Less gluten in Sourdough

As we discussed last week gluten is created when water and flour is mixed causing Glutenin and Gliadin to bind into the web-like structure gluten. So why does sourdough contain less gluten? Let us get into it.

It is simple really. Sourdough contains less gluten because sourdough is not kneaded the same way other breads are. As bread is kneaded more and more Glutenin and Gliadin connections are made and thus, more gluten is formed. Breads that use commercial yeast are kneaded a lot. Kneading further promotes and strengthens gluten and makes for a bread with a nice air and chewy crumb.

You can manhandle dough when using commercial yeast because the yeast is very strong. Knead away. But when handling sourdough you must be very gentile. Natural yeast are not nearly as strong. Over kneading will press out all the CO2 the yeast have created and will cause a dense loaf that likely will not rise too much.

So how do we knead sourdough? With a method called the “Stretch and fold.” It creates some but not a lot of gluten.

We will talk more about the stretch and fold method next time.