It’s been a bit of time since I posted the gluten-free sourdough starter recipe, and I’ve been promising this sourdough bread recipe for some time now. It took some testing, but I finally found a gluten free sourdough bread that we love!
I’ve tested it a few different times, with multiple different ingredients used as a binder, trying to find the best way to make a tasty loaf of gluten-free bread. I tried egg, guar gum, xanthan gum, and chia seed gel, and the only one that made a nice well-formed loaf was the xanthan gum. So while I don’t like to use it a lot (some people don’t tolerate it all too well, and I don’t think it’s normally found in the same category as “real” or “nutrient dense” foods), but for this bread, it’s needed.
You can check out my experiments at the end of the post!
This loaf will be a dense artisan loaf, not a light and fluffy sandwich bread that you buy at the store. But it shouldn’t be so dense that it’s like a brick!
Gluten Free Sourdough Bread, artisan style
- 2 cups gluten free sourdough starter
- 2/3 cup water
- 4 large eggs lightly whisked
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 cup sorghum
- 1 cup oat flour blend oats until they turn to powder
- 1 cup millet flour
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp xanthan gum
- 1/3 cup oil or softened butter
- In a large bowl, stir together the starter, water, and eggs.
- In a separate bowl (I used my stand mixer), mix together all dry ingredients; all of the flours, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar.
- Add the oil or butter to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended.
- While the mixer is on low, slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. If you do it all at once or too quickly, you may end up with lumpy dough. Pour just slow enough that it can be gradually mixed, but not so slow that it takes you more than a minute. If you are mixing by hand, pour it in approximately a cup at a time and mix as you go.
- Let the dough sit out in a warm place for at least a few hours, preferably 6-8.
- You may then take out approximately 1/4 of the dough to bake if you'd like and place the rest in the refrigerator for later use.
- When baking, gently place the dough on parchment paper if you have any (I don't and it worked fine) on a flat surface. You want to be careful not to disturb the dough too much so that it keeps the air bubbles intact from the sourdough action. Use wet hands to smooth it out if you'd like, and let it rest for 4-8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a cast iron dutch oven. You can also use a 1 1/2 quart Corningware casserole dish with glass lid. I used the latter (like this one) since I don't have the dutch oven and it works just fine.
- Once preheated, very gently slice the top of the loaf a few times with a serrated knife and place into the preheated pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Take off the cover and reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
This bread is great warmed or toasted with a slab of butter, dipped into herb infused oils, or spread with homemade jam.
For one of my experiments, I tried out four different “binders”;
- egg and chia,
- chia, and
- egg and xanthan gum.
I omitted the xanthan gum for this test. This dough was very wet and I had to add an additional 1/2 cup of rice flour to get it to the right consistency for gluten-free bread. The loaf also fell completely flat and the chickens got to eat it as we only ate enough to test it out.
As a muffin, this was Todd’s favorite.
2. egg and chia
I omitted the xanthan gum from the recipe and instead used 1/2 cup chia seed gel. This dough was again very wet and needed an additional 1/2 cup of rice flour and it fell completely flat.
As a muffin, this was my favorite.
3. chia seed gel
For this loaf I omitted both the egg and the xanthan gum, using 1/2 cup chia seed gel in the recipe. I was really hoping that it would work better than it did as I currently know a lot of families that can not have eggs. The loaf was not good at all and hard to handle (with a spoon), though the muffin was decent even though it didn’t rise as much as the first two.
4. egg and xanthan gum
This was the recipe for the loaf posted above and made a great loaf. As a muffin, it seemed a bit dense.
I’ve also tried guar gum in place of xanthan gum and it resulted in a dismal failure for a loaf as well as my pizza crust. I don’t recommend it!
The recipe is adapted from the Gluten-Free Crusty Boule from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes.
The chia seed gel idea came from the GNOWFGLINS sourdough ebook.
Paige @ Not Missing a Thing!
I’m so excited to try this! I had experimented with gf sourdough a while back, but wasn’t happy with the results. Your recipe uses all my favorite flours so I’m very hopeful! And now that Im making water kefir, I can add that in too ! My poor daughter really misses sourdough bread! I’ll try to come back and report after I get a chance to try this out. Thanks for sharing it.
@Paige @ Not Missing a Thing!, Yes – let me know! Sourdough is something that changes slightly for each house based on yeasts, so I’d love to see how it works in another house.
I make a gf sourdough with buckwheat flour and flaxseed, I grind the flaxseed in my blender. It seems to work well. But buckwheat has its own pretty strong nutty flavor so some people may not like the buckwheat sourdough combo.
@keeper, I need to get some buckwheat again, I’d love to grind my own now that I have a grain mill. I wasn’t impressed with the buckwheat flour I had purchased before.
I have been working with The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking. I tried the brown rice starter. Terrible. The buckwheat/sorghum starter is doing much better for us, but even though the taste/smell is better, the loaves turn out so undone in the middle while the outside is hard as a rock.
Do you have any idea what I could be doing wrong?
@Violet, Hmmm. What temp are you cooking it at? Have you tried different consistencies? (more or less flour) I’ve also heard that once it’s cooked you have to let it cool completely or the insides may be underdone.
And funny about the starter – I tried buckwehat/sorghum and other combos and didn’t like any of them. Only the brown rice works well at our house!
I have a gluten free sourdough starter that seems to be doing well, and I am excited to try some bread! I love some good sourdough 🙂
A couple of questions…the recipe says you can remove a 1/4 of the batch to bake and refrigerate the rest. Is the 1.5 qt pan the right size for 1/4 of the batch? What about baking the whole batch at once, would that need several pans? Also, I was trying to figure out the timing, between the two “resting” times, it looks like it needs 12-16 hours. Have you ever tried leaving it overnight for the first rest, then putting it on parchment in the morning for the second? I hope I’m not being confusing…
The bread will actually not touch the pan around the sides, so a 1.5 qt pan fits the 1/4 batch just fine. It won’t mold to the pan like a traditional loaf bread. If you did the whole batch at once….I would use several pans as the outside of the loaf may get to dark and the inside not cooked thoroughly. Unless of course you formed the loaf differently and you could try to bake it like a traditional loaf, you’d just have to test out different bake times.
As for the resting phases, it needs to rest and ferment for at least 8 hours once it’s mixed. Then you break off/cut off a section to bake and let that rest for another 4-8 hours if possible to allow for the fermentation to create air pockets so that the bread isn’t to dense. Technically, you could just pull off the section you want to bake right after mixing and allow that to sit out on parchment paper for 12-16 hours. 🙂
Okay, thanks, I’ll give it a try!
Thanks so much for sharing this. I just successfully made my own starter and was nervous about doing a gluten free bread. I’ve tried this recipe twice now. The first time I absentmindedly only used brown rice flour and it was a bit too hard, but good flavor. The next time I used my favorite flour mix (the mix used here: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/jennifers-esposito-gluten-free-blueberry-walnut-scones) in place of the flours you list and it is delicious! The bread has a perfect texture and a great flavor. It is quite the time commitment to leave it out for so long but worth it for the flavor. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Hi, thanks for the recipe – I’m just getting hints to make my first sourdough loaf from a kefir and rice starter I made. Just one thing – you suggest oat flour, but oats, while they do not contain gluten, do contain a protein so similar that a lot of intolerants and coeliacs react to it, and is most frequently processed in the same places as the wheat, barley and rye crops and so is usually contaminated with gluten as well. You can buy (in some places) gluten free oats where they have been processed separately, perhaps you could change your ingredients list to say that? It would be really unfortunate if someone with a severe gluten intolerance poisoned themselves because they didn’t realise the risk of oats. Not trying to have a go, and I am certainly benefiting from your recipe myself. Have a good one.
Yes, I am aware of the issue surrounding oats, but since this isn’t a completely gluten free blog (though we post a lot of gluten free recipes due to my own family being gluten free due to my husband’s sensitivities) I don’t normally state all of the ins and outs of a gluten free diet.
When you say sorghum do you mean the flour or the sweetener? This will be my first attempt at sourdough and wasn’t sure which to get.
Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe. We’ve gone gluten free, and sourdough has been one of the things we’ve all sorely missed.
I used a white rice starter, and added all of the ingredients into my bread machine, and used the dough cycle. After it was done, I gingerly divided the dough into two parchment lined loaf pans and baked them at 400 for 50 minutes.
I have no idea if it came out like yours, but my family was flat out thrilled. Even my daughter who is deeply suspicious of all gluten free baked goods told me it was the best bread ever.
And I promise to try it all the way through as written as soon as I get a heavy duty pan. 🙂
Ps- I can’t get the rate this recipe stars to work, please set them to five stars in moderation!
So glad you liked it – thanks so much for letting me know! 🙂
I am getting ready to make your starter. I just read that possible benefits from the fermentation to the gut for people with Cecliac disease. Your bread recipe has 2 separate rest periods, you cook part of it and put part in the refrigerator to cook later in the week???? If so, do you have to bring that out to room temp for how many hours before cooking? Is it something that can be put in the freezer and thawed and cook for another time??? Is it something you that would need to put in a warm place in a oven that had a bowl of hot water, with the oven door closed if you lived in a cold place?
I also have 2 bread machines, one with a GF cycle, and Zojirushi.
I am looking forward to making your bread,and will get the started started tomorrow!
Yes, bring the refrigerated dough to room temp before the second rest period. Depending on room temp, it could take about an hour or two to warm back up (longer of course if you freeze it). If it was frozen you might want to do the hot water in oven trick, but refrigerated is usually fine, covered on the counter.
Thank you for your reply!
How do you recommend refreshing the starter after use, do you 2 more cups of Brown rice flour and how much water?
It really depends on how strong your starter is, when you’ll need to use more next, and how often you’re feeding it.
When I use some of my starter I usually leave at least 1/2 to 1 cup in the jar so that I can mix in more flour and water. Usually I add in the same amount of flour and water, though sometimes a bit less water depending on it’s consistency (since humidity changes how much is needed). Most of the time I don’t add in more flour than what is in the jar, so if I have 1/2 cup of starter, I add in 1/2 cup of flour and water…1 cup of starter I add in about 1 cup of flour and water. I don’t know what the specific “rules” are, but this is what works for me!
Hmm…I wonder if I could use grass fed gelatin or ground flax seeds instead of the xantham gum!?
Concerning the Starter….I made it 3 days ago, today be the 4th and took the 2 cups out to make the bread recipe, I am assuming there in about 2 cups left of started in mason jar-original start is now 4 days old, I have sealed it and placed in refrigerator for now, I would assume you would replenish with 2c brown rice flour and 1.5 cups unfiltered water wait a few days for fermentation to start in new mixture…..???
I have not cooked my bread yet…..wish me well!
I believe the problem is with my starter, WF no longer carries the water Kiefer, due to new guidelines in their policies. They told me I could try the low-fat Kiefer, Which I did. The only other problem I ran into was I could not find millet gluten free flour, so I did have to substitute! The crest on the outside did turn out well, however, the bread did not rise as expected, this could have been the result of the Kiefer that was in the starter!? Where did you get your water kefir?
I actually make my own water kefir and dairy kefir. The homemade stuff has a lot more “probiotics” in it and will work better at helping breads to rise than storebought kefir. But you don’t “need” the kefir for a starter…I just found that sometimes it helps give mine a boost as the GF flours don’t sour quite as nicely as wheat. You may want to simply feed your starter for a good week or two before you use it in a recipe – it will help it build “strength” so to speak.
And the artisan bread won’t double like normal yeast bread either. It shouldn’t be dense, but it won’t be as light as a yeasted bread. Usually it rises just a bit while sitting, and then a bit more while baking.
I usually keep my starter going as it helps keep it strong, but do let it hibernate in the fridge occasionally when I know I won’t have a chance to make bread for some time. If I had 2 cups of starter in the jar, I’d probably add only 1/4 cup of flour and a touch less than that amount of water for about a week to bring it out of hibernation and allow it to grow and get stronger.
Hello! I’m thinking of making this recipe today, and was wondering if I could halve the recipe? I had a mishap with my starter (spilled it the front seat of my car while transferring it) and don’t think I have quite enough without depleting it completely.
I can’t imagine it would be a problem. 🙂
I’ve been eating gluten free for many years now and I love baking but have noticed that many sourdough recipes call for millet flour. I don’t use millet because it can negatively affect the thyroid because it affects iodine absorption. There are many gluten free ingredients that I avoid because of auto immune issues so it can be tricky to get the right consistency.
Do you happen to know why it is important in sourdough recipes and what might be some alternatives?
I don’t think there is any specific reason other than using multiple flours when working with gluten free leads tot he best result. I use it because that’s what I have in the house! Simply replace it (by weight) with another gluten free flour and you should be fine!
I’m planning to start this tomorrow 🙂 I have all the ingredients besides millet. I could pick some up before baking, but thought I’d check if anyone has a substitute they think would work? I’ve got a pretty wide range of gf flours around
I read your comment above right after posting said question lol. I’ll just add that much extra of another flour
I was looking around for recipes that would make a gluten free, vegan loaf, possible and was wondering if it is possible to replace flax seed powder instead of the egg. I will try it as soon as my starter has grown enough for baking?
If you scroll to the bottom of the recipe I did try a couple different versions, one with chia paste instead of egg. As a muffin it didn’t work well, but if one is looking for a vegan option or can’t have egss for allergy reasons, it would be worth testing a flax option (I simply didn’t have flax in the house when I was testing).