B12, Fermentation and Bread

August 19th, 2020 | Posted in Info

If you’ve read the blogpost on The Power of Fermentation you’ll be aware of the many health benefits of eating fermented foods.

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient that is needed for maintaining the nervous system and forming blood cells.

However, B12 is mainly found in animal foods meaning those who consume only small amounts of animal products or are vegan must supplement with B12 or eat food fortified with B12.

New research from the University of Helsinki has found that fortifying grains with B12 during fermentation to make bread could be a good alternative.

Eleven grain based materials were fermented with Propionibacterium freudenreichii which is a B12-producing micro-organism. It is the same microbe that is found in Emmental cheese.

During the 3 day fermentation process nutritionally significant amounts of vitamin B12 were produced in most of the fermented grain materials. Rice bran and buckwheat bran had the highest B12 production. The addition of Lactobacillus brevis was able to dominate indigenous microbes during fermentation and greatly improved microbial safety during the fermentation process.

This is good news for the increasing the number of people who are reducing their intake of animal products for environmental, ethical and health reasons.

For a gluten free sourdough bread recipe see the blogpost Buckwheat and Poppy Seed Sourdough Bread. It’s delicious toasted and spread with your favourite nut butter.


1. University of Helsinki. “An easier way to go veggie: Vitamin B12 can be produced during dough fermentation.” ScienceDaily. 4 August 2020.
2. Front Microbiol. 2019 Jul 5;10:1541. Co-fermentation of Propionibacterium freudenreichii and Lactobacillus brevis in Wheat Bran for in situ Production of Vitamin B12. Xie C et al.
3. Food Chem. 2015 Jan 1;166:630-8. Ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic and mass spectrometric analysis of active vitamin B12 in cells of Propionibacterium and fermented cereal matrices. Chamlagain B et al.