Sourdough Starter Gluten Free

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Tasty bread doesn’t have to have gluten in it! I have started making a gluten free sourdough and it even has my gluten-eating husband’s stamp of approval as a sandwich bread! That was a win for me and now I want to share the technique with you!

I baked this loaf with the starter I created to make this tutorial.

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Sourdough baking begins with something called a “starter”. It is a combination of water and flour (and time) which causes natural wild yeast to culture in the mixture. The yeast creates air bubbles through a fermentation process, causing the bread to rise. This is especially helpful when baking gluten free!

One thing that is most helpful to have going into this process is a willingness to adapt and learn. I’m the type of person that likes to have clear cut directions and answers, but that is not always the case with sourdough. Be willing to be flexible and adapt and this can be such a fun experience!

The majority of this process is hands off but it will take about a week to get a healthy starter ready. We will go through a process of feeding the starter flour and water twice a day to help the yeast grow.

What you will need:

Your starter will grow best in a glass jar or bowl, as metal can irritate the wild yeast you are trying to cultivate. (Of course, it is always best to avoid plastics if possible).

You will need a water filter because any chlorine that may be in your water will inhibit the yeast growth. Some cities have clean enough tap water, mine actually does, but I still use filtered water to help my yeast thrive! At this link you can see the condition of the water where you live.

A kitchen scale also makes this process SOO MUCH EASIER (and as a lover of science I think it makes it more fun too 😉). This is because we each measure a cup of flour or water differently, which means measuring by volume is quite inconsistent. However, when you measure by WEIGHT the amount will be exactly the same every single time.

I have a wide mouth funnel to help with feeding my starter. I make messes so easily and this helps make sure all the flour and water gets in the jar and not alllll over my countertop! I used to use a regular funnel but flour clogs it up easily and it was tedious to tap it out of the funnel and into the jar each time. This wide mouth funnel was a great addition to my kitchen!

The process:

  • Day 1-3:
    • Add 50 g (about 1/3 cup) of brown rice flour and 60 g (about ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp) of water to your glass jar/bowl and mix well. Cover with a secured coffee filter or tea cloth. Place in a warm (but not hot) location in your kitchen.
    • Do this one in the morning AND evening. So, by the end of day 3 you will have done this six times.
  • Day 4-7:
    • You will need to take a scoop or two out of the jar before feeding it, this process is called discarding. You do this for two reasons:
      • 1) to be sure you are feeding what remains in your jar enough of a portion of food so it doesn’t go hungry
      • 2) to prevent the jar from getting too full and overflowing.
    • After discarding 1-2 small scoops add 50g (about 1/3 cup) of brown rice flour and 60g (about ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp) of water as you did before. Cover with a secured coffee filter or tea cloth. Place in a warm (but not hot) location in your kitchen.
    • Repeat this process of discard and feed twice a day for days 5-7.

By the end of the 7 days your starter should have some nice bubbles in it and look slightly foamy at the top. If it isn’t quite there yet keep going don’t give up on it until it is as active as you need it to be.

Starter on the left is more active than the one on the right. The right starter needs to be fed as evidence from the liquid hooch layer.

Maintaining your starter:

  • If you plan to use your starter frequently (at least every couple of days) then it is best to keep your starter on your counter in a warm (but not hot) spot. If keeping your starter on the counter you will likely need to feed it once a day to keep it active and bubbly. Discard as needed to keep your jar/bowl from overflowing.
  • If you do not plan to bake that often then it would be easier to keep your starter in the fridge. The yeast activity will slow down quite a bit so you will not have to feed it as often. You should pull the starter out of the fridge and feed it once a week.
View from the top of the starter jar.

Other information:

  • If a layer of liquid appears at the top of the starter it is basically the yeast a way of saying it’s hungry. This liquid layer is called the hooch. Just pour it off into the sink and feed your starter.
  • If your starter starts to smell bad, I mean REALLY bad, pour it out and start over with a clean jar. Same goes if you see any mold.
A starter with a layer of hooch on top. If this happens just pour out the liquid and feed your starter.

At the end of a week I used this starter to make this loaf of bread:

It turned out very tasty and had a fair rise, though not the best rise I’ve ever seen. The wild yeast you’re cultivating just gets better and better the longer you have it.

Enjoy! Comment below with how the process goes for you or if you have any questions.

4 thoughts on “Sourdough Starter Gluten Free

  1. Day three I woke up to my starter looking very active and bubbly, but after that it hasn’t gotten to look like that again, we had a very warm day that day and there was liquid at the top so I poured it off and fed it but it continues to form liquid and only a few small bubbles. It also seems fairly runny. Should I be adding less water? I have been using a scale.

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    1. Hey Danielle! It may be that it needs to be fed twice a day since it has been warmer, it will be more active. What is the texture like when you stir it? It should be not runny, more coarse than smooth, but still stir easily (if that makes sense 😅).

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