Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Bread #1

This was my first successful gluten free bread. It has wonderful taste and texture, freezes well and has a long shelf life. It is a rather dense bread and although I happily ate if for 2 years I now prefer Sourdough Bread #2 and Sourdough Bread #3, from my book because they have a lighter, spongier texture. I have gotten mixed feedback from people about this recipe. Some have easy success with it and others find it less than dependable. The last time I made it, it was perfect!

Yield: 1 loaf Prep time: 20 minutes Rise Time: 7-24 hours
Baking Time: 350 for 60-75 minutes

1 cup Boosted Brown rice starter
1 ½ cups room temperature filtered water
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup chick pea flour
½ cup potato flour (not potato starch)
½ cup tapioca flour

Measure flours into a bowl and whisk together
Measure starter into mixer bowl
Add water and salt and stir to dissolve salt
Add dry flour mix to starter mixture and using an electric mixer, mix on low speed for 15-20 seconds until spongy. You can also mix by hand and do some simple finger kneading at the end to make it all come together
Do not overmix!
With a spatula gently push dough into oiled loaf pan
Use a hard spatula or potato masher to gently press into pan being careful to preserve sponginess of dough
Smooth top with hard spatula
Let rise 12-24 hours in cool oven or other warm place without drafts
The longer the rise, the better the texture
Bake at 325-350 for 60-75 minutes
Test for doneness using a skewer. The skewer should go into the bread evenly and come out mostly clean
Cool the bread in the pan on a rack
Remove from pan after at least 30 minutes
When completely cool, store either on the counter wrapped in a cloth and set in an uncovered plastic container or in the refrigerator in a cloth and covered
Freezes very well. Great toasted after freezing

Boosted Brown Rice Starter
Gluten free, Casein free

Prep time: 5 minutes
Fermentation time: 3-4 days

Start with one cup of brown rice flour and put it in a ceramic or glass bowl
Pour in slightly less than one cup of water and whisk smooth
Add 1-2 tablespoons of water kefir (water kefir recipe below)and whisk again
Cover with a cloth or paper towel and secure with a rubber band
Leave it on the counter away from drafts or extreme temperatures

Feed the starter, with 1/3-1/2 cup of flour and little less water, roughly every 8 hours, 3 times a day, for a total of four days, whisking smooth and covering. If you know you won't be able to feed it after 8 hours, put it in the refrigerator after feeding. You won't have to feed it for another 12 hours if it's in the fridge.

After two days put the starter in a clean bowl and continue feeding. (change the bowl so that the dried out starter that clings to the sides of the bowl stays out of the living starter)

After about 48 hours the starter should show signs of viability.
If you don’t see any bubbles or hilling you can add another tablespoon of water kefir

By the third day you should see small bubbles especially during stirring

By the fourth day you may see bubbles of different sizes and there may be a hissing, bubbling sound when they come up from the bottom of the bowl

It should take about 4 days for a brand new starter to be ready for cooking. It may take less time in warm weather and more time in cold weather. With a little practice you will get to know when your starter is ready.

You can store a small amount of starter, ¼ - ½ cup, in the refrigerator for next time. Feed it every 2 weeks by taking it out of the refrigerator, letting it come to room temperature, feed it with a small amount of flour and water, whisk and refrigerate again.

If you plan to make sourdough products a few times a week you may want to use an ongoing starter kept at room temperature on the counter. When you’re ready to cook/bake, remove a small amount ¼ - ½ cup of starter and put it in a clean bowl. Feed 2-3 times a day with roughly equal amounts of flour and water and whisk smooth. Cover and set it aside to continue fermenting. This will be your starter for your next batch. Proceed with your recipe with the remaining starter.

Starter recipe from The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking recipe book, available at

Water Kefir for Boosted Brown Rice Starter
(water kefir is the booster for Brown Rice Starter)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Fermentation time: 2-4 days

2-3 tablespoons Water Kefir grains
2 tablespoons sugar (I find organic dark sugar works the best, but any sugar works)
20 raisins (or a comparable amount of figs or prunes)
1 quart of filtered or spring water
1 slice of lemon

Nearly fill a wide mouth quart jar with water.
Add 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring to dissolve, 20 raisins and a slice of lemon or lime.
Add the water kefir grains to the jar or if this is your first batch add the contents of your bottle of water kefir grains into the quart jar.
Cover with a paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band.
When raisins float to the top, after around 24 hours, use a nonmetal tool and scoop the raisins and the lemon slice out and discard.
Ferment the water kefir for 6-12 more hours on the counter with the paper towel.
Then store, covered, in fridge and use as needed.
When you have used the liquid down to about an inch in the jar start a new batch in a new jar and pour the water kefir grains plus the liquid their in right into the new jar, cover and ferment.
Lasts about 1 month

To replenish:
Use up the water kefir to about an inch of water kefir and water kefir grains left in the jar.
When you are ready to make a new batch just a fill a clean jar with 1 quart of water, add sugar and dissolve, add the last inch of water kefir and water kefir grains, trying to get all the grains into the new batch. Add fruit, cover and let ferment.

Other uses for Water Kefir:
tonic, a small amount through the day
supplies lactobacillus and serves as an inoculant for lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, chutneys 2 Tablespoons per quart -2 cups for 2 gallon crock
soaking grains before cooking (2 Tablespoons) predigests and increases availability of enzymes and B vitamins
soaking beans before cooking (2 Tablespoons) predigests and increases availability of enzymes and B vitamins

Resources: Order Water Kefir Grains from Cultures for Health


  1. I am thrilled to see this blog. I was just reading in Mary Jane's Farm Magazine about sourdough breads and wondered if it were possible to have gluten free sourdough and your blog came up in the search. I am looking forward to purchasing what I need and giving this a try. So I wonder do these breads taste anything like the wheat version?

  2. I'm not sure how this came up with my husband's name...guess because I am on his computer.

  3. Hello Rick's wife, Thank you for your comments. Yes, it's very possible to have gluten free sourdough. It took me a few years to get where I am now but I am making wonderful and varied bread products that qualify as comfort food, are highly nutritious and easy to digest. About tasting like the wheat version, it's been a long time since I've eaten wheat sourdough so it's hard to remember but this sourdough bread recipe has a pleasantly medium sour taste. It's best toasted except right out of the oven. :-). This bread recipe was my first success and it took me one year to perfect it. Then I became sensitive to some of the ingredients and started working with simpler ingredients. This led to pancakes and fabulous quickbreads that are as fluffy and tasty as any muffin, focaccia or pizza dough plus being very nutritious. I compiled these and sell them on my website, Good luck with your baking and email me if you have questions.


  4. Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for this interesting blog.
    I am now trying to make the sourdough starter, following your recipe (I used yoghurt as the source for lactic acid bacteria, and whole rice flour as a substrate). After 4 days of feeding and stirring, all I got was a big jar full of sludge, with no apparent activity.
    Can it still be saved? What should I do next?
    Many thanks in advance,

  5. Hi Ada, Sorry it took so long for me respond. It must have been very discouraging to have a big jar full of sludge. The only thing I can think is that the yoghurt wasn't as active as the starter needed. Did you use a home made yoghurt? you can email me directly if you like,

  6. Hi sharon,
    Thank you for your response.
    I finally figured out what my problem was: the yoghurt only contained bacteria, but there was no source of yeast in the starter (the yeast in the water kefir comes from the rasins). The next time, I added a few grapes, too, and got great bubling and a highly active starter, which gets even better with time.
    My next challange is to get it to work with tapioca flour
    Best Regards,

  7. Hi sharon,
    Thank you for your response.
    I finally figured out what my problem was: the yoghurt only contained bacteria, but there was no source of yeast in the starter (the yeast in the water kefir comes from the rasins). The next time, I added a few grapes, too, and got great bubling and a highly active starter, which gets even better with time.
    My next challange is to get it to work with tapioca flour.

  8. Hi Ada, glad you figured out what the problem was. I've never tried grapes although I've read about it. Let me know how the tapioca flour works out.
    Eat Well,

  9. whether the difference between kefir and yogurt?
    Which is better between them?
    whether kefir has the same flavor of yogurt?
    It looks very tasty

  10. Do you have a suggestion for a substitution for the potato starch? I'm on an elimination diet, so nightshades are out. Every GF sourdough I've found has eggs or dairy or potato (or all three) and I can't have any of those!

  11. Hello Dhan,
    the difference between kefir and yogurt is the culture strain. They are 2 different strains. They have similar tastes. The kefir I am using is a non-dairy kefir used to prevent spoilage of the starter.

  12. Hello Rebekah,
    Just to be clear, I do not use potato starch in any of my recipes because it is highly processed. I occasionally use potato flour. To substitute for potato flour I would use an equal or slightly larger amount of arrowroot flour. I've done it successfully before. I hear you about every GF sourdough bread having eggs, dairy or potato. That's why I developed my bread book, for myself!

    Most of my recipes are potato free but like I said you can substitute arrowroot.

    Thanks for writing!

  13. Hi Sharon,
    I've been looking around your site over the past couple of weeks and I am so excited! I've just been diagnosed with celiac, and I was so bummed out not to be able to have sourdough bread. This recipe really has me excited.
    I don't have my water kefir grains yet, so I am wondering, if I feed my starter milk kefir and keep it in the fridge, feeding it every 12 hours, do you think that will work?

    Thanks so much, Julie

  14. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for looking at my site! I'm glad you're excited about it. Yes! you can eat sourdough bread again!

    You can most definitely boost your starer with milk kefir as long as you're sure it's "live". You can grow it in the fridge and feed it every 12 hours. It will work!

    Good luck,

  15. thanks for the comment, jogja! glad it was helpful.