Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread has definitely became a foodie trend in the last few years, but for good reason! Traditional sourdough is made with a fermented starter in place of yeast. Some of the benefits of sourdough bread over traditional bread include:
•It is easier to digest. The bacteria-yeast composition will start to breakdown the starches found in the grains before it even reaches your stomach. That means there is way less work to be done, making it much easier on your gut.
•Provides healthier bacteria. The sourdough starter is fermentation process is very similar to that of yogurt and kombucha. Its another amazing way to get beneficial bacteria into your diet naturally. •Less yeast, which is good for people fighting off yeast infections in the body/gut. Healthy bacteria in sourdough bread works to reduce yeast populations, so the likelihood of infection and/or overgrowth is substantially lower.
•Lower glycemic index.Compared to many other types of bread, sourdough is fermented in a way that depletes bad starches within it. This means that it won’t cause your blood sugar to rise so drastically upon eating it.
Traditional sourdough bread made can also be easier to digest for people specifically with gluten intolerance. I personally refrain from bread made with wheat flour due to having celiacs disease, so I wanted to make a 100% gluten free sourdough bread that I knew I could trust.
First I ordered a sourdough starter packet off of Thrive Market. They carry a brand called Culture for Health, and they specifically have a gluten free starter made with brown rice flour.
From there I fermented my starter for roughly 10-12 days, the longer you let the starter ferment the better results you will get with your bread. You’ll want to follow the directions that come along with your starter kit. I kept my starter in a 16 oz glass mason jar and covered it with a cover filter and rubber band. Each day you will have to remove a portion of the starter and feed it with more flour and water. I used a gluten-free brown rice flour to stick with the same flour that came with my starter packet. You want to keep it in a warm place in your kitchen, I kept mine by the oven. The starter activates better at temperature between 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll know it’s active once you see it starting to bubble! It was also start to have that sour fermented smell to it as it comes alive.
Technically, you can make your bread once you notice your starter is active, but I suggest waiting 1.5-2 weeks if your patient enough to really grow a stronger sourdough starter. You will want to make sure it is mature and ripe before baking your bread. Starter is mature when it predictably rises and falls. Ripe starter is starter that’s been fed within the past 12 hours. Once your starter is ready, you can make the bread by following the recipe below!
2½ cups Gluten free flour (I used the gf blend sold at Costco)
1½ tsp xanthan gum, in addition to what's already in the blend
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
3/4 cup of sourdough starter (mature and ripe)
¼-½ tsp baking soda, added during kneading and shaping, if desired (helps get that crunchy crust)
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients (including 3/4 cup of the ripe starter), beating on low until well combined. Increase the speed to medium high and mix for 5 minutes. If mixing by hand, mix vigorously for 5-7 minutes.
Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 3-4 hours (sourdough always takes longer to rise). Place the risen dough in the refrigerator overnight. I like to place it in the refrigerator over night because GF dough is easier to mold when cold.
The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. If using baking soda, add ¼-½ tsp to top of dough and begin kneading dough until smooth.
Form into a round and turn over into a floured tea towel-lined bowl, or shape into a round on a square of parchment paper. Cover and allow it to rise until puffed and noticeably larger, about 2-3 hours.
Towards the end of the rising time, place Dutch oven with lid (or baking steel or stone and shallow pan) into the oven and preheat it to 500° F for 30 minutes. A Dutch oven simple consists of two cast iron skillets- one deep enough to bake the bread into and another flat skillet/lid to cover the skillet up with so the bread can steam.
When the dough has finished rising, carefully flip it out onto a sheet of parchment paper and slash (score) it with a sharp serrated knife. Open the oven door, carefully place the loaf in the Dutch oven, parchment and all, and replace the lid. Alternatively, slide the loaf, parchment and all, onto a baking sheet or stone and pour one cup of hot water into shallow pan. Immediately close the oven door and drop the temperature to 450° F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. If using a Dutch oven, remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. If using baking steel or stone, bake the bread for a full 60 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.