Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Recipe

How to Make Gluten Free
Sourdough Starter (Excerpt from The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking)

(Also free of milk, eggs, yeast, soy, gums & chemical leavener
The steps below might seem daunting just to make bread but with practice it becomes easy.

Here are the basic steps for Gluten Free Sourdough Starter:

• Make Water Kefir (made from a culture)
• Make Brown Rice Starter
• Boost Brown Rice Starter with Water Kefir
• Feed Brown Rice Starter with brown rice flour and water, 2-3 times a day
• Use for pancakes, breads, muffins and pizza dough

Info about Water Kefir:

• Water Kefir is a tasty and potent fermented drink, full of natural probiotics and enzymes. (If you try drinking it start with a small amount at first! It’s really potent)
• Made from a culture and takes 2 minutes to put together
• Ferments in 1-2 days
• Stores in refrigerator for one month
• With care these cultures can be used repeatedly and live indefinitely

Making pancakes will help you get the “feel” of working with a sourdough starter. They take a fraction of the time needed for a bread recipe and
produce tasty pancakes.

Water Kefir Recipe

Ready for use in 1-2 days

Water Kefir Culture * (purchase from Cultures for Health)

Glass quart jar
Paper towel or cloth
Rubber band

Day 1

• Fill a quart jar with water leaving 2 inches of space at the top of the jar.
• Add 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring to dissolve.
• Add 20 raisins.
• Add a slice of lemon.
• Add water kefir culture into the quart jar.
• Cover with paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band.

Day 2

• When raisins float to the top, around 24 hours later, use a nonmetal spoon to remove raisins and lemon and discard them.

• In cool weather: Re-cover the water kefir drink with the paper towel or cloth and rubber band and ferment for 6 more hours on the counter.

• In warm weather: Put the water kefir drink directly into the refrigerator.

• Cap and store water kefir drink (along with cultures settled at the bottom) in the refrigerator and use as needed taking care not to pour water kefir cultures out of the jar. They will easily just sit on the bottom until you make your next batch.

• Water Kefir drink is now ready to use for Boosted Brown Rice Starter.

Replenishing Your Batch

• When you have used the water kefir liquid down to about an inch in the jar (with cultures still sitting on the bottom) begin a new batch in a new jar adding fresh water, sugar, raisins, and lemon.

• Then pour the remaining water kefir drink and water kefir culture into the new jar.

• Cover and ferment as above for Day.

*Purchase Water Kefir at Cultures For Health

Boosted Brown Rice Starter

Ready for use in 3-4 days

Brown rice flour
Water Kefir

Ceramic or glass bowl
Cloth or paper towel
Rubber band

Step 1

• Put one cup of brown rice flour into a ceramic or glass bowl

• Pour in 3/4 cup of water and whisk smooth

• Add 1-2 tablespoons of water kefir and whisk again

• Cover with a cloth or paper towel and secure with a large rubber band

• Leave it on the counter away from drafts or extreme temperatures

Step 2

The key to a healthy starter is regular feedings
of brown rice flour and water

How to Feed:

• Feed 3 times daily, roughly every 8 hours.
• Feed with ¼- ½ cup of flour and slightly less water, 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

• After two days put the starter in a clean bowl (to keep the dry starter from mixing with the fresh starter) and continue feeding

• At around 48 hours the starter should show signs of viability
If you don’t see any bubbles or “hilling”, (when the flour makes a hill) you can add another tablespoon of water kefir

• By the third and fourth days you may see bubbles of different sizes and hear a hissing sound when stirring

Your starter is now ready for pancakes.

Gluten Free Sourdough Pancakes

Since buckwheat, teff, quinoa or oat flour will give the pancakes some needed density (a pure rice flour starter tends to be on the thin, soupy side) have the last feeding of the starter be 1/4 - 1/2 cup of one of those flours plus a little less water. Let ferment 7 hours.

Yield: 4 pancakes

Ingredients for 4 pancakes
1 cup boosted brown rice starter (including the last feeding of buckwheat or other flour plus slightly less water
1 tablespoon oil, melted butter or fat
A large pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed (grind in a coffee grinder)

Mix oil, salt and ground flax seed into starter
Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flax to thicken the batter.
The batter should be like a thick cake batter.
If the batter is too thick whisk in a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency
(The batter can sit for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The finished pancakes will be thinner and lighter)
Oil pan or griddle and heat to fairly hot
Spoon or ladle out the batter onto the pan
These take longer to cook than wheat pancakes so flip a few minutes after bubbles show up or the edges start to dry out.
Cook another 1-2 minutes and serve.

You can also cool them on a rack and refrigerate in a container for a 3-5 days. Just reheat them in the toaster.


Purchase The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking

Other Books Available

Lacto-Fermentation Through The Seasons – Fermented vegetables are a homemade probiotic-rich condiment. A year’s worth of recipes for making your own fermented vegetables starting in spring, moving through summer and into fall.

Intestinal Recovery – Recipes and techniques to slowly and gently help repair the digestive and immune systems.

Highly Digestible Beans – Technique for making the most easily digestible beans possible. 4 recipes included.

Contact me:

Copyright 2012 by Sharon A. Kane


  1. Can you use whey in place of the water kefir??

  2. You definitely can. I use water kefir as I'm intolerant of dairy. Whey will give a bit more lift to the breads, which is always welcome.