One of the biggest bread trends of 2020 is homemade sourdough bread. This bread uses starter - consisting of a mix of flour and water - instead of commercial yeast to give it its rise, and it also imparts a distinct tangy flavor to the finished bread. But can sourdough starters and breads be made gluten-free? Absolutely!
Making the Starter
Like with other gluten free bread recipes, one of the key components is a good gluten free flour. An "all-purpose" gluten free flour is a good starting point for your gluten-free starter, though you can use any gluten free flour of your choosing. When making your starter, combine the same quantity, by weight, of flour and water. Cover the mix and set aside in a draft-free place. Each day you will discard half of your starter and replenish it with more water and gluten-free flour. You want an equal amount (by weight) of flour, water, and starter. In a few days, you'll notice that your starter is bubbly and growing - this is the yeast in action, and you're ready to get started baking some gluten free sourdough bread.
Using Your Starter in Gluten Free Bread Recipes
Your starter can be used in either recipes designed for sourdough starter, or be substituted for the yeast in other homemade gluten free bread recipes. To make this substitution, replace 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour in the recipe with 1.5 cups of your gluten-free starter. You may need to make minor adjustments by adding more flour or water to get the texture of the dough right, and it may take longer to rise, but you will be rewarded with a distinct tasting bread.
If there is a sourdough bread recipe you wish to make gluten-free, use your starter and then substitute the flour in the recipe with all-purpose or your own blend of gluten free flours. You should also add 1 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour, unless your flour mix already contains it, to provide the elasticity the gluten typically provides. A mix containing bean flour can add additional protein that will also give the bread a better structure.
Just because you're eating gluten-free doesn't mean you have to forgo the wonders of homemade sourdough bread. With a few substitutions, any bread recipe can become a delicious homemade gluten free bread recipe for you to enjoy. For more information, contact a baker, such as those at GFJules.