What's Wrong With Our Wheat?

I'm finding more and more people who have a problem with US Wheat. Take this comment:
"My daughter has a wheat allergy and is studying abroad in Scotland. When eating anything with gluten in it in US she instantly gets nauseous and feels terrible. She has tried a couple of items in Scotland that were flour based and had absolutely NO ill effects from it! What are we doing in the US to our foods and to our citizens???"

Here's what we do know:

  1. It's not caused by GMO wheat - there is no GMO wheat.
  2. Some people claim being affected only by wheat containing potassium bromate.
  3. Some people claim being affected only by wheat containing gluten.
  4. Certainly, people have issues with non-food additives like calcium propionate.
  5. Some see a difference in Organic vs Non-Organic
  6. Some see a difference in the type of Yeast used: slow rising (used in Europe or authentic sourdoughs) vs fast rising (used in the US)
  7. Many people have no adverse affects when eating wheat products in Europe.
  8. Some "European Bread" is made from wheat produced in the US.
  9. Europe does have different (more strict) laws regarding wheat production than the US.
It's a confusing mess of causes, symptoms and triggers. It seems clear that different people have different sensitivities to wheat. There is no doubt that the wheat we eat in the US is different than what is eaten overseas, but how and why? Most of the items listed have been around for a hundred years - but the strains of wheat today are different than 100 years ago. Certainly the chemicals added today are different.

So how do you figure out what's aching you?
We need tot start from scratch. We'll eliminate anything and everything that can potentially cause problems. Then we'll reintroduce items and cooking techniques one at a time.
  1. Get European Flour like Antimo Caputo Chef's Flour. European flour has no potassium bromate and hasn't been sprayed with RoundUp(r) (both known carcinogens and banned in all or parts of Europe)
  2. Make some authentic sourdough yeast starter. Don't worry, you can also buy some. There are more than a few brands available, but what you are trying to avoid is the "fast acting" or "rapid rise" yeast we have all grown used to.
  3. Grab a bread machine or do it by hand a mix up a batch of home made bread. You'll need to extend all of the rise times, because regular yeast takes longer to rise. Even though those instructions say to use fast-rise yeast - don't.
  4. Try it and see how you react. If it's bad, try a gluten free European Flour. Use the same yeast and try our Gluten Free Bread Recipe.
  5. Try it and see how you react. If you still have a reaction, we're out of options.
  6. If either the regular or gluten free version worked. Try replacing the European Flour with Organic American Flour like King Arthur.
  7. Try some and check your reaction. If that works, you have an option to use for cooking at home, if not - revert back to the European Flour that worked for you.
By carefully eliminating possibly causes, most people can find options that work for them, other than moving to France.

Let me know how this works for you in the comments below.