GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD
Recipe courtesy of Gaby Wieland
This bread is sour, although it does not taste like wheat sourdough. It is not possible to reproduce that flavour when using gluten-free flour. However, this recipe can satisfy your cravings for sourdough bread. A very crusty gluten-free sourdough bread that has the texture of real sourdough bread, and actually tastes sour!
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- ½ cup potato starch / flour + more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 cups thick gluten-free sourdough starter, at room temperature – for starter recipe see below
- ½ cup water, warmed to 110°F / 43°C
- 1 or 2 medium oven roasting bags
- either 1x2lb loaf tin or 2 x 1lb tins – brushed with melted coconut oil and potato starch / flour
Preheat oven to lowest temperature, 170 – 200°F / 77 – 93 °C
In a small bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Add the sourdough starter to the bowl of your mixer. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until little pebbles form. Add the warm water and increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. The dough will be very soft.
Liberally dust a flat, clean work surface (silicone baking mat works well) with potato starch and transfer the dough to the starch dusted surface. Liberally dust the top of the dough with potato starch and shape into a French bread loaf. Pick up the dough by folding it in half, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reshape the dough. It will double in size when risen so do not make the dough too low.
Use oiled and potato starch dusted loaf tins – you will need 2x1lb or 1x2lb.
- Turn the oven off, place the dough in the oven and close the door. Allow to rise for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C
- Transfer the dough and its parchment paper (or the loaf tins) into an oven roasting bag; place the bag on a baking sheet. If you have something oven proof such as metal funnel that you can stand along side the loaf to prevent the oven bag from touching most of the bread this is ideal. If not, if you floured it well, it should be alright. Fold the open end of the bag downwards to seal and tuck it underneath the tip of the bread. You should see the bag begin to steam up.
- Bake for about 85 minutes, or as dark as the colour of walnuts. It’s better over baked than under baked.
- Remove from the oven and from the bag. The crust should be very hard. Transfer the loaf to a rack until completely cool. In this step, the loaf continues to bake inside. Slice with a serrated knife once cool.
- Once sliced, store at room temperature with something against the end to prevent it from drying out. Do not store in a bag or sealed container unless you want a softer crust.
GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH STARTER
Making a gluten free sourdough starter is the first step in the traditional fermentation process for gluten free sourdough bread. You begin the process by “growing” strains of Lactobacillus bacteria and yeast together in what bakers call the ‘starter.’ When the ‘starter’ is added to flour, the organisms produce enzymes that break down the gluten protein in the flour in a process called ‘hydrolysis.’ Hydrolysis is the breakdown of larger particles into smaller ones, specifically using water. In this case gluten proteins are broken down into amino acids. Some studies show that these amino acids are no longer toxic to individuals who are sensitive to gluten. Basically, these cultures partially digest the wheat or other grains, doing part of the stomach’s job in advance.
Using sourdough starter to bake breads using gluten-free grains is an excellent way for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance to get the benefits of sourdough cultures and to enjoy delicious fresh bread.
How to make gluten-free sourdough ‘starter’
250ml/1 cup water 40°C (lukewarm)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (e.g. Doves Quick yeast)
- 200g /1 ½ cups rice flour
Combine all ingredients in a plastic bowl or 1L glass jar. It will be thick.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil and let stand for one to three days in a warm place, stirring 2 or 3 times daily.
The starter will rise and fall during the fermentation process. When it is ready to use, it will be bubbly and may have a layer of hooch or liquid, on top, which can be stirred back in.
Use the starter right away, or put it in the fridge.
You can easily replenish your starter by keeping at least 250ml/one cup of finished starter aside. Add 250ml/1 cup water and 1 cup white rice flour. Cover loosely and let stand in a warm place for 12 hours, stirring once or twice. Use what you need, and refrigerate the rest. Replenish as needed.