Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

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

Apologies to everyone who has suffered through the various pictures of gluten free sourdough bread I’ve been posting over the past weeks; I understand it probably feels like I’m being a giant tease, but it’s been so hard to contain my excitement, that I’ve just had to share!

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 many many weeks’ long process has been painstaking, but at least we’ve enjoyed tons of gluten free sourdough lately (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 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.

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

Making Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

You’ll first need to make the gluten free starter. 

Yeast and Sourdough Starter Image Not Safe Image

Red Star Platinum Yeast not safe for those who eat gluten free.

 

ONE QUICK NOTE: while most dry yeast is gluten-free, some are not. There is a new Platinum Sourdough Yeast out from Red Star which is made with both rye and wheat. DO NOT USE THIS YEAST to create your gluten free starter!

The premise behind any sourdough is that it starts with … you got it, starter.

You’ll need to be sure you have a non-reactive container to store your starter in: glass, glazed pottery, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic will work. Make sure the container is large enough to hold your starter for the duration — it will grow! 

I found that transferring my starter to a bowl to mix in more gluten free flour and water and then transferring it back to jars worked for me, but you may find another method that you prefer. You’ll also want to have some cheesecloth or muslin to cover your starter for the first week or two when it’s on the counter. The porous material will allow yeast in the air to settle on the starter and help to “feed” it. 

gluten free sourdough starter

Once active, the sourdough starter will bubble and grow, exceeding the capacity of your bowl if you’re not careful! This starter is covered with cheesecloth and sat on my counter at room temperature for 1 1/2 weeks while I fed it before covering and refrigerating.

 

To make the starter, measure out:

  • 1 cup sifted gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (135 grams)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • either 1 teaspoon gluten free dry yeast OR 2 Tablespoons yogurt (dairy-free works fine)

Whisk together until no lumps are present and all the flour is incorporated, then set aside with a loose cloth covering the top. The room should be at least 70F, or place it in a warmer location like near your oven or in a warmer room.

Allow the starter to sit, loosely covered, for 24 hours then whisk in another 1 cup of gfJules Flour and 1 cup filtered water. Repeat every 12 hours until the starter begins to bubble and rise (becomes active). If it does not seem active after a few days of this feeding cycle, stir in another 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and move it to a warmer location. If it still does not bubble and smell tangy after 12 more hours, add 1 teaspoon more yeast.

Once it seems to have come alive, begin feeding the starter 2-3 times a day in the same way, but when it becomes too voluminous for your container, halve the starter volume and discard or separate into another container in order to give the yeast proportionately more food to digest each time it’s fed.

Continue this process for 7 days, or until the starter doubles in volume or looks very bubbly and active within 6 hours after feeding. At that point, use the starter or transfer to another container that can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until ready to use. If the container has a lid, do not tighten it completely.

As I mentioned earlier, I found it hard to part with any starter by tossing it down the drain, but traditional methods say to feed the starter and then discard all but 1/2-1 cup of starter; most of the time, I simply divided it into another container (a couple times, actually!) and then gifted the starters to ambitious gluten free friends. You could also use excess starter (once active) for other recipes like coffee cakes, scones, muffins … just use your gluten free starter in place of yogurt or sour cream or even milk in many recipes.

Every time you use the starter for baking, pull it out the night before to allow it to come to room temperature and feed it again. Ideally it would be fed and sit for 12 hours before using. Once you’ve added the starter to your recipe, feed the remaining starter again and return to the refrigerator. 

Even if you’re not using your starter every week, try to remember to feed it once a week and then return to the refrigerator after discarding or gifting some.

Now that you have your active starter, you’re ready to bake your gluten free sourdough bread!

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.

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.)

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!

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 Bread Recipe

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 8 days
Total Time: 8 days 4 hours 30 minutes

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

Ingredients

  • 1 gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix
  • OR
  • 3 cups (405 grams) gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cups (30 grams) cassava flour (or buckwheat flour)
  • 1/4 cups (30 grams) dry milk powder (or coconut milk powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • PLUS
  • 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
  • 3/4 cup gluten free sourdough starter
  • 1 1/4 cup club soda, sparkling water, gingerale, 7-Up or naturally gluten free beer

Instructions

  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 200F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer dough to an oiled Pullman 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.
  6. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set inside oven. Turn oven off and turn light on.
  7. 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.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F or 325F convection.
  9. Remove plastic wrap and slice the top of the dough to direct the rise, as pictured. If baking without a bread pan, pull up on the parchment to remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a baking or cookie sheet, then brush oil on any dough that hasn't been oiled previously.
  10. 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.
  11. Bake artisan bread without bread pan for 60 minutes, then begin testing with a bread thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 205F before removing to cool.
  12. Bake loaf in the pan for 75 minutes before testing with a bread thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 205F before removing to cool. If the bread is browning too much, cover with foil in order to keep baking.
  13. 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.
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!

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gluten free sourdough bread loaf -- authenic process, authentic results! | gfJules #glutenfree #dairyfree #sourdough

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24 thoughts on “Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

  1. FINALLY got around to getting my starter going! Question…when do I start halving it when feeding? Do I do it immediately and then each time or do I wait for it to be fully active? This is where I’ve often gotten lost before…I can’t wait for some good sourdough bread again!!!

    • LOL Sarah, I know – it gets complicated! What I did was to keep adding and not halving until I ran out of space in my bowl, then I halved (but couldn’t part with it, so I kept it going too!) and then every time I knew I was going to use it (after it was fed and active during that week), I would add more the night before then use the starter then add more and then refrigerate. It gets rather voluminous if you don’t halve it, but I can’t part with any gluten free anything, so I have a few containers of starter in my fridge now and I’ve given a few away! As long as it is growing and smelly, it should be active.
      Can’t wait to hear how you like the sourdough!
      ~jules

      • Thanks so much! I was worried I was doing it wrong for feeding and such! Yeah. I’ve got it in my largest pot, but it’s gonna outgrow it quickly at this rate. Starting to see the bubbly and it’s just starting to smell like it should. Super excited! Guess I better get some bread mix ordered and more flour. Lol.

  2. This looks so good! A couple of questions…I’ve never made sourdough, but can see myself being overrun with starter. How long does it last in the fridge between bakings? Its just 2 in our house, so it takes time to get through a loaf of bread. Also once the starter is established, it just needs to be fed once a week? It seems like it takes an awful lot of flour to get it started and GF flour is so expensive. Is it possible to make a smaller amount so it doesn’t grow to such a large quantity?

    • Great questions Kathy! I have only made it the way it’s written: 1 cup gfJules Flour + 1 cup water. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work if you halved it and kept the proportions the same though. And yes, after it’s “active,” you just need to feed it 1/week, but TBH I have gone longer than 7 days and it’s still worked, so …! Try it with the halved amounts and see if it gets active with the same amount of yeast to start and apple cider vinegar if need be. There just needs to be enough flour to feed the starter, so you can always add more if it’s not looking like it’s working. I hope that helps!
      ~jules

  3. Turned out great (the third time). Here’s some things to watch out for:

    After I put the dough into the bread pan, I was too aggressive with the spatula and compacted the dough all the way down into the corners of the pan. As a result, it didn’t rise very much.

    One time I added the soda water too soon and stirred out all of the bubbles. Didn’t read the recipe carefully enough.

    I used buckwheat flour all three times. Flavor is good but it gives the bread a little grayish tint. I purchased some cassava flour for the next loaf.

    My sourdough starter was definitely smelling more “sour” for the third loaf. It has to be consistently fed and given time to ferment.

    Everyone in my family loves this bread. Even the non-celiac folks. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks Jules!!

    • So happy you stuck with it, Tim! And thanks so much for taking the time to add your notes to the comments. I’m sure it’ll help others as they embark upon this gluten free sourdough journey!
      ~jules

  4. So excited about this! Thanks for you and Chef working sourdough out for us. I have baked sourdough for 20 years or so but now need to be glutenfree. This is awesome….sourdough again. Thanks!

  5. I cannot wait to make this! I have your bread mix and also your flour. The only part I am confused on is how much starter to add to the recipe. I might have missed that part but I was trying to find a measurement. I am a complete novice at sourdough bread making! Thanks so much for providing this recipe to all of us. 🙂

    • I’m excited you’re excited, Michelle! If you read the recipe closely (admittedly, it’s long!), you’ll see that you need to add 3/4 cup of the starter for each loaf. Hope that helps!
      ~jules

  6. Hi, thank you for sharing this recipe. I have a question, ome of your methods for allowing the dough to rise is puttin it in the preheated turned off oven and: “…after 3 hours, remove to refrigerator for overnight rise. Is it ok to do the overnight rise in the fridge if I use the eggs? I am unsure as you state somewhere in the main text that this would be if baking without any eggs. Appreciate your help. Thank you.

  7. Awesome! I have been searching for a recipe for this bread for many months – details are adequate,more than adequete, for a beginner.thank you so much.will let you know how I progress ( can’t start for two weeks)

  8. LOVE sourdough and need to start a gluten free starter and play around. I had planned to years ago when we first started our sourdough but as the days when on and my gluten free sensitive tummy (diagnose change from Celiac to sensitivity almost 10 years ago after an incorrect diagnoses years before) handled regular sourdough so well I never made one.
    Thank you for sharing and cannot wait to start playing.

    • OH wow – lucky you! I’ve never seen gluten free starter available for purchase! You should absolutely try it! (and come back and let me know how it goes, of course!) 🙂
      Happy bread baking!
      ~jules

    • Hi Erin, I imagine it will work, but having not tried it for this recipe I can’t say for certain. My gfJules Flour blend is quite different from the homemade recipe, so there will be differences, but fingers crossed it works! If not, you know you can always just use the pre-mixed blend and know it will work!
      Happy baking!
      ~jules