Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

gluten free sourdough dough slices

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Here it is: the much anticipated gluten free sourdough bread recipe!

I’ve made so many gluten free sourdough loaves over the past few years that I’ve accumulated quite a few yummy photos!

Pictures like this gluten free sourdough made in my Emile Henry bread baker

gluten free sourdough Emile Henry

or this gluten free sourdough baked in a Pullman Pan

gluten free sourdough baked in pullman pan

or this gluten free sourdough baked as a boule without a pan …

gluten free sourdough artisan loaf with butter

I’ve baked experiment after experiment, tweaking it here and there to account for lots of variables.

The development of a gluten free sourdough starter and gluten free sourdough bread recipe was a painstaking process, but at least we’ve enjoyed tons of gluten free sourdough (by the way, leftover sourdough makes an insane overnight gluten free French Toast Casserole!).

French Toast Casserole with gluten Free Sourdough

 

I urge you to hang in there and read through my entire post, as I outline what has worked best and what has not worked best for me. There are definitely some tricks of the trade. But let me assure you that you can (and with this recipe, you will) enjoy sourdough again!

Gluten Free Sourdough Basics

For those who love and miss sourdough, take heart! The art of making sourdough isn’t lost without the gluten. There’s still a lot of feeding, caring and waiting for the sourdough starter to mature and bloom into all its potential.

I’ve actually made so much starter that I’ve given some away to neighbors with the promise of sharing the gluten free sourdough recipe soon (not soon enough, I am aware), but I just couldn’t throw any away when I’ve tended to it for so long! It’s like a little sourdough baby and you just can’t toss it out — I care about it! It’s “alive.” 

You’ll see when you make this gluten free sourdough starter; you’ll see. You won’t want to discard any of the “extra” either. It’s precious. Here’s how to make your very own gluten free sourdough starter!

Some things are the same about making gluten free sourdough bread as they are with making any other gluten free bread. There’s no kneading the bread and stretching the gluten because there’s no gluten! Just follow my instructions to the letter, use my gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, and sit back to watch the magic happen.

gluten free sourdough sliced on board
Gluten Free Sourdough with oil brushed on before baking (no extra gfJules Flour dusted on top).

 

In anticipation of many questions to come, this recipe and process was developed using my gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour because it works, I can rely on it every time, it’s easy, and it doesn’t taste funky or have any grit to it. If you try this recipe with another gluten free flour or blend, it really may not work, so please please please don’t even bother to try! But if you do, please don’t leave comments about how it didn’t work, because I’m telling you so before you waste your time.

Gluten free flours are tricky business. It took me two years to develop my original blend way back in 2003 (I’ve been gluten free since 1999!) and I’ve been tweaking and improving it ever since. Just because you think you can read ingredients and intuit how much of anything to use or to buy something off the shelf that sounds similar … you can’t. It won’t be the same, and the results won’t look like those pictured.

gluten free sourdough dough sliced on board CU

Not to put too fine a point on it, but tenths of a percentage point difference in proportions and a different brand or country of origin for any given ingredient are things that can make huge changes in outcomes. It amazes me all the time how tiny variances make big differences.

Which is why I developed my gfJules Flour to begin with. Selfishly, I didn’t want to have to make it in my kitchen every time I baked! And unselfishly, I wanted to prevent fellow gluten-free bakers (and newbies to gluten free baking) from having to mess around with mediocre flours only to achieve mediocre results. Gluten free baking — and specifically gluten free sourdough bread baking — can be so rewarding and share-worthy! You’ll see!

For more help with gluten free bread baking, in general, hop to my 18 Top Gluten Free Bread Baking Tips.

So back to the recipe at hand.

gluten free sourdough artisan loaf with wine

 

Baking Gluten Free Sourdough — Choosing the Right Pan

As you can see at the top of this post, there are many different options when it comes to baking your gluten free sourdough bread. If you prefer to make an artisan-style loaf, no bread pan is needed.

Follow along with one reader’s VIDEO of how she made her beautiful gluten free sourdough loaf using with this recipe and this artisan method following clicking here to watch!

gluten free sourdough boule rising

For that method, I found that lining a large glass bowl with oiled parchment sprinkled with more gfJules Flour was the best way to support the bread as it rose.

Once risen, I simply lifted up on the parchment and laid it out onto a baking sheet for the bread to bake.

gluten free sourdough boule_

The bread will take more of a free-form shape, but it’s really beautiful and impressive!

gluten free sourdough artisan loaf with basket

Using either the artisan or bread pan method, you may choose to dust the top of the loaf with gfJules Flour before baking for a more rustic look, or simply brush olive oil onto the top, or both.

I like the look of the flour with the golden finish of the olive oil in combination, so most of my loaves pictured are done that way. 

gluten free sourdough rising with plastic wrap

Allow the dough to rise covered with oiled plastic wrap to help keep the loaf warm and moist. I like putting the loaf into a preheated 200F oven, then turning the oven off, but turning the light on. I do this with the bread rising in either the bowl or the oiled and floured bread pan.

You can allow the bread to rise here for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours or up to one day if you’re baking egg-free.  

gluten free sourdough risen in pullman pan

The bread won’t have risen a lot, as most of the rising happens when it’s baking.

Feel free to oil and flour the bottom and sides of the pan or use lightly oiled and floured parchment for easier removal from the pan.

gluten free sourdough dough after rising
Gluten free sourdough dough bread in Pullman Pan after rising for 3 hours.

 

After rising, cut slits in the top of the loaf to direct the rise. Since the oil and/or the flour were applied before the slits were cut, the inside of the slits will appear different from the crust and it gives the sourdough the hand-made look it deserves.

Regarding bread pans, I experimented with all kinds and sizes. My personal preference was the Pullman Pan that I used in most of these photos. The bread dough is a bit too voluminous for a traditional 9 x 5 (or smaller) bread pan; in those, this wet dough would rise high and then tended to collapse a bit, leaving some un-cooked looking areas in the center.

The Pullman Pan (mine is 12 x 4 1/2) seemed to be the perfect size to allow the bread to rise with support up the taller sides.

gluten free sourdough dough temp
Gluten free sourdough bread in Pullman Pan lined with parchment. The bread is done when the internal temperature is at least 205F.

 

The time it takes to bake this bread will differ based upon the pan used and of course, on individual oven variations. I highly recommend buying an internal thermometer to take the bread’s temperature before removing it from the oven.

The internal temperature should be at least 205F before removing it from the oven to cool.

gluten free sourdough dough with gluten free board
Gluten Free Sourdough bread with Gluten Free Lazy Susan from WordsWithBoards.com.

 

How to Make Gluten Free Sourdough Taste Sour

There are three main distinguishing features of sourdough: taste; smell and texture. You might expect that the most difficult feature to achieve in gluten free sourdough would be texture, but as you can see from the photos, the artisan texture, open cell structure and crunchy crust are present in each of my loaves made with my gfJules Flour or my gfJules Bread Mix.

The smell is something that is quite noticeable from the starter. It should be tangy and rather sour smelling to know it’s really active. If your starter isn’t smelling very sour, it needs to age longer and/or be fed more.

gluten free sourdough dough fried green tomato sandwich
Gluten free sourdough dough with fried green tomatoes (recipe at gfJules.com).

 

But the sour taste was the thing that seemed to be most elusive for me in my bread experiments. That’s fine for me, as I don’t prefer a sourdough taste in my bread, but I know many of you do.

My breads came out tasting yeasty and mild, just perfect for sandwiches or dipping in olive oil and balsamic (which we’ve been doing nearly every night for weeks now!).

gluten free sourdough overhead V with thermometer

No, the sour taste didn’t come easily. I did achieve it when I allowed the bread to rise overnight, so if you are searching for that sour, I recommend budgeting time for an overnight rise.

I allowed my bread to rise as I described above, then placed it in the refrigerator overnight (still covered), then removed it the next day to sit on the counter to come to room temperature before baking. THEN the sour started to show through! (note: if you’re baking egg-free, leaving the dough covered in the oven turned off overnight is a good way to get that sour taste.)

Another site has recommended NOT feeding your sourdough starter again before baking with it in order to increase the sour flavor of the bread. This will also decrease the rise and will necessitate a longer proofing time, however. (Go here for the recipe to make your own gluten free sourdough starter)

If you do any experimenting of your own and find other ways to make this bread taste sour-er, please share in the comments below!

gluten free sourdough boule made from gfJules multigrain biscuit breakfast baking flour starter

Storing Your Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

I always recommend storing your baked goods at room temperature in a sealed container, and this gluten free sourdough bread is no exception. The simple truth is that if you put baked goods into the refrigerator, they will dry out. You can put them into the freezer when they are fully cooled, but they will need to be warmed or toasted before enjoying again. 

This gluten free sourdough bread is still soft and delicious after a few days in a zip top bag with the air squeezed out of it and stored at room temperature. Depending on the size of your loaf, you may need to cut it in half to get it to fit into a gallon sized bag, but other than that, it’s easy to just seal it up and grab a slice whenever you like!

gluten free sourdough CU

If you’d like to bake a regular gluten free artisan loaf without the sourdough starter, check out my Gluten Free Artisan Bread Recipe. And of course, my award-winning gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix works well for any kind of sandwich bread, oven or bread machine, hamburger/hot dog bun or baguette recipe! Click on the “description” tab to find links to all these gluten free bread recipes or use the search bar above.

So let’s get down to baking great gluten free sourdough, shall we?

gluten free sourdough baguette
Gluten free sourdough baguette made with gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix.

To make a homemade gluten free sourdough starter, hop to this recipe!

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

gluten free sourdough dough sliced on board CU

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

This comprehensive gluten free sourdough bread recipe explores all the nooks and crannies of how to make the perfect gluten free loaf!

Ingredients

Sourdough Loaf or Artisan Bread Dry Ingredients

OR

PLUS These Other Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs (OR 2 Tbs. flaxseed meal steeped 10 minutes in 6 Tbs. warm water)
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. psyllium husk powder (recommended) OR 3/4 Tbs. xanthan gum {DO NOT ADD either with gfJules Bread Mix}
  • 3/4 cup gluten free sourdough starter
  • 1 1/4 cup club soda, sparkling water, ginger ale, 7-Up OR naturally gluten free beer {ADD ONLY 1 CUP still water or sparkling liquid with gfJules Bread Mix}

Instructions

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Beat the following ingredients together in a large mixing bowl: eggs (or substitute), apple cider vinegar, oil, sugar, psyllium husk powder and gluten free sourdough starter. Mix until smooth and thickened, approximately 2 minutes.

Slowly stir in dry ingredients or gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix with bubbly liquid, beating with paddle attachment on a stand mixer or using a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth and all dry ingredients are completely integrated. Mix for two minutes with mixer, longer with spoon method.

If Baking in Loaf Pan:

  1. Transfer dough to an oiled Pullman Pan or 9x5 loaf pan, lightly dusted with gfJules Flour, or to oiled and floured parchment-lined pan or bowl for rising. Dust the top of the dough with more gfJules Flour and brush with olive oil for best results.
  2. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set inside oven. Turn oven off and turn light on.
  3. Allow the dough to rise for at least 1 1/2 hours, or up to 3 hours before baking. Alternatively, after 3 hours, remove to refrigerator for overnight rise. If refrigerating overnight, bring the dough to room temperature before baking the next day.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F or 325° F convection.
  5. Remove plastic wrap and slice the top of the dough to direct the rise, as pictured.
  6. If you prefer a very crunchy crust, fill a spray bottle with water and spritz the dough before baking, and again every 15-20 minutes while baking.
  7. Bake loaf in the pan for 75 minutes before testing with a bread thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 205° F before removing to cool. If the bread is browning too much, cover with foil in order to keep baking.
  8. Once bread is fully cooked, remove to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to fully cool before slicing.

If Baking Artisan Bread:

  1. Transfer to a proofing basket (as pictured), bowl or oiled parchment-lined glass bowl.
  2. Cover loosely with a warm, damp tea towel or piece of oiled parchment paper and place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes - 1 hour or up to 3 hours before baking. Alternatively, after 3 hours, remove to refrigerator for overnight rise. If refrigerating overnight, bring the dough to room temperature before baking the next day.
  3. Invert onto a parchment lined baking sheet and remove basket or bowl. Dust with more gfJules Flour or brush oil on any dough that hasn't been oiled previously.
  4. Preheat oven to 475° F and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce to 425F and bake for 30 minutes or until bread reaches at least 205F internal temperature.

Notes

** baking soda and baking powder may be omitted if your gluten free starter is older and very active.

*for Gluten Free Sourdough Baguettes made from gfJules Bread Mix, add:

  • 56 grams sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm water

Follow package directions to make the dough but do not add yeast packet. Form, rise, then bake at 475° F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 450° F for 20-22 minutes, or until internal temperature is at least 205° F.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment (and maybe even a picture!) below or share a photo on Instagram! Be sure to tag me! @gfJules

Many thanks to the indomitable Chef Patrick Auger for his help in developing this recipe. His passion for baking allergen-friendly foods has helped many a baker achieve amazing gluten free results like these!

I can’t wait to hear about your gluten free sourdough bread baking!

Pin for later!

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  1. Oh my goodness, there are so many ingredients here. How is this sourdough bread when you have baking powder etc. SD is fermented and should act on it’s own. This is very complicated.

    Reply
    • Hi Rita, you can absolutely skip the chemical leaveners here for a more authentic sourdough recipe. Some people find that they need the extra “lift” from them, especially if using heavier gluten free flours, but it’s not totally necessary. I hope that helps!
      ~jules

      Reply
    • Gorgeous gluten free sourdough, Lisa! Congratulations on your bake — it really looks fantastic! So glad you found all you needed here!!!
      ~jules

      Reply
  2. Hi Jules! I had a question about the psyllium husk powder. Is it possible to add just the psyllium husk whole flakes and not powder?

    Reply
    • Hi Brett, you can do that, but the moisture ratios might be off, so you may have to play with the recipe a bit to account for it. Psyllium is a funny ingredient as it’s really strong and each brand and powder vs. whole husk can require different liquid amounts in recipes.
      ~jules

      Reply
  3. I want to make the sourdough baguettes from scratch. Can I do this using the ingredients you recommend for the main recipe and then add the ingredients you recommend for the baguettes made with the bread mix? Should I also add any psyllium husk? Would I need a baguette pan? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Mary, I’d use this gluten free baguette recipe for the from-scratch recipe, and reduce the gf flour to 1 1/4 cups and add 1/2 cup gluten free starter. (don’t add the yeast called for in the recipe) That’s what I would try for my first experiment and hopefully it’ll go swimmingly, so you’ll not have to experiment further!
      Let me know how it goes!
      ~jules

      Reply
  4. Hi:

    I made the sourdough bread for the first time this morning. It actually is still in the oven doing it’s rise cycle. I decided to add cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom/golden raisins in. I will let you know how it turns out in another post once cooked. My question is: I used your bread mix. You did not mention using the yeast contained in the bread mix. I assume you do not use the yeast for this sour dough recipe?

    Reply
    • Hi AnnaMarie – I can’t wait to see how the sourdough turned out with those yummy additions! If you are adding sourdough starter, there’s no need to add the yeast packet from the bread mix. 🙂
      ~jules

      Reply
  5. I love your flour and was so excited to try this recipe! Bread is quite airy in the middle but still came out a little flat and undercooked (even though I pulled at 205 degrees). Also not much sourdough taste – could I add citric acid to help add more sour taste?

    Reply
    • Hi Linda, what kind of pan did you use? It does look like it’s not totally cooked. I’d look at your pan and also oven placement for next time. The rest of it looks yummy, though! Regarding the sourdough taste, did you review the notes in the post above the recipe about increasing the sour flavor? It will definitely get more sour the older the starter is, for one, but there are a few other things you can do to help that flavor along! Way to go on the gluten free sourdough baking!!!!
      ~jules

      Reply
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