Two Methods for Making a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

by Chrystal Johnson on February 11, 2013

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gluten-free-sourdough-bakingI had just gotten baking bread down (you can see some of my recipes here and here) and came up with a mean thin crust pizza recipe when I had to go gluten free. Baking gluten free bread is a whole other world that I wasn’t prepared to step into!

I had been buying Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread on the rare occasion I needed bread – until I also had to cut egg whites out of my diet. Baking gluten free bread without eggs made the surmounting challenge even more difficult.

Since I have recently gotten really into properly soaking and fermenting grains, I decided I wanted to go down the sourdough starter path rather than messing with gums (I’m glad I made that decision after reading this article).

I have discovered that there are two methods you can attempt when making a sourdough starter. The first is using a brown rice sourdough starter. We live at an altitude of about 7,000 feet, which is a challenge for baking, and I haven’t had much success with this method.

I found that the starter sours very fast! You have to feed a gluten free sourdough starter at least 3 times per day to keep it from souring. I wasn’t feeding mine enough, so I had to dump it out and start again.

I learned the second method in The Art of Gluten Free Baking, which uses brown rice flour and water kefir as a base. I am still working through the recipes to find methods that work for me, but I am definitely having more success using the starter boosted with water kefir.


The only recipe I have perfected is the pancake recipe from The Art of Gluten Free Baking. They are great as pancakes, but you can also make a big batch, stick them in the fridge and then toast them for sandwich bread. Kaylee and I have been enjoying them pretty much daily.


However, making these pancakes takes a long time (a few hours in front of the stove for a decent sized batch), so I decided to try baking the mix and then cutting the flatbread into squares.

Success! I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, greased the sides of the pan with palm shortening and poured a thin layer of batter in the pan (maybe ½” thick). I baked the sourdough flatbread at 350° F for 20 minutes and then let it cool completely. If you pour a thicker layer, it may need longer to bake.

After the sourdough flatbread cooled, I cut it into 12 pieces. The inside is nice and spongy! I am so excited that I found a way to make the flatbread that doesn’t take a half a day every week!


I’m excited to continue experimenting with gluten free sourdough baking. I’ll be sure to share any more successes I have here. In the meantime, check out the sourdough supplies from Cultures for Health and be sure to subscribe to email updates so you can follow along on my gluten free sourdough baking journey!



About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Agnes O. February 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

Are those made with rice flour only? I really hope not because I’d love to try making those. I’ve stopped baking with rice flour a while ago because of a warning about too much arsenic in rice (especially bad for small kids and I have 2).


2 Chrystal Johnson February 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

It’s a brown rice starter, but I also throw in quinoa flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch – basically any gluten free flour I have recently ground. The cookbook I mentioned has a variety of recipes, including one that uses only quinoa flour!


3 Agnes February 11, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thanks! My husband is allergic to quinoa, but I can experiment with other flours. I guess I should get the cookbook :)


4 Chrystal Johnson February 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

Oh no! She was really in-depth in the book about which flours give which qualities to the bread and shared all of her failures as well as her successes, which I found very helpful.


5 Barb @ A Life in Balance
Twitter: BarbHoyer
February 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I need to check out that cookbook. I’ve shied away from baking anything gluten-free that doesn’t involve almond flour or coconut flour. I would love to have bread in my life ever so often.
Barb @ A Life in Balance recently posted..motivation monday: a note of encouragement, love, or thank you


6 Chrystal Johnson February 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I love using almond flour, but now I also love being able to make a gluten free sourdough. We just got done eating mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the flatbread. My girls love having tea parties, so it’s nice to be able to make mini sandwiches again.


7 Tracey @ Dont Mess with Mama February 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Chrsytal, my husband has similar allergies to you and we haven’t been able to buy gluten-free breads because they always contain eggs. We’ve been doing some paleo breads – which work a lot better for sweeter breads – but my husband’s favorite type of bread was rye or sourdough. So this is great. Pinning it too.
Tracey @ Dont Mess with Mama recently posted..The Toxic Food You Feed Your Kids Every Day


8 Chrystal Johnson February 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Thanks Tracey – I hope this will work for your husband too!


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