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How to Make a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

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Sourdough Starter

With minimal equipment, a few basic ingredients, and a little patience, you can craft tasty — and easily digestible — baked goods.

If you’re looking for a DIY alternative to store-bought gluten-free bread, making your own sourdough starter is a good first step. The fermentation process uses naturally occurring wild yeasts and lactobacilli, the gut-friendly bacteria that give sourdough its tart flavor; these organisms also support your body’s absorption of magnesium, zinc, iron, and other nutrients.

Once mature, your starter can serve as a natural leavener in homemade bread, or you can use it to add a trademark tang to your favorite muffin, waffle, or brownie recipes.

Most types of flour will work with this method, but we like brown-rice flour because it’s a gluten-free whole grain. The process is simple: All you need is some filtered water, flour, and time.

Directions

Day 1: In a medium-size glass bowl, stir 4 ounces of brown-rice flour into — 4 ounces of filtered water. Cover loosely with a dish towel and let sit at room temperature (about 68 degrees F) for 24 hours. If your home is cooler than that, your starter may grow more slowly; place the bowl in a warm spot (like on top of a refrigerator) to speed up the process.

Sourdough StarterPhotography by John Mowers
Days 2–5: Approximately every eight hours throughout this process, feed your starter with 4 ounces each of flour and filtered water. Stir thoroughly and cover after each feeding, keeping it at room temperature. Your starter will begin to smell pungent and sour; bubbles will start to appear at the top and on the sides.

Sourdough StarterPhotography by John Mowers
Days 6–7: Your starter will begin creating a dome. The surface will resemble cracked clay, and the material underneath will be aerated and bubbly. This means you’re ready to start baking! Experiment with substituting 1 cup of your starter for ½ cup of flour and ½ cup of liquid in your favorite quick-bread recipes.

Sourdough StarterPhotography by John Mowers
Maintenance: Once your starter has matured, you can refrigerate it to slow the fermentation process. Feed it once a week with 2 ounces each of flour and filtered water. To prep it for baking, store it at room temperature for at least 24 hours, then repeat the feeding schedule until the dome reappears.

WEB EXTRA!

Bread Srsly’s Gluten-Free Sourdough

San Francisco’s first gluten-free sourdough bread company shares their flagship recipe — a perfect use for your first starter!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1  1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • ½-1 cup water, as needed

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in sourdough starter, then add enough water so that the dough resembles pancake batter. Stir to combine.
  3. Let the dough rise for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
  4. Bake at 375 in a greased loaf pan until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour.
  5. Cool completely before slicing.

Looking for other ways to use your sourdough starter? Check out our Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.com/explifemag/baking-with-your-sourdough-starter/ for some of our favorite recipes!

— by Sadie Scheffer

is an Experience Life associate editor.

Photography by John Mowers

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