Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

Love sourdough but you're gluten-free? This Gluten Free Sourdough Starter is so easy- you can have tasty sourdough bread ready right away. With this Gluten Free Sourdough Starter it's super simple so you can get started right away without any special ingredients, and you can use a whole variety of gluten free flours.

{From Adrienne – If you love sourdough like I do, but you’ve done on a gluten-free diet, I have the perfect treat for you.

A recipe for Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter. I’m convinced the gluten is a big health concern for many, but I still love good bread.  And while this flax bread is one of our favorites, I‘ve been thinking about sourdough a lot since I found out that I can tolerate fermented foods.  

We LOVE the tangy flavor of sourdough and I’ve been meaning to try my hand at making a gluten-free sourdough bread.  Thanks to Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs, I am now that much closer to my goal :)!}

In order to prepare myself for this post, I wanted to put myself into the shoes of someone who is gluten-free.

When most people think “gluten-free,” they think that bread is no longer an option–particularly breads like sourdough.

So in order to be able to empathize with them in their struggle to balance nutrition with their allergies or intolerance… I did some “research”.

Basically I wanted to think about what it would be like to be gluten-free.

And bread-free.

So I ate bread.

Homemade bread.

Two pieces, actually.

With a lot of butter.

And I realized how much I would miss it if I weren’t able to eat bread like this on a regular basis.

I’m not trying to rub it in anyone’s face – quite the contrary! I know how fortunate my family is to be able to eat whatever we want without breaking out in hives or keeling over in digestive pain.

It saddens me to imagine what it would be like to:

– not be able to walk into my kitchen and slice off a piece of bread whenever I want
– to request the waiter to remove the basket of bread instead of refilling it
– to worry about being sick for days because someone accidentally contaminated a cooking spoon!

I understand your pain.

That’s why it truly brings me joy to share with you a way to have your cake–er, bread–and eat it too.

Gluten-free sourdough, baby. Oh yeah.

Imagine capturing wild yeast out of thin air and cultivating it over a period of several days so that without any help at all, it will magically make dough rise and become a beautiful (and relatively inexpensive–) gluten-free loaf of bread.

It really isn’t as hard as it sounds!

But it is incredibly healthy! Quite possibly the healthiest bread you can make!

The Benefits of Sourdough

Sourdough is:

– easier to digest
– contains the healthy gut bacteria lactobacillus (the same major player in yogurt and kefir)
– most of the phytic acid is broken down and
– won’t cause a spike in blood sugar like traditional bread often does.

If that’s not enough to convince you, read more about the amazing benefits of sourdough.

Gluten-free vs. Regular Sourdough

Making a gluten-free sourdough starter isn’t any different than making a regular sourdough starter.

– Both start with flour and water.
– Both take a few days and both get bubbly.
– The only real difference comes when you’re ready to make sourdough bread and you have to pull out all the various types of gluten-free flours.

Gluten-free sourdough starter can be made in as little as seven days using gluten-free flour, water and a medium-sized bowl. I personally have successfully made gluten-free sourdough starter with brown rice, but I’ve read others have had success with white rice flour, teff, sorghum or even a gluten-free all-purpose blend.

PS – Do not try to make gluten-free sourdough bread with brown rice flour alone. Trust me.

Instead I’ve collected a variety gluten-free sourdough bread recipes for you to experiment with. Because in all honesty, all sourdough breads – with or without gluten – are an experiment. A tasty experiment you can top with butter.

Keep in mind that every recipe will be different, calling for different types of flour and possibly using yeast. I’ve included several sources so that everyone can find the one that suits them best!

(Note:  A few of these links are affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, your price will not change, but I might make a commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me keep providing this free resource to you :)!)

Gluten-Free Sourdough Recipes

(Adrienne here again.  I think this is fabulous and a great jumping off point for tons of healthy creativity in the kitchen.  I can’t wait to work on Gluten-Free Sourdough for my family.  It would be great topped with butter (if you can eat it) or Homemade Nut Butter.  Mmmmmm.)

Meet Tiffany 250px

Tiffany is a frugal foodie, balancing the desire to feed her family healthy food while being a good steward of her finances. She realized it was possible to eat nourishing, traditional food on a budget if she made baby-sized changes in the kitchen. She continues to work hard at mastering real foods without going broke and shares her journey at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

Top Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizdavenportcreative/6778890399/

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom.

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  1. Is my starter supposed to smell horrible? It started out smelling pretty yeasty, but not has a sort of rotten/winey smell to it (I think wine smells rotten and don’t drink, so can’t identify the smell exactly). It is in a bowl in the corner of my kitchen, but I can smell it just walking into the kitchen. I covered it with plastic wrap instead of a plate, could that make the difference? It looks like your pictures, a nice dome on top with a more liquid layer underneath. But I just don’t know about the smell!

    • Hi there. I have emailed the author to see if she can respond. Thanks and sorry for the delay. I have been swamped :).

    • Lisa Little says:

      In her sourdough recipes, Sharon A Kane recommends to cover the starter with a clean tea towel or paper towel so there is still so air circulation. Otherwise you’re growing anaerobic bacteria (no air flow) instead of aerobic bacteria.

  2. I started my starter 6 days ago, and just baked it into GF bread using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix. It is SOOO good! I have a question, though–I have a bunch of the starter left, even after making 2 loaves. How long can this keep on the counter? How often do I need to “feed” it? Do I need to move it to the fridge? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Shanti. Sorry I think this ended up in spam. I will contact Tiffany and see if she can respond :).

    • Hi, Shanti!
      Did you make it with Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour? I’m really interested to make this because I have
      A LOT of BRM All-Purpose and am trying to find recipes to use it in. Thanks!

  3. Does the house temperature make a difference and if so what’s a good room temperature to make it?

    • Yes, there is a difference based on temperature – one way will make a faster rise and the other a slower. It depends what you want and the flavor will be different as well.

    • I keep mine on top of the fridge- it’s supposed to be kept at 70-80 degrees. I think I read it will get killed if it is over 110.

  4. Tatyana beer says:

    Hi! Thx for the starter recipe. I’m not sure if the gals who were having trouble with starters “dying” got things figured out – but I’d like to share my experience. At one point I lived in a house that had mould in the walls, and I couldn’t grow sourdough because those spores contaminated the starter every time. In another house in a very remote area at high elevation I was unable to capture any viable wild yeasts and I had to use commercial yeast to get a starter going. I’ve found the most reliable way to get an excellent lively starter is to add kefir. Happy baking!

  5. I’ve been reluctant to try making gluten free sourdough bread because the gluten is what makes it chewy and rise so nicely. I might try this. One of the most common problems in creating a sourdough culture is that they do not stir it. A new sourdough culture should be stirred at least one a day, preferably twice a day. It needs oxygen to breathe and grow.
    Stir your starter, it will love you.

  6. does the gluten free flour blend have to contain a gum?? also i feel like there are only two ingredients water and a flour blend. where does the yeast come into place…

    • Could you please clarify your question please? A blend does not need to have to have gums in it.

    • store bought yeast rises a bread too quickly, not allowing enough time for the microorganisms to do their job of changing the composition of the dough like deactivating the phytate to release the minerals (like magnesium and zinc that are lacking in yeasted breads), So in this dough that is left out for days, it catches the wild yeasts in the air as well as microbes that make this bread so nutritious and do a great job of breaking down the gluten as well as many other health benefits.

  7. Richard Dockett says:

    Thanks for the easy to follow method, it worked a treat! I have made a loaf now and it was delicious.

  8. Hi,
    I haven’t try your recipe yet but I have tried to mix buckwheat flour and water but on the second day there is always mold on top of my sourdough. I have been wasting a lot of flour already. I followed a recipe that was saying that we should leave the sourdough starter for 3 days and then start feeding it but I have never been able to wait until day 3..

    Thanks

    • Hi Debra – I can’t answer questions based on another recipe. In my experience, you should feed the starter regularly starting immediately rather than wait a few days.

  9. I am using Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour made with garbanzo bean. I was discouraged by the results until today when I moved my rubbermaid bowl and it started bubbling like crazy. It was bubbling so much that it looked like it was at the start of a slow boil. I was ecstatic until I noticed a furry light grey mold on the upper edge of the bowl above the starter. It was growing on the residue left from stirring the mixture. I did transfer it (avoiding the mold) to a glass bowl and fed it again. It now has a dome to it. Because of the mold do I need to give up and dump this starter?

  10. Hello, just wondering what do you mean by ‘scant’ 1/2 cup of filtered water. Do you mean a small amount of water?
    thanks

  11. I am a huge sourdough fan! I have a question….are all sourdough breads you buy at the store real sourdough? I can buy Boudin Bakery sourdough at Costco and I know that is true sourdough bread. But I wonder when I buy it at my local grocery store if they just use sourdough flavor, How do I know the difference? Thank you! Really enjoying your website!

  12. In response to Eileens question about how to tell if bread is real sourdough… Just check the ingredient list. If it has yeast listed it’s not real sourdough.

  13. patricia Bowers says:

    How can I make bread with coconut flour, no yeast, no grains no sugar, possibly no oils, ,there is a bakery on B.C that does just that.. and it rises. the starter takes quite a while. very good bread

    • I have no idea. Sorry – maybe baking soda or some other leavening agent? Coconut flour is loaded with fat if that is what you are trying to avoid?

    • It is a sourdough bread and I have been looking for it too – can’t buy theirs anywhere so would love to make my own

  14. hi i was wondering what you mean by scant? And when you say ” At least twice a day for the next six days, at regular intervals, add 1/2 cup of flour and scant 1/2 cup of filtered water to the existing starter.” do you mean add 1/2 cup flour twice a day and the whole 1/2 cup water? I tried this once before but it seemed to be too much
    Lisa

  15. gloria says:

    I have been told that sourdough negates gluten in regular wheat flour, is that true?

  16. Can i use different flour throughout the process, I started with rice flour but can I ad let’s say buckwheat next?

  17. Carolyn says:

    I’m assuming there will always be extra starter left over for future bread. Do you continue to add more flour and water every day to keep it good? How long do you have to do it again before it’s usable? Another six days?

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