On Monday I was officially diagnosed with coeliac disease - it's where your immune system reacts to the gluten in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats causing damaging the bowel and your body's ability to absorb nutrients properly. The only treatment is a life-long diet free from gluten. This discovery is both comforting and devastating to me... comforting to know there is a real cause behind symptoms of bloating, irritable bowel, malabsorption and exhaustion I've felt increasing over the past year... yet devastating to think of life without ever eating a slice of rye sourdough dipped in olive oil or wholewheat spelt slathered in butter, hunk of sweet brioche or bowl of vegetable and barley broth again... say nothing of the breakfast staple of porridge...
I try to remember the fact that I have just spent two years living in the land of bread - where I savoured many many wonderful baked goods. It makes sense to me now why I found sourdough gentler on my gut because the process of fermentation partially breaks down the gluten proteins.
There are alternatives I hear you say, things made with potatoes, rice, corn, quinoa, coconut, nuts and buckwheat... you are right, and it's exciting to think of experimenting with other flours and grains. But let's not pretend these are substitutes for gloriously light and silky wheat-floured breads, please! Or for the patient joy that fermenting, preparing, kneading, punching down, shaping and baking sourdough brings.
For the moment though, I want to pause in thanks and remembrance for a life thus far of enjoying, eating and baking with gluten in all her glory... especially:
pain aux noix (sourdough walnut bread)
a really lovely loaf... fruit & nut sourdough
May you savour every slice