Saturday, 30 May 2015

The 'Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough' Recipe.

I am really excited about this! I want to share with you a recipe that has me absolutely fascinated! It's the 'two-ingredient pizza dough' recipe. The two ingredients: self-rising flour and Greek yogurt.

This dough creates a fantastic pizza base with a fluffy interior, perfectly crispy crust, chewy texture and it tastes delicious! Not just that, this dough is adaptable to be used for other bread dough recipes such as calzones and stromboli; flat, naan and pita breads; scones and scrolls!

What I wanted to find out was what make's this recipe work. After a bit of research and investigating this is what I came up with:

Classic pizza dough has flour, yeast, a little sugar, liquid, salt, and an oil component. The flour is responsible for the structure of the pizza crust because of gluten development and starch gelatinization. The yeast eats the sugar creating carbon dioxide - leavening for the air incorporation - and other products that give tell-tale flavors associated with fermented products. The liquid helps along starch gelatinization and rehydrates the yeast. Finally, the oil provides some softness to the dough, and the salt creates a little flavor as well as reinforces the crust structure.

Two-ingredient pizza dough uses Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. Self-rising flour contains a leavening agent and some salt. This takes the place of regular flour, yeast, and salt in the original recipe. The Greek yogurt is where the science comes in. Greek yogurt has quite a bit of protein in it as well as water and a little fat (please don’t buy the fat free version). The water in the yogurt hydrates the flour and therefore the leavening agent which begins to produce carbon dioxide - especially in the presence of heat. This carbon dioxide incorporates air in the crust just as the yeast-produced carbon dioxide does. The extra protein is also important. The yogurt’s protein addition creates a stronger gluten structure without excessive kneading or proofing like most bread products require. Finally, getting a Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat is important in order to create some softness in the pizza crust. That means that after cooling, it will retain a great texture, so please cut your calories elsewhere!

The final important component is the flavor. Yeast has byproducts from fermentation that are responsible for the smell you recognize when you walk into a bakery. It would seem that that yeasty flavor isn’t possible with this two-ingredient dough. Think again! Because Greek yogurt is a fermented product, the flavors exist that you associate with yeasty breads (even though lactic acid bacteria is at work in the yogurt instead of yeast). And voila! A super-easy two-ingredient pizza dough!

Searching the net, I found there were several versions of the recipe. What I noticed were the ingredient ratio's and how this affected the dough-making process. Some recipes would start by mixing together a 1:1 cup flour to yogurt ratio then adding an extra cup of flour while kneading to bring the sticky dough together. Some recipes started with a 2:1 cup flour to yogurt ratio, gradually mixing the dough to a crumbly form then continue mixing by hand, bringing the dough together. I have provided instructions for both as I tried each method, both providing the same results. I guess it depends on which you feel most comfortable with.

The other thing I noticed was that the ingredients are measured by volume (cups) and not weight. From practice, for successful results in baking, measuring ingredients by weight is the best. Well I fear to say that this would be the only time I felt that wasn't necessary. The ratio however is what's important and the dough-making process (kneading) in producing a soft and pliable dough.

Now if you do not have self-rising flour, you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup plain flour or wholemeal flour or a combination of both.  Mix together and use as directed in the recipe. You can also use pre-mixes of gluten-free self-rising flour and plain gluten-free flour, adding baking powder and salt as above. If your using your own blend of gluten free flour remember to add some sort of binder, 1/2 teaspoon of either xanthan gum, guar gum, ground chia seeds or psyllium husk powder per 1 cup of homemade gluten-free flour mix.

Now for the recipe!


Mixing Method: I found this way of bring the dough together the most effective, quickest and easiest way. Starting with a 1:1 flour to yogurt ratio, mixing to form a very sticky dough then adding 1/4 of the remaining half of flour, combing to bring a less sticky dough together then adding the remaining flour to make a workable dough.
Rolling Method: I found the dough to be very workable and didn't like to be over kneaded, enough to bring it to a soft and pliable dough, just a few minutes depending on the size of your dough. Unlike regular pizza dough where you really have to stretch and work it into a base, by gently pushing the dough out while rolling and gentle pressing out with your fingers ensures the crust will have a lighter texture and fluffy interior. Rolling and pressing too hard, compresses the dough resulting in a dense crust.
Pre-Baking Pizza Base: One big step many people skip in the pizza-making process is pre-baking the pizza base. Baking the base in the oven for 5 minutes or so before putting on toppings prevents the dreaded 'doughy crust'. Also pre-baking is a good idea when you have several ingredients or ingredients that are wet or will get wet when heated e.g. zucchinis, squash, tomatoes, etc or if your using a thick or watery sauce.

The Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough

This makes 1 10 inch round pizza with a thin 'n' crispy base. For larger or thicker base double recipe. If using dough for things like calzones or scrolls, double recipe. Or use your own discretion.


1/2 cup of Greek yogurt*

1 cup of self-rising flour, plus extra to dust kneading area and rolling pin

*Note: I have tried using several types of yogurt and the most successful one for the recipe is just plain Greek yogurt. Forget low fat Greek yogurt and regular yogurt. And watch out for Greek yogurt that contains thickeners! The cultures, taste and thickness of plain Greek yogurt has a huge influence in the result of the pizza base.


Preheat oven to 200C with a pizza stone inside. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a baking tray instead but I highly recommend a pizza stone. The key to getting your pizza crust to have good texture is using a really hot oven and preheating the tray or pizza stone, first before placing the pizza on.

2:1 Ratio Method: In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and self-rising flour and mix with a spoon. At the start it will be quite crumbly but as you mix the dough it will gradually come together. At this point (see photo below) I found it easier to use my hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.

When your dough looks ready for kneading (think play dough), turn out onto a floured bench top and knead until it forms a soft and pliable dough. Note: to knead just fold the dough over itself and push/press, fold and press, fold and press etc. As you knead, the dough becomes tacky just add a sprinkle of flour but err on the side of less flour. Too much flour will make a tough dough.

1:1 Ratio Method: In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and half of the self-rising flour and mix with a spoon until a very sticky dough has formed.

Spoon out onto a well floured bench top and knead, gradually adding the remaining half of the flour to work into a soft and pliable dough. The dough will be very sticky and stick to your hands but as you add the flour and knead, the dough will gradually come off your hands and all incorporate together.

Updated Mixing Method: In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and half of the self-rising flour (1/2 cup) and mix with a spoon until a very sticky dough has formed. Add 1/4 cup of flour and mix to combine into a not so sticky dough. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and mix again to bring a workable dough together. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench top and knead to form a soft and pliable dough, adding a sprinkle of flour if dough becomes tacky. Shape into a ball.

On a sheet of baking paper, roll out dough using a floured rolling pin to form a pizza base of your preferred shape and thickness.

Updated Rolling Method: Gently flatten dough out with your hands to form a thick cylinder shape. Place on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper (the tray aids in easy transporting of pizza onto preheated pizza stone or baking tray in oven), then gently, not pushing down hard, roll out dough using a floured rolling pin to form the pizza base. Then finish forming the base by gently using your fingers, pressing the dough out to form your preferred shape and thickness. Using your fingers you can ensure even thickness of base. 

Update: Pre-Bake the Pizza Base
Gently prick the dough with a fork in several spots to prevent it from bubbling up and slide onto the preheat pizza stone or tray and pre-bake pizza dough for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is firm and dry to the touch but not quite browned. This time will change depending on how thick or thin your crust is. Remove base with baking paper from oven back onto transporter tray and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Return pizza to oven and bake an additional 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling and base is golden.

Top with your favourite toppings.

Then slide pizza with the baking paper onto the preheated pizza stone or tray and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling and base is golden (10-12 minutes).

I've had alot of fun with this recipe making numerous pizza's as well experimenting with making calzones, stromboli, flat breads and scrolls, all of which worked out brilliantly! Please I employ you to put your aprons on and and start perfecting your technique with this recipe. It is so surprisingly pleasing!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Trials and Tribulations of Baking Gluten Free Bread.

It has been nearly 2 years since I created this blog as a catalog for all my research I had collected over the years on how to bake gluten free bread and I still find myself discovering new things, some good and some not so good, each time I bake a loaf of gluten free bread. So I feel compelled to share these discovers to help those out there still trying to successfully bake gluten free bread.
Since my first bread recipe I postedwhich back then I had great results with, as time passed I was finding faults with my loaves. Also I was still surfing the net looking for new information, new recipes, new methods to create the ultimate gluten free bread.
I started searching for latest recipes that were being posted on blogs and found this one that took my interest. Adapting the recipe to my needs, after several attempts I was successfully baking again. Well as time passed my improved recipe was developing faults once more. I was getting a great rise but then once in the oven and on removal, my loaves were sinking. I queried everything I was doing and finally settled for the fact that the environment and the ovens played a essential part in my bread successes and failures.
When I first posted the recipe, after trials of successful attempts, it was in the middle of winter. As I continued to bake through the months, the weather got warmer and more humid and that was when the sinking business started. Also as a professional house sitter, my baking wasn't always using the same oven. Every oven has it's own uniqueness in heating and this too was affecting my bread.
Going back to the original Fork and Beans recipe, I attempted another loaf following the recipe true to form as much as possible, with the exception of using my own gluten free flour blend and halving the amount of chia seeds with psyllium husks. This time I was at my own home using my oven and it is on the cusp of winter, so the weather was cool and the air clear. My kitchen was warm but not stuffy.
I felt like a mad scientist - measuring, weighing, grinding, sifting, thermometer'ing' and controlling just about everything I could while making the bread. It rose beautifully and strong. I could see the fullness in the top of the risen dough, it didn't look puffy or holey. Nervously I placed it into the preheated oven and hoped for the best. Under an hour later it was looking fantastic. It didn't sink! The loaf was still standing strong and smelt heavenly! But its not until you slice into the bread that you know you have won and this you have to wait till the bread is completely cooled. The next day I took my serrated knife and gently started cutting into the bread...........I wept with joy! Success!

Getting back to the start when I said I felt compelled to share my discoveries, these discoveries are the essential keys in successfully baking a loaf of gluten free bread. In no specific order:
The Environment - depending on where you live, northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, low altitude, high altitude, these factors play a part in bread baking. Amazingly enough it's true. The climate between the two hemispheres are quite different and climate means how much or how little moisture there is in the air and the extremities of temperature depending on what season it is, these factors affect the dough's habitat just like it affects us. The altitude is a matter of gravity and since we are working with something, yeast, that rises working against gravity, if you live in a high altitude place you may experience your bread rising quicker than stated in the recipe and vice versa for low altitude.
The Ovens - as I said earlier being a housesitter I have used several ovens for my baking and each time I have different results. Some ovens work hotter than others, some are fan ovens and some maybe older and have leaks in the seals allowing for heat to escape and making the ovens thermostat work over time resulting in a inconsistent heat. This just requires patience and getting to know how your oven works and adapting your baking time and temperature.
The Actions - these things are what you do to bring the recipe together, those little tips you find along the way that you feel has helped you with baking your bread. Don't ignore these the next time you go to bake your next loaf, write down specifically what you did and why, and work on your skill, your craft each time you bake. I have followed the same recipe yet chose a different method or did something different in the instructions for whatever reason and have noticed the results to be either wonderful or not quite what I was hoping for. All take part in the results.
The Will - this can only bestowed by yourself. Don't lose faith if you are having failure after failure. Research. Ask questions. Try again. Don't be scared to let go of those little things that were working for you and are now not. Find new ones. Try new recipes. Experiment. This is the only way you will become a successful gluten free bread baker, trust me!
Now If you have read this lengthy post hoping to find perhaps the clue, the secret in baking gluten free bread well there isn't one. It's all trial and error my friends. And eventually if not sooner, the trial and error will be tried and true! And if you didn't read this post and went scrolling down looking for the recipe, well it's not here, that's the next post. But please do read this as it will help you with your baking ventures.....................and stay tuned.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Improved Gluten Free Sandwich Bread Recipe.

From what I have been seeing over the past year, just like cars and technology, gluten free bread is being upgraded with new and improved recipes. Curious as I am to this and always fine tuning my own recipe, I embarked on a trial and error series of several recipes that I had drafted together. I gathered my research from recipes I had been studying that used ingredients I hadn't tried in gluten free bread baking. But after seeing such great and successful results I had to try these recipes out for myself.

The recipe I have settled with (for now) is adapted from Fork and Beans Gluten-Free Vegan Bread recipe. I followed the recipe near true to form with the change of flour blend and binders. I also adapted the method in making the bread. I was pleased with the results. The pictures say it all! Soft yet strong bendy bread with a golden crust, even crumb and great flavour!

So without further delay, here is my new and improved gluten free bread recipe.

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

Wet Ingredients:
240 ml warm plant-based milk - soy, rice, oat milk etc
240 ml warm water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tbsp pysllium husk
1 tbsp chia seed
1 tbsp flaxseed

Dry ingredients:
420 g gluten free flour blend (see below)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 sachet of instant dried yeast

Grind psyllium husk, chia seeds and flaxseeds to a course powder in a coffee grinder.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Whisk the milk, water, oil, vinegar, and ground binder mix until well-combined. Allow to sit for 2 minutes to coagulate.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon until just combined. Spoon the dough into a 9x4x4 lined loaf pan. Dip your hand or spoon into water to smooth out the top and very gently press down to ensure the dough is distributed evenly and there are no gaps/holes.
Warm your microwave oven by heating a cup of water for 1 minute or until boiling. This provides a warm and moist environment for the dough to rise in.
Cover and seal the dough in a plastic bag and place in warmed microwave. Allow to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour. Leave the microwave door slightly ajar so the light remains on, keeping a warm environment.
28/08/2016 *UPDATE: I have found that doing the microwave oven step not necessary. Just placing the dough into a plastic bag and putting somewhere warm like on top of the hot water cylinder or in a very low warmed oven just as effective. Remember though not too warm as this will result in dough to rise to quickly then collapse when placed in the oven.
Preheat oven to 190°C (350°F).
When dough has risen place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 60 minutes, until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly in the pan until you can remove it then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
If the top of your loaf is looking quite brown before done, make a cover with foil and place over top.

Gluten Free Flour Blend 

(This makes enough for the bread recipe above)

70 g each of:
millet flour
sorghum flour
buckwheat flour
glutinous rice flour
tapioca flour
potato starch

Sift all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
Then using a large whisk, thoroughly mix together all the flours.

I make a large batch that way I have my own ready-to-use gluten free flour mix. Just triple the equal part measurements of each flour, e.g., 210 g each of millet flour, sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch.
See here for more New and Improved Flour Blend! 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

New and Improved Flour Blend!

I have been experimenting with a few different blends of flours and balances of flour to starches and thought I would share my knowledge and discoveries with you all.

As a rule, I tend to avoid using rice flour for gluten free bread baking as I have found its quite stiff, heavy and doesn't rise well. But after seeing some recipes using glutinous rice flour and the wonderful light results it was providing I had to give it a try. It has the same characteristics of what starch flours provide in gluten free baking but its not a starch. Don't be put off by the 'glutinous' word, its still gluten free. Glutinous or sweet rice flour is milled from a special variety of rice, often known as "sticky rice," that is very starchy and has exceptional binding qualities. It is an excellent ingredient for gluten free baking. Glutinous rice is relatively healthy, having an extremely low fat content, but it doesn't offer the nutritive value of brown or wild rice. Still it does contain more vitamins and minerals than starch flours. So I have added it to my flour blend.

I usually use a 60% wholegrain flour 40% starch blend. But once again after seeing better results with a 50-50% blend I have switched to this ratio. I wanted to keep the nutritional value in my gluten free flour blend on the higher side which is why I stuck with the 60-40% ratio. A lot of store bought  gluten free premix blends and store bought gluten free baking products are mostly starches with no nutritional value at all. A 50-50% balance still provides beneficial nutrition factors and also better results in your baking.

The blend of flours and starches I have been recently using is equal parts of the following:
  • millet flour
  • sorghum flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • glutinous rice flour
  • tapioca flour
  • potato starch

To make your own gluten free flour blend, into a large bowl sift in equal measurements of the above flours. Then using a large whisk, thoroughly mix together all the flours. Store in an air tight container.

Now I just want to recap a few differences with some flours and starches that catch people out.

Tapioca Flour and Starch

Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing and can be used interchangeably in your recipes. Tapioca flour and starch are made from the cassava root. They provide lightness and elasticity to the texture of foods and can also be used to thicken sauces.

Potato Flour and Starch

Potato flour and potato starch are two completely different products. The starch is made from raw potato and is fine and light. The flour is made from cooked potato and is much heavier than starch. The two cannot be used interchangeably in recipes.

Corn Flour and Starch

Corn flour and corn starch are also very different. Corn flour is yellow and slightly sweet, while corn starch is white and bland tasting. Corn starch is a popular thickener for sauces. In some countries the names are used interchangeably so what is corn starch is labelled corn flour. Also watch out for corn flour/starch made from wheaten. This is not gluten free and made from wheat.

So don't be afraid to experiment with what ever flours and starches you can get your hands on. Just remember that measuring by weight is going to be more accurate than measuring by volume thus satisfying results.

Friday, 10 January 2014

My Gluten Free Bread Recipe!

I have adapted this recipe from my research of many other gluten free bread recipes out there and I still feel I could play around with this one but for now I make this with confidence I will get a great sandwich loaf.
If you have any questions revert to my pages in the blog, everything this recipe is made of comes the information I have gather and written in the blog.
So get your apron on and start baking and eating your own homemade gluten free bread!!!!!

In a bowl thoroughly whisk together:
100 grams Sorghum Flour
100 grams Millet Flour
100 grams Buckwheat Flour
75 grams Tapioca Starch
75 grams Potato Starch
10 grams Ground Flaxseed
1 1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Sugar
2 1/4 tsp or 1 sachet Instant Dried Yeast

In the bowl of your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together
20 grams Psyllium Husk
400 grams Tepid Water
4 tsp Vinegar

When the wet mixture thickens to form a gel approx 2-3 minutes, add:
2 tbsp oil

Mix for another minute then add the bowl of dry ingredients and mix for several minutes until well-combined.

Place the dough out into a lightly-oiled bowl, cover the top with oiled plastic wrap touching the surface of the dough. Put the whole bowl in a plastic bag and let rise for 30 minutes - 1 hour in a warm place like on top of your hot water cylinder.

When the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly-oiled surface and gently deflate by pressing out and roughly shaping the dough into a rectangle shape.

Starting at the short side, tightly roll the dough up, tucking the ends as needed, to form a cylinder. You are trying to create a dense, tight loaf with good surface tension, such that it will hold it’s shape during the final rise and baking.

Tuck the short ends into the loaf and pinch along all the seams to seal.

Finish shaping dough into a loaf by rolling it lightly back and forth (with your hands on top, like using a rolling pin) for a smooth, rounded finished look.

Place the formed dough seam side down in a loaf pan lined with baking paper and cover with oiled plastic wrap to prevent the dough from crusting over. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour - 1 1/2 hour, or until the dough no longer springs all the way back when dented with a finger.

Place a tin foil tent cover and open at the ends. Bake the bread in a 210°C oven for 25 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190°C and cook until done, another 20-30 minutes. Remove the tent foil in the last 10 minutes. The loaf is done when tapped on the bottom will sound hollow.

Let your bread cool completely before slicing. Store your bread in a dry cool place wrapped in a plastic bag for several days and it can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. Just pull a couple of slices out the day before if you wish to make sandwiches or toasted straight out of the freezer. Enjoy eating gluten-free bread!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Baking A Gluten Free Sourdough Loaf: Putting Theory To Practice.

The process of sourdough from start to finish is a long road but it is a road well worth travelling for the outcome is rewarding and satisfying. Cataloging every step has left me with many questions to the gluten free sourdough process so there is much more baking to be done yet I was not disappointed. Some techniques used in regular sourdough need to be trialed for gluten free sourdough but for now this is process I tried and share with you to put into practice.

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter:

You will need:
100g of gluten free flour (I used a blend of wholegrain flours and measured out equal amounts of sorghum, buckwheat and millet)
100g of filtered room temperature water
A large jar
A piece of cheese cloth
A elastic band
A whisk or fork

Whisk flour and water in a small bowl. Pour this into the jar. Cover with a cheesecloth securing it around with elastic band and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature.
After 12 hours, whisk the starter and add 50g flour and 50g water, mix together. Cover and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature. Continue adding 50g flour and 50g water every 12 hours for up to a week.

24 hours

48 hours

72 hours

96 hours
There's more detail about creating and maintaining your starter here.

The starter should be “spongy” in appearance with maybe some foamy bubbles on top and some air pockets in the mixture. It should have a slight sour smell. Your starter is now active and is ready to be used.

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe:

Mix in the bowl of a stand mixer until a gel forms:
350g spring water at room temp
20g psyllium husk
10g ground flaxseed

300g starter 100% hydration
300g gluten free flour blend (60g each of sorghum, millet, buckwheat, tapioca and potato starch)
24g sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix everything until well blended.  Scoop dough out and form into an oblong shape and set to rise on parchment paper in a loaf pan.  Cover the top with plastic touching the surface of the dough.  Put the whole pan in a plastic bag and let rise 4-12 hours.  The longer it rises the more sour it will be but the less oven spring you will get.

Shaped dough

Dough before rise

Dough after rise

Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) with a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone inside.  Score the bread, brush with water, cover with a tin foil tent cover and open at the ends then carefully place it in the hot oven. Bake until when the loaf is tapped it sounds hollow, about 40 minutes. Remove the tent foil and bake until the crust feels crisp on top, about 10 minutes.  Let cool several hours before slicing.

As you can see this recipe creates a good sourdough loaf with even crumb and a chewy but not tough crust. What you can't see is the flavour which I can tell you is delicious!
There is other techniques and methods with regular sourdough I would like to try with this process, that gluten free sourdough may still benefit from. 
So there will always be a jar with a starter living in it on my kitchen bench, ready to be used. I would like to know how everyone else gets on and what techniques you may try and the outcomes.
Now go, get started and dedicate some well worthy time to making your own gluten free sourdough bread!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Getting 'Started' To Make A Gluten Free Sourdough.

The first step in the sourdough process is getting a starter together. Gluten-free sourdough starter can be made in as little as seven days using gluten-free flour, water and a medium-sized bowl. I personally have successfully made gluten-free sourdough starter with sorghum flour, but I've read others have had success with buckwheat flour, teff, and millet.

Making a gluten-free sourdough starter isn't any different than making a regular sourdough starter.
  • Both start with flour and water.
  • Both take a few days and both get bubbly.
  • The only real difference comes when you're ready to make sourdough bread and you have to pull out all the various types of gluten-free flours.

Here’s a very simple explanation of the process:
  1. flour + water –> natural enzymes break down starches into glucose (sugar)
  2. natural bacteria (tang) + glucose = food for natural yeast
  3. natural yeast + food = carbon dioxide –> natural leaven
  4. natural leaven + more flour + more water –> more natural leaven
A good sourdough starter takes time and patience. Gluten free sourdough starter takes a little coaxing and a lot of patience. There are a lot of variables involved and if you are interested in making a gluten-free starter be prepared to make adjustments to account for the moods and whims for your particular starter.

Several things depends if your starter will thrive:

  • Temperature:  It is important to keep your starter in a warm place; if it gets too cold it won't be active enough to work.  Maintaining warm temps throughout the starter creation process helps to establish good yeast and bacterial multiplication and a healthy starter ecosystem.
  • Water:  Non-chlorinated water like filtered of spring is best for a sourdough culture. Tap water has been treated with chlorine for the nasty microorganisms lurking in the water supply. The chlorine also kills other microorganisms – the bacteria and yeasts you need to keep a lively starter. Using a filtering system removes the chlorine as well as heavy metals that can also damage the beneficial bacteria and wild yeasts present in a sourdough starter.
  • Flour properties: Any gluten free flour, provided it’s a grain-based flour, will work for making a sourdough starter. Keeping in mind it will be the bulk flour of what you bake with it, therefore the bulk flavor. Depending on what flour you use will deliver different results so bare that in mind and be prepared but don't be disappointed. 

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

The Initial Starter:
Whisk 50g gluten free flour and 50g warm filtered or spring water in a small bowl. Pour this into a clean, sterilized glass jar. Cover with a cheesecloth securing it around with an elastic band and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature.

After 12 hours, whisk the starter and add 50g flour and 50g water. Cover and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature. Continue adding 50g flour and 50g water every 12 hours for up to a week. Your starter should start bubbling within a few days. As you feed your starter, take care to whisk in the flour and water thoroughly into the established starter – aerating the starter will help to yield the best and most reliable results.

The starter should be “spongy” in appearance with maybe some foamy bubbles on top and some air pockets in the mixture. It should have a slight sour smell. Your starter is now active and is ready to be used. If not needed immediately cover with cheesecloth and refrigerate.

Feeding Your Starter:
Once the starter is officially created, it enters maintenance mode. The frequency of feedings is determined by how much starter you need and how often you plan to use it.
  • At a minimum, the starter can be kept in the refrigerator and fed once a week merely to sustain life (the yeast).
  • You can continue to feed it daily as you have been, and in another seven days there will be enough starter for another batch of bread.
  • You can also feed it daily with as little as one tablespoon of flour and water – enough to continue daily growth but not produce a large quantity of starter.
However frequent or infrequent you decide to feed your starter, the yeast thrives best when it’s fed regularly and consistently.  Choose your time frame and quantity and stick with it as best as you can.

Using Your Starter:
Use your starter when it is active. An active starter is one that has been fed within the past 12 hours, and is active enough that it was able to double in size after that feeding. If you fed your starter and it didn't double, you should feed it a few more times before using. The best time to use the starter is somewhere between the time it reaches its peak and before it starts to fall.

Maintaining And Reviving Your Starter:
If you bake less than once a week, you can store your starter in the fridge and feed it once a week. When needed, remove starter from fridge and bring to room temperature. Feed and stir well to combine. Leave for 12 hours before you plan to bake. If you bake every day or a few times a week, you can store your starter at room temperature and feed it every 12 hours or twice a day to keep it alive. This is very important.

Try at least feeding the starter with as much flour as there is starter.  You don't need too much starter at a time, so for instance use 25g starter, 25g flour, and 25g water for the first feeding out of the fridge. The next feeding 12 hours later start with all of the starter from the previous feeding (75g), add 75g flour and 75g water.  You should see really large bubbles in the starter with this feeding schedule. When it's really bubbly bake with it. You will have 225g of starter to work with - that should be plenty. Just make sure you have at least 10g starter left when you're done to build up the new batch of starter.

Considerations For Your Starter:
Using a whisk helps to aerate the starter more thoroughly. Aeration of the starter is essential to ensure that the bacteria are well-distributed throughout the starter and can, begin to ferment the new flour and water added to the starter at each feeding.  Proper aeration of the sourdough also helps to ensure that the production of hooch – a thin liquid that sometimes rises to the top of sourdough starter – is minimized.

If a hooch does appear, don't worry, it is harmless. It often signifies that you've overfed your starter with water in relation to flour or have let your starter go too long between feedings. Sourdough starters are relatively resilient, and bounce back quickly once you resume proper care of them.

Do not ever cover your jar airtight. The mixture is harvesting the yeast from the environment and needs the air to breathe. Even while in the fridge. Furthermore, the process of fermentation releases carbon dioxide which can build up in a tightly lidded jar and explode. Remember your starter will expand and rise to twice its volume after a feeding once it’s well-established so the jar you choose should have double the capacity of an un-fed starter.

 The internet is filled with gluten free sourdough starter recipes. Some call for odd ingredients like pineapple juice, orange juice, cabbage leaves, grapes, potato flakes or water kefir, to make a truly good sourdough starter you need just three things: flour, water and time.