Learn how to make a gluten free sourdough starter to bake up delicious sourdough goodies!
Some of you have been asking me for a gluten free sourdough starter recipe, so here it is.
You know I love to bake with sourdough and although I’ve largely cut gluten out of my diet because of my struggle with hypothyroidism, I do continue to consume foods with sourdough because I think their benefits outweighs the risks. (While I do not have celiac disease and therefore am not gluten-insensitive, recent research shows that sourdough made with wheat flour can actually be tolerated by some with gluten insensitivity.)
But I do love baking gluten-free too, and that’s why I decided it was time to take the plunge and try a gluten-free sourdough starter.
Besides, if you eat gluten-free yourself, all the time or occasionally, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s worth making your own gluten-free goodies. That is because storebought gluten-free foods present two big problems: sticker shock and carb overload.
The good news with sourdough is, it reduces carb overload in any food — the probiotic bacteria digest the starches and reduce the glycemic index of the baked food. And although gluten-free flours tend to be much more expensive than wheat flours, making your bread or other gf goodies at home is definitely way more economical than buying them pre-made.
Besides, I don’t really see gluten-free sourdough breads available at any of the stores I go to.
You can use any gluten-free flour for the starter — preferably an all-purpose flour. I went with the King Arthur Measure for Measure GF flour, because that’s what I had. But as I fed my starter, I used up all kinds of all purpose gluten-free flours I had on hand, including one from Trader Joe’s, and another that had sat in my pantry, probably for years. It all worked.
For this sourdough starter, I am including — as I did with my wheat sourdough starter recipe— photos of how it looked over time. Here are a couple of things I noticed, and you probably will too.
The gluten-free starter appeared to start developing almost immediately. It began to bubble and rise after the first day of sitting, and that could be for two reasons — it was really warm here when I started it, and also my kitchen is probably full of wild yeast, because I use sourdough just so much. But it started to cool down by day 3 or 4 and at that time the starter appeared to slow down, with little evidence of any activity other than the sourdough scent and a few bubbles.
One piece of good news for those of you who, like me, think frugally, I found ways to use up my sourdough discard — the portion you remove from your new sourdough starter to “feed” it — from day one. I used the discard from the first couple of days to make a sourdough flatbread, and then collected and used the discard from days four and five for these buckwheat oat waffles that were out of this world.
Tips for making a gluten free sourdough starter:
- Use any kind of all purpose gluten-free flour. I haven’t tried using flours like buckwheat or millet or oat to make the starter and I can’t attest if these will work, but what I do know is that an all purpose gluten-free flour will.
- Keep your sourdough starter warm. When it’s cold here, I put the starter in the oven with the pilot on. In warmer weather, leave it on your countertop.
- Make sure you feed your gluten free sourdough starter every day for at least a week to make it strong so it can work for you.
- Gluten free flour tends to be thirsty, so I used a 1:0.75 flour to water ratio. For one cup of flour, use 3/4ths cup of water.
- Always use filtered or distilled water for your sourdough starter and baked goods, for the best results.
And now for the recipe. Happy gf sourdough starter making! And I’ll be back with the photos of the final starter in a day or two, and recipes.
Recipes to make with the gluten-free sourdough starter:
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter recipe:
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup distilled or filtered water
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and water. Cover with a kitchen towel or cling wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen.
- The next day, your starter may or may not look a little bubbly. Discard half a cup of the starter, and feed the starter with 1/2 cup of flour and 3/8ths of a cup of water.
- Repeat the process for a week. Your starter will gradually take on the typical, tangy fragrance of sourdough and you should see some bubbling. Depending on how frequently you bake, you might find that this happens sooner.
- Once your sourdough starts to visibly rise about three to four hours after feeding, it's strong and ready. At this point you can use it to make your favorite baked goods. Store the starter in the refrigerator in a jar with a lid, and feed at least weekly to keep it going.
Here’s the GF sourdough starter on day 8. You can see the bubbling in the side shot of the bowl below, and also how puffy it has become after eight days of feeding. The unexpectedly cool weather hereabouts has slowed me down a bit, so I’ll probably keep this going with feedings for another couple of days, before I can refrigerate it and feed it once a week.
I made an amazing glutenfree sourdough multigrain bread with the starter yesterday, after day 7. It had amazing flavor and texture, and I couldn’t be happier with how this starter has shaped up. I’ll share the bread recipe with you soon too, so stay tuned.