Gluten Free Sourdough Bread: Yes, It Still Tastes Good

Gluten Free Sourdough BreadPeople with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease have to adopt a diet free of wheat and other products that have even trace amounts of gluten. It can be a frustrating discovery for some when they realize a lot of their gut wrenching problems can be eliminated by not eating some of their favorite foods like breads, beers and pastas. Fortunately, there is hope. With a recent surge in gluten intolerance awareness there comes an equally abundant surge of gluten free products. So don’t be discouraged when the doc tells you to quit cold turkey the things you hold near and dear to you. Learn how to navigate your new diet in this Gluten Free Lifestyle course. One of the most encouraging findings is how sourdough bread – even dough made with gluten flour – can be a weaning tool and even a healer.

Sourdough bread is different than other traditional loafs. It gets its name from the sour taste that occurs from the long fermentation period and lactic acid, a special byproduct of lactobacilli. Naturally occurring yeast ferment for long periods of time which contributes to sourdoughs long shelf life, rich flavor and nutritional properties. What does this have to do with gluten sensitivity? Everything. Over the past few years researchers have discovered that individuals with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can actually consume sourdough bread, every day, with no adverse effects. Even if the flour is not gluten free. The studies conducted were small and of course will need further experimentation but the results are still exciting. Learn more about the world of gluten and living with Celiac disease in Gluten Demystified.

If you are skeptical – that’s totally fine. Don’t go scarfing down a bunch of sourdough bread and expect your stomach to feel 100%, but know that there is a chance you won’t feel ill. For the naysayers out there, you can still enjoy a good slice of gluten free sourdough bread made by artisan bakers who uphold gluten intolerant baking practices. It can be hard to make a good loaf of gluten free bread as I’m sure many of you reading this are aware. The bread can often be dense, flavorless and not bread like, but when it comes to sourdough the process is easier and the results much more positive. You can try your hand at making artisan breads at home by taking this online baking artisan breads course.  Below is a beginner baker’s recipe for gluten free sourdough bread.

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough breads traditionally take a few days to make. Don’t let this discourage you as many of the hours are spent waiting for the naturally occurring yeasts to do their job. You don’t even have to keep an eye on it. Once you understand the process of making a “starter” and then finishing the loaf – you’ll wonder why you didn’t try to make your own sooner. It goes without saying that making bread at home is more cost-efficient and customizable which is great for those of us with tricky diets. For an online demonstration and a few gluten free cooking lessons, check out this Online Pastry School Baking course.

Okay, here we go. Remember, you can make this bread dairy free by replacing the butter and milk with dairy alternatives.

What you need:

  • Stand mixer
  • Loaf pan
  • Glass jar or dish (1 or 2 quarts will do)

Dough Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend of choice
2 teaspoons xantham gum
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup Sourdough Starter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
1½ cups warm milk (about 100°F)

Starter Ingredients:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 cup white rice flour
1 teaspoon sugar

How to make the sourdough starter:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the room temperature milk in the glass jar or container. Use a utensil to stir the yeast and milk together.
  2. Add in the sugar and rice flour. Mix all of these ingredients together well and then cover the jar with plastic wrap (loose fit) and let it sit on the counter for about 3 hours.
  3. You should begin to see the yeast activate which will cause the mixture to bubble. It will also develop a thin layer of liquid on the top – that’s normal. Just mix it occasionally to incorporate it fully. Let the jar sit on your counter overnight.
  4. Continue to do step number 3 for the next two days. When you’re passing by the jar, just check to see that the cover is still loose fitting and gently mix the separating liquid back into the mixture.
  5. After 48 hours of counter sitting, the mixture has evolved into your sourdough starter. You can now use in the directions below!

Directions:

  1. Grease a loaf pan (typically 9×5 inch) and set it aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer, mix the flour, cream of tartar, salt, sugar, xantham gum, and yeast in the mixer bowl. Add the starter and butter. Mix on the lowest setting possible just to homogenize the ingredients. I
  3. While the mixer is on low, pour the warm milk into the bowl slowly as to best incorporate the liquid.
  4. Turn the mixer up to a medium setting and continue to beat for around 5 minutes. You can tell when the dough is done mixing by the consistency, it should be a bit thicker then cake batter and pretty sticky.
  5. Dump the dough into the greased loaf pan. You can smooth the top of the dough with wet hands if you’d like.
  6. Set the dough aside to rise in a warm and humid environment for about 30 minutes. Time is not of essence here. The goal is to have the dough double in size. If this happens sooner or later than a half hour it’s okay.
  7. While the dough is rising pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  8. Pop the pan and risen dough into the oven on a middle rack for about 45 minutes. Every oven is different so towards the end of the baking time check the bread through your oven window to see that a golden crust has formed on top.
  9. And voila, you’ve just made homemade gluten free sourdough bread!

See, that wasn’t so hard. Once you make homemade bread, you’ll never want to buy it again. There are some secret ingredients that help make baking that much more fulfilling. Read about them in Baking Ingredients – A Guide to the Best Kept Secrets. Happy baking!