In this article you will learn how to make gluten free sourdough bread (which is also vegan) in a dutch oven from scratch! This recipe is so easy that once you try it you will never go back to store bough gluten free bread ever again.
What is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread is bread made with wild yeast instead of instant yeast. Wild yeast is often referred to as sourdough starter which you can grow yourself at home! It is flour and water mixed together that allow for yeast and bacteria to develop and eventually raise your bread.
Sourdough bread is made with 4 ingredients whether it is gluten free or not. All you really need is flour, water, starter, and salt. If you buy sourdough bread and it has any other ingredients listed on the packaging the chances are you are not buying authentic sourdough bread!
Sourdough bread has more nutrition value compare to other types of bread, and it is much easier to digest. Some people with gluten intolerance are able to digest regular sourdough bread, however, the ones with Celiac Disease won’t be able to do that.
Finally, sourdough bread has a slightly sour flavor which makes it so very tasty and special!
Is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free?
If you make it with gluten free flour and starter, then yes! But like with any other bread type, if you use wheat flour, your bread will contain gluten.
Can I Feed My Starter with Gluten Free Flour?
Yes, and the best flours are whole grain flours. You can use whole grain brown rice flour for your starter, although I did try white rice and it worked. However, you might save yourself some time if you use other flour types!
For an easy sourdough starter guide check out my gluten free starter recipe!
Sourdough Terminology Explained
Sourdough starter / Levain – this is the wild yeast that raises your bread. Some people use levain in their bread – mature starter mixed with some flour and water that doubled in size. Levain allows you to control the acidity levels of your dough as starter itself might be way too sour. However, levain does take a few extra hours to make so I made my gluten free sourdough bread using starter.
Proofing – this is the stage that allows for longer fermentation of your bread and provides some additional rising as well. You can proof your bread in the fridge overnight or in the room temperature within a few hours.
Dutch oven – this is a cast iron pot that holds the temperature really well and provides the final rise of your bread while baking. It is important to have something that will provide steam for your loaf and a dutch oven is a perfect choice for this purpose as it has a lid that traps the steam inside.
Banneton basket – this is a basket for proofing your bread. You may use it if you would like to, but you don’t need it for your bread baking. You can totally use a bowl for proofing your bread! Banneton basket will give a special shape to your loaf, but round is also a shape, so you might as well go for a bowl if you prefer!
Oven Spring – this is the rising of your bread that happens in the first 20-30 minutes of baking. High temperature makes the bacteria work extra hard and as a result you have a lot of CO2 being released. Another factor is the steam that is trapped within your dutch oven that also provides for a better rising of your bread.
Scoring – this is the term for slightly cutting the surface of your loaf before putting it into the oven. This slight cut directs the steam to escape through a certain route which allows for a prettier loaf instead of a randomly torn one!
Tools for Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
- Dutch Oven – cast iron pot that ensures crust and oven spring of your bread. You can use cast iron pan as well, just add some water onto a baking sheet at the bottom of your oven during baking!
- Kitchen Scale – you may use cups as well, but kitchen scale will ensure your measurements are correct (which is really important when making gluten free sourdough bread!)
- Banneton Basket / Mixing Bowl – you can use either one, just if you go for a mixing bowl choose a medium size one so that your bread rises upward instead of spreading to the sides.
- Kitchen Towels – you will need to cover your dough with a wet towel during resting times, and if you are using a bowl for proofing you might need to line your bowl with a kitchen towel as well.
- Razor or a Sharp Knife – for scoring your dough and giving it that unique touch!
- 140 grams mature starter
- 350 grams (2.5 cups) gluten free flour (plus 2 tsp xanthan gum if not in the flour already)
- 240 ml (1 cup) water (tap water is fine)
- 7 grams salt (use fine sea salt for better nutrition value)
What Flour is Best for Gluten Free Sourdough Bread?
There are so many flours to choose from when it comes to baking gluten free! Of course, the easiest one is white rice flour as it is the most budget-friendly and accessible one, but depending on your taste you might want to experiment with other types like whole grain brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, mixes of other types like sorghum, quinoa, and other types.
For this recipe I used a mix of white rice and corn flours. Whatever flour your choose, it is not recommended to use premade mixes that contain starches. You will be better off by creating your own GF flour mix for this recipe.
For more info on GF flour types check out this source.
Step by Step Recipe
STEP 1 – Feed Your Starter
Get 50-85 grams of starter and add 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. Mix and let it rise until doubled in size!
STEP 2 – Mixing the Ingredients
Combine 350 grams of gluten free flour, 7 grams of salt and 2 tsp of xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl. Then add the 140 grams of starter and 240 ml of water to the dough. Mix really well as gluten free flour will have better texture if you mix it for at least 5 minutes.
STEP 3 – Bulk Rise
Cover the dough with a wet towel and leave to rise for 6-10 hours depending on the temperature in your house. At this point your dough shouldn’t double in size yet.
STEP 4 – Proofing
Prepare your banneton basket or a bowl for proofing. Line with a kitchen towel if using a bowl. Flour the inside of the basket / bowl so that the bread doesn’t stick too much to it. You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on it at this point as well! Cover with a wet towel and leave for an overnight proofing in the fridge. It will take about 12 hours.
STEP 5 – Preheat the Oven
In the morning preheat the oven at 550F/260C for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to have your dutch oven inside as well. It needs to be hot when we put the bread in it!
STEP 6 – Bake the Bread!
Transfer your dough onto a sheet of baking paper, dust off the excess flour to avoid burning, and score your bread as you like. Then transfer the dough with the baking paper into the hot dutch oven. Be careful not to touch it with bare hands!
Place your bread into the oven, lower the temperature to 450F/230C and let it bake for 40 minutes. After that take off the lid, lower the temperature to 425F/215C and bake for additional 40 minutes.
Let the bread cool completely before cutting into it! Waiting will help you avoid gummines and will ensure your bread doesn’t dry out too soon!
Get my FREE baking timeline for gluten free sourdough bread! (PDF)
Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Baking Timeline
7am – feed your starter.
11am (or when the starter is mature) – mix all the ingredients and leave to rise.
5-9pm (depending on when the dough rises) – prepare the proofing basket / bowl, transfer the dough into it, and let proof for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
5-9am (12 hours after proofing started) – preheat your oven to 550F/260C with the dutch oven inside. Preheat for at least 30 minutes! Then transfer the dough into the dutch oven, lower the temperature to 450F/230C and bake for 40 minutes. Then take the lid off, lower the temperature to 425F/215C and bake for additional 40 minutes.
Let the bread cool completely before cutting into it (leave it for a few hours). Enjoy!
Tips for Success
Make sure your starter is really active as it is the most important part of baking this kind of bread!
Use kitchen scale – cups are not as reliable especially when it comes to gluten free flours!
If you don’t like the results – try using a different flour! Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is My Starter Not Doubling in Size?
Your kitchen might be too cold or you don’t feed your starter often enough. If you are using white rice flour, try adding some whole grain brown rice flour to help the process. You can also add some honey to the starter to help it rise. Some people even add apples or cabbage to the starter in the very first stage to help develop the natural yeast.
Is it Hard to Make Gluten Free Sourdough Bread?
It is actually much easier than making regular sourdough bread! You don’t need to develop gluten, so you can skip the whole stretch and fold stage which normally takes a few hours. You might need to pay more attention to the rising times as gluten free bread tends to finish rising sooner than the regular kind.
Is Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Vegan?
Yes, it is! It is also dairy free as its only ingredients are flour, water, and salt.
Share your experiences or any questions you might have in the comment section below. I am excited to see what your discoveries have been with gluten free sourdough bread baking!