Sourdough Bread (Boule), Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on October 15, 2010

Note: Please read the Sourdough Starter/Bread Troubleshooting post before leaving a question in the comments or emailing me with questions.

OK, folks.  On to the part you’re been waiting for–baking with your starter.  And if you’re using these recipes and methods–please let me know how things are going for you.  I consider this to be a work in progress.

After about 4 days of developing my starter, I started to bake with it. This is where things got a bit tricky. The ratio of starter to flour to water was quite different than the ratio you would find in a wheat-based bread and starter.  Michael Ruhlman, author of the book Ratio (among many others), and the person whose post alerted me to the idea of using red cabbage to kick-start your sourdough starter, recommends the following ratio for using wheat starter:

“1 part starter : 1 part water : 2 parts flour.  Add salt, about 2% of the total weight. So for a good sized country loaf, use 10 ounces starter (and thus .8 ounces salt). If you’re metric, use 300 grams starter, 24 grams salt.”

I began with this ratio and found that it didn’t contain enough liquid.  One thing to note is that gluten-free flours are, for the most part, whole grain, and therefore absorb more moisture than does unbleached wheat flour.  In his book, Artisan Breads Every Day, Peter Reinhart (one of my bread baking gods), confirmed for me this observation when he mentioned the need for more water when making breads with whole grain flours.  If you look at Ruhlman’s wheat bread ratio, you will see that it is at 50% water and 50% starter to 100% flour.

A word about ratios and a formula in bread baking called Baker’s Percent (BP).  At first it seems confusing, but it is actually easy and interesting to figure out.  The Baker’s Percent system starts out with the amount of flour at 100%.  Whatever the amount of flour you use, it is at 100%.  So, if you use 10 oz of flour, 10 oz is 100%.  Then you think of all of the other ingredients as percentages in relation to (not adding up to) that 100%.  So, if you use 5 oz of water to 10 oz of flour, your percentage of water is 50%.  So, Ruhlman’s ratio put in these terms is 100% flour, and 50% each of water and starter, and 2% salt.  One thing to keep in mind is that you are not aiming to have your ingredients add up to 100%.  The 100% is just your amount of flour, whatever amount that is.  You will end up having a BP formula for your bread at a percentage above 100%.  Thus, the total percentage for Ruhlman’s bread is 202%.

So, I played with the ratios, in order to come up with a BP that I felt worked well for the gluten-free sourdough.  I experimented with making sourdough baguettes (recipe in a later post) and with making a boule (the French word for a round loaf).   Basically, a good-sized boule ends up being basically double the recipe for 2 baguettes.  Both work well.  Of course, I have found that the boule needs to rise much longer than the baguettes–which makes sense because it’s a bigger loaf.  Please note that the sourdough starter works much more slowly than commercial yeast.  It is already activated and it takes its own sweet time doing its thing.

So far, I have found that the ratio that works best for my sourdough starter is: 100% flour, 200% starter, 40% water, 2% salt, 1% xanthan gum, 4% sugar, for a grand total of 347%.  As you can see, this is much different from Ruhlman’s percentage.  Also, this creates a wet and sticky batter instead of a tacky dough that one can manipulate.  It’s more like a thick cake batter than a bread dough.  This is to be expected because gluten-free dough, like whole grain dough, is best when it’s wet and sticky.  Again, this seems to be on track with Peter Reinhart’s comment in Artisan Bread Every Day, where he says, “For some breads, especially rustic breads, the dough needs to be sticky to achieve a large hole structure.”  Although this bread doesn’t have a large hole structure by wheat standards, it does have a good hole structure by gluten-free standards

This bread is a dense, rustic-type bread with a chewy crust. My other breads, especially my non-sourdough gluten-free baguettes, have a larger hole structure.   Much of this is due to the fact that the non-sourdough baguettes use commercial yeast which has more instant “kick” than a sourdough starter.  Also, my non-sourdough breads have a non-chewy crust.

I have borrowed the baking method for this bread from Jim Lahey‘s No-Knead Bread recipe.  Jim Lahey is a bread baker and author, and created a bit of a sensation when Mark Bittman explained his rising and baking method in a 2006 New York Times article.  Lahey went on to write about his method in the book, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Bread.   The basics of this method are actually perfect for gluten-free bread, which does not require any kneading in the first place (because there’s no gluten to manipulate).

OK, let’s get started!!

Note: Please make this bread before you email me with questions.  It’s not the helpful for you or for me to anticipate problems and then ask me to speculate on whether or not this recipe will work for you.  Also, take a moment to check out my Sourdough Starter/Bread Troubleshooting FAQ post.  Thanks!

Sourdough Bread (Boule), Gluten-Free

Special Equipment Needed
-4 quart/3.8 liter Dutch oven w/a lid: Lodge, Le Creuset, Mario Batali, Martha Stewart, Dansk are all good brands
-a 4 quart/3.8 liter bowl (one the same size as your Dutch oven)
-stand mixer (this will work best, but a hand mixer will do in a pinch)
-parchment paper and plastic wrap
-spray bottle with water for spraying top of the crust
-instant read thermometer is nice to double-check the interior temperature of finished bread, but you can do without it (they are cheap–get one!)

Ingredients (measurements are in weight ounces, not fluid ounces)

15 oz/425 g (about 3 cups) mix of gluten-free flour (I like a combo of equal parts sorghum, brown rice, and tapioca–but you can use millet, bean flour, teff, whatever you have.  Don’t use all tapioca, white rice or sweet rice flours, though) (100% BP)
30 oz/850 g (a bit less than 4 cups) sourdough starter (200% BP)

Note: if your starter has been dormant (e.g., in the fridge and not being fed/watered) you need to wake up the yeast before you bake with the starter.  Feed and water the yeast and give them several hours to wake up and start bubbling again before you make the bread.  If you don’t do this, the yeast won’t perform very well and the bread won’t turn out well.

Approximately 6 oz/170 g (3/4 cup) water (40% BP)
2 teaspoon salt (2% BP)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (1% BP)
2 tablespoon granulated sugar (4% BP)

Place the mixing bowl from your stand mixer on the scale and set it to zero. Add 5 oz/140 g  (about 1 cup) each of your 3 flours. Add your salt, xanthan gum, and granulated sugar. With a spoon, mix well.

Add your starter. Place bowl on mixer and fit with paddle attachment. Set the speed to low and mix for a few seconds–just until the dough comes together as a blob. The dough will now be extremely stiff and still fairly dry.

Add your water, a bit at a time (about 1/4 cup at a time), mixing for a several seconds after each addition. The dough should gradually become like a stiff cake batter.

You need to run the mixer for several seconds after each addition to be able to judge how the water is being absorbed. For me, in Seattle this fall, it’s routinely taken 6 oz/170 (3/4 cup) of water to make the appropriate dough consistency. Your area and conditions may need more or less water. You don’t want the dough to be too thin or soupy (like pancake batter), but you also don’t want it to be so stiff that it’s like Play Doh.  Once you have added all of the water, beat on high for about 3 minutes.  At the end of this time, your dough should be smooth.

Line your rising bowl with a good-sized piece of parchment paper. It will be a bit wrinkly–do your best to smooth it down and fully cover the interior of the bowl.

There should be some parchment paper hanging over the edges–you will use these edges later–don’t cut them off right now. The reason I have you use parchment paper instead of greasing the bowl is that you are going to transfer the risen dough to the Dutch oven for baking at a later point.

Carefully scrape your dough into the lined bowl. Smooth top. If you want to, cut a few slashes in the top of the dough with a lame (a bread slasher) or a very sharp knife.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap (I usually use a rubber band to keep it on the bowl) and place it in a warm-ish, draft-free place. Your oven with the light turned on in it is a nice place. Or, if you’re baking other things, on the top of the stove is great–so your dough can take advantage of the warmth to encourage rising. A friend of mine puts hers in a large pot with a lid and keeps it next to the stove while she’s cooking other things.

Let the dough rise for 4 to 6 hours. I’ve let it rise all sorts of different time periods, and 4-6 hours seems to work well. I’ve let it rise overnight, for about 12 hours, and its been OK. There’s really no “shoulds” in this stage. Just go about your business and come back to it when you can.  The dough should approximately double in bulk.

Of interest is the fact that a longer rise time does not necessarily correlate with a lighter baked bread.

When you are ready to bake your bread, remove the bowl of dough from the oven (if you’ve been letting it rise in there). Place your Dutch oven, with lid, into your oven and pre-heat to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C/Gas Mark 7. Keep your Dutch oven in there for about 1/2 hour–so it gets nice and hot. When you’re ready, carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid.  Remember: it will be extremely hot!

Remove the plastic wrap from your rising dough. Grasp the edges of the parchment paper with your hands, making sure that you have got a firm hold on it, and carefully and gently transfer your dough to the Dutch oven–your dough will be risen and is in a fairly fragile state. Be very careful–it is easy to burn yourself at this step.  At this point, you can cut the parchment paper edges so there is not so much extra hanging over the sides.  Spray the top with a few sprays of water–this will help to create the crisp and chewy crust.  Place (hot) lid back onto your Dutch oven, and return to the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes at 425 degrees F. Then remove lid and bake another 15 minutes uncovered to further brown the top crust. Remove from oven and check internal temperature of the bread with an instant-read thermometer if you have one. It should read at least 200+ degrees F. This indicates that the bread is thoroughly baked. Let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, grasp the parchment paper again and transfer your bread to a cooling rack. You may remove the parchment paper now so the bread can cool. Please note that the bread is still cooking and setting up at this point–let it cool completely before you slice it. It’s hard to wait, but you will be happy you did!

This bread stores best on the counter (not in the fridge). Do not wrap it in foil or plastic wrap–it will make the crust gummy. I have found that Debbie Meyer Bread Bags are terrific for storing this (and other gf) bread. My local food co-op carries them.

If you encounter issues or problems with the starter or the bread, check out my Gluten-Free Sourdough Troubleshooting Guide before posting a question.  Thanks!

Enjoy!
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{ 171 comments… read them below or add one }

Gayane November 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

hi! I made the bread, came out perfect.
But I have a question. I have a recipe that calls for dry instant. It’s the D in their roles okay. How can I convert your yeast starter for instant dry yeast? Thank you. Love your site.
Gayane

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Jeanne December 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

Gayane: This is a recipe for sourdough–which is a wildly cultivated yeast. If you want to use instant yeast, I would check out my other bread recipes: Baguettes, Soft Sandwich Bread, Multigrain Bread.

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Roberta November 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Wow, I can’t wait to try this recipe. My brother once had a very old bakery. Revolutionary Era and his starter was very very old. I especially miss his rye bread so I am going to add caraway seeds. He also made a corn rye with a slurry on the top. That will be my next goal. For other recipes and a nice crust, mist the hot oven!

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Jeanne November 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Roberta: Yes, let me know what you think!

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Emily August 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Hi! I found your recipe through pinterest, so I made it once and it was a brick. Lol. Not the recioe’s fault, but I mixed it wrong. I just pulled my second try out of the oven and it looks so much better this time around. My only question is about the smell. While baking it really smelled like dirty feet. Lol. Is that a normal thing? Could my starter be bad? I have only ever made sourdough bread twice now.

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Jeanne September 5, 2014 at 9:24 am

Emily: well, sourdough smells sour and maybe a bit funky. Each person’s opinion on the smell will differ. It’s like people who like stinky cheese vs. people who don’t like stinky cheese. I’m not sure what to tell you about the smell.

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Nya April 26, 2014 at 2:48 am

Thanks so much for your recipe. I made a starter following your instructions which worked perfectly… It seemed to especially enjoy being placed on the sunny windowsill (it being Autumn here in the south west of Australia) and now, a week later have just made (and ravished!) a glorious brown rice, buckwheat and tapioca sourdough loaf! Sooo excited. Thanks again!!! Nya

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Jeanne April 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Nya: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Markus Pätilä March 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

Thanks for the recipe, I’m just eating the best bread I’ve ever baked :D

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Jeanne March 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Markus: yay!

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Michelle of Ohio January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

What can I use instead of a Dutch oven? One poster mentioned cast iron pan, but what would be on top?

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Jeanne January 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

Michelle: The point of a Dutch oven in this recipe is that it creates a steam oven within the oven. If you don’t use a Dutch oven, your results will be very different. You need to experiment to see what works for you.

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Monica Mancuso January 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Hi there! This is my second time making this bread and it doesn’t seem to rise. The taste is fairly good although maybe a bit too sour but my main concern is the rise. In your photos your bread seems to form a nice subtle dome after several hours rising and the slashes you made are clearly demarcated. My just looks flat though maybe a bit taller. The first time I thought my yeast wasn’t active enough but this time I made sure the starter was quite bubbly before mixing the dough. Suggestions?

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Jeanne January 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Monica: How long did you let the dough rise? Also, is your oven heating to the temperature you think it is? Check out my Baking Tips tab (at the top of the page) for more info and baking tips. :)

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Miranda December 31, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Hello! I have to say “thank you so much” for the comprehensive information! I followed all to “T”, using my blend of white rice flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca starch and whey protein. It rose double by 3.5 hours, therefore I baked it per your directions. I used a glazed clay dutch oven, heating it for half an hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then 10 minutes at 425 while the oven reheated. The top was golden and lovely after 15 minutes without the lid. When I removed the boule from the pot, the parchment simply slid off. I almost dropped the loaf, in fact. The internal temperature was 203 degrees Fahrenheit per my digital thermometer. Okay, I cut it after only 10 minutes cooling time because I have had about 15 years experience baking bread – one year in gluten free…the dense thump and spongey feel were perfect. The result? I want to eat the whole loaf before my 3 little gluten-free children wake up tomorrow on New Years Day! Thank you so much for your hard work in developing this website. The fermentation information was valuable to me as well. After 2 years of diarrhea and vomitting, I decided to pull kombucha and kefir water from our diet. Immediate relief insued. You made me peaceful again after a family member was making me feel like I was fairly killing my children by not serving to them fermented soup to nuts, drinking fermented things all day long. Some people, even for a time, just do not need all those bacteria. THANK YOU!

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Jeanne January 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Miranda: Yay!!

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Wendeline van den Nagel December 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Hello Jeanne,
I make “no knead breads” using yeast for my glutenfree son. They turn out fine. Now I have planned to make a sourdough bread, first time. Your recepy seems nice and familiar!
There is one thing I don’t understand: if I make the starter following the instuctions, I wil have most definitly not enough to make the boule out of your recepy, since that is two times the flower amount. Which seems an awfull lot to me. Am I misunderstanding something here? Should I not trow away half of the sourdough before feeding, so that I will have a lot more?
Since English is not my first language maybe I miss interprete some information….
Thanks a lot for a reaction!
Sincerely, Wendeline

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Jeanne December 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Wendeline: No, don’t throw away your starter with each feeding. You keep all of the starter you make and then use it for the recipe. :)

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Janice December 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I have made this bread 4 times and it comes out VERY dense and hard as a rock each time. I have good starter that is bubbly and smells good so I really don’t think that is the problem. Mine never rises to double in size. I am following your directions exactly each time. I am giving up after the loaf i have rising right now. Any suggestions?

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Jeanne December 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Janice: Are you following the directions exactly? Also, did you read my Sourdough Troubleshooting post?

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Pam September 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

Love this process and this recipe! I need some troubleshooting though. I baked my third loaf yesterday. It looked great coming out of the oven! I had baked it with the lid off for 25 instead of 15 as the last two have been underdone and sticky inside on the bottom 1/4 inch. Last night when it had only been cooling about 20 minutes a family member decided cut into the bread. They complained that the knife got gooey and that the bread was sticky and moist on the inside even though the crust was perfect on the outside. The bread was dense and sticky on the inside all the way through and still is this morning. The last two loaves were only that way on the bottom 1/4 inch. Is this texture because it was opened early or did this loaf just not work? I know you can’t tell me for sure but do you have some theories and/or experience with over zealous bread openers?

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Jeanne September 28, 2013 at 11:49 am

Pam: Well, the bread itself is very dense. It shouldn’t be overly sticky, though. 2 things come to mind: 1) that you get an oven thermometer to make sure that your oven is heating to the temperature you think it’s heating to (See my Oven Thermometer post). Also, did you use an instant read thermometer to make sure the inside temp was 200 degrees F or over before you removed it from the oven? Also, the bread continues to cook while it is cooling. It would be worth your while to make sure that you cool it completely before you cut it. :)

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Sue September 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Love this recipe, but have trouble peeling the parchment paper from the bread. Anybody else have this problem and if so, what did you do about it?

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Sandra Carral September 16, 2013 at 2:41 am

Hi! Can I use this BP ratio to bake whole grain gluten containing bread? I’d mix 50% of rye flour and 50% of kamut flour, both for the starter and for the main dough, freshly milled at home.

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Jeanne September 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Sandra: I don’t think so. Kamut and rye are not gluten-free, so they have different hydration needs. Note that some of the liquid in this recipe is provided by the starter, so the liquid BP is off. What I would recommend is to mix up all of the dry ingredients and then add the liquid in increments and with beating after each addition until it reaches a thick batter stage. Take notes to see how much liquid is needed to do this for your records. Also, let me know how it goes!

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Marjie September 2, 2013 at 9:30 am

I know this may sound stupid, but in your recipe for the Boule you use:
2 tsp xanthan gum (1% BP). What does the BP stand for?

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Jeanne September 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Marjie: There are no stupid questions! The BP stands for “Baker’s Percentage” which is explained in the post. I’ve included it mostly for bread nerds, but you don’t need to know what it is to bake the bread. :)

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Rachael July 8, 2013 at 10:48 am

This blog is great!!! Totally got me in the mood to bake up a delicious loaf of bread! Has anybody heard anything good about the starters from Sourdough’s International? A friend suggested one of their starters, I haven’t got the chance to try them out.

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Jeanne July 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Rachael: As far as I can tell, all of Sourdough International’s cultures are done on wheat (including spelt and kamut). Therefore, they are not gluten-free.

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Cartersmom July 8, 2013 at 4:12 am

This sourdough bread has changed everything! My little guy (and the family) have been GF for 6 years. He loves Pamela’s bread and I like it, but this sourdough has changed everything. I actually make 2 loaves out of this recipe, and I never worry about the bread going bad! So,,now I am wondering if you have any suggestions for sourdough pizza crust? And those bread bowls! Please direct me to the directions.
I have to admit I initially started the sourdough not only because I love it, but because the starter method came from Alaskans (like us). I love Alaska and that this bread is part of our tradition. Ok..there is a joke here I’d like to share. We call long time Alaskans “sourdoughs” –sour on Alaska but don’t have the dough to leave. :) ( not the case for us. lol)
Thank you so much! Amy

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Cartersmom July 8, 2013 at 4:15 am

Oh I also meant to say that I buy Pamela’s flour mix in bulk, and it has been a really good (and easy) mix of flours without having so many different bags.

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Jeanne July 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Cartersmom: LOL on the Alaskans being “sourdoughs.” Also, I don’t have specific instructions on pizza, but I would recommend just spreading the dough on on a well-greased pizza pan and baking it like you would a pizza crust (look up pizza crust on my site). I bet it would turn out fine!

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CJ June 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I got tired of not being happy with my previous GF sourdough bread recipe, so last week I made half a boule :) in my mum’s cast iron saucepan . . . now that I’ve started pouring the hooch off my starter and switched to part rice flour the flavor is so much nicer!! :) (For the record, I left the xantham gum out, too, and it was fine.) I’m trying another one today using egg as part of the liquid, just to see what that does to the texture – man, I’m happy to be messing about with texture details instead of trying to find something that is EDIBLE. :) Thanks so much for sharing!

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Jeanne June 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

CJ: yay!

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sandra May 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm

hi cj,

wondering about your egg experiment…
did it work well, and if so, how much did you use?
and how did you add it.

thanks!

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Michelle June 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I got a starter going a while back, and was just using a little here and there in recipes, but mostly keeping it in the fridge. I really revved it up this week, and made the boule today. I don’t know why I thought it would be difficult, because it was fast and easy to put together. I only let it rise about 3 hours, because I was lucky to have perfect weather- high 80s, slightly humid. I set it outside to rise, and it really took off. My boule has a nice chewy crust and interior. Great texture, and nice and sour, the way I like it. I will definitely make this again. Thanks so much! I am planning to make the sourdough waffles this weekend.

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Jeanne June 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

Michelle: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Michelle June 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I made another boule today, this time with drained jalapenos and sharp cheddar mixed in, and it was even better than the last one I made! I let it rise 4 hours outside this time (temps in the high 80’s with a little humidity) and it rose above the top of the bowl. When I peeled the plastic off, there were big holes underneath, so I was really excited. The texture is definitely lighter this time, with bigger holes, and the flavor is great. Nice, chewy crust again. I feed my starter with brown rice flour, gf oat flour, sorghum flour and teff flour (I alternate) and it has been doing really well. I may let it rise even longer next time, (I am always afraid of over-proofing) and experiment with adding caraway and fennel seeds or maybe use part olive oil, sliced olives and some rosemary. It tastes just like regular sourdough, and I am thrilled! Thanks again!

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Jeanne June 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Michelle: Oh, wow–that sounds really good! I will have to try that! Yum!

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Kristina May 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Hi!
I posted way back in 2011 to say that I’d started making this bread using Bette Hageman’s 4 Flour bean mix. Just wanted to say that it’s become a staple of my (our–my non GF-free partner LOVES it too) diet and I don’t know what I’d do without it….lol. I’m pregnant right now and making a loaf a week it seems, and stockpiling slices in the freezer too for after the baby comes. Making it is so easy now that I seem to have intuition on how long it needs to rise and how much water, and it comes out amazing each time. We eat it fresh for two days (oh-so-chewy!!) and then just leave it on the counter for a week or more till it’s gone and LOVE it toasted. Lately some of my non-GF friends have tried it and loved it as well. Anyways, this just to say thanks for an amazing recipe that is unlike any other GF bread I’ve tried!! I’m always motivated to keep up the huge amounts of starter needed and make it often, as I can’t bring myself to ever again buy a 9$ loaf of unpalatable GF bread from the grocery store again…lol.

Take care,

Kristina

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Jeanne May 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Kristina: Yay! I’m so glad–thank you for letting me know. And exciting news about the baby–hooray!!

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Vince May 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hey, you talked about putting up a recipe for a sourdough baguette in a later post and I’m curious if you’re planning on doing that still?
Because that would be amazing =D

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Jeanne May 13, 2013 at 8:52 am

Vince: Thank you for reminding me! I keep getting derailed. Or I make them and then forget to write about them. I have some starter in the fridge–will work on that this week.

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Vince October 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I tried making a sourdough baguette using the same recipe for the boule, let it rise overnight and baked it on baguette pans. Definitely didn’t come out right for me. I think I let it rise too long and it collapsed. The crust was also a bit off (because it didn’t get that nice steam that the boule gets in the dutch oven). I’ll have to keep experimenting. Do you use the same recipe for the baguette as the boule or change it up?

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Jeanne November 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Vince: I had the same issues you did–the crust on baguettes aren’t as nice as those on the boule made in the dutch oven. And the baking is wonky. When I get some time, I need to come back to this and do some more experimenting. Please keep me posted on your experiments.

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Vince November 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm

K will do, thanks!

Beth Miller May 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

Jeanne:
Love this recipe! My husband found out recently that he’s severely intolerant to gluten (and won’t go back on it for testing to determine if he’s celiac), and he really loves sourdough bread.
I live in the Okanagan Valley in BC, and I’ve found that I have to add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more water to the dough to get the right consistency because everything is so dry. Also, I found that the surface of my dough dries so quickly that it doesn’t rise as well as it should, so I’ve been spritzing the surface of the dough before popping it in the oven to rise. Works great! I actually seal the bowl up in a ziplock bag, as I can’t handle elastic bands (allergies).

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Jeanne May 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

Beth: Ah, I’m so glad! And I love that you made modifications to fit your area–yay! One thing to be careful of: the starter needs to breath. So make sure the ziploc bag has a lot of holes. Otherwise, the bacteria will overtake the yeast and ruin the starter. Happy baking!

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Beth Miller May 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Jeanne:
It’s the rising bread that is in the bag, not the starter. I use a ziplock bag instead of stretching plastic wrap over the bowl and securing it with an elastic.
The starter lives – and breathes – in a jar with a loose lid held partially ajar with the stirrer.
Oh yes, and definitely off-recipe: your white bread buns are amazing! Sooooo much better than the frozen store-bought GF ones.

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Jeanne May 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Beth: Oh, I see. Awesome! And thank you so much! I’m so glad you like them!!

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Paul March 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Thank you for the great recipe that is very easy to follow. I’m on my second attempt with this recipe. Starter is very active and is doing fabulous, so no problems there. The bread comes out very dense as stated with great flavor; however, the first time the dough was extremely sticky. We have not cut into the second batch yet as it is still cooling, but according to how it feels I have reason to believe it is going to be sticky again. Both times the bread didn’t really rise. It doubled in size, but was large round and essentially flat. Both times I let the dough rise in a covered bowl, the same size as my 4qt dutch oven, covered with plastic wrap and in the oven with the light on for ~5 hours. Both times the bread was cooked per the recipe and internal temperature was ~ 195. Any suggestions on the stickiness and the lack luster rising? Thank you,P

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Jeanne March 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

Paul: The bread is very dense when it’s baked. But it shouldn’t be too sticky–although maybe your and my definition of sticky is different. I recommend baking it until the internal temperature reaches about 205–that should help the sticky problem

Also, it shouldn’t be flat-flat–it should be domed.

Happy baking!

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Ang February 8, 2013 at 5:55 am

Hope you can help. I have used organic sorghum for my starter. The first 5-6 days have been good because it is active and have been feeding it daily(1x)….not refrigerated. Now it doesn’t seem to be growing or bubbly (7-8 days)….just has about 1 inch of the liquid on top and the starter looks flat. What should I do at this point? Thanks

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Jeanne February 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Ang: You can mix in the liquid on the top (it is the alcohol that is created–called the “hooch.” And are you feeding it regularly? You should still be feeding it. You can also mix it together and then pour off a bunch–if it’s been 8 days, you probably have a lot of starter. Maybe make a loaf a bread to use up some of it?

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Ang February 16, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thanks Jeanne…..yes I intend to make some bread with it but there’s a lot of travelling going on right now…….yes I was feeding it daily until last week…..just came back from trip and in the refrigerator was an inch of water on top as I left it but the smell was intense and the color was greyish with some dark areas so I poured it off, skimmed off the top and it was brand new again……I then proceeded to feed it again and let stand on countertop. When I skimmed away the top I was happy with its consistency…..nice and spongy….Have to leave again for a week but when I return will definitely bake and feed……will let you know…..thanks for your support

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Jeanne February 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

Ang: Ah, OK. Yes, let me know how it goes.

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Peggy February 7, 2013 at 5:21 am

Thanks for this recipe – I was amazed how quickly my starter grew and is still growing. I don’t have a dutch oven so I tried Casey’s loaf recipe – and it worked pretty well -just a little sour for my taste – so I am playing with feeding the starter different flours. I left off the xantham Gum (by accident) and it still turned out w/a great texture. I’m curius what the xantham gum does to the recipe and whether it is really needed?

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Jeanne February 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Peggy: I think that if you like the results without the xanthan gum–then leave it out! Read my post about gums to get a sense of what it does. When I get a chance, I will do some experimentation on levels of xanthan gum for this recipe. Also, if the bread was too sour for you, pour off the “hooch”–that will reduce the sourness. And I’ve found that higher protein flours add more sourness, so maybe add some more starch flours for awhile. Happy baking!

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amyrb February 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I LOVE this simple method, using the dutch oven. Thank you! Trying to use a bread machine for GF bread is ridiculously ill-fitting, considering you knead only at the beginning. The first time I made your recipe, the sour tasted too strong. This time I only had 1 cup of vigorous starter, and used it with little less than 6 cups of flour (GF oat, millet, potato starch, teff), left to rise overnight. It came out nicely risen, not too heavy, and absolutely delicious. It tastes remarkably like a whole wheat country levain. I just ate 3 pieces and feel great :-D.

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Jeanne February 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Amy: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Tamika January 25, 2013 at 7:20 am

Hi! I’ve been playing with the sourdough recipe on Rhulman’s website gf with only buckwheat flour for a couple of months now.. I never came across this post of yours (very odd) and I’m glad I have now. Your ratios are opposite of mine for flour/ starter, I’m going to try yours, it looks perfect. I am allergic to all corn products, in place of xanthan I use Psyllium husk (always) and apple pectin powder (in bread only). I do ‘knead’ the dough a bit with baking powder (1 1/2 tsp sprinkled in) after rising, before putting it in the oven. My breads have been very good, but by my baking standards, still need work. I just started a batch, I’ll go add more starter!

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Jeanne January 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Tamika: Yay! I look forward to seeing what you think about the recipe!

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Vincent January 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

This is somewhat of a weird question but do think it would be possible to leave the dough in the rising stage for 24 hours or longer, and then remix it with a bit more water and some baking powder or punch it down to make it rise again?
p.s. I made this for Christmas and it was incredible!! I used buckwheat in part of the starter and as some of the flour and it worked really well, I just needed to add a bit more water. Thank you!

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Jeanne January 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Vincent: Sure–I think it would definitely be worth a try! I’ve been thinking about adding baking powder to see what it does. Let me know how it goes!!

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Casey January 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Hello,

First of all, I’d like to thank you for presenting this sourdough recipe. I began the starter a few weeks ago when I decided to go gluten free, and I was a little apprehensive. I don’t have a Dutch oven so I had to improvise with my first loaf, I used the crock pot insert and covered with tin foil, it came out alright, but heavy and very dense with minimal sour taste.

I moved on to cutting the recipe in half and using a bread loaf pan and covering that with tin foil for most of the cooking process and had better luck. I figured there’s no sense in making a lot of bread that doesn’t keep so well after a day.

Today, I cut the recipe in half, I used 1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour and 3 cups of starter, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsps salt, 1 tbsp sugar and a very heaping, rounded tsp of the xanthan gum. I reduced the amount of water so that the dough was more firm, less like cake batter and more like regular bread dough, but not quite.

I put parchment in my bread pan and filled it with the dough and stuck it in the oven to rise for 5 hours. I preheated the oven to 170 and turned it off before putting the dough in there to rise.

After 5 hours I moved the risen dough to a 425 oven and baked it for an hour. I couldn’t stop eating it tonight, it was my best batch yet, and honestly some of the best sourdough I’ve ever had, chewy, dense, sour. Awesome!

Thank you again for posting this recipe. I hope I’ve added something constructive!

Casey

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Jeanne January 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Casey: Yay!I’m so glad! Thanks for letting me know what you did to make this work well for you!

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Erin June 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hi Casey,

I am trying this variation now! I hope its works as well for me!

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Jeanne June 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Erin: Yay! Let me know how it goes!

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Erin June 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Okay. Well the taste was spot on, but the loaf seemed to lose a bit of height in the baking process. Bummed about that. Not super dense, but not quite as much lightness as I was hoping for. Maybe too much….? Flour?

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Jeanne June 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

Erin: This bread doesn’t rise all that high, so it sounds like it baked up like it should. :)

Tracey November 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I’ve been looking everywhere for a gluten-free non-sourdough bread bowl recipe, but it seems they’re hard to come by. Is there anyway I could modify this recipe (or use one of your other recipes) to omit the sourdough starter? It just feels like the perfect time of the year for a hearty, thick chowder in a bread bowl!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have! :-)

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Jeanne November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Tracey: You could try the Soft Sandwich Bread recipe and just bake it in your bread bowl. You will need to monitor how much time it needs to bake. But, I can’t think of why it wouldn’t work. You could also try the Multigrain Bread recipe. That would be good for this, too. Let me know how it goes!

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Danielle October 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Also, I read that someone used 1.5 tsp of baking powder and got a fluffy bread. Have you tried this and recommend it?

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admin October 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

Danielle: I would definitely try it and see what happens.

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Danielle October 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Hi Jeanne,
I am so excited about your sourdough recipe! Thank you so much for all your time and experimentation! I just started mine 2 nights ago and I used sorghum flour initially and for the next two feedings. The smell was already that delicious yeasty bread smell! But the last two feedings I added rice flour and the smell is now not very good. I’ve been stirring occasionally but I notice that there is a layer of liquid on top that must be the hooch. Do you think this smell is hooch that I should pour off or possibly just a flour preference? Also when do you remove the cabbage (my starter has a slightly pink hue to it)? Do you add a fresh piece as you use the starter for baking while feeding the remainder or do the initial cabbage leaves provide enough yeast to keep it going on it’s own? Thanks so much..I am looking forward to the baking adventure! :-)

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admin October 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

Danielle: You remove the cabbage as soon as the mixture starts to bubble. And you do not add any more cabbage–once the mixture bubbles, there are enough yeasties in there to become self-sustaining with feedings. I would pour off the hooch if it smells too strong. Also, if you think it smells bad, then throw it out–trust your instincts. Also, feeding it with white rice flour will put the yeast into overdrive–kind of like kids on junk food. I would feed them with a whole grain or a bean flour to get them back on track.

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Jen September 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Hi,

I’ve tried making your bread twice & both times, it wont rise…I’ve kept in the oven with the light on as suggested & even put it out on the deck during a warm day but nothing, didn’t rise a bit! Can you give me a suggestion for what I may be doing wrong? I tried to follow the starter & baking method to the “T”.
I’m dying to try this bread! And, I’m keeping my starter alive in the fridge…

Thanks,

Jennifer

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admin October 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

Jennifer: It sounds like your yeast isn’t working. Have you waited until the mixture starts bubbling? Also, the bread will take longer to rise than normal bread using commercial yeast. Also, if you leave it to rise overnight, does it rise?

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Jen October 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hi,

Thanks for replying…I didn’t add yeast specifically to the starter, was I supposed to? All I added was flour, cabbage & water. I let it sit on my counter with a cheese cloth cover for several days. It did bubble on day 2, I left the cabbage until day 3, then tried to make the bread on day 4. I tried to let it rise for over 24 hours, but nothing.
What type of yeast or rising agent should I have added to the starter? Should I start my starter over from scratch with a yeast mix? Is there wheat flour in yeast mixes?
Thank you for your help, I cant wait to try this bread!!!
— Jennifer

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admin October 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Jennifer: No, what I mean is that you know that the starter is filled with yeasties as soon as it starts bubbling. I’m not sure why your bread didn’t rise. Did you go through my Sourdough Troubleshooting guide?: http://www.artofglutenfreebaking.com/2012/03/sourdough-gluten-free-starter-troubleshooting-faq/. Check it out.

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Jen October 3, 2012 at 8:03 am

Hi,

Thanks for the info & the FAQ. I decided to throw out my starter & I’m going to try it again over the weekend…This time, I’ll take the cabbage out on the same day I notice the bubbling & see if that works! I’ll check back in a while & let you know how it worked out. Thanks again for everything :)

Jennifer

Lisa September 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Hi Jeanne,
I have a two-day old starter sitting on my counter bubbling away. I’m so impressed. I’ve been a bit intimidated by sourdough (probably because of a near-disaster in my childhood home. My mom made sourdough for years and one day, the starter blew up, leaving glass shards embedded in walls, cupboards, and ceiling. Yeah, don’t use a lid with a rubber seal!) Anyway, I’m amazed out how simple this seems. I have one question about the baking part. Is there any reason I can’t bake this in a loaf pan (or two)? I have an enormous cast-iron dutch oven, so I could set the loaf pan down in it for the steam. The boule is beautiful, but I want something that I can easily toast for breakfast or make into French toast.
Thanks,
Lisa

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admin September 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Lisa: I would divide up between two standard loaf pans and see how it does. One of the lovely things about the Dutch oven is that it creates its own little oven within the oven. I think putting the loaf pan inside of it would be fun to experiment with!

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Jen November 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I actually used Pamela’s bread mix (sans yeast) as the base for my starter and my bread, and it worked for me. I just didn’t add the little extras when I baked my loaf. It was a hit!

I purchased the Lodge Dutch Oven when I began my starter, didn’t have parchment paper, so I greased the bowl, plopped it in there then slipped it into the Dutch oven after preheating. It held shape pretty well. I just smoothed it out slightly and it worked beautifully.

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admin November 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Jen: Yay–I love your creativity! Thanks for letting me know what you did!

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Amanda August 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

A few questions:
1) I am generally a big fan of Pamela’s baking mixes. Her Bread Mix is: Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Chicory Root, White Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Honey and Molasses; Rice Bran, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum.
Can I use this, for starter and/or bread, or should I go back to basics and use plain flour?

2) I’m not sure what to do about the dutch oven. I have a nice covered pot, but I’m worried that it’s not deep enough. Any sense of how high the pot needs to be, so that there’s enough room between the crust and the lid? (I’ll buy a new one if I need to – I’m committed to this project!)

3) One thing I’m worried about is temperature. I live in Los Angeles, which right now is HOT! My kitchen doesn’t get too terrible, but definitely above the 60-75 degrees you mention in the starter recipe. Do I need to wait until fall? (Which around here is often not until late October!)

Thanks so much – I can’t wait to try it!

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admin August 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Amanda: the bread mix won’t work–it’s got too much other stuff in it. Use a flour mix. The dutch oven I use is about 8 1/2 inches in diameter and about 3-4 inches tall. The lid is a bit domed. One of the nice things about a cast iron (or enameled cast iron) dutch oven is that they are heavy. It’s good to use a pan that is heavy. Also, I would go ahead and try it now. If it works too quickly, you can put it in the fridge for a bit. Happy baking!

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Shaina July 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Should this bread be gummy??

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admin July 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Shaina: No. It should be cooked through but it will be very dense.

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Sabrina May 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi, since I last asked for your help in getting my starter going, which was several months ago now, my starter has now been doing beautifully for a long while now and I have been consistently making wonderful bread with your recipe, so thank you so much!!

I never got on with the parchment paper method in the end – it broke apart from the moisture of the dough, so I simply let it rise in the cast-iron pan directly and then stick that into a pre-heated oven (without pre-heating the pan) and that works fine. I don’t know what the difference would be if I were to pre-heat the pan, in terms of the bread consistency. Also, I have found that the sugar and anthem gum are not necessary, I have never used them in this recipe and the bread holds together without the xantham gum which is exciting!

I wanted to ask you if you have tried making anything else with the starter? I would like to use it for other recipes, such as rolls, pancakes, pizza, etc. Could you share any insights in how to use your starter to make these, considering how wet the dough is for the boule recipe, I wondered how to apply it to a pizza crust, and to rolls.

THanks so much for any help you can offer and thanks again for this perfect bread! You are my saviour!

Sabrina

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admin May 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

Sabrina: Yay–thanks for letting me know. And it’s awesome to hear of your adaptations. I haven’t yet used it in other baked goods–I would recommend experimenting. Just use the starter for the yeast in other yeasted recipes and then add enough liquid to make it mixable. Let me know how it goes!

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Teresa February 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Sabrina :)
Wow! so happy to hear u didnt need the sugar or the xanthum…i want to use the simplest ingredients also :)
u didnt need baking powder either?
geez…:)
what flours did u use?

also …your pan was not greased …your bread did not stick to the pan?

kindly
thanks
teresa

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Steve May 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Thank you ever so kindly for your AMAZING contribution to the gluten free community! My wife and I have tried many gf breads… we both agree that this recipe is by far the best tasting gf bread we’ve tried… absolutely AMAZING!!!!

Thank you again!!!

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admin May 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Steve: Yay! I’m so glad. Thank you so much for letting me know!

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Shaina April 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Do you think this would work with just brown rice flour and tapioca starch (no sorghum)?

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admin April 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Shaina: Yes. I would use whole grain flours in the beginning, though. That means brown rice, millet, teff, amaranth, and also bean flours. Those work nicely.

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Shaina April 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I’m so happy I’ve found this recipe!! I’ve been looking all over the web for days trying to find a gluten free sourdough recipe I could try that had the simplicity of flours I was looking for. I’m glad I found yours! I’ve never made sourdough so it will be an experiment for sure but I’m excited to get going with it!

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admin April 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Shaina: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Gloria April 19, 2012 at 6:03 am

That recipe looks wonderful, can’t wait to try it.

My son Troy was diagnosed with adhd about a year and a half ago. We spent 6 months trying supplements, some worked wonders others didn’t do too much. About a year ago we put him on a gluten free casein free diet and we have had wonderful results!

I am sharing out story and some good recipes through my blog. Here is a link if you want to read our story:

http://troysnewstart.blogspot.com/

Thank you for sharing!!!

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Alpine April 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

What does it mean when a webbing develops on top of the starter? I missed a couple of feedings and it did get quite hot in my kitchen. Is it okay or should I scrap the whole bowl? The odor is more sour smelling, but it doesn’t smell off. It is not pink, but white, a bit lighter than the starter.

Thanks

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Alpine April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

It’s like a gauze, cheese cloth.

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admin April 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

Alpine: I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve encountered that before. If you are in doubt, I would throw it away and start over.

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Megan April 12, 2012 at 7:19 am

I have two kids that are gluten free and bread has been such an issue. I have a boule rising in my oven right now! I can’t wait to try it!

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admin April 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Megan: Yay!

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Alpine March 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

WOWOWOW! I can’t believe I did it! I followed your starter to a T and had raging success. My bowl of starter sounded like Rice Crispies at one point.

I was so nervous to make the bread (I am not a baker, but Celiac is forcing me to become one, and while I cannot make cookies, etc., I seem to be able to bake bread.) This is my second bread to try to bake ever, and I DID IT! It it really good, and feels so healthy.

Yesterday’s loaf smelled like beer, which I think resulted from not cooking it long enough. Today’s smelled like sour cream when it was baking and has no beer odor, but could be a tad more sour (which will come as the starter ages.)

One question: How moist should the bread be inside? Mine is not gummy/gooey but very moist. The internal temperature of the first loaf hit 200 degrees but mostly was at 195. Today’s loaf hit 204. I read somewhere that sourdough should get an internal temperature of 210 degrees. I simply could not get the bread that warm, even baking it with the lid off for an extra 15 minutes today. (I am using a metal stock pot, instead of an enameled Dutch oven. I don’t know whether that would require longer baking time. I assumed incorrectly that it would cook faster.) I am thinking of raising the oven temp to 450 degrees to see if I can achieve 210 degrees.

However, if the bread interior should be very moist, I won’t need to change anything. What do you suggest?

THANK YOU for providing this learning opportunity.

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admin March 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Alpine: Yay!! The interior is moist, so it sounds right. Also, I didn’t know the tip that sourdough should get to 210 degrees. Interesting. I will experiment with that. All of that said, if you don’t want it to be moist (or as moist as it is) then I would recommend doing some experimenting to make it have the interior you like! It’s your bread, so you should have it the way you like. Please let me know how your experiments go!

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Alpine March 29, 2012 at 12:17 am

I found this trouble-shooting list. http://www.newdiets.com/index/substitutionproblems.shtml I am going to try warming the water some before adding, and REDUCING the oven temperature, not increase it as I thought. This will probably require me to lengthen the baking time. I am baking at high altitude, so maybe that makes a difference?

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admin March 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

Alpine: Thanks–let me know how it goes!

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Marg March 18, 2012 at 4:40 am

I really want to solve this overly sour problem. My second loaf was not as strong as the first but still way too much so. I was very careful to pour off whatever hooch was appearing before I fed or stirred the developing starter every time. I used only your suggested flours and, except for subbing xanthum gum with coconut flour, I followed directions exactly. Can you tell me what else could be causing this problem? Thanks for the freezing information.

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admin March 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Marg: I admire your tenacity on this! To be honest, I’m going to guess that this is something that needs more experimentation on your part. I think the concept of “too” sour is quite subjective. What I think is OK might be too sour to you and vice versa. I would recommend experimenting with a variety of flours and see how those alter the taste of your starter.

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Marg March 17, 2012 at 8:11 am

Well I am back at it again. My bread dough has started its 6 hour rise. I was sure this time to pour off all the hooch so there is not a sour smell. I do have a lot of starter though, enough to make another loaf. I was wondering if the sour dough bread can be frozen. Has anyone tried that and are there any precautions to take with the freezing? Thanks so much for all your help and patience.

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admin March 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Marg: I think it’s fine to freeze the bread. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Then defrost by placing it in the fridge for about 24 hours. Also, you can pour off starter if you need to–or give it away to friends. I’m also working on a method to dry the starter–which I think will be handy. :)

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Kirstie March 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’m so glad to have found this recipe! I put my starter together last weekend, and have babied it throughout the week, and now I have a lovely large GF sourdough boule in the oven :) If it tastes as good as it smells, I may be making bread a lot more often! Thank you!

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admin March 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Kirstie: Yay! Thanks for letting me know!

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Marg March 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Well I baked the bread today and it looked just like the picture. It was a lovely brown crust with just enough firmness to make it crunchy. However, the taste test failed miserably. It was horribly sour and not edible. I am wondering if putting too much starter in would cause this. I also substituted coconut flour for the xatham gum. I measured the starter in liquid measurements. The centre of the loaf was a tad moist although it had reached the proper temperature. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.m2bk

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Loren March 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm

My wife is Wheat intolerant only. We bake mostly with Spelt flour, as her body does not recognize it as wheat.

Do you have any suggestions for adapting your sourdough to Spelt?

Thanks in advance

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admin March 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Loren: Well, since spelt is a form of wheat and it has gluten, I would go to the link I posted for Michael Ruhlman’s site. The recipe there is for a gluten-containing sourdough. :)

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Sarah February 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Hi, I was just wondering if you think this recipe would work with almond flour.? So far the only flours I am able to have are rice almond and coconut (I didn’t think coconut would work very well), so I was thinking I might try it with the rice and almond. Or I could try with all rice.

What do you think? Is there some reason that almond won’t work?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts of advice! I was really excited to find this site and see that you were willing to share your sourdough recipe with us all. :)

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admin February 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Sarah: I am not sure how this would behave with almond flour. It is worth a try. Almond is high in protein, which seems to be something the yeast/bacteria like in terms of making the sourness. Also, as an alternative, you can try limiting your flours for this to the rice ones: brown rice, white rice, and sweet rice. Start with brown rice and use that mainly for the feeding process. Then when you make the bread, use white and sweet rice flour to make it a bit lighter. See what happens! Let me know!

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Sarah February 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for the reply and the ideas!
I went ahead and tried the bread with brown rice flour (1.5 Cups), blanched almond flour (1 Cup) and 1/2 cup tapioca flour (I can only have organic foods because of not being able to have any amount of pesticides or any other chemicals, but I just this week found a small box of organic tapioca flour so I went ahead and added some to the bread.). The bread came out pretty dense, but tasted really good and had an excellent crust. I don’t have anything like a dutch oven though and no money to buy one at the moment, so I baked it in two regular bread pans and when I was raising the bread I put it in the oven with a pot of hot water (I had seen this method of raising sourdough on another blog somewhere). So those differences may have contributed a lot to how well the bread raised.

I will try your suggestions of flour when I can get the ingredients and I’ll let you know the results.

If you have any thoughts about the process I used I would be interested to know what you think.

Thanks again!

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admin February 15, 2012 at 7:43 am

Sarah: I think your modifications are awesome. The only thing to remember is that since you don’t have a Dutch oven with a lid, the environment that your bread is baking in isn’t going to be as hot as it would be in the contained environment of the Dutch oven. Also, this bread IS dense, so that is normal. It looks like you are on the right track! Please keep me updated on your experiments!

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wendi February 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I might be able to borrow from my dad but could I still do this without a dutch oven?? I have cast iron that’s deep but I don’t have a lid. Suggestions??
Thanks for this! I’m so excited to try it!!!!!!

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admin February 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hi Wendi: Hm. You need a heavy duty cast iron pan that has a lid because the lid creates a little steam oven inside the pan. I know that Lodge has a fairly cheap one–maybe check for one of their dutch ovens? If you don’t want to buy another pan, then you could experiment. Try to cover your cast iron pan tightly with aluminum foil. And be sure there is room for the bread to rise a bit while baking. Let me know how it goes!

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Holly February 23, 2013 at 5:40 am

Could you flip another deep skillet over top of what you are baking in? I’ve had to do that for a lid in a pinch.

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Jeanne February 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Holly: I don’t see why not, sound good to me!

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lee jenkins January 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

Hi, I posted something the other day( but don’t see it here) asking if i can use the starter right after i take it out of the fridge, or do i need to let it sit? I went ahead and made bread right out of the fridge and it was beautiful and tasted like SF sourdough after only 3 days from start to finish! But it didn’t really rise much so i’m wondering if i should let the starter sit out before using it.

Also, here are some tips for folks if their starter isn’t working. One, if your tap water is alkaline you should probably use bottled water. Yeast loves acid. I found this out by accident when i was trying a (stupid) recipe from a book I (dumbly) bought. Long story, but if you come across a bread book written for gluten eaters but which has a few “star” GF recipes and is written by a man and a woman, don’t buy it. Anyway, that bread saga lead me to research water’s affect on yeast. As it happens, i was using bottled water for the SD starter, but threw in a cup of tap water the morning i was making the other to-be-forgotten bread. My starter almost immediately stopped bubbling and separated. Alkaline water heats slower, has a different surface density etc, and on its own, it doesn’t appear to mix well with yeast. If you live in the NE you probably don’t have to worry about alkaline water. I think some places in the south, like Austin Texas, do have alkaline water. I live at the moment in the south of france and we have very alkaline water. (Good for health, bad for yeast.) Secondly, temp seems to be important. I live in a stone house with tile floors and it is always a little cold in the house, even in the summer (and even though i live in the south). My kitchen is too cold for the starter, i have to keep it in a warmer room of the house. When i do, it happily bubbles along in a beautiful frothy way. When i moved it to the kitchen (the yeast smell was penetrating my bedroom), it separated and stopped bubbling. I thought i had killed it. (I hadn’t! As soon as i moved it to a warm place, it frothed again.) Lastly, i think by using the cabbage it doesn’t really matter what flour you use for the starter. The first day i used Sorghum, but since i can’t get it in France, i tend to hoard my supply and wasn’t willing to use in on an enterprise i wasn’t sure would work. So i randomly threw in other flours after day one, including quinoa, rice, millet, chick pea and one day, green lentil (which didn’t like the yeast and i had to fish it out bc it formed hard little balls as soon as i threw it in.) Happily the sd starter was fine.
First try i made a to die-for gorgeous loaf that GF and normal bread eaters loved alike. Could be the natural french yeast, but i swear it was very similar to SF sourdough. Now i just have to get the bread to rise a bit more. I’m trying the other jeanne’s recipe at the moment (its rising) but i confess, yours is easier (more simple), so i like it better. . . I’m going to start experimenting with flavors and also playing around with the ratios a tiny bit to see if i can get more rise. I am happy. :-)

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admin January 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Lee: Wow–so awesome! And thank you for the tips–very helpful. The one about the water is right-on. When I get a chance, I will put a note (with a credit to you) in the recipe. And I’m so glad the recipe worked well for you!! Yay! Thanks for letting me know!

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Lance January 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Hi There,

First off, thanks so much that you’ve posted this! My wife has Celiac’s and I LOVE finding things that she used to eat that I can make GF for her. I’ve been trying to make the starter now for about 5 days. At about day three I pulled the cabbage leaves as they were getting pretty mushy. But I never really developed bubbles. I got a little impatient (sorry) about day 3.75 and added a little bit of active yeast to the mixture and it actually bubbled a bit for around 8 hours and then mostly stopped. So I added a bit more yeast the next day and again it bubbled (although for less time this time) and then stopped. I get plenty of hooch forming on the top of the starter after every time I mix it, just no bubbles. Other than the yeast I added (and taking out the cabbage leaves before the mixture was really bubbling) I followed the instructions strictly. Should I start over? Thanks again!

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admin January 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Lance: Yes, I would start over. Hm. I’m wondering what happened. It might not have been the right day for the yeast :). Did you use organic cabbage? I always use organic cabbage and I always get bubbling on the 2nd day–like clockwork. I would go ahead and try again. I’m guessing you just had a super-clean piece of cabbage (i.e., with no yeast on it). Let me know what happens!

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Kristina December 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Hi,
Just wanted to let you know that I experimented with your bread a few times, and we LOVE it. It was a little on the dense side for our tastes, although still an exciting (revolutionary!) change from the GF breads and sourdoughs I was making before. So I tried using 3 cups of Bette Hageman’s 4 flour bean mix. I’ve also been using her sourdough starter recipe, which I’ve had going for half a year now. Wow, wow is all I can say… almost tastes like a light rye, rose beautifully, and has such a beautiful taste and texture. Her 4 flour bean mix is Tapioca, Sorghum, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and garfava flour. I’d not a huge fan of the starches in the mix, but so far that mix does such amazing things I can’t abandon it. I’m convinced the garfava flour added something amazing to this recipe, as it’s the only different flour… Thank you for all your hard work on developing this recipe!!

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admin December 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

Kristina: Thanks so much for letting me know about your experiences with the recipe! And glad to know that BH’s mix works well–good to know. I think the bean works so well because it’s got more protein. The yeasties seem to like that a lot! Yay!

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Nikki November 15, 2011 at 8:59 am

Do you think this could hold up in a stuffing? Considering it for Thanksgiving…I’m scared! ;)

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admin November 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

Nikki: Yes, it will–because that’s what I used last year for stuffing! Just be sure to toast the cubes before you use them in stuffing, otherwise they will get too mushy.

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CeeeEsss November 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

This is not my first experience with sourdough. However, since discovering my partner is gluten intolerant, this is my first experience with non-wheat flour to make and feed my sourdough starter and eventually the flours that would be used for a loaf of bread.

The starter began with 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 tablespoon yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar for the yeast to feed upon. When the yeast was proven the mixture was added to one cup of potato flour and one cup of water. Twice a day equal amounts of flour and water were added to the starter with the mixture being stirred down to remove all the air bubbles. Each time a different type of gluten-free flour was added, alternating between potato flour, rice flour and sorghum flour, as those were the flours that would eventually be used to make the bread.

With each addition, the starter was very active, in fact within an hour or two air bubbles had formed and before two hours the starter had grown to almost double in size. The additional time before the next feeding allowed the starter to relax with the hooch rising to the top.

Today was the first day to actually make bread dough. The recipe called for mixing one cup each of the three flours, four cups of starter, plus one teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of sugar. As the dough was mixing in my stand mixer, per the recipe, additional water, up to three-fourth cup, was added slowly to yield a dough thicker than pancake batter yet thinner than play dough. After being mixed for three or four minutes, at a fairly fast speed, the dough was scraped into a loaf pan and the top was smoothed flat. This loaf pan was designed for sour dough bread, being longer, narrower and taller than traditional bread pans because sourdough needs the additional support that yeast breads do not require.

Because the house in air conditioned, the loaf pan was placed inside a large rectangular plastic box and the lid was secured. The plastic container was taken outside where the temperature was about 83 F degrees and the relative humidity was in the high 60’s. Rather than the 4-6 hours of rising time called for in the recipe, an hour later, out of curiosity, we checked on the progress of the dough. It had more than doubled in size and was flowing over the sides of the loaf pan.

Instead of the usual punch down and turn over of yeast bread, we decided to cook the bread immediately to get some idea of the taste, expecting to punch down later efforts to see how much of a sour taste could be developed.

I have never had nor seen such an active and robust starter. Nor has a loaf risen to double in size within the first hour.I’m not sure if the starter, the pan, or the types of flour can explain this fast action, or perhaps a combination of al three. The taste of the bread is good, the slice I sampled did not crumble and my partner says he is looking forward to several days of being able to eat a sandwich for lunch.

Plans for future efforts include using less starter, baking the bread in a covered La Cloche and experimenting with the different flavors of flour to get a more palatable taste and a conventional feel to the chewable texture, although our first effort of using a sourdough starter was about the best tasting gluten-free bread we’ve made in several weeks. I would call this a success, or maybe even a rousing success. However, other superlative words might be in order.

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admin November 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

CeeeEsss: Wowee! You are amazing! That sounds awesome. And I love that you’ve made it your own! Thanks for letting me know. :)

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susan October 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

So kind and generous to give so much to so many who are really suffering with gluten free eating. I was reading tightwad II and thought can it be possible to make sourdough starter gluten free and found you. Thank you!

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admin October 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

Susan: Aw, thanks! And my pleasure!

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admin October 24, 2011 at 8:41 am

Susan: Yay! I’m so glad!

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Tanya Brody October 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

This is a FABULOUS recipe, as is the starter.
Thank you so much!
BTW, I included a 1.5 tsp of baking powder in my most recent batch and it fluffed up beautifully.

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admin October 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

Tanya: Ah, good idea on the baking powder. I will try that next time! Thanks!

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Erica September 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Holy cow! Sourdough bread was my absolute favorite before going gluten free. I could not find a decent GF version anywhere. I have never made sourdough bread before so I used both your starter and bread recipes. SUCCESS! I had to start the starter over once and my first loaf came out a little more dense than I’d hope for. However, after getting the hang of feeding my starter and getting the right dough consistency before baking, I am right now eating a very good piece of sourdough sans gluten! My kids love it too. I cannot not cook but I can bake. Going gluten free put a damper on my baking. I am excited to have found your site and plan to bake my way through every recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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admin September 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

Erica: Oh, I’m so glad!! Yay!

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Neringa September 8, 2011 at 4:53 am

I have followed your advise and my started has started bubbling!
Also was wondering, to feed my strarted do I have allways use 1C of flour and 1 c of water every 12 hours or i could use less?
I don’t consume sugar, would it work if I omit it or i could substitute with something else?

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Cara July 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thanks! I experimented yesterday w a different recipe, one that uses 1/4 tsp yeast and rises for 12-18 hours, instead of using starter. It had a wonderful sour taste, but was very dense – it seems wonderful and puffy when I got up in the morning, but flatter by the time I was ready to bake . . . plus, I hadnt seen your ‘lift by the parchment’ method, so I DUMPED my poor dough. The recipe i was using also called for 2 c flour and 1 c water, but i had to add about another 1/2 c as the batter was way too dry . . . it was still fairly stiff, but i used part coconut flour, which just absorbs SO much liquid!

Anyways, thanks for your help and your ideas. For now i’ll stick with my no-starter method, but might try the full starter thing at some point.

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Cara July 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I cant do sorghum or tapioca, and my son cant do rice flour. have you tried this with other flours?

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admin July 3, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Hi Cara! I have used other flours and they have been fine. I would try potato starch (not flour) in place of tapioca flour. And millet for the rice flour. And maybe amaranth for the sorghum. Experiment and see how it goes!

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Rose June 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hi Jeanne,

We are completely enjoying your sourdough starter and bread recipe. Thank you so very much! For two weeks now I’m consistently getting great bread and making wonderful sourdough pancakes in the morning. With my egg allergy added to our gluten allergy I just couldn’t find a pancake or bread I liked.

My question for you. We will be going camping for 6 days with a full day of driving on each end and am trying to figure out how to travel with the bread. It’d be great to have along. I’d like to bring several loaves with me. I do have a cast iron pot for camp cooking so have a thought. Do you think it’d work ok to bake the loaf for, say, 45 minutes then freeze it and then finish the cooking in the cast iron pot over the fire? Or can you give me any other ideas?

Thanks so much!

Rose

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admin June 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Rose: Greetings! I haven’t done what you’re asking, but I think it is worth a shot. I’ve never baked bread when camping–so that is unknown territory for me! If you do it, let me know how it works!

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Mariah May 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thanks so much for the starter and bread recipe!! I had some major problems though, and was hoping you might have suggestions :). I was following your recipe by wt, and found a big discrepancy between the oz measurements and the cup measurements–maybe it’s my scale? differences in humidity? I’m in CO.

Anyways, for me 15 oz of flour equated to more like 3 cups, and 30 oz of starter 2 cups, not 4. As you can imagine, this resulted in dough of completely the wrong consistency, so I was forced to add additional starter and a LOT more water than 1 cup. I’m a beginner baker, and I thought my goal should be to obtain the right consistency and hence density, so I tried to ‘water it’ into a cake dough consistency, which perhaps wasn’t the best idea :D. The second issue is I didn’t have a dutch oven, so I split it into two bread loves in simple bread pans . . . . Anyways, the final product only rose maybe half again its original height (instead of doubling), and while it has a great taste, the bread is gooey! I baked it till thermometer read 200F, then kept it in another 15 minutes, because the thermometer pulled out gooey, and the final bread was still gooey — not quite ‘raw’ gooiness, but gooey all the same! Any suggestions? What’s the density of your dough? (as in wt of one cup?)

Thanks! Sorry to hassle!!

Mariah

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admin May 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

Mariah:

Gah. I’m not sure what happened. Let me look it over this week and see if I can see any problems. Thanks for letting me know!

Mariah:

OK, I just checked and you are absolutely right–15 oz of flour is around 3 cups, not around 1 /1/2 cups–I just corrected that on the recipe. The starter amount should be right. Be aware that it is measured in weight ounces, not in fluid ounces. They are different in this instance. In fact, I will go put a note about that on the recipe. Thanks for pointing this out!

Also, if you are baking at altitude, this bread should actually come out better for you because the thinner air allows for more rising…:)

–Jeanne

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Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box April 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

This looks awesome! Gluten-free bread baking is a bit different than baking with wheat flour, as I am sure you already know. A great book that has tons of tips is “Gluten-Free Food Science and Technology”. It’s highly technical, but well worth the effort! I just reviewed this book and cannot wait to apply it in my own baking!

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admin April 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Carla: Thanks for the tip. Is that a book you helped to write? It’s extraordinarily expensive. Will have to save my pennies for it! I’ve done a great deal of research on the science of gluten-free baking and have defintitely found it helpful in my baking.

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Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box May 23, 2013 at 1:57 am

Hi there! Well, it’s taken me quite some time to check back. Sorry about that!

No. I did not help write the book, but was sent a copy from the publisher to review it on my blog. The book is geared towards manufacturers, but I really like it, and am still learning from it. It’s definitely a reference book to absorb slowly. Otherwise you’ll spend your time online defining a bunch of terms.

Take care!
Carla

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Jeanne May 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Carla: Sounds great!

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aps March 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I can’t thank you enough for this recipe. I just love this bread, have made it 3 times and was a great success. I used 100% shorghum for my starter as well as for the flour part of the recipe (3/4 shourghum and 3/4 topioca). The pics help a lot, I don’t have a scale and had to do some adjustments to get the cake batter consistency. But overall it is a wonderful rustic bread that rises better each time I try it and the house smells wonderful as its baking

Thanks again!

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admin March 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Oh, I’m so glad! Yay! Thanks for letting me know! Also, it’s great that you are doing it “by feel.” That’s the best way!

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CSW February 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free sourdough bread for my celiac husband, and finally had great success with a slightly modified version of your recipe. I used mostly (gluten-free) oat flour and replaced the guar gum with 1 tablespoon finely-ground flax-seed. It’s probably not quite as light as yours, but still has beautiful “crumb” and tastes so good! My husband is amazed how good it is –he said he never expected to have such good bread again!

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admin February 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

Oh, I’m so glad!!! Yay!

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Aimee October 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I’m eating this bread as we speak and I can’t tell you how happy I am! I grew up in the Bay Area and miss San Francisco sourdough so much! When I saw this recipe and your started method, I knew I had to try it. I began my starter about a week ago and baked the bread yesterday. It went perfectly – 3/4 of water was the perfect amount, the dough rose beautifully (I baked it after about 4 1/2 hours) and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you!

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admin October 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Oh, Aimee–I’m so glad!! Isn’t it fun to have sourdough again?? Yay!!

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Stephanie - Wasabimon October 17, 2010 at 8:34 am

I am so all over this! I tried making a GF starter some time back and fought with it a lot. My results were often boozy (you know, that alcoholic sludge that develops on top) so I put it away to revisit later. Now I don’t have to! You rock!

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admin October 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Stephanie:

Oh, thank you! The boozey stuff on top is called “hooch” (appropriately enough), and it turns out that you just stir it back in (or pour it off–your choice). I’ve found that the hooch is what gives the sourdough its sour flavor. But, if it gets too sour for you, just pour it off each time it appears. Happy baking!
–Jeanne

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glutenfreeforgood October 16, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Wow, I’m impressed. Love the series of photos accompanying your recipe directions. Beautifully done all around. Might have to give this a try, since you’ve done all the work figuring it out. =) Thank you!
Melissa

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admin October 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Melissa:
Thank you!! And yay! Let me know how it goes if you do try it!
–Jeanne

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Raelene October 16, 2010 at 5:21 am

I’m SO going to try this! Thanks! Your bread looks light coloured – do you use the coarser brownish coloured sorghum or the more refined “super fine”? I can only get the coarser type here.

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admin October 16, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Raelene:
The sorghum I’ve been using is the Sweet White Sorghum Flour from Bob’s Red Mill. It doesn’t mention if it’s super-fine or not. The bread itself is a bit darker inside than it looks in the photo. I would go ahead and use your coarse-ground sorghum. I think it will be fine! Let me know how it goes!
–Jeanne

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Kim-Cook It Allergy Free October 16, 2010 at 3:11 am

Wow! I cannot believe you did this. I will keep you posted on my results!! As a native San Franciscan, being without sourdough bread has been the most challenging part of my gluten free journey!! The photos of the sliced bread look absolutely amazing. Well done, my friend!! Yay for Gluten Free Sourdough!!

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admin October 16, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Kim:

Yay! I know–I so very badly miss SF sourdough. I have to say, the taste of this comes very close! Yay! Maybe we can have some on our GF Beach weekend…:)
–Jeanne

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Kath October 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

You DID IT! I knew you would! Can’t wait to try this. Am so thankful for you.
Best,
Kath

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admin October 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Aw, Kath–thank you so much! I appreciate it!!
–Jeanne

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admin October 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Jen: OK, sounds good! And, you’re welcome!

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