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Friday, 6 December 2013

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

This method for creating a gluten-free sourdough starter is for the home cook that isn't looking to have some gargantuan starter growing on their counter.  I have been shocked that it doesn't have much of a smell, either!  It is also so amazingly easy to make and maintain, I still find myself baffled that it actually works and makes bread rise using only starter as the source of yeast!  I find for our family of four, having a little starter ( I use a 4 cup container) is a perfect size.  If anything, I still have too much starter! I have had great success with recipes thus far, and plan to keep playing around with recipes that use up my starter in a way that makes everyone happy.  I'll try to keep updating recipes here that use GF sourdough starter as I post them! Enjoy!

My Sourdough Starter Recipes:
Delicious Sourdough Dinner Rolls
Fabulous Sourdough Waffles - Gluten Free!
Lemon-Blueberry Sourdough Waffles
Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Pancakes
Gluten-Free Sourdough Brown Bread
Gluten-Free White Sourdough Bread
Spinach, Ham & Cheese Brunch Casserole
Easy Sourdough Cinnamon Swirl Rolls
Our Favorite White GF Sourdough Bread and Rolls
Fabulous Thin & Crispy Sourdough Pizza Crust
Chocolate Chip Sourdough Waffles

This is the starter in a glass jar.  I found it was a bit more temperamental over the long-term than using a tupperware.

This is the starter in a tupperware.  I've stuck with using tupperware for weeks now, transferring the starter to a clean one every week. 

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

Use a container (I find something around 4 cup/1 liter size to be perfect) that can breath. 
*I've used both a 4 cup tupperware that I can leave one corner of the lid up and I've used a 1-liter glass jar with cheesecloth on top (using the screw-lid to hold the cheese-cloth down).   I've thus far had better luck with my starter being happy using the tupperware vs. glass jar. 

To start:
Every morning and night (before bed), mix/add into the container:
1/4 cup lukewarm water (without chlorine - so use filtered if you're not on well-water)
1/4 cup brown rice flour OR sorghum flour (you want something with fibre/protein/substance so your yeast will be happy).

If desired, you can add in a pinch of dry yeast to help things get going.  You can do this anytime, if you notice your starter not bubbling as much.

Store in a warm(ish) location.  Within 2-3 days, you should see bubbling beginning.  This is the yeast at work!  If there is any liquid film on top, just mix it in.  This is called 'hooch' and is a natural part of the process.  Mix the hooch in before you remove starter for recipes. You can now use your starter for any recipes calling for gluten-free sourdough starter!

To keep it going:
A few notes to help keep things going:
- Once your sourdough starter is going along fine, I would recommend transferring it to a clean container every week, just to avoid any mold that may want to grow along the top of your container off the drips from your mixings. 

- If you're worried about how your starter is looking, you can always scoop out 1/4 - 1/2 cup and pop it in a clean container, and start again, adding a pinch of dry yeast.  I've found this perks things right back up.  I've only ever had to do this once, and haven't had to do it again since using tupperware containers for my starter.

- After 4-5 days, you can start feeding your starter 1x a day, using 1/4-1/2 cup flour and 1/4-1/2 cup water (use even amounts of flour to water).  I have found my starter to be perfectly happy being fed 1x a day using 1/4 cup flour/1/4 cup water - alternating between sorghum and brown rice flours randomly.  The starter seems happiest being fed 2x a day using only 1/4 cup flour/1/4 cup water.  Although it's been perfectly OK being fed once every 2 days when I've forgotten.  In other words, it's very forgiving!

- From my experience, YES, you can pop your starter in the refrigerator and ignore it for a week. Feed the starter prior to putting it in the refrigerator, and feed it again once you remove it from the refrigerator.  It will pick right back up where you left off.

- The recommendations for sourdough starter are to keep in a warm area.  I find room temperature (and it's not a very warm room temperature, generally around 17-18C/65-67F has been perfectly adequate, although nights when it's really cooled down here (I am in Canada) it doesn't seem as bubbly in the morning.  If it's really cold, I'll keep mine on top of the stove, so it gets a bit of extra warmth anytime I bake or cook (Just don't leave it ON the stove during baking/cooking or it will bubble too much from the heat and your starter will die - Yes, I've done this a couple times. No worries, the starter is easy to restart).  It definitely will be more bubbly at warmer temperatures, and you will want to make sure you have a properly warm location for any rising that you're doing (except for the overnight pancakes or waffles - they are fine at RT).  

Good luck!


  1. WOW- Perfect post!
    Thank you so much.