Beginners Guide To Making A Sourdough Starter
Making a gluten-free sourdough starter from scratch is simple, but it does take a little work .
Give yourself at least a week to make your starter before making a bread, although ideally youll allow your sourdough starter to develop longer. The older your sourdough starter, the more tangy and flavorful it will be. Some sourdough starters have been passed on from generation to generation, giving a sourdough taste like no other.
While making a homemade sourdough starter is an exercise in patient, I promise you, the taste of fresh gluten-free sourdough bread is well worth the effort and wait.
Youll need a few simple supplies to make your starter.
Mason jar: I start with a small pint-sized mason jar to hold my starter, but as the starter grows, it will need to be transferred into a quart-sized mason jar. Do not use metal. Use a wide-mouth mason jar if possible.
Gluten-free flour: You can use any gluten-free flour to create your starter. I typically use a brown rice flour or sorghum flour. Use whatever you have . The flour is tasteless.
Filtered water: I use filtered water from my tap.
Coffee filters: While you could use a light towel or even plastic wrap to cover your starter, I prefer to cover it with a coffee filter. The coffee filter allows the air to circulate, but it wont let any particles into the jar that could taint your sourdough starter. Youll need a rubber band to secure the filter in place.
How To Refresh A Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
Refreshing a gluten free starter keeps it healthy and strong. I refresh mine at least every other week, once a week if I remember, when stored in the fridge, but always 8-12 hours before Im ready to mix the sourdough. Also, I keep the starter in a glass jar with a rubber band around the starting level so I can track its progress as it develops.
To refresh your gluten free starter:
- First, in a clear jar youll add part of your sourdough starter . Then youll whisk in the water and add the flours. Mix well until the flours are hydrated.
- Next, loosely lid and wrap a rubber band around the jar at the height of the starter. This will give you a visual indication of how much the starter has grown as it grows to double in size.
- Last, allow the starter to develop at room temperature for about 8-12 hours. The time will vary due to ambient temperature.
Faq: What Is That Dark Liquid On The Top Of My Sourdough Starter
When the yeast in a sourdough starter has eaten up all of its available food and is hungry for more, it produces a thin dark layer of liquid on top. This is an indication that your starter is more active than youre feeding it. It is a naturally-occurring alcohol created by the yeast, called hooch. This is totally normal! Do not freak out.
If your starter does develop hooch, you can either pour it off the top or simply mix it back in, then discard and feed as usual. Ours almost always has a thin layer of hooch developed when we take it out of the fridge for our weekly baking.
However, I have noticed that water has a tendency to separate out from brown rice flour even more readily than wheat flour. For example, sometimes a thin layer of water appears immediately after feeding the gluten-free sourdough starter. That isnt hooch That is just water, and you can leave it be.
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How To Make A Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
This simple recipe generally takes about 5-7 days to complete, but it could take longer. Youll think about it more than the time it takes to make it: checking on it periodically, looking for bubbles, taking a whiff for a bit of that sweet and sour aroma were after. The key is patience and consistency .
- Day 1: In a medium glass bowl or jar, whisk buckwheat or brown rice flour with sweet rice flour and water. Lid or cover with a damp tea towel and set aside at room temperature 24 hours.
- Day 2: Take a portion of the previous days mix , and in a clean jar or bowl whisk in previous days mix, water and buckwheat and sweet rice flour. Lid or cover with a damp tea towel and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
at about day three four, starter will begin to smell unpleasant, like sweaty socks. keep going it will change for the better!
- Day 3 through 6or 7 : Repeat day two until the mixture becomes puffy, has a pleasant sweet-sour aroma and bubbles begin to form under the surface. How many days it takes to complete to get to this point depends on ambient temperature and available, naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. Six to seven days has been my experience.
- Note: Time mentioned here is a guide rather than a determining factor for when the starter is ready. Use the cues and your senses to determine when its ready. It may take longer than seven days.
Its ready when its ready.
How To Use Gf Sourdough Starter
Once you have your gf starter ready, you will want to use it in all of your favourite recipes, including my favourite easy gluten free sourdough bread recipe . The classic way of using a homemade sourdough starter would be to make a sourdough loaf of bread, but there are several other ways you can use it as well.
While many think of sourdough as a bread, the term actually refers to the use of a developed starter rather than store bought yeast. As a result, sourdough starter actually has a multitude of uses. Here are some of them:
- In fluffy sourdough biscuit recipes
- As a part of homemade waffles for a slightly sour kick
- In bagels with your favourite garnishes such as sesame seeds or everything bagel mix
- As the leavener in coffee cakes with streusel toppings
- In cinnamon bun or sticky bun recipes
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What Is A Starter
A starter is the building block for creating sourdough bread. The process of creating sourdough is the most ancient form of bread baking and doesn’t require commercially produced yeast to yield a rise. Instead a sourdough recipe requires a starter which is a mixture of flour + water which has been cultivated to produce natural yeast + bacteria.
A starter is fed regularly with flour and water to keep it alive and active for bread baking.
How Long Will The Rise Take
This rise takes quite a bit of time. In all of my recipe testing, Im yet to see a rise that took less than 3 hours.
But this bread dough is much less likely to overproof and take on that pock-marked appearance than bread made with conventional yeast. If youre unsure about whether or not the bread has proofed enough, allow it to keep rising.
Ive even allowed the dough to rise for 8 hours. It still hadnt overproofed. Overproofed dough like this tends to have little dimples on the surface. That takes a lot longer to happen here.
That means that you can feed your active starter tonight, and leave it out on the counter, loosely covered. Then, when you wake up tomorrow morning, make the bread dough and set it to rise during the day. When youre about an hour away from dinnertime, bake the loaf and enjoy.
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How Much Gluten Is There In Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread contains much less gluten than regular yeasted bread due to the fermentation process.
Regular yeasted bread contains around 124,000 ppm of gluten . That’s pretty huge! But sourdough is not gluten free and still contains upwards of 200 ppm – even after a long fermentation period .
Now this is a huge reduction, however it’s still not enough to be considered gluten free.
To be considered gluten free, food needs less than 20 ppm .
So while sourdough bread may be more easily digested by most people, it’s still unsafe for people with celiac disease. And it could still be inflammatory for those with gluten intolerance.
Starter Is Slow To Activate
Please note that gluten-free starters do not get as active or bubbly as regular wheat starters. It may seem a little sluggish at the beginning of the process. Different climates, the type of water used and the brand of flour can all have an impact on the personality of your starter. You might find your starter needs an extra feed here and there.
- You can use a drop of organic honey in your starter which will super charge the activation.
- Feed your starter more flour + water at each feed.
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Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
This gluten free sourdough starter is just what youll need to make a great loaf of gluten free sourdough bread!
Sourdough is all the rage right now, and for good reason! Of course the whole pandemic thing caused a shortage of packaged yeast, so that was probably the main reason. But the best reason is that its so freakin good, yall!!!
Before we get into all the sourdough BREAD talk, though, we have to start with the STARTER. Start with the starter. Start with the starter. Dont mind me. Anything to do with great gluten free bread gets me excited, haha!
The Daily Progress Of Your Starter
Just after you have fed your starter it will look a little flat as it begins its feeding cycle but 2-4 hours after feeding your starter it will be at peak activity again and should have risen almost a third in size have large air bubbles in and a sponge-like fluffy texture. Over the next few hours the starter will begin to fall a little and the surface will look deflated. Then it’s ready for its next feed and for the cycle to being again.
It is best to bake with a starter when it is at peak activity, so the 2-4 hours after feeding.
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Days Three Through Seven:
Time to start discarding! The morning of day three youll want to remove all but 100g to 120g of the starter. Later on in the process, you can keep the starter to use for other recipes. But at this point, youve still got bad bacteria in the mix, so I recommend throwing it away or putting it into your compost.
For the next five days, youll want to discard all but 100g of starter every feed. Keep feeding 50g each of flour and water. Well up this to 100g for maintenance when we start baking with it. For now, we dont want to create any extra waste! You may notice your starter gets less active when you start discarding it. Dont worry thats normal, and your starter is just gaining strength.
Keep feeding twice a day until you start seeing good bubbles. Once youre seeing good bubbling and a decent rise, you can switch to once-a-day feeds and increase your feedings to 100% hydration.
100% hydration feeding means a 1:1:1 ratio of starter:flour:water. This can vary slightly based on the absorbency of your flour, but it will be about equal. For my brown rice flour starter, it ends up being pretty even. With my sorghum starter, I find I only need about 80g of sorghum flour to 100g each of starter and water. Were looking for a thick, pasty consistency, so add a little extra water if your starter gets too thick.
Storing Your Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
I always recommend storing your baked goods at room temperature in a sealed container, and this gluten free sourdough bread is no exception. The simple truth is that if you put baked goods into the refrigerator, they will dry out. You can put them into the freezer when they are fully cooled, but they will need to be warmed or toasted before enjoying again.
This gluten free sourdough bread is still soft and delicious after a few days in a zip top bag with the air squeezed out of it and stored at room temperature. Depending on the size of your loaf, you may need to cut it in half to get it to fit into a gallon sized bag, but other than that, its easy to just seal it up and grab a slice whenever you like!
If youd like to bake a regular gluten free artisan loaf without the sourdough starter, check out my Gluten Free Artisan Bread Recipe. And of course, my award-winning gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix works well for any kind of sandwich bread, oven or bread machine, hamburger/hot dog bun or baguette recipe! Click on the description tab to find links to all these gluten free bread recipes or use the search bar above.
So lets get down to baking great gluten free sourdough, shall we?
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How To Make Sourdough Starter Gluten Free
Learn how to make sourdough starter with gluten free flour. Includes tips for an easy to follow gluten free sourdough starter recipe and process.
This post contains affiliate links for products and ingredients I use and love. You can read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting What The Fork Food Blog so I can continue to provide you with free gluten free recipes
Ive always been intrigued by sourdough but never had the courage to start my own. Since theres been a yeast shortage, I figured nows as good a time as ever to dive right in.
And boy, did I dive in.
The world of sourdough is a vast one. Theres so much to learn and once you start, its like falling into a rabbit hole. Hence, the reason why I named my very first starter Alice.
Thats right, I said first because once I started with one, I had to start others. Different flours yield different flavors and they all behave a little bit differently. See why I said its like falling into a rabbit hole?
You can spend hours and hours researching and reading but the best thing to do is just start making sourdough starter.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also for others to see.
Youll soon realize, once you start researching gluten-free sourdough bread recipes, that there are so, so many variations made with multiple different flours, starches, and binders.
I needed to make this as easy as possible not only for you but for my own sanity.
How Do I Know If It Has Gone Bad
If your sourdough starter has been exposed to bacteria, it can go bad. The easiest way to tell if your starter is still good is to open it and smell before each use. Also, look at the starter to make sure it is still bubbling.
If it smells like unbaked bread, then it is still good and can be baked. If you notice a foul odor, mold growing or pink or orange tint, then it has gone bad and should be discarded.
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