Sourdough and reflux or indigestion


Hello, I'm new to this site and to sourdough baking. I've been making sourdough bread for just the last month, the loaves look good (mostly) and taste geat but are dense and sending my reflux berserk, a problem I don't have with commercially bought sourdough. I need to eat low GI bread or sourdough for medical reasons (as well as the fact that I love the taste of sourdough) Can anyone suggest how I might "lighten up" my bread and enjoy it more?

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Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 April 3

I am by no means an expert on the subject but...

From what I am reading if your finished bread is too sour it may be contributing to the acid in your stomach.

From what most bakers say to make bread that is less sour you may want to..

1. Use a higher flour to water ratio in your starter culture. I.e. Increase the flour amount that you use to make a thicker starter to discourage lab growth. If you understand hydration aim for a starter that is at least 75% hydration. By weight use 1.5 times flour to the weight of the water that you add to your starter.

2. Use the refresh and store in the frige till needed method of keeping your culture.

3. Use less whole grains because they increase the sourness and heavyness of the bread. You don't have to go all unbleached just lighten up to use less until you find a good balance. *note that bread made with all unbleached flour that is sourdough, is still much lower on the GI than normal white bread.

I balance some of my doughs by using durum flour - hard wheat, high protein, and high gluten with Whole wheat pastry flour - soft wheat, low gluten, low protein.

Hope this helps, my son also has a problem with reflux and loves spicy acid stuff.


Kerry 2009 April 3

I've been using a commercially bought starter as I didn't have much luck starting my own. To refresh I use 50/50 bakers white flour (hard) and water, so I assume the starter is also 50/50. To make the bread I use the above flour and found that even one slice gave me indigestion. As an experiment yesterday I made a yeast bread with 50/50 bakers white flour and wholemeal flour and haven't experienced any indigestion.

I'll try making the bread less sour. And was wondering about adding a little yeast in to 'lighten' the loaf?

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 April 3

I wouldn't recommend using bakers yeast if you really want to make sourdough... I haven't used any commercial yeast for some time now and I can make my bread nice and light and barely sour if I want to.

I'm guessing that your 50/50 blend is 50% whole wheat and 50% unbleached flour. So I would switch refreshing your starter over to unbleached white.
It may be the long fermentation of the whole grain that is increasing the sourness of your bread.

The hydration level again involves how much flour to water that you use. 100g of water to 100g of flour would be considered a 100% hydration for starter or dough. What is the recipe that you currently use to refresh your starter? Give details please, they will help us figure out what is going on.



Kerry 2009 April 3

I realise that using yeast as well as starter is not considered 'sourdough', but I have just made a loaf using less starter and small amounts of yeast and honey. It's rising at the moment so I'll let you know what the baked result is like :) This is an experiment.

My bought starter was begun and refreshed using bakers white flour at 100% hydration. The wholemeal flour is only used as part of the dough making.


Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 April 4

So... in Oz,is bakers flour bleach and bromate free?

The baker's flour here in the U.S. is very cheap and easy to find, but unfortunately is bleached:( Also many of the high gluten Bread flour blends are bromated...:( I'm hoping that the flour is better in Austrailia than here, since both processes make it unsuitable for sourdough baking.

I still would really like for you to post the recipe for refreshing your starter, to determine what may be causing excess sourness, and make suggestions. What I need is how much starter, how much flour, how much water you use, time and temp, and how you store it?

Much of what I have read on sourdough bread, is that it is more digestible for most people. Have you had your reflux checked by a physician?



Kerry 2009 April 4

The flour I'm using is unbleached bakers flour made from hard wheat, the only additive listed is thiamin (Vit B1). Don't know about bromate, perhaps some of the other Australians on here might be able to enlighten me.

To refresh the starter, I use 100g of the above flour and 100ml of warm water. Once mixed I leave it a room temp for an hour or two till some bubbles appear, then store it in a glass jar in the fridge.

My reflux has been checked.


Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 April 8

As a student health professional I just had to ask... Do you let your starter develop for more than a couple of hours, (6-12) till it rises and falls in the jar? Sorry for all the questions just trying to figure out what your method is. From what I am seeing in articles, there are a couple of things that might help, but I need more details please.



Kerry 2009 April 8

I think I've worked out what was causing the reflux/indigestion and it wasn't the bread.

Thank you for your interest.


Peggy Merar 2019 June 11

I, and from what I'm reading on the internet, a LOT of others have indigestion directly contributed to their sourdough bread.  I am experimenting with less whole grain to see if that helps.  I make mine really sour! This is the bacon bread from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast.  Not as tasty as the book claimed.

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