What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s used to make bread dough, pasta sauce, cakes and pastries. It contains proteins called gliadin (which causes celiac disease) and glutenin (which causes non-celiac gluten intolerance). These proteins are not harmful if consumed in small amounts but when eaten together they cause damage to the body. They may also cause digestive problems such as bloating or gas.
Can You Eat Sourdough Bread On A Gluten-Free Diet?
Yes! There are many brands of gluten-free sourdough bread available. Some of them contain less than 0.5% gluten while others have no gluten at all. If you want to eat sourdough bread, then it’s best to choose one with less than 5 ppm gluten content.
How To Make Sourdough Bread Without Wheat
There are several ways to make sourdough bread without wheat. The most common ingredients used to substitute for wheat are: rice, cornmeal, potato starch, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and millet.
The best flour to use is millet because it has a similar consistency to wheat. The best way to make this bread is by using a mixture of different flours. Use two cups of mixed flours to substitute for one cup of wheat flour. Be sure to add an extra 1/2 cup of water and 1 tsp.
of salt when baking.
Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Recipes
There are two types of sourdough breads: those that use a sourdough starter and those that don’t. If you want to make a sourdough bread with a starter then you need to create one first. There are three ways to create a sourdough starter:
1. Purchase One From A Store
You can buy a ready-made sourdough starter from the store and then follow the instructions for your recipe.
2. A Natural Starter (For Beginners)
If you’re a beginner or you just don’t want to buy a starter then here’s how to make one using natural ingredients that you’ll find in your kitchen. All you need is:
1 cup of water
1 cup of white bread flour
A container (such as a bowl or a glass jar)
A cloth to cover the container (a saucer will do)
First, mix together the water and flour in a container. Cover it with a cloth and leave the mixture on your kitchen counter for two days. After 48 hours, you should see some bubbles and a sour smell if your mixture is developing a sourdough starter.
After two days you can use your starter or you can leave it for another day or two to get it really bubbly (this will produce a stronger flavor and more rise in your bread).
At this point, you can throw away half of the mixture and add another cup of water and bread flour to it (this will feed the starter and keep it going). Use some of the starter by stirring two tbs. into your bread dough and put the rest back in the jar to keep it going (if you’re not going to use it for a few days then you should throw away some of it and feed it again before putting it back in the jar).
3. A Natural Starter (For Advanced Bakers)
An advanced method of creating a starter is to use and old natural one (if you’ve already made one without realizing it). This might sound crazy because I just said that you needed to use a store-bought sourdough starter to create a bread dough, but it’s possible to convert an old non-sourdough starter into a sourdough starter.
First, get rid of any mold that might be growing on the top of the starter (you don’t want to add this to your new mixture). Throw away the top quarter and just keep the liquid (this will be your new sourdough starter). Next, mix in 2 cups of water and 2 cups of bread flour. Stir well and put your new starter in a warm place to grow (I put mine on top of my refrigerator).
After 12 hours you should see some bubbles and a rise in your starter (if you don’t, keep it growing for another 6 hours and then see what happens). When it’s bubbly then throw away half of it (feed it first) and add another 2 cups each of water and flour. Stir well and keep this new mixture in a warm place to grow again.
After 12 hours it should be ready to make your sourdough bread dough. If not, keep growing it until it is (you may need to throw away some of it and feed it again before it gets really bubbly).
Making the dough
Once you have your starter ready, you can make sourdough bread.
The recipe I’m going to give you is for a very easy bread that doesn’t require any special shaping or waiting time. It’s easy and it always turns out great.
2 cups of sourdough starter (or 1 cup of store-bought yeast if you don’t want to make your own starter)
5 cups of white bread flour (you can use stronger flour if you prefer)
1 tbsp. of salt
1 tbsp. of sugar
7 tbsp. of vegetable oil
2 cups of warm water (you may need a little more or less depending on the humidity of the day)
First, stir all the ingredients together and knead them for a few minutes (I use a stand mixer with a dough hook to do this). Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place for an hour to rise.
After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size (see the photo below). Punch it down and knead it again for a couple of minutes. Then cover the bowl again and put it back in a warm place for about an hour.
After an hour, your dough should be ready to use. The recipe above will make enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or one large pizza.
Shaping the dough:
2 bowls for rising the dough in (I use glass bowls that sit inside each other)
Pizza pan, stone or cookie sheet
Parchment paper or a piece of cardboard (optional)
You have a couple of options for shaping the dough: You can shape it by hand, you can use a machine to do it or you can let the machine do all the work.
Sources & references used in this article:
Pilot study: Comparison of sourdough wheat bread and yeast-fermented wheat bread in individuals with wheat sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome by R Laatikainen, J Koskenpato, SM Hongisto, J Loponen… – Nutrients, 2017 – mdpi.com
Potential of sourdough for healthier cereal products by K Katina, E Arendt, KH Liukkonen, K Autio… – Trends in Food Science …, 2005 – Elsevier
Gluten free sourdough bread enriched with cricket flour for protein fortification: Antioxidant improvement and Volatilome characterization by L Nissen, SP Samaei, E Babini, A Gianotti – Food Chemistry, 2020 – Elsevier
Influence of sourdough on in vitro starch digestibility and predicted glycemic indices of gluten-free breads by A Wolter, AS Hager, E Zannini, EK Arendt – Food & function, 2014 – pubs.rsc.org
Gluten-free sourdough wheat baked goods appear safe for young celiac patients: a pilot study by R Di Cagno, M Barbato, C Di Camillo… – Journal of pediatric …, 2010 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Glycemic index and firming kinetics of partially baked frozen gluten-free bread with sourdough by D Novotni, N Čukelj, B Smerdel, M Bituh… – Journal of Cereal …, 2012 – Elsevier