Gluten free ?????



 I am trying to find a sourdough recipe for gluten free bread. I have read through several sourdough web sites and learnt heaps.(also that it may not be possible)

What I was really wondering is way back before wheat became the staple diet of mankind what did they make bread with? I am guessing that it probably wasn't levened at all and they probably used whatever grain came to hand. Has anyone tried using other grains? Do you think I can make a starter with..... I dont know beans??? or buckwheat??? or some other carbohydrate type stuff...potatoes maybe

The gluten free breads available are really quite horrid like the bakers are trying to imitate crappy white bread.

Any thoughts on this would be great.


185 users have voted.


Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 March 21
Hi Holly,

I'm really no expert but I've made this type of bread - gluten-free - with buckwheat using sourdough in the past, long time ago now. Making sourdough bread without wheat is possible, but the resultant product  won't have a light aerated crumb. 100% rye is a good example but it's not suitable for gluten-free diets (rye flour contains soluble gliadins - a component of gluten). Wheat is unique, it's the only cereal possessing a protein that has the physical properties of gluten which is responsible for a relatively light and aerated crumb.

I have to say I'm surprised you haven't had more responses. Perhaps quite a few of those who are more savvy with gluten-free thinking are still on holidays.

I decided to post this reply, although it's not much help, to bump it up to the top of the list in case those gluten-free savvy didn't see it buried on page 2.

Can anyone help Holly?
nowonmai 2008 March 21

Holly, it is possible to make a sourdough starter with rice flour. just make it in the same way you would a normal starter, with either organic rice flour, or grind your own brown rice in a coffee or spice grinder. my understanding is that it will become active within the same time frame, although as rice is a natural carrier of salmonella i would keep it in the fridge once it becomes active.

we used to make a gluten free bread at my old job, and i think this is the recipe (its not sourdough, but i'm sure one of the guys here could work out the appropriate percentages for you):

200g rice flour

200g potato flour

100g wholemeal buckwheat flour

1 tsp honey

1 tsp salt

1 tsp active yeast

2g xantham gum (xantham gum is a natural by-product in the production of glucose, and is very natural. essentially what it does is mimic gluten, while being entirely gluten free. it will give the bread a slightly chewier texture, but feel free to omit it if you want. its available from any health food store)

300ml (about) water

just mix all together, prove it for about 1 hour, and bake as normal in a bread tin. as there is no gluten, you will not need to work it, and the dough will be much like a cake batter rather than a bread dough. the end result is quite tasty, and as close as i have found to real bread. hope this helps!!

Hollyhocks 2008 March 31
Thanks for your help I have been away for a while and not looked at my emails.
this is good my brother and daughter have just been diagnosed with coeliacs disease which brings our familys count to 4 so we really need to get a decent bread happening.
I am going to try this today without the sour dough and try make a starter today.
Hollyhocks 2008 March 31
would it be better to use buckwheat or potato for the starter if the rice is a problem?

also could you use mashed potato instead of potato flour and adjust the water? Small country towns dont run to potato flour I will have to get some next time I'm in the big smoke!

Thanks again for your help
Hollyhocks 2008 April 1
Well I have sucesfully baked a loaf using mashed potato. It rose nicely but i think I left it to prove a bit too long or maybe the oven temp was too hot because it didn't rise any further once it went in the oven. It is a bit too doughy and sticky but tastes nice. thanks for your help. I have got 4 starters from different grains and potato on the shelf hopefully one of them will work. My brother thinks I will kill us all with a poisonous starter????? is this possible?
penekool 2009 July 5

I too am looking for a gluten free starter that isn't rice perhaps potato flour, buckwheat or millet

Any suggestions?

glutenfreesourdoughbaker's picture
glutenfreesourd... 2009 September 17
HI Penekool,
You can easily make a starter using millet flour. Potato flour, in my opinion, absorbs too much water and becomes difficult to work with. Buckwheat becomes so thick and cakelike it also becomes difficult to work with unless you mix it with other flours. I just posted a blog today for gluten free sourdough bread and starter. It uses rice as a base but if you can substitute millet for rice in the starter and get a beautiful smooth, active starter. Here is the link to the page:

Good Luck,
Crust 2013 December 6

Hi, I know it's been a few years since you posted your message. I was trying to click on your link and download your recipe but for some reason it's not working...

Any chance you could send it to me or repost it?

Thanks a million!!!!


Lynnette 2013 December 17

Sorry: couldn't resist a bad pun! Hopefully my starter will be better than my puns!

I am on day two of the pineapple juice method using Bob's Red Mill pizza blend gluten free flour as my grain. I like it because it has several whole meal flours like sorghum, millet, and brown rice mixed in and it is what I have on hand.  I've read a lot of different accounts of this method and it sounds like it won't really be useable for baking until it matures through various microbial stages and all that takes time.  I guess I'm hoping to be able to bake with it in the new year.

The recipes I've collected on a Pinterest board are thus still untried. I would love to hear about how your starter is going and find out what you are trying to make. We are not true celiacs but find that we have better digestive, joint and allergy health when we eliminate gluten. So I am looking to make baguettes, bagels, English muffins, etc that will be superior to the varieties sold in our local Whole Foods' freezer case at a fraction of their inflated cost. I'm not a chef or anything like that by training, just a mother who cooks healthy homemade foods for a family on a weekly basis.

My infant starter is looking pretty good today. It is a pale buttery color and nicely bubbly when I stir it with a wooden spoon. I don't know yet how I'll want to store it long term. Right now I'm just keeping it in a ceramic baking dish with the lid ajar.  It still smells and tastes like pineapple juice, but I understand that will dissipate once I switch to using distilled water on the 4th day. I guess I will also transition it to sweet rice flour at that time too. 

I would love to hear how things are going for other new gluten free bakers. Please check back in if you get the chance! All the best, L


Lynnette 2013 December 17

PS: if you want to make a buckwheat starter I would recommend grinding the flour from raw groats as a lot of what gets packaged up has been roasted already. I would imagine the raw groat would have more microbes and wild yeasts intact.

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