Introduction to Working With Gluten-free Sourdough


Not everyone can have wheat, even when it has gone through the fermentation process. If you are sensitive to wheat and gluten then you might think that sourdough is out of your grasp. However, you may still be able to enjoy homemade sourdough breads.

If you are accustomed to baking with wheat you will find some differences in baking with gluten-free flours, such as:

  • Your gluten-free sourdough starter will require more frequent feedings to become vigorous. Instead of once or twice per day (at room temperature), your starter may require 3 or 4 feedings in a 24-hour period.
  • Gluten-free sourdough will store differently than a wheat-based culture. Because it is more touchy than a wheat starter you might consider storing it in the refrigerator for only 3 or 4 days at a time.
  • Gluten-free sourdough bread may not require kneading. The kneading done with a wheat sourdough bread is performed in order to develop the gluten, which is helpful in getting a good rise. Gluten-free sourdough obviously does not contain gluten that needs to be developed and therefore the kneading stage may be skipped.
  • Most gluten-free recipes have a different dough texture than their wheat-containing counterparts and sourdough bread is no different. You may end up with a batter that requires rising and baking rather than a dough that can be easily handled and kneaded.
  • Because of the looseness of a gluten-free dough, you will have to bake your breads in something that contains walls. So, where a wheat bread may be baked on a cookie sheet in a rustic boule shape, a gluten-free sourdough bread will have to be baked in a loaf pan, a Dutch oven, a muffin tin, or a similar formed container.

Gluten-free Flours

Various nutritious whole grain gluten-free flours can be used in baking gluten-free sourdough bread, including:

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • amaranth
  • buckwheat
  • bean flours
  • corn flour
  • sorghum

You will sometimes see starches added to recipes, These starches, if used minimally, can help with the final sourdough bread product. These may include:

  • potato starch
  • tapioca starch
  • arrowroot

Do not be overwhelmed by the differences between wheat and gluten-free sourdough, though. Many of the major concepts of sourdough baking remain the same when dealing with gluten-free sourdough: the long rise/fermentation time, the use of only whole, real foods in the recipes, and the flexibility to switch flours when desired. 

Click here to view a recipe for making Gluten-free Sourdough Bread.

We highly recommend The Art of Gluten-free Sourdough Baking by Sharon Kane, for excellent recipes as well as expert gluten-free sourdough techniques.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

Related Articles & Recipes:


Related Products:

Art of Gluten-free Sourdough Baking

 The Art of Gluten-free Sourdough Baking Book by Sharon Kane

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