Settle in today for episode 10 of the A Gutsy Girl podcast show where we are talking all about the perfect loaf.

I’m calling the episode, “The Perfect Loaf” because today is all about Sourdough bread and how + why it can be so nourishing for the gut.

While chatting with Vanessa, I was taken back to Italy. The way she describes bread, wine, and cheese will have you feeling like you’re actually right there with her. Her storytelling capabilities are impeccable, and you’re about to hear it.

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Episode 10: The Perfect Loaf Show Notes

Click HERE to save The Perfect Loaf episode for later.

Episode 10 podcast The Perfect Loaf sourdough bread #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast #sourdoughbread

Resources Mentioned

  1. The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread (the book you must have!)
  2. Butyrate and Short-Chain Fatty Acids
  3. 7 Core Principles (for Sourdough bread and nourishing your gut microbiome)
  4. Saccharide series
  5. 10-Minute Sourdough: Breadmaking for Real Life (pre-order!)
  6. Sourdough School
  7. Diversity Sourdough Recipes
  8. The Sourdough School: Sweet Baking: Nourishing the Gut & The Mind

Sourdough Club

The Sourdough Club is Vanessa’s online (paid membership) learning platform. But it’s far more than just an online sourdough course.

Learn as part of an active community – with continuous support and inspiration.

The Sourdough Club includes over 70 video tutorials, step-by-step core methods, over 40 recipes plus new recipes each month, articles and tips covering everything there is to know about sourdough, and a student forum to chat with Vanessa and other members, helping you to continue your practice.

Join the club HERE.

Don’t Miss These Thoughts

  1. Vanessa’s story
  2. Training in Southwest France to become a baker
  3. What happened to her after a course of antibiotics once she returned to the UK from France.
  4. What was the difference between the bread she ate in France and the bread she ate in England?
  5. Dr. Tim Spector + Zoe
  6. How bread nourishes
  7. Breaking bread down, as Vanessa tells it to children
  8. Vanessa’s 7 Core Principles (….because Sourdough and fermentation is not enough)
  9. Chorleywood Baking Process
  10. “Go back and re-think bread.” – Vanessa
  11. Mr. Potato Head analogy (ears, nose, and tummy)
The Perfect Loaf episode 10 podcast sourdough bread #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast #sourdough

More from A Gutsy Girl

1. Welcome to A Gutsy Girl Podcast
2. Hang out on Instagram
3. BFF’s on YouTube
4. Free resource: The Master Gutsy Spreadsheet
5. Rated-G Email Club

Btw – don’t forget to grab a copy of your 90-day healing journey journal (there is also a PDF e-version you can download today HERE).

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

When preparing for this show and my interview with Vanessa, I asked the Instagram darlings, “What do you want to know?”

One of the most common responses was something along the lines of,

How can I make gluten free Sourdough bread?

While I want to have a huge answer for you today around this, the truth is that I don’t.

That’s because, after speaking with Vanessa, and gaining all the Sourdough insight, I’m not sure it’s necessary for most.

If you have Celiac, that’s very different. I will continue to research for you.

However, if you do not have Celiac, the gluten contained within the Sourdough you’ll make might not even matter.

If you want to read all about this, click HERE for massive research from Vanessa and her team.

Is Sourdough Bread Vegan?

Vanessa talks about cultured cinnamon butter to accompany the bread. If you choose this (which sounds incredible, btw), your Sourdough bread is not Vegan.

However, here are the only 3 ingredients in my Sourdough recipe (and most Sourdough recipes):

  1. water
  2. flour
  3. salt

Eggs, which is usually why people wonder if Sourdough bread is Vegan or not, are not part of the ingredients.

Bread that uses eggs is typically only found in Paleo and/or other alternative breads.

The Sourdough Starter

As I mention in the podcast, I was gifted my initial Sourdough starter from my brother’s fiance’s family.

My goal is still to make my own and share with you the process.

If you want to get started on your own Sourdough starter today, though, you can.

Vanessa breaks the simplest Sourdough bread starter down HERE.

How to Feed Sourdough Starter

My process for feeding the starter each week breaks down exactly like this:


  1. First thing each Tuesday morning, I remove 1 cup of the Sourdough starter that keeps in my fridge.
  2. I add to it: 1 cup of water and 1 cup of the King Arthur Organic Bread Flour.
  3. This triple mixture gets fully stirred (with a wooden spoon in a glass bowl). Then, I seal it with wrap, and place two cloths over it.
  4. I set this mixture on the counter for 6-ish hours.
  5. After the time is up, I see bubbles on top of my mixture so I remove the covers.
  6. Then, I place 3/4 of the mixture into another glass bowl.
  7. The rest of the starter goes back into my original starter jar. It returns to the fridge until next week.
  8. In the bowl with the 3/4 cup mixture, I add to it 6 cups of organic flour (the flour I use here changes from time-to-time; regular, organic flour, organic whole wheat flour, etc.). Then, I add in 3 cups of room temperature water.
  9. I mix it all together with a wooden spoon. Note: this is an arm workout of sorts, no judging.
  10. Then, I cover the mixture again (with the two cloths as well). I place the entire bowl in the fridge until sometime Saturday – Monday when it’s time to bake (usually happens on Sundays).

Pestle and Mortar

Episode 10 podcast The Perfect Loaf sourdough bread microbiome #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast #microbiome

Do you have a Pestle and Mortar? I got mine in Mexico many a moon ago, but there are some lovely ones you can grab HERE.

Anyways, in the episode, Vanessa talks about using one in order to quickly increase your bread’s diversity score.

Here are 5+ natural ways Vanessa provides for increasing your bread’s diversity score.

  1. rye
  2. coffee
  3. caraway seeds
  4. cocoa
  5. coriander seeds

You would take these ingredients, whole, and smash them using your Pestle and Mortar.

Bonus add: cultured cinnamon butter

Are you salivating yet?!

Vanessa Kimbell: author, baker & teacher

Vanessa Kimbell’s expertise in bread and the gut microbiome is second to none. Day-to-day Vanessa runs The Sourdough School in Northamptonshire (UK) where she teaches sourdough and how to bake bread for optimal health to students from around the world.

A regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 in the UK, she is a fourth-generation baker of Italian descent, a qualified baker and completed an apprenticeship in South West France.

Vanessa also runs The Sourdough Club, an online course & community for aspiring sourdough bakers.

Vanessa is author of the bestselling The Sourdough School book, and its sister title The Sourdough School – Sweet Baking. Her book Food for Thought won the most Ethical and Sustainable Book at The World Cookbook Awards in 2016.

Her fifth book is due to be released in September this year.

When she’s not baking, writing or teaching, Vanessa is studying for her PhD in nutrition and digestibility of bread and mental health. She is passionate about understanding the connection between our food, the gut microbiome and the potential impact on mental health.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London says of Vanessa,

Her work on sourdough and the gut microbiome is changing the way we think of food, health and baking.

Wrap Up

Time to wrap this up. As always, a huge goal for this show is to connect with even more people. Feel free to send an email to our team at We want to hear questions, comments, show ideas, etc.

Did you enjoy The Perfect Loaf episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on Apple Podcasts.


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