After being inspired by Zero Waste Chef, I started writing this post in 2014. I set a goal to make a gluten free sourdough starter back then. Years later…It took a pandemic for me to finally reach this goal. Some goals get put on the back burner until a future time, but hey, that’s okay. Life happens! Over the last six years, I have experimented with many different ferments: okra, salsa, green papaya kraut, Ginger beer and lots of kombucha!
Did you know that you can have a gluten free sourdough starter in as little as one week? To make one you will need:
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
- a quart-sized Mason jar
- 1/2 cup teff, sorghum, or buckwheat flour (62 g)
- scant 1/2 cup water (118 mL)
Days 1 Through 3
Combine flour and water in the quart-sized Mason jar. Mix vigorously to incorporate air. Cover with a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or canning ring.
Leave at room temperature (65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 hours.
Repeat feedings with 1/2 cup flour and scant 1/2 cup water every 12 hours. During this time, tiny bubbles may form.
By the 3rd day, you may see more yeast activity, like bubbles and noticeably more starter with a few hours after a feeding.
Days 4 Through 7
Continue to feed every 12 hours. Discard 1/2 of the starter before every feeding.
Now, you should see more yeast activity. The starter may double in volume by 4 to 8 hours after a feeding. In addition to its sour aroma, it should smell slightly yeasty. That’s the microorganisms finding a balance between yeast and bacteria. We want to continue yeast growth by feeding it on a daily basis. If the starter grows colored molds on top or smells like rotten vegetables, throw it out and start over.
Around day 6 or 7, look for an active, bubbly, doubling sourdough starter with a pleasant sour aroma. At this point, bake with it and feed it again. Then either keep up the maintenance feedings, or stick it in the fridge for up to 1 week, or freeze it for later use.
I chose to bake our bread with a recipe from Cultures for Health for Everyday Gluten-free Sourdough Sandwich Bread. It turned out beautifully! I substituted vegan butter such as Melt or Earth’s Balance to replace the butter. While I began my starter with teff flour I later switched to sorghum flour for feedings. Teff flour is too difficult for me to obtain. It was such a fun and rewarding experience to watch the starter grow and the loaf rise.
Once you have your starter going, the recipes are endless. We have made sourdough pancakes and sourdough chocolate cake with the discard. I look forward to hearing some of your experiences with making your own gluten free sourdough starter!