Gluten-free sourdough bread recipe (FODMAP friendly)

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.comGluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly) from www.georgeats.com | @georgeatsA Gluten-free sourdough bread recipe has been a long time coming. Last year I published my gluten free sourdough starter guide, after years of experimentation. Now I’m publishing my recipe for gluten free sourdough bread itself. The process, as you’ll discover, is ever evolving, which is partly why I’ve held off posting a recipe for so long. I also quite liked having sourdough as a hobby, rather than making it work related.

That thought process, I think, has resulted in a gluten-free sourdough bread recipe that I’m really proud of. I’ve tested it all sorts of different ways, and although I am no expert, I have definitely learned a lot about sourdough.

Honestly I think the main takeaway is that every loaf is a lesson. No two are the same, and there will be both successes and ‘failures’ (that will still taste good.) Gluten free sourdough making is a ~jOurNey~, you guys.

Before we begin – this is quite a dense bread. It’s more of a European, serious style gluten free sourdough bread, and less of a lofty loaf. I didn’t want to use gums or anything weird, and this bread is truly delicious as it is.

So with that in mind, shall we dive in?

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly and gum free) from www.georgeats.com

SOME NOTES ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE 

  • Currently, I have no substitution suggestions for the flours. I have tried to make them as easy to find as possible, given the current climate. If you can’t find them in stores, you should be able to buy them online. As I bake with more varieties, I will update this post. Only so much bread I can bake, so thanks for the understanding there.
  • Different flours have different absorbencies, so if you’re going rogue, you’ll have to be nimble with the water you add.
  • In the same vein, I have no substitutions for the psyllium husk. I don’t use the powder (which is more absorbent) I use regular ol’ psyllium husk. Currently, I don’t have a suggestion as to substituting between the two, either.
  • You can make your own quinoa flour using quinoa at the supermarket
  • The recipe makes one small-ish loaf of dense, European style bread. This is serious ol’ bread – not some white lofty number. It’s dense and moist and DAMN DELICIOUS.
  • All the websites I read say that a dutch oven is really truly necessary for a good loaf of bread. This is because it traps the heat completely and keeps it stable, much like a professional bread oven. Regular ol’ ovens are, apparently, quite terrible at maintaining a consistent heat.
  • That said, I did a year worth of tests with a cast iron skillet and some tin foil. So it’s possible to do without, your bread just might not be QUITE as good. Still v good, though.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly) from www.georgeats.com | @georgeats

A NOTE ON SOURDOUGH MAKING IN GENERAL

I’ve been tinkering with this recipe for over a year now so while I’m not an expert,  I do have some things to say. First and foremost – sourdough is not something you make once and discard the recipe when it doesn’t work. There are SO MANY factors that determine the success of each individual loaf. So, a little bit of truth: if you end up with a shit loaf, it’s something you did (or didn’t do.) Sorry bout it. It’s your own job to hone in your own sourdough, so if you’re not in for the long haul, I wouldn’t bother starting.

You can’t rush the process of sourdough making. The starter is ready when it’s ready, as is the loaf itself. Don’t be so rigid in sticking to a recipe that you end up with a non-loaf – you need to use your intuition, and that’s something I can’t help with. Take the time to learn by doing and you’ll end up with the gluten-free sourdough bread of your dreams, I promise.

Gluten free, FODMAP friendly sourdough recipe from www.georgeats.comGLUTEN FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD MAKING GLOSSARY

  • pre-ferment = a mixture of starter, water and flour. I made this name up tbh.
  • Banneton = bread making basket. You can use a round based bowl instead if you don’t have one.
  • Proofing = the act of allowing of your bread to rise enough that it’s ready to bake
  • Lame – a sharp blade to score your loaf. People have told me you can also use a razor blade or sharp box cutter.
  • Oven spring = liftoff in the oven. Good oven spring means your dough has risen nicely. Generally the first 10-15 minutes are crucial to oven spring.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly and gum free) from www.georgeats.com

SOURDOUGH STARTER RESOURCES

First and foremost, you’ll need a lovely, healthy gluten free sourdough bread starter. Here is my extensive how-to guide, and here are some links I found handy when creating my first starter.

Tbh, the best learning is by doing. However, here are some handy resources for making your own starter.

  • A good video on the general gist of making a starter. There’s no mentions of discard but if you’re a visual learner, this might help.
  • There is a sourdough website which is basically a chat forum of all things sourdough. If you have ever googled something sourdough related, chances are you ended up there.
  • Not gluten free, but The Perfect Loaf has a great sourdough guide, and is an insane sourdough baker and specialist. I am a crazed Instagram fan.
  • This post is what got me into gluten free sourdough making all those years ago. Major props where they are due.

OTHER THINGS YOU’LL NEED FOR YOUR SOURDOUGH:

  1. A selection of gluten free flours at your disposal, and a basic understanding of which flour does what. Please have a read of my gluten free flour guide if you’re new to the gluten free life/having an overloaded flour pantry.
  2. Some decent kitchen scales. If you’ve gotten this far into gluten free baking, I’m assuming you have some scales at home. Gluten free is a fickle beast, and even small deviations in flours can yield very undesirable results. Scales aren’t super expensive and they’re worth every penny.
  3. Potentially, a banneton (bread proofing basket) and a lame (very sharp instrument to score the bread.) I’ve linked some crude Google image searches if you’re a visual learner. Note that neither are compulsory – you can use a bowl for proofing and a sharp knife for scoring.
  4. Some sort of dutch oven for baking the loaf. This is necessary to create the same sort of environment as a profesh oven – high, consistent heat which results in ‘oven spring’ aka lift. Check that it’s suitable for high oven temperatures (or you might lose the handle of the lid). Worst comes to worst, you can use a cast iron skillet, a foil tent and a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe from www.georgeats.com | @georgeatsGLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Patience is key. It sucks but it’s true. You need to be patient in waiting for your starter, then in making the pre-ferment, and again in proofing. Oh also, it’s best to cut a loaf when cool (to avoid gumminess) so there’s that too.
  • Manage your expectations, and know that it won’t be as beautifully air pockety and soft as a regular, wheat based loaf.
  • As with pasta recipes, there isn’t really such thing as a sourdough recipe. That is, you’ll need to use a bit of intuition. Is your dough dessert dry? Add a bit of water. Is it less of a dough and more of a soup? Might have to add a bit of flour. There are so many variables – starter, the degree to which your flour is milled, etc. Use this recipe as a guide, and make the bread your own.
  • WEIGH YOUR INGREDIENTS, water included.

VARIABLES THAT CAN IMPACT YOUR GLUTEN FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD

On basically every gluten free sourdough post I’ve seen, there are a hoard of angry people asking why their loaf didn’t work. A) don’t do this to me pls and B) you’ll never get a 100% accurate answer from a stranger (me) unless you deviated so enormously from the instructions that it couldn’t be anything else. So, with all this in mind, let’s chat through things that could alter your loaf.

  1. Your sourdough starter. Is it thick, is it thin, is it even bubbly? Different gluten free flours absorb water differently, so a starter with rice flour could look dramatically different to one with quinoa flour. Personally I like to add water using my intuition – I want the starter to be on the thicker side, but still pourable. Think pasta/porridge consistency. Just as the thickness could impact your loaf, so too could the local weather. Starters thrive in warmer climates, and loaves rise quicker and higher as a result.
  2. Your flours. Different brands mill their flours to different degrees, and no two batches are the same. Your choice of flours will also impact the loaf. Buckwheat is thirstier than quinoa, for example.
  3. Your psyllium husk. I use plain ol’ psyllium husk, but there is also such a thing is psyllium husk powder. It absorbs a lot more water than the regular variety.
  4. Your oven temperature. Is it accurate? Did you preheat it for long enough?
  5. Whether you watched each element of your bread carefully. This is particularly important in the proofing stage – overproofed dough is a cause of many bread ills. See the proofing section for more.
  6. Whether or not you have a dutch oven at your disposal. I’m learning that you really need your loaf to be covered for optimal oven spring (lift and rise in the oven.) You can try to simulate this with a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (for steam) but ideally a dutch oven is best.
  7. How you measure things. Scales are best, but with aforementioned variables, some adjustments might need to be made.
  8. Finally, although there are plenty more, your water. I have found here in Melbourne that the water seems to be fine for sourdough use. However, additives to tap water can hinder the growth of a sourdough culture. Consider buying a water purifier if you’ve had no luck getting your starter or sourdough going.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly and gum free) from www.georgeats.com

THE PROCESS

As you’re probably aware, sourdough making is not a quick process. Getting your starter going can take up to 12 days in a cold climate, so this is a marathon. A carb laden marathon (my preferred sort.)

STEP ONE: CREATE YOUR STARTER

For ease of reference, here is my sourdough starter recipe (but please read the starter post here.) Note that you can play around with the flours that work best for you. I personally find a 100% rice flour starter a bit silty, but others have success with it.

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Gluten free sourdough starter

I have used quinoa and sorghum flours here, but what you'd like to use is up to you. Feel free to experiment as you get the courage. I'd recommend half quinoa and half something else like brown rice flour, if you can't find sorghum. Quinoa and a hefty wholegrain gluten free flour seem to provide a great balance for a healthy starter.
Prep Time5 mins

Equipment

  • Large glass jar with a lid
  • Muslin cloth, to keep bugs out when 'airing' the starter
  • A wooden spoon, or anything that isn't steel
  • Kitchen scales, for weighing out the feeds
  • An elastic band or tape, to measure starter growth (the funnest part!)

Ingredients

  • 25g quinoa flour (see notes on flour)
  • 25g sorghum flour (or another wholegrain gluten free flour, like brown rice flour)
  • 50g water (see notes on water)

Instructions

  • Combine your water and flour in a sterile glass jar or clean glass bowl. Ideally, you'd do this in the morning, and then feed the starter the same amount again in the evening. If your starter is not the consistency of a thick paste, add more water. It should not have a dry, crackly top - add a little extra water if it does.
  • Continue this pattern of feeding until the starter begins to bubble, and become active. It should be roughly the consistency of a thick pancake batter. After 2 or 3 days, or when there are considerable bubbles on the starter, discard around half of the starter (see intro on what to use discard for) and feed the starter as per usual. Discard once a day for optimal results.
  • To keep your starter alive, continue to feed it once or twice a day, with the same 50g flour and water measurements. Stir well to incorporate after each feed. The starter should look like a thick paste but without a dry crackly top - you can add more water to achieve this consistency if necessary. Every gluten free flour is different (including each bag) so I often eyeball how much water I add. Discard or use starter every couple of days, and feed after each discard. Most gluten free bread recipes I have seen ask for 1 cup of sourdough starter per loaf, so make sure you have enough to make a loaf and also keep the starter going.
  • To store the starter, see notes and links in the introduction.
  • Make sure the starter is fed and in it's peak 'rise' before you use it to make sourdough. See the links in the resources section for more information.
  • After every use (discard or sourdough) feed your starter straight away to replenish what has been taken. Always ensure you have more than enough starter for a bake, otherwise you'll have to begin the process again.

STEP TWO: MAKE THE PRE-FERMENT (THE NIGHT BEFORE )

There are fancy names for these actions in regular sourdough making. I’m not going to use them because I don’t think I have a full grasp on them yet. They also differ a little in instruction between glutenous and gluten free preparations.

To make the pre-ferment, you will combine 1/2 cup (125g) of ACTIVE, BUBBLY AND THICK sourdough starter with 60g (1/2 cup) of fine white rice flour and 3/4 cups water. I like to do this step the night before baking bread. It can be done the morning of, but I actually find the bread has more air pockets if the process begins the night before.

Whatever you choose to do, the pre-ferment needs to be made using starter that is well fed and in a ‘rise.’ Basically, a couple of hours after feeding a starter it rises and bubbles up before collapsing again. You need to use the starter at the peak of it’s rise. There’s no exact science and it’s a somewhat forgiving process. My suggestion is to feed it, run some errands or do some work and then check back. The timing depends on the strength of your starter and the climate in your kitchen. Starters and sourdoughs like a bit of heat (not too much!) so they’re generally quicker in warmer climates.

If you’re doing it in the morning, it needs to sit until bubbly for at least 3 hours. The top should look like a bowl of warm milk does after you’ve added packet yeast and left it sit – fluffy and bubbly, but not excessively so. Try to do this in a ceramic or plastic bowl as opposed to metal.

CLIFF NOTES SUMMARY OF WHERE WE’RE AT SO FAR:
  • Create your starter and feed it until it’s active and bubbly
  • Feed your active starter a few hours ahead of it’s maiden voyage (so it’s on a ‘rise’)
  • Create your pre-ferment with active starter, rice flour and water

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.com. Wholegrain, FODMAP friendly, gum free and delicious.

STEP THREE: MAKING THE GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD (THE NEXT DAY OR WHEN THE PRE-FERMENT IS FLUFFY)

Good morning or happy lunchtime! Time to create your loaf. You’ll be combining the psyllium husk with water and honey/sugar to create a gel. You’ll need to let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to allow it to gel up sufficiently. While you’re waiting, you’ll be mixing up your flours in a large mixing bowl. Next up, you’ll combine the pre-ferment with the psyllium husk, and then combine this with the flours. Mix mix mix! There should be no dry spots.

As mentioned, you will need to use your intuition. If the loaf is way too dry, add a splash of water, but wait until you’ve incorporated ALL the flour before making any rash moves. Again, as mentioned, every single flour is different, so this will likely change every time you make a loaf. It’s a process of discovery and intuition, so trust your gut. Even a bad loaf is a good loaf by gluten-free sourdough bread standards.

If the dough is very wet, be honest with yourself – did you accurately weigh the flours? Follow the instructions? Use an active starter? Same goes if the dough is exceedingly dry.

The dough should feel kind of moist but overall like a dough should feel. It shouldn’t be wet like a regular gluten free dough – you should be able to handle it and shape it. It should feel light and kind of jelly-ish.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.com | @georgeatsSHAPING

Now, let’s talk shaping! There’s not a crazy amount to it here because we’re not stretching gluten or doing anything fancy. This King Arthur video gives you a decent idea of the basics – you want to try and make sure the seam is A) on the bottom of the loaf and B) sealed up as much as possible. The seam will open up when baking so it’s preferable not to have one (especially not on the top of the loaf.)

To do this yourself, dump your dough onto a lightly floured bench. Lightly flouring is unusual for gluten free baked goods but this dough isn’t all that sticky. Only using minimal flour means you won’t add extra to the inner crevices of the bread, which can be unpleasant when eating it.

OPTION TIME FOR YOUR GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD: LOAF OR BOULE

So, time for your bread options! I’m sure there are more, but I’ve only made these. So, you can either make a gluten-free sourdough bread boule or a loaf. A boule is a round loaf, essentially. A loaf is a loaf. Thank me later.

To create a boule, you have a few options. Firstly, you can buy a round banneton. I found one at a local bakery and it cost me about $30 Australian. It’s a bit of a bougie bakery so I expect you could probably find a cheaper one, but I don’t mind paying more for small biz. If, however, a banneton is out of the question, you could also use a bowl. Ideally it will have a round bottom (not a flattened one) and be made of either glass or plastic, ideally glass.

Sprinkle a little flour into your banneton or bowl, and then place your loaf, seam-side up (aka the shit bits on the bottom so nobody will see them.) Cover the bowl very thoroughly. I HATE to recommend cling-wrap but a lightly oiled piece does do a good job of trapping everything in here. The dough needs a moist environment to rise without getting dry. You could also use a lightly oiled shower-cap. Oiling is important because it prevents the dough from getting stuck to the cling as it rises.

Personally, I am obsessed with putting my covered dough in the oven with JUST THE LIGHT ON. NOT THE OVEN, JUST THE LIGHT. It’s a draft free environment with a bit of heat, which is exactly what your dough needs to rise. If you don’t have that option, some people have written online that they use electric blankets, dog electric beds (who knew?) or hot water bottles (not too close or too hot!)

In summer, you likely won’t need a heat source, particularly if your kitchen is warm. Note that you can put your dough in a sunny spot, but it needs to be draft free and not crazy insane heat.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly) from www.georgeats.com | @georgeatsPROOFING YOUR DOUGH

This is the bit where you leave the dough to do it’s thing. The Spruce Eats has a good definition of proofing. Note that (as previously mentioned) gluten-free sourdough bread differs from regular. Most obviously if you’re clicking that link, gluten-free requires only one proof – also known as bulk fermentation. In laymen’s terms, it just needs to rise once.

There is such a thing as under-proofing and over-proofing. I don’t have a full grasp on these yet, I don’t think. However, Cooks lllustrated says that if you gently poke the dough and it springs back completely, it needs to be proofed longer. If you poke it and it springs back slowly (leaving a lil indent) then it’s ready to be baked. This article is also very helpful in determining when your bread is correctly proofed.

Apparently, if in doubt, it’s better to slightly under-proof your dough as opposed to over-proofing it. An over-proofed loaf can result in a big air pocket at the top of the loaf and a dense, gum like bread underneath. Learning what works best is an art (that I don’t think I have fully mastered). It also depends heavily on your kitchen ambience and all the other variables mentioned above that went into your loaf to begin with.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.com. Wholegrain, FODMAP friendly, gum free and delicious.BAKING YOUR GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD

Alright! Your dough is shaped and proofed, so it’s time to bake. Firstly, you’ll need to preheat the oven to a whopping 250C or 500F. You need to preheat your baking vessel of choice (hopefully a dutch oven, but an oven proof skillet or baking stone will suffice.) Everything needs to be bloody hot, so make sure you have your wits about you and protective gear on your hands.

Lots of people online preheat their ovens for an hour ahead of time. This is because a hot, consistent heat is necessary to create oven spring, which is liftoff in the oven. Oven spring is best observed in loaves made in a dutch oven, because they keep heat consistent and trap steam.

If you don’t have a dutch oven, apparently baking stones are helpful. And if you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a cast iron skillet as a base and AT WORST a very well constructed til foil tent on top of your bread. It will help to put a tray of water in the bottom of your oven to create steam for lift. If you want a lift boost in your dutch oven, you can pop a couple of ice cubes in with your loaf.

Baking your loaf covered first results in spring and lift with a bit of colour. If you baked it uncovered the entire time, it would likely burn quite significantly. So, each does does have a purpose. I bake my loaves for 40-50 minutes covered, before uncovering and cooking for an additional 30-50. This is longer than a regular loaf, but we’ve added a lot more water and our loaves are at risk of being gummy.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.com

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR LOAF IS COOKED

It should be a lovely golden brown and if you knock on it (as you would a door) it should sound hollow. Even if the crust is very dark, it should smell caramelised as opposed to burnt. You should also just be able to smell the aroma of baked bread. Sometimes I think we forget that smell is a very helpful tool.

You should absolutely leave your loaf to cool completely before cutting. I know this is hard, but the steam is still working it’s way through the loaf while hot. Cut it too soon and you’ll compress all those air bubbles you worked hard to create. The interior will be a gummy, sticky mess. I think this issue is particularly pronounced with gluten free loaves, so just don’t do it.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.comTROUBLESHOOTING YOUR GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD

My loaf is very wet as I’m shaping it.

There are a few reasons this could have happened. Firstly, did you weigh all your ingredients very precisely? Secondly, is your starter pourable, as opposed to spoonable? An ideal starter is thick like a paste – you could either spoon it or sluggishly pour it. It should be FULL of bubbles that pop as you decant it. If your starter is runny and not super active, this is adding liquid but not gas to the loaf. As mentioned below, starters hit their baking peak a month after you first begin them, so be patient.

Next issue is whether you left your psyllium husk to gel for a sufficient amount of time. The psyllium husk is responsible for holding all the liquid in the dough. If you’ve gotten to the mixing stage and the dough looks like it will be too wet to handle, leave it in the bowl for 10 minutes. Some doughs are tricky to handle (higher hydration = more open crumb, to an extent) it shouldn’t be so wet that it’s like cake batter.

If the 10 minute wait fails and you really can’t lightly flour it on and get it into the bench, add 10g more starch (potato or tapioca) and try again. Don’t add too much flour or you’ll end up with a dry loaf.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe from www.georgeats.comThe loaf didn’t get much height. 

Potential issue 1: your starter might not have been active enough. Apparently, you probably won’t hit peak strength (and thus peak bread) from your starter until about a month in. It needs time to become stronger and more mature. Don’t we all.

Issue 2: Sometimes bannetons are quite shallow and large. While this is probably fine for glutenous bread, it means that your gluten free loaf will more likely spread out. To counteract this, either use a deep bottomed banneton (or bowl) or slow proof your bread in the fridge overnight. To do this, simply follow the method for using your preferment on the same day, and make the loaf after 3 hours. Place the loaf in banneton and cover with cling film/a plastic bag. Leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Not only does this help develop flavour, the bread will also stand taller, even as it proofs at room temperature.

Another potential issue? The fermentation process all takes a lot longer in a cold environment, so that’s something to keep in mind for next time. A 2-3 hour timeline is thrown out the window in a very cold kitchen. Baking a loaf before it has fully proofed means that it won’t have the strength and air pockets to hold itself up.

On that note: the first 10 minutes in the oven is crucial for growth and height. So, was your oven hot enough? Did you preheat your Dutch Oven thoroughly?

The loaf was gummy. 

Did you weigh your ingredients precisely? Water and starter included? Did you cut the loaf before it had cooled? Gluten-free sourdough bread can be a little more moist and dense than the normal variety, but it shouldn’t be gummy. Another thing to consider for next time is taking the lid off the sourdough a little earlier than you did last time. Lastly, did you cook the loaf for long enough?

This issue can also be traced back to a new or sluggish starter. The bubbles in the starter are what will allow the bread to expand. Without expansion, you have a flat, gummy loaf.

The loaf innards were detached from the top crust, leaving a big air pocket and a dense bread.

There are a few issues here, none of which I can decipher for you. Firstly, did you under over over proof your loaf? This can be the cause. I also discovered that dropping my loaf into the waiting dutch oven (as opposed to carefully lowering it) had this result. I suspect it’s because I knocked the air out of it/up to the surface before baking.

The loaf was dry. 

Unless you didn’t weigh your ingredients, I find this one unlikely. Sourdough is a wetter bread than regular, and gluten free needs even more water again. Every bag of flour you’ve ever used has been slightly different. It’s the nature of the beast. If you followed the recipe to the T and your loaf was still dry, consider adding a smidge more water next time (if you’re using the same bags of flours.) It still makes good croutons or toast.

One other thing to note: did you use psyllium husk POWDER? It is much more asborbent, so that could explain it. I don’t use the powder in any of my bread recipes, I’m happy with the original.

The crust was too dark for me.

Cook it on a slightly lower temperature next time!

Q AND A 

  1. I don’t have the flours you specified. Can I use XYZ? I developed this recipe with these flours for a few reasons. Firstly, I tried to use a healthy mix of wholegrain varieties and starchy basics (looking at you, rice flour and tapioca.) Secondly, I wanted to use flours that are readily available, as much as possible. I know sorghum is niche, but it works amazingly well in bread. Quinoa flour can be ground from whole quinoa in a food processor. At the moment, I don’t have suggestions as to potential substitutes. I will update the post as I trial different combinations of flours.
  2. Where can I buy sorghum flour? I buy mine at the supermarket or bulk food store. You can also order it online.
  3. Can I substitute psyllium husk for psyllium husk powder? I haven’t tried it – I prefer to stick with what I know. If you try it, let me know, but note that they have quite different absorbencies (the powder is much more absorbent).
  4. Can I use tapioca flour as opposed to starch or vice versa? I use these pretty interchangeably I have to say. I’m sure there are subtle differences but I haven’t really noticed them in my baking. I haven’t used cassava flour before so I can’t say if that’s different, but I’d say arrowroot might be a clean swap.
  5. Can I use brown rice flour instead of white? I haven’t tried this, although I’d say it would be OK. I’d recommend making the bread with a view to adding a few extra tablespoons of water as necessary. Brown rice flour can be a thirsty gal.

Gluten free sourdough bread recipe (vegan, FODMAP friendly) from www.georgeats.com | @georgeatsHANDY LINKS

  • This article from Serious Eats is seriously helpful. That said, disregard anything to do with gluten.
  • This website, True Sourdough, has a lot of handy articles for when you’re getting into sourdough mode. 
  • The Perfect Loaf is an amazing site full of regular sourdough recipes that I’ve already linked up top. Although not all the steps apply, it’s still a great resource for learning about bread making.
  • This Youtube vid of Chad from Tartine bakery running through how he makes sourdough is a great visual learning tool.

Gluten free sourdough bread

Vegan, gluten free, FODMAP friendly, gum free
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 1 d
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 1 small loaf of bread

Equipment

  • Large glass or plastic mixing bowls
  • Boule shaped Banneton (bread shaping basket) or a bowl with a clean tea towel
  • Lame (scoring blade) or sharp knife
  • Dutch oven or cast iron skillet and tin foil
  • Ice cubes, optional

Ingredients
  

For the pre-ferment:

  • 125-150 g (1/2 cup) active sourdough starter (see notes above and here) Use 150g for a more sour loaf (I use 150g)
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) white rice flour
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) water

For the loaf:

  • 20 g (just over 1/4 cup) psyllium husk, not psyllium husk powder
  • 250-275 g (1 1/4 cups) water
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 55 g (1/2 cup) quinoa flour
  • 100 g (1 cup) sorghum flour
  • 75 g (3/4 cup) tapioca flour
  • 60 g 1/2 cup white rice flour

Instructions
 

To make the pre-ferment:

  • Firstly, ensure you’re using a starter that has been fed a few hours before. It should be on the rise and have a domed top when you measure it into the bowl. To fit this around a normal work schedule, I’d suggest feeding your starter at 5.30pm, and then waiting until bedtime (or the peak of your starter) to make the pre-ferment.
  • Once the starter is ready to go, mix it with the water and then add the flour. Stir until combined and cover with cling film or a wrap. I hate recommending cling film but it does do a good job here.
  • Leave this in a reasonably warm, draft free place overnight. I use my oven with just the light, not the heat turned on.

To make the loaf:

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the psyllium husk, water, honey and salt. Whisk to combine, and then leave for 5-10 minutes to thicken into a gel.
  • While you’re waiting, combine the flours in a large glass or plastic mixing bowl.
  • Once the psyllium gel has thickened, mix the pre-ferment into it and whisk to combine. Add this wet mixture to the flours and use a spoon to combine the mixture as much as possible. Once it’s almost mixed, use your hands to squelch the dough around, picking up dry bits of flour as you go. If you’ve weighed everything diligently there shouldn’t be a need for extra water, but you can add 1-2 tablespoons if it’s truly truly necessary. You should be able to pick up the dough and shape it.
  • Once the dough is completely mixed through and formed into a rough ball, tip it onto a very lightly (white rice) floured bench. Use your hands (and the Youtube links above) to close any seams as much as possible. Make sure the side with no seams is the top of your loaf.
  • When the dough is shaped, lightly flour your banneton or bowl with white rice flour. Place the nice side of the dough (aka the side with no seams that you’ve chosen as the top of the loaf) down into the banneton. The base of the loaf (with all the seams) should be facing upwards now.
  • Cover the loaf with a lightly oiled showercap or the cling you used for the pre-ferment. Place the loaf in a warm, draft free place (again, I use my oven with just the light on) for 2-3 hours, or until it’s a little jiggly and a finger poke springs back halfway.

To bake the loaf:

  • Half an hour or so before baking the loaf, place your dutch oven in the oven get the heat up to 250C or 500F. Making sure the dutch oven is very hot is integral to getting oven spring.
  • When the oven and loaf are both ready, take a long piece of baking paper and lay it on the bench. It needs to be long enough that you can lower the loaf into the dutch oven without burning your arms. In my experience, dropping the loaf into the dutch oven results in a flat and gummy loaf.
  • Invert the loaf onto the centre of the baking paper, leaving the edges for lowering handles. Use a lame (sharp scoring blade) or a sharp knife to make a reasonably deep incision in the loaf. Google ‘bread scoring’ for some pattern ideas, or just keep it simple.
  • Get all your oven gear ready to work quickly for this next step. Carefully and quickly remove the super hot dutch oven from the oven. Shut the oven door while you work. Take the lid off and quickly lower in the bread. If you’re using an ice cube for extra oven spring, add it now. Pop the lid back on and quickly return the dutch oven to the oven. Turn the oven down to 200-220c.
  • Bake the loaf with the lid on for 40-50 minutes. If you prefer a less caramelised (aka dark) crust, leave the lid on a little longer. Once the time is up, remove the lid and continue to bake your loaf for another 40 or so minutes, or until the crust sounds hollow when you knock on it and is deeply caramelised brown in colour.
  • Once cooked, remove the loaf from the oven and baking paper and place it on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely (3-4 hours AT LEAST) before slicing into it, as you can compress all the air in the loaf and end up with extremely gummy bread.
  • You can store the loaf in a bag or freeze it in slices.

Notes

My cup measurements use Australian cups. I suggest you use the gram measurements for accuracy, particularly if you don't use Australian cups. 

59 replys to Gluten-free sourdough bread recipe (FODMAP friendly)

  1. Ah, it makes me so happy to see a GF recipe. Well done! I’m looking forward to trying this with my started over the weekend. I was curious what role the psyllium husk plays in the bread? I’m not too familiar with the ingredient and curious. Out of curiosity, did you try other ingredients and found this to be irreplaceable?

    1. Hi Kelly! Psyllium husk acts as the gluten in this bread – it holds it together and gives it structure so the bread can rise upwards during baking without collapsing on itself. I experimented with a combination of psyllium husk and flaxseed but found psyllium a little better and more practical. You could potentially try using flaxseed or meal/chia seed or meal, but their absorbency level is probably very different. I also find psyllium a lot more tolerable in terms of FODMAPs, which is why it’s my binder of choice 🙂

      1. Is this the same psyllium as in the fiber powder you would use for bowel movements? Not to be too graphic, but trying to make sure I get the correct item.

        1. Hi Natalie! Haha yes, sometimes it can be sold marketed as that. Just make sure you get an unflavoured one and not a powdered version. Psyllium husk and and psyllium husk powder have very different absorbencies. I use psyllium husk for all my breads and it’s generally (in Australia at least) the more common of the two in supermarkets 🙂

  2. I’m so excited to try this recipe, my starter is 2 days old and I’ve noticed some bubbles – yay! I noticed that you mention this recipe makes a small loaf, what size banneton would you recommend? Or could you tell me what size yours is? Thanks so much <3

    1. Hey Hannah! My banneton is around 7-8cm in height and 21cm in diameter. It’s a decent ‘middle ground’ size and works for smallish- larger loaves. I’d love a smaller, deeper one to get some height on my loaves but I reckon this is a good intermediary size to aim for 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I’m so happy with how my loaf turned out. I want to try subbing some flours next time, and adding seeds or spices. If I add seeds I should soak them first?

  4. 5 stars
    It worked! I used Quinoa and Sorghum for the starter. Amazing result. All the details were so helpful and bread tastes so yum! no more store-bought gf bread for us!

  5. 250 celcius is 482 Fahrenheit, not 400F. I just put my bread in after only heating my Dutch oven to 400F. Hope it still turns out.😬

    1. Sorry Kristi! We don’t use F here in Australia so I just go by what Google says the conversion is and I obviously made a typo. Your loaf should be fine – sometimes I cook my loaves at that temperature for a blonder crust. Thanks for letting me know and I will amend the copy!

  6. 5 stars
    This bread is UNREAL!! I had to stop eating my regular sourdough last year and was disappointed with my other gf recipes. This is as good as any wheat sourdough I’ve had esp toasted. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

  7. I’m making this bread right now (it’s sitting in the oven proofing)…it seemed pretty wet/sticky when I was trying to shape it. I followed the weight measurements carefully. It definitely didn’t look like a smooth typical sourdough round. Is that okay/normal?

    1. Hi K! A few questions: did you sub in any flours for different ones? (this includes brown rice for white, potato flour for starch, etc). Did you weigh the water as well? Was your sourdough starter very watery? It can sometimes be a little sticky and need a light dusting of flour, but he top of the loaf should look like a relatively smooth boule prior to proofing. It might be fine as more water (up to a certain point) gives dough good oven spring but generally speaking it’s not an offensively wet dough. Keep me updated with how it went!

      1. 5 stars
        It turned out pretty good! The shape ended up just fine. I was delighted. It’s a little bit gummy/sticky inside, but maybe I didn’t bake it long enough or have the lid off long enough (since I wanted a crust on the less dark side). I did weigh the water and use the same flours…perhaps my starter was too watery. Thank you for the great, thorough recipe!

        1. Great to hear! The weights of gluten free flours vary from brand to brand, bag to bag etc, which might account for stickiness too. If you want a blonder crust next, try preheating the oven on a slightly lower temperature, and then use piece of foil to cover the top for the second half of baking, whole still baking the loaf for the whole 1 hour 30+. It gets super tempting to pull it out when you think it’s the perfect colour (I’ve done it) but the loaf contains a lot of water so it really needs the oven time.

          I have also read that it can help to take the loaf out of the dutch oven for the second half of baking so that the bottom stays lighter than it would in the hot dutch oven. So glad you enjoyed it! Can you tell from this essay that I’m in too deep with my obsession? haha

          1. 5 stars
            I’ll definitely give those suggestions a try. Can’t wait. Thank you sooo much. I had a piece toasted for breakfast this morning and it was honestly delicious.

  8. This is fantastic, and I cannot express how grateful I am for the detailed directions, and your overall approach and style of writing. I am posting from the States to say it worked beautifully! Under COVID, I have had to substitute flours a bit, both in the starter and the loaf. Used oat flour a couple feedings and used brown rice flour instead of white. Second loaf this week is in the oven right now!

  9. This is fantastic, and I cannot express how grateful I am for the detailed directions, and your overall approach and style of writing. I am posting from the States to say it worked beautifully! Under COVID, I have had to substitute flours a bit, both in the starter and the loaf. Used oat flour a couple feedings and used brown rice flour instead of white. Second loaf this week is in the oven right now!

  10. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe, easy to follow and delicious bread, even my gluten eating partner kept going back for more.

    Just curious if there’s a particular Dutch oven you’d recommend for baking. Thanks 😊

  11. Hey! Loving all of your recipes – literally trying everything out thanks so much! I really can’t seem to see the quantities you would use for a feed (pre pre-ferment) for starter x flour x water – are you able to clarify this please? Secondly, after using 150g of the starter for the
    Preferment, do I need to feed the starter again before putting it back into the fridge for 1 week later? Thanks so much ☺️

    1. Hi Katia, I still don’t understand what you mean by a pre pre-ferment. I think you’re getting confused with the process. The instructions for a starter feed are in the sourdough starter recipe, and the instructions for a preferment are in the sourdough bread post 🙂

  12. Amazing! I baked the sourdough last night and my god it’s amazing. My only advice to people attempting to make this is follow the instructions to a T! My dough seemed incredibly dry and I was tempted to add more water but Im glad I didn’t. The loaf proofed well still and the bread was so moist and tasty! I’m making a second loaf today (I have two jars of starter going) and I’m super excited. Love your recipes!

  13. Is it normal for the preferment to be quite runny? I left it in the oven overnight with just the light on and in the morning the water seemed to have separated and gathered at the top. So there were no bubbles since the surface was covered in water… So I’m thinking I have to do the preferment again but would be good to know what would cause the water to separate. Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna, is your starter quite new? Newer starters often lack the strength of a more mature starter which can sometimes cause a lack of activity. Sometimes I find if I stir it up and then put back in a warm place, it eventually bubbles up. If you haven’t thrown it out yet, you could also add a tablespoon of extra flour for food, or a 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, which is a yeast enhancer.

      Next time you could try using a wholegrain in the preferment (sorghum instead of rice) – starters love whole grains. You could then either swap the rice flour quantity into the loaf itself, or try using all sorghum and lowering the overall water content just a little bit. Using a whole grain in a preferment does make the loaf more ‘sour’ so only give this a crack if you like a sour sourdough 🙂

  14. Thanks so much for the reply! And one more question – how much does it rise when proofing? My starter looked great, followed the recipe all good. When I was mixing the flour to make the dough, it felt kind of dry. I added another table spoon of water but I don’t think the mixture was homogenous, it looked more like scone dough – lots of doughy bits with flour in between which I had to press together to form a ball. So the surface of the dough wasn’t smooth as it is when using gluten flour. I’ve been proofing it in a warm spot but doesn’t seem to have visibly risen… Is this normal? 🙂

    1. Hi Anna, did you really get in there and squelch the dough through your hands? I have never had an issue with dryness in this recipe – more often the opposite. It’s got a lot of liquid in it, so even accounting for flour variations it’s hard to imagine why it would be dry. Sometimes it can take a while to totally combine the mixture, but it should be smooth once you do. Also, before when you said that your preferment didn’t have bubbles – did you make a new one or push on with that one? The dough should visibly rise, maybe not as much as regular bread but it should still be rising.

      It’s a little tricky to diagnose but these would be my suggestions:
      1) you’ve accidentally added too much flour or not enough water somewhere along the line
      2) your starter was too dry to begin with, which hinders fermentation from the outset. A starter should look like a thick paste with bubbles. If your starter isn’t healthy, the bread will never rise, so starter health and consistency is critical.
      3) you didn’t quite mix the dough for long enough. It might start off scone-like but with enough mixing (I suggest using your hands) it will become a smooth dough ball.
      4) if you’re in winter or in a cold house, both your starter and your loaf require more heat to ferment than you might think. I read somewhere that 23-30C is optimal. If you can, try proofing the loaf in the oven with just the light on. If you can’t and you are in a cold kitchen, fermentation can take a lot longer than the specified time.

      Hope that helps!

    2. Hi Anna, one more thing I just thought of re the dryness issue: double check that you’re using psyllium husk instead of psyllium husk powder. I don’t know if you’re Australian but I noticed the Coles brand says ‘psyllium husk’ when it’s actually the powder version. Powdered psyllium is much more absorbent than the regular husk, which could account for a dry loaf!

  15. 5 stars
    OMG, I made it and it’s freakin’ delicious! I made a new preferment, didn’t go ahead with the first one. I don’t think the loaf as a whole rose much but it’s definitely got a lot of small air pockets inside and even a few bigger ones. I’ll see if rises more in future but even as it is, it’s so so good! Thank you for researching, testing and sharing with us. Honestly, it’s amazing. And for patiently answering questions! x

  16. Wondering two things: first how warm is you oven with just the lightbulb on—mine is about 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, what are your thoughts on using a mixer (Cusiniart, Ninja or Kitchenaid) with the dough hook instead of mixing by hand?

    1. Hi Jenny! My oven doesn’t give me a temperature with the light on, but generally in Australia it is somewhere between 23-30 degree Celsius. I’m not sure what that is in Fahrenheit but Google will tell you. In terms of using a mixer, I wanted to make the recipe as accessible as possible so I haven’t one for any of my trials. You can certainly give it a try and I imagine there would be no issue, but I haven’t done it before 🙂

      1. I stuck my “instatemp” oven thermometer in my over to see how warm it was. I cheated! 😉 Oh also—can the mixed dough sit overnight in the refrigerator and then brood and bake the next day?

        1. Haha I love your work! Yes it definitely can – even up to 24 hours (maybe beyond, but I haven’t tried that yet). I haven’t quite mastered proofing the loaf after a long refrigeration and so far I’ve found it results in a tighter crumb (ie less air bubbles) but it is definitely possible and supposedly aids in flavour development 🙂

          1. First round out of the oven. Looks amazing. Am keeping myself in check and won’t slice it until tomorrow morning California time! It’s gorgeous—I wish I could post a photo……

          2. Yes! Amazing news Jenny! I commend your patience – keep me updated when you slice it 🙂

  17. Could you please tell me where to find white rice flour? Is there a particular brand? I have only been able to find Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour. I found all the other ingredients for the sourdough bread. I am currently baking my first loaf and I am very excited to see how it turns out!

    1. Hi Claudine! I can only tell you from my experience in Australia – I’m not sure where you live? I buy white rice flour at bulk/health food stores or in the health food aisle of the supermarket (both Coles and Woolworths). You should be able to substitute brown rice flour too though – just add a tablespoon or two extra water (it’s thirstier than white rice flour). Good luck!

  18. 5 stars
    I’m in love! Haven’t had quality bread in years.

    Question, how long are you kneading dough? Am I looking for the dough to stretch before proofing? Also what consistency should the pre ferment be?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel, I’m so glad to hear that! As far as my research and experience suggests, no kneeding necessary. Because there’s no gluten necessary, there’s no point. Same goes with stretching the dough (which builds strength by developing the gluten network) – not necessary. The consistency of the preferment will depend a little on your starter (which ideally is a thick paste in consistency with lots of bubbles, it should feel light when you spoon it). That said, the preferment for this recipe should hopefully have domed a little on top by the time you use it. It’s runnier than starter but should still have enough strength to dome. It’s autumn in Australia so I put mine in the oven with just the light on if it’s looking watery and within an hour or two it perks right up 🙂

      1. SUPER HELPFUL!! My preferment I think was a little to watery, will make some adjustment. Thanks so much for getting back to me and for all the wonderful information. I’m excited to perfect my loaf and share it with family and friends.

  19. Hi George, This looks like an amazing recipe and the detail will be so helpful. Do you have any examples of how the starter, pre-ferment and then the dough should look before baking? I’ve tried other sourdough recipes which haven’t worked so just want to make sure I am doing the right thing so I can restart if anything goes wrong.. Also is a dutch oven the same as a slow cooker? I have one of these but it doesn’t specifically tell me the temp so perhaps a le cruset casserole dish in the oven is better? Thanks so much 🙂 xx

    1. Hi Sophie, I don’t have any procedural images but I will take some at some point. You definitely cannot use a slow cooker for this recipe – Le Creuset make dutch ovens, although other brands do too. Check out Google for some examples of what one looks like. Whatever you put in the oven, make sure it’s oven proof and high heat safe so you don’t ruin it. Good luck!

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me. I am just trying to get my starter right. It seems to have gone a bit watery and lost its bubbles. Hopefully will be ready soon. Thanks again!

  20. 5 stars
    We’ve made this bread twice now and loved it! Even my kids who aren’t gluten free loved it. I really appreciate your blog writing style. This is the first blog I’ve read where I finally went “aha! now I get it…” and everything i needed to know was right there. For the second loaf I switched out the quinoa and used teff- so good!

    One question: I follow your baking instructions exactly, but the bottom of my loaf always burns. The rest is cooked perfectly. Any thoughts on why it burns in the dutch oven? I cook it covered the entire time as I prefer the crust a bit softer, so I don’t think putting it directly on the rack in the oven will help.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for your lovely comment, I always love to hear people are enjoying my recipes 🙂 As for the burnt bottom, you have a few options. Firstly, investing in a really good quality dutch oven will help with even heat distribution. That’s not an option for a lot of people right now though (me included, I use an old busted up dutch oven) so my other suggestions are to lower the heat after the first 15 minutes to around 200-220c. Once the lid comes off, you can lower it again to 180c. Thirdly, you can take the loaf out and put it on the racks along with a little oven tray of hot water. The steam will keep the crust soft and the bottom won’t darken as much it would in the dutch oven. Hope that helps!

        1. Hey Sarah! I’ve been playing around with this recipe for about 2-3 weeks now and made dozens on loaves. Tonight I actually popped a round metal cooling rack into the bottom of my Dutch oven and that really helped keep the bottom off my loaf from darkening too much it actually didn’t brown enough so I had to take my loaf out of the Dutch oven to brown it more 🙂 maybe something you could try!

  21. 5 stars
    This if the most AMAZING gluten free bread I have ever tasted (I currently have my 8th loaf baking in the oven). It is especially good toasted and topped with Georgia’s low FODMAP zucchini hummus and dukkah. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe – I am a big fan!

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