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.

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  1. Hi! I was wondering if I am able to use sorghum flour for the sourdough recipe above? If so, do I have to mix it with something else or is it ok by itself? Thanks!

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    My sourdough is giving me such a hard time! I’ve been through two starters, 3 loaves of bread and a batch of dinner rolls. Each time I have the same exact problem: the bread does not cook!. It forms a very hard crust and NEVER cooks through. I left one loaf in for 2 hours just to see what would happen. The crust became like cement and the inside was still gooey. On my second batch, the dough rose beautifully, and the loaf looked great inside the oven, but when I took it out, the crust had totally separated from the rest of the bread–or the goop, that is. The only conclusion I can draw, since I’ve done each bread dough recipe slightly differently, is that my starter is inactive. But the starter I’ve been feeding now, I’ve had for almost 2 weeks, and I’ve been meticulously feeding it with precise measurements, distilled water, and Pamela’s All Purpose GF Flour Blend. It still doesn’t really look like any of the photos of bread-ready starter that I’ve seen. I don’t know if it’s the flour (even though I’ve used it to create wonderful pizza crusts, pie crusts, dinner rolls, etc), or if I need to actually put my starter outside where it can thrive. We live on the Gulf Coast so it’s very humid and warm…HOT right now actually. What am I doing wrong here??? The kitchen is one arena where I always come out on top. Not so much with this dang sourdough bread!!!

    • Hi there. So sorry for the late reply. I am trying to play catchup. I will contact the author to see if she can help out. I am not a sourdough expert and am off grains right now….:(.

    • Bandaid McHealerson says:

      From what I’ve run across in general searches on this today, distilled water is a bad choice for sourdoughs (and will kill even a regular sourdough starter – my start on the search was a friend pointing me to the following, telling me she wants me to try and make a gluten free sourdough starter for her, and it was noted here that distilled water is a -bad- idea: ) – the process of distillation takes out minerals necessary for the starter to survive, as the point of distillation is to leave you with water and *only* water.
      Better options would be spring water or just filtered water, which will be lacking the added chlorine/fluoride/etc. but still have various other minerals in them.

      If that doesn’t help, you may need to find some other type of flour, or buy a new batch – you could have one that could have had the naturally found yeast killed already.

  3. This is why most women are fat. Bread of any kind is not human food. Women should eat protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds – not ‘bread’. Women are too fat now a days. I am female and do not eat bread and am about 14% body fat and in my forties (and I don’t eat bread).. Most women are waaay over that. This recipe is cool and all, but really women don’t need more fattening things to eat.

    • Hi there. I don’t totally agree with you. There is more and more info coming out about carbs being needed by some and that grains are well tolerated by some. Have you read about prebiotic resistant starch? I am just digging into this. Thanks and I would love to know what you think.

  4. Yeah……carbs are needed by all…not by some I’d have to say. Veg and fruit are carbs…the rise in obesity, disease, cancer, etc. does coincide w/ the onset of modern agriculture…….grains/legumes…..just not human food, evolution of man, his diet. The digestive track of humans is carnivorous, not made for such stuff. Resistant starch? good if you want to eat it, not sure what it’s got to do w/ bread…….plantains, jicama, are res. starch, as well as non-human foods like beans…. The obesity problem in most of the world not just US…has gotten so bad, the if a woman is 20% body fat, she is considered ‘thin’ or ‘fit’, which is ridiculous.

    Can’t condone grains, but it’s not the only cause of why women/men are so fat nowadays…lack of discipline and self control are big contributing factors. Take a look at the AHA’s criteria for cardiovasc. health and what percentage of Americans meet all 7…’s less than 1%. Yeah, most ppl. don’t need bread but good recipe for those that can’t do w/out….

    • Hi Lori. I for sure need to do a lot more learning about resistant starch. I think you would really love the upcoming Wellness Family Summit. I just met Dr. Alan Christianson this past week and he spoke about the obesity epidemic. I hope to type up notes soon. You would be very interested in them I think. His conclusions were different than yours and were based on very interesting research. I think you will really like it: and the trailer is sure to make you cry (well it made me cry :))… (that’s a referral link)v

    • Why are you posting here? Those of us searching this site have done so with the thought of making sourdough. If I want a grain debate I’ll go somewhere else. Please troll some other site

  5. His conclusions are different than mine? Any doctor who says lack of discipline and lack of self control aren’t the main reasons for the obesity epidemic, and that grains are healthy, is not someone I’m interested in but thnx.

    • You’d have to see the research. It’s plainly fascinating. Thanks and hope to see you around again :). I don’t believe that he said that grains were healthy.

  6. So why did you say his opinion differs from mine? duh.

    • Hi Lori. I don’t know if you meant to be insulting but your tone comes off that way and I am just trying to be helpful. He gave an amazing talk about weight gain and adrenals and a study about it all and he made a very clear point that it isn’t like an alien came down and suddenly zapped our self control when obesity rates started skyrocketing. While I don’t think that he thinks that eating grains is a great option for everyone, I know that he thinks they are a valid option for many people. He just didn’t touch on grains during his talk.

      I hope that I can get this into a post format for all of you – it was really incredible. Thanks again and I hope you stick around so you can read what he shared. Take care.

  7. ? Yeah I mean…..not interested….hearing ‘adrenals’…the reason ppl. most ppl., part. women are fat,is b/c they have no self discipline and self control when it comes to diet and exercise – not ‘adrenals’, whatever that means.

    Don’t believe it? The AHA tells us so. It says that less than 1% of the US, meet all 7 criteria for a healthy cardiovascular system (regular exercise, proper diet, maintaining a normal body weight, etc.).

    And yes, I do think most women are too fat and do not need to be eating bread. The article said share thoughts……..that was my first thought. Tired of seeing fat women everywhere.

  8. I never said AHA was the ‘end all be all…’, I said 99% of people in the US fail to meet even their 7 most basic health criteria – 99% don’t exercise regularly, are overweight or obese, have high BP, have diabetes, etc.

    Again, my point was that most women are too fat, and should not be eating bread. Ideally, women should be about 15% body fat, tops (they should only have 5% more than men). Bye!

  9. Adrienne, you’ve been so kind to “Lori” but I would suggest to stop answering him. The hateful tone from”Lori” towards “fat women” suggests a misogynist is impersonating a woman in order to spread his hate on a page obviously populated by a large % of women. And as this thread is specifically to help people find a GF option for bread, why is “Lori -the-lurker” even here. If “Lori” doesn’t eat grains then why is he looking up GF bread recipes? “Lori” is just looking for an audience and hoping to get our reaction. Kind of like when teenage boys make dirty prank calls – they “get off” on the shock value. Adrienne, next time you see hateful anti-women statements (ie. “I’m sick of seeing fat women”) do not reply and direct any energy towards encouraging that person to continue on this thread. Let’s just ignore the hate until it gets bored and goes home. Thank you for being such a kind person. Now let’s get back on track and talk about this yummy sour dough bread!!!! ;D

    • Thanks, Valentine! I tend to let ‘em see they can’t get a reaction but that’s good advice – thanks for the encouragement :)!

    • Thank you Valentine!

      Why be on this thread and ruining it for those who are seeking healthier options when “Lori” is anti-bread anyway? Time for that very offensive hater to get back under the rock his/her narcissistic personality belongs under. Those who use hate and prejudice (toward “fat” people AND women in general in this case) to belittle others in order to feel that they are more perfect (when they obviously have serious psychological issues/personality disorders) cannot be allowed to use their words to abuse others in a forum such as this!

      Why did you, Adrienne, allow that hater to continue to make abusive comments directed at your other posters and those who seek this site for knowledge and growth? Do you agree with the poster on some level? Why did you chose to allow those hateful posts to even be there to continue to abuse even more women who begin reading this thread?

      I am very disappointed in the lack of moderator judgment that has been displayed. Depending on your response to these questions, I and others may choose not to visit any part of your site in the future. My support is reserved for those who have the integrity to choose to eradicate abuse in all forms whether it is the perpetrator him/herself or the bystander that allows it and is just as responsible for allowing it to continue!

      Being kind is a great virtue, however, the responsibility of a moderator to disallow abuse toward a site’s visitors trumps that in an online forum…ESPECIALLY a site aimed at those who are seeking growth and healing!!!

      • HI Jen. I appreciate your commenting.

        All of the comments came in at once and I personally have chosen to respond to ignorant comments rather than just deleting them – it sounds like you would prefer that I just delete them since they were replying to others and not simply direct comments to me, correct?

        If so that is fine with me and I can go back and delete them.

        Let me know your thoughts. I really appreciate your thoughts :). Most bloggers just delete anything negative and I have chosen not to do that – I felt that my responding to the person before approving was acceptable but if you think otherwise I will be happy to reconsider. Thanks again!

        • Thank you for your reply. My preference (and I am sure many, many more feel as I do) is to not allow abusively demeaning statements such as:

          “but it’s not the only cause of why women/men are so fat nowadays…lack of discipline and self control are big contributing factors”

          “the reason ppl. most ppl., part. women are fat,is b/c they have no self discipline and self control when it comes to diet and exercise – not ‘adrenals’, whatever that means”

          “Again, my point was that most women are too fat, and should not be eating bread”

          I HIGHLY doubt that “Lori” is a medical professional at any level. “Lori” is abrasively judgmental and mean-spirited toward both you and any of your viewers who are more than 15% body fat (which I am assuming is most) and my point is that by allowing this poster to insult your viewers have undoubtedly hurt the feelings and self-esteem of women who are purely seeking healing and knowledge from your site..

          My understanding was that this string was supposed to be about learning how to make gluten-free sourdough bread….

          • It is about that….you would be surprised at the lengths some will go to insults folks – but it’s typically me they are after :). Would you like me to delete the comments? I am more than happy to do so and will be more careful in the future.

            Sad some folks have nothing better to do, eh :)?

            • ABraveheart says:

              I just wanted to let you know that I disagree with Jen. As a woman and an obese person and a human being I don’t care for the ridicule and tone of the posts made by Lori and I feel nearly the same about the posts made by Jen. I appreciate your efforts to be courteous, to redirect, to inform, and even to call out Lori on rude tone. We benefit from grace so much more than from the total absence of the obscene. Let’s lift each other up in this journey! Many thanks for the info provided in this post and for all the commenters!

  10. SOMEBODY HELP ME! SO frustrated with my sourdough starter. I threw the first attempt out, but my second attempt is doing exactly what my first did. I am using reverse osmosis water and brown rice flour. I feed it every 12 hours and let it sit at room temperature. By the end of the first 24 hours, it is bubbling and growing. This continues through about 48 hours. By the end of the 3rd day, it is still bubbling but not really growing. After that, it just looks dead. It smells right and tastes right, but their is no yeast. Is it dead? What am I doing wrong?

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.