For individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, the allure of freshly baked sourdough bread can feel like a distant dream. But with a little time, patience, and a dash of kitchen creativity, you can create a gluten-free sourdough starter that will open up a world of delicious possibilities.
What is Sourdough?
Sourdough is a type of bread made from a fermented dough that harnesses the natural yeasts and bacteria present in the environment. Traditional sourdough recipes rely on wheat flour, but a gluten-free version requires alternative ingredients to mimic the texture and flavor. The beauty of sourdough lies in its complex, tangy taste and the remarkable rise achieved through the fermentation process.
For this recipe, you are going to steadily add water and gluten-free flour to your starter until it is active and bubbly. You will likely notice some bubbles and the sourdough smell starting around day 5, but you could notice it as early as day 3. I recommend using a large mason jar for your starter and covering it with a paper towel and hair band so that it can breathe. Once it is mature and you wish to store it in the fridge, you can use a normal mason jar lid.
Common gluten-free flour choices include brown rice flour, sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, millet flour, and tapioca flour. I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, and I recommend it.
Maintaining and using your gluten-free sourdough starter:
- Regular feeding: Once your starter is active, you can maintain it by feeding it daily or refrigerating it and feeding it once a week. It’s best to feed it around a 1:1:1 ratio where you feed it around the same amount of water and flour as you currently have starter. So if you have about a half cup of starter, you should feet it half a cup of water and half a cup of flour. If you’d like to feed it less, discard some starter before you feed. You can use that discard to make sourdough discard recipes!
- Baking with your starter: Use your gluten-free sourdough starter as you would a traditional sourdough starter in gluten-free bread recipes. Remember to adjust the flour ratios accordingly to accommodate for the absence of gluten.
Tips for Success:
- Patience is key: Creating a gluten-free sourdough starter takes time, often more than a wheat-based one. Be consistent with the feeding schedule and allow the starter to develop its full potential over the course of a few weeks.
- Temperature matters: Keep your starter in a warm spot (around 70-75°F or 21-24°C) to encourage fermentation. Avoid extreme temperatures, as they can negatively impact the starter’s development.
- After you feed it, it should be a thick pancake batter consistency. Feel free to add more flour or water if needed.
With a little dedication and experimentation, you can enjoy the unmistakable taste of sourdough bread while adhering to a gluten-free lifestyle. So, roll up your sleeves, stock up on gluten-free flour, and let your kitchen become a playground for delicious, tangy, gluten-free sourdough creations!
- Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- Filtered Water
- Days 1-5: Add 1 tbsp filtered water and 1 tbsp flour to your starter container and mix. It should have a thick pancake batter consistancy.
- Days 5-7: Add 1/4 cup filtered water and 1/4 cup flour to starter.
- By day 8 you should be ready to bake with your starter! If it is not yet bubbling a few hours after being fed and smelling like sourdough, try feeding it a few more days before baking.