Low Carb Fried Chicken

I think I have made a great discovery. Frank loves fried chicken, well, we both do. After we changed our diets to accommodate a low carbohydrate intake, I no longer fried chicken. But I have only found so many ways to bake or saute chicken that meets our dietary requirements and supports our weight loss.

As I was pondering new and delicious ways to fix chicken, I ran across some information about sourdough starter and it’s carbohydrate content. As the starter ferments it predigests, or consumes much of the carbohydrates in flour. When sourdough bread is made and left to proof, or ferment, the starter will consume much of the carbohydrates in the wheat, creating a bread that is lower in carbohydrates compared to yeast made breads. This got me to thinking about different ways I can use my sourdough starter. I am very interested in what you think about this information. Here are some of the things I have read.

From Cultures for Health: Low Carb Fermented Foods 

“One of the beauties of the fermentation process is that it actually lowers the carbohydrate count of the food you are fermenting.

Fermentation occurs when bacteria feasts off of the carbohydrates found in a food. In making kombucha that food is the sugar. In making sourdough bread that food is the flour. In making sauerkraut that food is the carbohydrates in the cabbage. In making yogurt that food is the lactose naturally occurring in milk.

In fermentation, the sugars and starches are eaten up by the bacteria cultures, and converted to lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and more bacteria. So, by definition, fermentation is a process one could use to lower the dietary carbohydrate levels found in various foods.

It is difficult to know the exact carbohydrate count of a fermented food, but there is one principle to keep in mind if you are concerned about the carbohydrates in your fermented foods:

The longer the fermentation time, the more carbohydrates eaten up by the organisms, the more sour the ferment, the lower the dietary carbohydrate count.

So by controlling the culturing, you control the carbohydrates found in fermented foods and in this way you can eat low-carb and enjoy many fermented foods.”


From Daniel Reed: Sourdough Bread and Health

“Researchers in Sweden at Lund University have noted that the fermentation process that’s involved in the creation of sourdough utilizes carbohydrates, lowering the carbohydrate level in the dough as it’s transformed to lactic acid. The result of this process means that sourdough bread can aid in ensuring that your blood glucose level remains in line, helping to guard against various diseases especially diabetes.”


With this information in hand, the question then became how many carbohydrates that are contained in fresh ground whole wheat flour are ‘consumed’ during the fermentation process? There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the numbers. If you look up the number of carbs in whole wheat flour, you will find that a bag of whole wheat flour at the store, and flour you just made from grinding up wheat berries appear to have a different carb counts, and quite a different amount of nutritional value. 

Nutrition Data indicates that 1 cup of whole wheat flour has 87g of carbs and 15g of fiber. Subtracting the fiber from the carb count gives a total of 72g of carbs. It doesn’t indicate whether this is store bought flour or fresh ground whole wheat flour.


The Whole Truth has an article that says, When wheat is ground for commercial flour sales, the bran is first removed and the germ and oil in particular are separated out, since these spoil in a short period of time. The remaining endosperm is then finely ground, leaving white flour. In order to market “whole-wheat flour,” a small percentage of the bran is returned to the product, yet it still lacks the germ and thus is far from being “WHOLE” wheat flour.”


There are a few opinions out there about how many carbs are consumed during the fermentation process, but most indicate it would depend upon the length of time the flour is allowed to ferment. There are several forums that discuss possible numbers like this one. I have done some thinking on this. The starter itself should not be high carb if you consider the example of wine. One bottle of wine contains approximately 2.6 lbs of grapes. That would make the carb load 468 grams. However we know that there only remain around 30g of carbs in a bottle. Hence we know how much the beasties eat. Essentially we are left with 7 % of the original carb count. Two problems with this. Wine ferments on average for 2 weeks. This starter takes 4 days. Second, we cannot automatically assume that the uptake of carbohydrates is the same with flour as with grape juice. If I was to make this I would assume 20% of carbs remaining to be on the safe side.”

So, if I take the 72g of carbs in 1 cup of commercial whole wheat flour, add it to the sourdough starter and let it ferment all day, or a minimum of 8 hours, and multiply that by 20%, I get 14.4 carbs. 

Now, what does all of this have to do with fried chicken? I started all of this research to try to get a reasonable estimate of how many carbohydrates would be in 1/2 cup of our whole wheat sourdough starter. After all of this reading, I determined that 1/2 cup of starter should, could or probably contains about 7 or 8 grams of carbohydrates. That is doable for us on the amount of carbohydrates we are limiting ourselves to during this phase of our diet.

I mixed 1/2 cup of starter that had not been fed for over 8 hours, with one egg, cut up the chicken (which we raised; it doesn’t have skin), dipped each piece in the batter, shook off any excess, and fried it up. I realized after we were eating that I hadn’t thought to put any salt and pepper in the batter which would have made the chicken better. But, you know what? It was really good. Like I said before, we both like fried chicken and we hadn’t had any for over four months.

When figuring our carb count for the chicken in this meal, I count it at 6g of carbs per person. That is probably higher than it actually is, but I would rather error on the high side than the low side. We only have a meal like this about once a week or less, but it does add a tasty alternative to the way we have changed our eating style.

My question for you is this. Do you think I am close to accurate in my assessment of the carbohydrate contents of the sourdough starter? I don’t want to try to kid myself into thinking I am fixing a low carb meal if I’m really not. I know there are many differences between sourdough starters that are fed all purpose white flours instead of only fresh ground whole wheat. But if this really is a decent low carb way to fry chicken, then I am happy to provide an occasional tasty meal for my husband. 

Until next time – Fern

4 thoughts on “Low Carb Fried Chicken

  1. One cup of all purpose flour has 92g of carbs. One cup of whole wheat flour has 72g of carbs. For now, Tewshooz, we are eating 30 or less carbs per day until we reach our goals for weight loss. In the past, I have always used seasoned flour to fry chicken, just like you. Changing to the sourdough starter to reduce carbs has been a great alternative for us. It tastes great, even though it is different, and it helps us meet our goals. And it is a healthy fat and protein, especially since we raised the chicken. Thank you for your input. I always enjoy it.Fern

  2. Hi Bellen. It looks like the information you found matches up with what I found. The diet we are following, Protein Power, doesn't stress counting calories or fat intake, it stresses low carb and adequate protein. Unless, of course, you continue to eat way too much of them. So eating the chicken fried is not an issue for us. Thank you for telling us what you think. It is always good to look at an issue from another's perspective. Blessings.Fern

  3. When we fry chicken we just dredge it in seasoned flour, shake off the excess and fry it in about half inch of coconut oil. Nothing fancy. Not enough carbs to worry about. We need healthy fat and protein. The bible says \”everything in moderation\”. So dredge away one day a week or so.

  4. Now that was an interesting post. First, if you are reducing carbs for weight loss, the consumption of fried chicken is entirely different than if you are reducing carbs because of diabetes.So, that said, I did some googling and found, like you did, many differing opinions. Based on just the nutritional values of ingredients using 1 cup of WW flour the carb value, carbs minus fiber, would be about 80 g. Stating, from several sources, that 20% of carbs remain after fermentation (7 days removing 1/2 cup starte and adding 1/2 flour and 1/2 water) the carbs would be about 16 g. for 1 cup. So, based on that your value of 8 g carbs would be correct.However, since you are trying to lose weight, the added calories from frying the chicken ( 9 cal per gram of fat as opposed to 4 cal per g of carbs ) you may be defeating the purpose of making the chicken low carb. So, based on all that – having your sourdough starter fried chicken once or twice a month would seem reasonable and very delicious to boot. Enjoy. Another thought, if at all possible perhaps you should have the fried chicken as your noon meal so you would have the added benefit of working off the calories in the afternoon's farm labor.

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