... and a sourdough you would actually WANT to Eat!!!
Plus, BONUS RECIPES!!!
The problem, nowadays, with all the gluten-free alternatives is that they are full of junk and in many more ways worse than gluten-containing products.
Usually, a gluten-free bread is made with excessive amounts of vegetable/seed oil, salt and sugar; contains eggs, trans fat, additives and preservatives, and the end-result is much closer to a cake than bread. And so I have never been taken by shop-bought options and I have been experimenting a very long time to get my gluten-free recipes right but also tasty and replicable.
Processed gluten-free bread (the way I tend to call it) is mainly made using rice flour. This leads to a bread drying extremely quickly, to crumble away, and the texture is simply horrible.
Today, I would like to propose to you a truly original recipe, unlike any other, which will blow you away, I am sure.
It is not often that a first attempt brings amazing result. Personally, I consider it to be pure beginner's luck.
So, to make sure a recipe works, I double check it. And then, I make it again, and again.
Three times is a charm, right?
If I can replicate the same recipe three times and get the exact same end-result, then I am confident that you will be able to make it at home too, and can then make it user-friendly and publish it.
When I created this recipe, I thought it is too good to be true.
With the first bite, I thought I had been transported back to my childhood, tasting bread the way it should, flavourful and nutritious. It made me happy!
Although, I wish to blame my neurotransmitters and other happy brain chemicals for what follow:
I had literally devoured half a loaf for the sake of experiment.
Tasting is extremely important.
I hope you agree.
Sadly, I had no cheese or butter.
Although, this was just as well. The loaf would not have survived it...
[Now making the recipe again today, I am glad to say that I have stopped to my favourite store on the way home yesterday, after a great seminar on nutrition, and bought some Organic grass-fed butter.
I cannot wait to relive more of my favourite childhood moments again.
For those who know me, I cannot tolerate biscuits and cakes, especially the store-bought options. As a kid, I would be extremely sick (in a matter of minutes) after eating a piece, or just a spoonful. My mum had to come up with alternatives, just for me. My brothers were too happy to have my after-school biscuits (and my French fries too, another food I cannot physically eat). Once my mother knew that, she would insist on me eating something else, but I would never crave sweet treats, and if I did I would always try to suppress them. Something, I unconsciously still do today.
My mother would give me instead a slice of her delicious homemade bread, spread a touch of butter on it — or sometimes, condensed milk — and a sprinkle of dark cocoa powder. Wow... how nostalgic I feel now writing this...]
What are your favourite homemade treat you had as a child?
Back to the recipe, I hope you will enjoy this homemade Gluten-free Vegan Sourdough.
I would like to point out that this recipe does not call for wasting large amounts of starter along the way.
Usually, a recipe calls for an average of 100 g of starter, but you had to discard half of your starter with every feeding phase, leading to wasting a minimum of 1.2 kg of edible food!
In no mean, I wish to force you to follow my way if you feel your way is better, or you feel more comfortable by only feeding half of the starter every time. If you wish to do so, I would like to advise you to not discard the extra starter.
You can use the half you are supposed to discard to make another starter. This is great especially, once your starter is established. you can feed it until ready as per usual, and place it in the fridge until needed. This is great, especially if you are a large family or your bread just doesn't last long enough.
Beforehand, you can still use the starter to make pancakes or waffles. They would be tastier and easier to digest too, as the grain is now fermented.
To give the heads up, you need to make sure you can attend to your starter every twelve hours also.
Missing one feeding can lead to bad bacteria or fungus to develop instead, and your starter to die and give a horrible smell.
Please, post your comment below and let other readers know how you made your very own sourdough.
100 g buckwheat flour
100 g water
Every 12 hours feed starter with:
Day 1 and Day 2:
100 g buckwheat flour
100 g water
100 g Casava (or Tiger Nut) flour
100 g water
100 g Brown Rice Flour
100 g Water
Day 5 and 6:
100 g Buckwheat Flour
100 g water
Use in recipe
If you want to use high-containing starch flour such as millet, tapioca, white rice, or even potato, you will need to feed the starter much more often, ideally every 5--6 hours, as they make the yeast go into overdrive.
Gluten-Free Rustic Sourdough and Sandwich Bread
770 g Starter
550 ml water
30 g Psyllium Husks
300 g Buckwheat flour
155 g Gluten-Free Brown Bread flour
10 g Salt Flower (“fleur de sel”)
20 g sugar (optional)
1.When you are ready to use your starter, make sure this correspond – more or less – to a feeding time.
Do not leave your starter unattended for more than 12 hours.
If you are using an ongoing starter (see in FAQs, how to store and look after your starter once it is established), you must take it out of your fridge and feed it (as above), and let it warm up gently at room temperature for about 12 hours.
Cover the recipient and let the fermentation kickstart again.
2. Once the starter is active again or using your very first batch, measure out 770 grams and feed again the remaining starter. Refrigerate and feed regularly (every 5–7 days. keep an eye on it). Depending on how strong you like your sourdough, you can use as little as 500 g or make your starter in only 5 days.
Tweak the recipe to match your taste.
3. Place in your mixer bowl, set with the k-beater, 3/4 of the water and then the starter.
Beat the starter on the lowest setting until gently dissolved.
4. Place all the dry ingredients in a large kitchen bowl and stir well.
The last thing you want is for the phylum husks to land first and on contact with water create lumps.
Pour the mix into the mixer bowl and beat for about 20–30 seconds, until the dough comes together and add the remaining of the water. Beat for another 2 minutes on medium-low speed, until a nice batter forms.
This is a gluten-free recipe so you do not have to worry about over-mixing. You know the dough is ready when you see the usual "strings" of dough forming (see video below).
5. Sprinkle freely your wicker basket with buckwheat flour or use a (very clean) cotton kitchen towel/oven cloth-lined kitchen bowl. You can also line a mould with parchment/greaseproof paper, lightly brushed with olive oil.
6. Scoop the dough in the recipient. Oil freely a sheet of plastic wrapper/cling film. Leave the bread dough proof gently in a warm and draft-free place for about 12 hours.
7. The dough should have doubled in volume (or near) after 12 hours and smell nicely active.
If you have used a wicker basket, line an oven tray with parchment/greaseproof paper and brush with olive oil.
8. Pre-heat oven to 200˚c.
9. Gently tip the dough onto the tray and place in the middle of the oven. If you have used a mould/tin, gently place it as it is in the middle of the oven.
Use the edge of a very sharp knife to make incisions. This will allow for the dough to continue rising while baking.
You can let the dough rest for another 2 hours for a more pronounced flavour, before baking.
10. Bake for about 45 minutes. If using a tin/mould, remove the bread and turn it over after 35–40 minutes to expose the bottom to the heat and promote a nice crust, and bake for another 10–15 minutes.
11. Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Leave to cool completely (about 20–30 minutes) before slicing.
You must resist!!!
Otherwise, the steam will escape far too quickly and the centre will quickly crumble and you may not keep your sourdough bread as long.
12. Store your sourdough in a bread box or inside a air-tight container with the lid loosely place on top.
You can keep your sourdough bread up to a week. You can also cut it in half, once cooled, and freeze one half.
I had enough starter to make 2 sourdough loaves of 1 kg and 2 sandwich bread of 750 g each
And enough to save 750 g starter.
I also added 100 g buckwheat to the starter but no water this time and reserved it in the fridge until further use or feeding. A starter can be kept dormant in the fridge allowing that you are feeding it every 5–7 days in a air-tight container or jar. You must not let it dry. If you notice a change in colour, remove the top half of the starter and feed again. You may also add 1 tablespoon of kefir or kombucha to help the bacteria thrive again.
Be careful to not place the starter need the back of the fridge, especially if your fridge producing ice. Your starter will freeze and thaw continuously, which will damage it and/or kill it.
WOULD YOU BELIEVE THIS IS GLUTEN-FREE...
...IF I HAD JUST TOLD YOU?
How to use your starter to make a second batch
To make 1 loaf of Rustic Sourdough, use the following steps.
You have fed your starter every 5–7 days, following the recommendations given above.
1 week after making my first batch, I have fed the starter only once. Then, one the day before using my starter, I have taken it out of the fridge and fed it. I have then kept it at room temperature, and made the following recipe:
Gluten-Free Rustic Sourdough
500 g Starter
355 ml water
20 g Psyllium Husks
200 g Buckwheat flour
100 g Gluten-Free Brown Bread flour
5 g Salt Flower (“fleur de sel”)
15 g sugar (optional)
This made just over 1 kg loaf.
I have fed the starter once more time before refrigerating it again. This has given another 750 g total starter.
If you follow this steps, you should be able to make 1 loaf of 1 kg per week and end up with the same amount of starter each time. Creating a great rotation system; however, if you are making 1 loaf every 2 weeks, for example, you may end up with more starter after each recipe. To make sure you keep control of your starter, you can make an extra load a month and freeze it necessary.
Gluten-Free Sourdough American-style Pancakes
It's not everyday that you will find me advertise grains, but on special occasions, pancakes can really make the perfect treat. So if you have too much starter growing in your fridge, if you want to discard half of your starter at each feeding, then you will have plenty of starter to spare and many great pancakes to make, or even waffle.
Yields 6–8 pancakes
350 g Starter
50 g Almond (or Coconut) Flour (optional)
1 ripened banana
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1. Using a fork, mash the ripe banana, which will naturally sweeten the batter (you may want to add a tablespoon of raw honey, if the banana is too green. You can also use a grated apple, or diced pineapple), and mix in the cinnamon, baking powder and flour.
2. Add the eggs and mix well.
3. Add the starter and mix well. If the batter is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water.
4. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and melt a little coconut oil. Pour the batter into small disks and once bubbles appear on the top, approximately after 2–3 minutes, flip each pancake. You may want to adjust the heat if necessary. After 2–3 minutes, once the bottom appears golden-brown and the pancakes cooked, place the pancakes on a plate.
Repeat until you have used all of the batter.
5. Serve with berries and a touch of maple syrup.
Or, once cooled, you can also freeze them.
Gluten-Free Sourdough Waffles
Probably a lot easier to digest, once you have tried this recipe you will never go back to using white flour and milk. Plus, you should always have some starter to spare, if you are not making one loaf or two a week.
These are great because they are really tasty and much lighter.
Yields 12 (or 24 smaller-size) waffles
450 ml Almond Milk
250 g Starter
250 g Buckwheat (or Gluten-free blend) Flour
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp raw cane (or coconut) sugar
3 eggs (or replacement, for a vegan recipe)
4 tbsp Coconut Oil (melted)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1. To make the overnight sponge (aka. the active starter), place the almond milk in a kitchen bowl and add the vinegar. Once the liquid has curdle, after about 20 minutes, stir in all the remaining ingredients, including the starter (either from first batch or from refrigerated starter).
2. Cover the bowl with a humid clean kitchen towel and let to rest at room temperature overnight, ideally 12 hours.
3. In the morning, beat the eggs and the melted coconut oil, and add to the sponge.
4. Stir in the salt and baking soda. The mixture will bubble...
5. Pre-heat waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crispy.
Serve immediately to preserve the crispiness or place in a warm oven to keep hot.
Gluten-Free Sourdough Boule
I particularly like this recipe because it reminds me of the old days. The days were baking and cooking were a complete part of our life, bringing family and people together.
To bake this delicious bread you will need a Dutch oven or an enamel stockpot/chicken roaster with a lid and a spray water bottle. If you have a probe, it will also come very handy, although, if you don't it is also fine.
750 g Starter
175 g Buckwheat Flour
150 ml filtered water
100 g Brown Rice Flour
100 g Tapioca Flour
20 g Sugar
5 g Salt
1. Place the starter and the flours in the bowl of your mixer, equipped with the paddle/k-beater.
2. Set the speed to low and mix for a few seconds, until combined, stiff and somewhat dry.
3. Pour the water gradually, a little at a time, until the dough resembles a cake batter.
Make sure to wait a few seconds after adding water each time, so that you can judge if more or less is needed. The batter should not be soupy or too stiff.
4. Line the wicker basket with its cotton cloth, or if you do not have one, fully line up a kitchen bowl with greaseproof/parchment paper as neatly/smooth as possible to prevent too many large wrinkles.
Make sure that the parchment paper goes over the sides, you will need this to help you tip the dough into the Dutch oven.
5. Scrape the dough into the lined bowl, and gently smooth the top.
6. Make a few incisions in the dough, to help it rise better.
The tapioca flour will help the dough rise nicely too.
7. Cover the bowl with cling film or apply a oiled-sheet of cling film directly over the top of the dough.
8. Place the bowl or wicker basket in a warm and frat-free place, either the cupboard over your fridge or inside your oven. Keeping the oven light on only should suffice to bring some much-needed warmth. Leave the dough to rise for 12 hours. It should have doubled in size.
9. When ready to bake your bread, place your Dutch oven inside the oven and set temperature to 220˚c. Take the oven Dutch out of the oven once hot, approximately after 30 minutes. Remove it carefully from the oven and place it on a heat-proof surface. Take the lid off. Be careful, it would be extremely hot.
10. Remove the cling film
11. This next step requires your complete attention and concentration. It is very easy to burn yourself or damage the dough.
Very gently and carefully, lift the dough, pulling on the parchment paper using the extra hanging over the sides. The dough is extremely fragile. Do not lift it too quick and do not release it quickly either, and make sure you have a firm hold of the parchment paper so that you do not loose the dough. Again, make sure not to burn yourself as you lower the dough inside the Dutch oven.
11. Cut the edges parchment paper, if necessary, so that you can close the lid, and spray with water. This will help create a crispy crust.
12. Place the hot lid back on the Dutch oven and place it inside the oven.
13. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the lid carefully and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
14, Using a probe, the internal temperature of the boule should be around 100˚c.
Another tip to check if the bread is fully cooked, knock on the crust with your finger and it should sound hollow.
Leave to rest for 15 minutes then remove from the Dutch oven, peel off the parchment paper very carefully, and transfer on a cooling rack.
Let the bread cool completely before slicing it.
15. To store, simply keep on your kitchen counter, the cut side down. If you insist on covering it, you can use a paper bag. I would recommend not to wrap it in cling film as it is will soften the crust.
Can I use any gluten-free flour blend instead?
Yes, you can; however, you need to be aware that most "bread flour" is packed with additives such as xanthan gum and other thickeners. This may interfere with the texture of the starter and makes a much firmer dough.
In this case, you may need to use your mixer with a k-beater to feed the starter. It may result in a less flavourful starter, but still remains effective.
Where are the bubbles?
The reason I like to use large glass containers is that it is really easy to notice changes in the starter. But, most importantly, you can see how active it is, and bubbles are usually highly visible. You may think your starter is under-achieving if you use a ceramic bowl and do not notice any bubbles reaching the top of the starter.
If you do not see bubbles at the top or at the sides of the starter, it may be because the room temperature does not create an ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive, and it may, in fact, take longer to grow.
A great tip (especially in the winter months when the heating is on timer) is to place the starter above (or next to) an appliance, like a fridge. The warmth is often enough to quick-start your starter.
You need to make sure that you feed the starter at regular intervals. If it still does not help, you can go for a third feeding, and do so every 8 hours.
My starter is growing too fast. What do I do?
First, you need to be aware that your taster will double in size after each feeding, so you must use a large enough – plastic or glass – container. I have used both a large 2 litres glass container (just about right) and a large 3 litre jar, with great success.
How fast your starter grow will greatly depends on the temperature of the room. During the summer months, your starter may grow very quick, while in the cooler months it may be requiring a little help. See below how to boost your starter.
Do not use any metal utensil during the making of this recipe (or any other fermented recipe, for that mater), as metal interacts with the fragile bacteria responsible for the necessary fermenting process.
If your utensils are made of medical-grade stainless steal, then these can safely be used.
What is that liquid accumulating at the top?
Do not worry. This, in no way means your starter is dead, or dying. This is natural and liquid may – or may not – collect at the surface of the starter.
The liquid is actually very active, a bit like kefir. The liquid, in fact, contains a large amount of lactobacillus, which gives the bread its amazing sourdough taste.
Is it possible to boost my starter?
Personally, I have added once a couple of tablespoons of kombucha to the starter feeding mix (keeping the exact same ratio of flour to liquid) with great result. The bacteria required for the fermentation of the grains are the same that the one colonising your kombucha or kefir, let it be water kefir or milk kefir. You are simply creating a friendlier environment for bacteria to thrive.
How long can I keep my starter for?
The answer is easy!
A starter if regularly attended to, fed about every 5–to–7 days, can last for many decades in your fridge. In the past, mothers would pass on portions of their starter to their daughters, and some have been recorded to be decades-old, and still thriving.
My sourdough did not rise. What went wrong?
I noticed, when making my first attempt, that the sourdough increased very little in volume. It was quite disappointing indeed, but I quickly understood that any draft (or the flow of air from the fan-assisted oven) can prevent the sourdough from proofing.
This is elementary. Even when making regular bread, any draft can damage the proofing process.
The best pace for the dough to proof overnight (or at least, 12 hours), is in the cupboard above your fitted fridge or freezer, or inside the oven with the bottom-only heat setting and at a maximum temperature of 45–50˚c.
A warming cabinet or drawer provide the ideal environment, if you are lucky to have a kitchen equipped with either.
If you only have a fan-assisted oven without a bottom-only heat setting, you may have to play around. Heat your oven to 75˚c. Once that temperature reached, switch off your oven and you may now place the dough in the middle of the oven. Let it cool slightly and close the door. The oven should remain warm enough for long enough to help the dough proofing.
Can I use a single type of flour to feed my starter?
Yes, you can. Although, I would highly recommend to mix, at least, two different types of flours. Buckwheat and tiger nut flour work nicely together, for example.
Do not use brown rice flour alone. It just doesn't work. Using starches-style flours will increase the feedings.
It is all about FOOD!!!™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients such as Minerals, Vitamins, Fat, Proteins and Carbohydrates, and their essential role the way nature intended, including their interactions on our body, and systems; nutrition; cooking processes; up-to-date listing of world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive review of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin-Star trained chef, a leading lecturer on the UK-first Natural Chefs and Vegan Natural Chefs, and a registered Naturopath and qualified Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.