Hot and Fresh: BCIT and VCC Team Up to Investigate Sourdough Gluten


NSERC College and Community Innovation Program

Project description

With the recent heightened awareness of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease has come a rise in gluten-free diets and products. A partnership between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and BCIT investigated a baking technique that will allow gluten-sensitive bread lovers to have their bread and eat it too. VCC baking and pastry arts were awarded a $200,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to conduct a two-year applied research project with BCIT in naturally leavened baking with a goal to reducing the digestive sensitivities of sourdough breads. Together with BCIT’s Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) and Rogers Foods, VCC developed a methodology and guidelines to produce high quality sourdough breads, the characteristics of which naturally reduce gluten content.

VCC students and faculty devised the formulas and recipes and BCIT’s NRG evaluated the bread qualities. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to have VCC, BCIT and industry working together to support the tradition of our craft,” said Fionna Chong, the department head and instructor of baking and pastry arts at VCC. NRG had one student for 12 weeks each summer to work on the project performing hands-on laboratory techniques including sample preparation and analysis such as gluten analysis using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Elizabeth Mudge, an applied researcher with BCIT’s NRG said, “We are excited to be involved in this important collaboration with VCC and Rogers Foods to have a better understanding of traditional bread making and its impact on bread quality.” 

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