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!


  1. Need to try this... Totally feel overwhelmed with baking GF bread...

    1. Hi Kristin, it can seem overwhelming to begin with but thats why I have created this site to share everything I have learnt about gluten free bread baking. The idea is to keep it as simple as possible which is what I have done. Read through and get baking!

  2. I haven't tried making gluten free bread yet, but I should soon. Sometimes I just want some bread!

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply. I will be posting my gluten free sandwich bread recipe soon. Its fairly easy and would be a great start for you. Sometimes I just want bread too, well all the time actually!!!

  3. You are my GF guru...I now have a successful GF starter thanks to you and at this moment, I am waiting for my second sourdough loaf to finish rising so I can bake it....the sourdough starter gives it the flavor closest I have tasted in GF bread of rye or whole grain artisan bread...which I used to bake on regular basis...I think that you are really onto something here...sourdough is the vehicle to bring us closer to truly artisan GF thank you so much for all the research and trying you do...we all really appreciated...please don't stop...ever...

    I am wondering if it would be possible to bake this bread freeform as a battard or you think it would hold it's shape?

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words Katarina! I'm so pleased you are baking successfully GF sourdough bread! It really is a wonderful thing! Do not worry I won't be ever stopping GF bread baking ;-) I would give it a try with baking the bread freeform. I just like a sandwich loaf as my preference so thats all I have made My first try of making it free form was hard to compare as the recipe was still under you have me thinking......I may have to head of to the kitchen and bake some bread now to see!!!!

  4. Thank you Samantha! I spent nearly all day fruitlessly searching for a decent, simple non gluten bread blends/recipes. And here you are. I want to learn how to make sourdough bread and here is your recipe. Whoopee!!

    1. I am sorry for such a late reply. I have been away for several months. I am so happy to hear you have found my blog useful. Hope baking has been going well!

  5. I am a bit sensitive to buckwheat ( yes, tested myself many times) so in my quest for a low glycemic NG bread I have tried almond meal with this recipe with a starter of millet and sorghum flours. I have made yeast breads with almond meal and, in spite of what I have read on the internet, so far it is working and tastes delicious and is also very nutritious. Today I made it again using your recipe and substituting almond meal for buckwheat, with new, more precise scale measurement and added one teaspoon of yeast. Will let you know the results as my Sis and husband is going to be my taster! Thank you so much for all the information here. I have searched extensively for NG recipes for yeast breads and sourdough starters, my quest ended here! This is wonderful, I search no more!

    1. I have to avoid almond flour as I'm allergic to tree nuts. Which makes it limited with a lot of baking recipes as so many use it. But I'm glad to hear it is working for you! I have been working on a few new recipes that I will be trying and if successful I will be sharing with all!

  6. I've used almond flour instead of buckwheat and had very successful results. Now i have tweaked your recipe some more by trying milk and egg yolk.

    1. What was the results like with using milk and eggs?

  7. Hi Samantha, I've been baking your bread for a few weeks now, and although the flavour it's great, it just isn't rising as much as yours looks to in the photos. The starter rises really well. I do sometimes use different flours depending on what I have to hand. Rice flour and I haven't had potato flour for a while. Would this make the difference do you think? The consistency seems right. Do you have any suggestions? I'd be very grateful.

    1. Hi Liz, there is not much of a rise much it should be enough to make a noticeable difference. I get a double size rise. Many factors take in count for a good rise, temperature, time and flours are a major factor. It should be potato starch not potato flour in the flour blend. I don't use rise flour in yeasted bread baking. Rice flour is typically very stiff and heavy and doesn't rise well. Keep trying! Sourdough is a true art that needs to be mastered and practice and time is what is needed as well as patience, believe me!

  8. Hi I can't wait to make this bread just wondering if you can convert the measurements from grams to cups? I don't have scale. Thank you. Irene

    1. Hi Irene, I would highly advise buying yourself a scale. The variation of measurement between cups and weights is very critical especially when baking gluten free bread. I bought myself a cheap digital scale for $10. I can't advise on what the cup measurement is as I have never converted it myself. Sorry.