dried molasses (rapadura), sucanant, fruit juice concentrate, and possibly all sugars function well when baked with Natural Leavening Starter (a.k.a. sourdough or natural yeast that’s not always sour). Pure dextrose is not a common sugar, but I see no reason it won’t work with Natural Leavening. Batter breads work well with gluten free flour and some don’t call for any sugar at all. Old World Naturally Leavened loaf bread works wonderfully with whole wheat flour and no added sugar. The proliferation of the beneficial bacteria and yeast, a.k.a. Natural Leavening, is quite independent of added sugar. Whether feeding natural leavening or cooking with natural leavening, sugar is not required. Sugar is not even desired when feeding and culturing natural leavening starter. When you’d like to add a little sweetness to your recipe, most any sugar will sweeten Natural Leavening.

Amy, R.D.


Amy McClean, registered dietitian of 16 years, is co-founder with Matthew McClean, “Dr. Dough” of Dr. Dough and the makers of Old World Natural Leavening.  They have been researching and experimenting with natural leavening since 2006.  They have helped numerous “health gurus” and hundreds, if not thousands, of other people use natural leavening. Nutrition, including use of Natural Leavening, is one huge step to health that Dr. McClean emphasizes with his own patients. At the time of this writing, all proceeds from the sale of Natural Leavening starters and classes have been put back in to natural leavening research and education. McClean’s have funded small research studies, started, and built an inspected kitchen to legally make bread and teach classes.


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