Vollkornbrot - Gluten Free...or not. Your choice!


This recipe is adapted from Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen's Making It (2010, Rodale). 

Vollkornbrot is a very dense bread popular in Norther Europe. It is incredibly versatile, very hearty and realy, REALLY DELICIOUS!

The Dough: 
Cracked grain(s)**
Sea salt
Established starter
Whole grain(s) and/or lentils***
Flaxseed and/or chia seed or...
Sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds or pine nuts or...
Molasses, honey or, for glutenovores, barley malt syrup (optional)
Handfull of amaranth and/or rolled oats

* note on flour: ANYTHING works. You can use any combination of sorghum, chick pea, amaranth, millet, teff, buckwheat and the like. Or, for glutenovores,  whole wheat and/or rye. I would use at least some flour that your starter is used to, however.

** note on cracked grains: ANYTHING works. You can use any combination of cracked buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, split dal and the like. Or, for glutenovores, cracked wheat and/or rye berries.

*** note on whole grains: again, ANY whole grain or small legume works great! Quinoa, millet, amaranth, whole lentils, buckwheat groats, etc. Or, for glutenovores, whole wheat and/or rye berries.


This is the ultimate "clean out the cupboard" sourdough. Use anything and everything. It turns out delicious every single time!


Day 1 PM (start the sponge)

1. Mix flour(s), cracked grain(s), sea salt, water & starter.

2. Proof overnight at room temperature or in a proof box set at 20-30ºC.

3. Soak whole grains in a separate bowl overnight.


Day 2 AM

1. Drain soaked grains and incorporate into sponge.

2. Mix in seeds and sweenener, if using.

3. Grease a standard loaf pan and make sure to really get grease in the corners. Sprinkle amaranth and/or rolled oats into the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.

4. Gently dump dough (it will be very sticky) into loaf pan, cover and allow to prove for another 3-6 hours at room temperature or in a proof box set at 20-30ºC. The prooving here is geared more toward improving flavor/texture and less toward gaining much loft.


Whenever you get around to it (3-6 hours later)

Bake at 200-220ºC for 40 minutes, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and continue baking for another 40 minutes. I have found that a lower temperature works well with gluten-free flours.

Turn loaf out of pan as soon as you remove it from the oven, cool on a rack and enjoy! This bread is fantastic sliced very thinly and enjoyed as-is or toasted in a skillet with coconut (or any) delicious oil and topped with hummus or pickles or lox or...

I have found that adding a handfull of caraway seeds and a nice helping of Dutch process cocoa, along with using molasses as the sweetener, make for a really delicious glugten-free dark-rye-taste-alike!


This bread is best left at room temperature and will stay delicious and moist for days.


10 users have voted.


Cielkaye 2012 February 4

That looks delicious and amazing. I have just started exploring GF sourdough using soy flour. Do you have any more recipes to share. I did bake one good loaf, but have not been able to replicate it yet. My note taking left much to be desired. You live and you learn.

sauerflauer 2012 February 7

Thank you very much! It really is amazing, especially with its nearly unlimited versatility. I will continue posting as I am met with success, but this is currently the only really good gluten free loaf in my repertoire!

Midnite Baker's picture
Midnite Baker 2012 February 6

Wow!  Love grains in my breads but my teeth don't.  So, need to ask if these grains turn somewhat soft in the making of this bread.  Thanks for posting this mouth watering recipe. M

sauerflauer 2012 February 7

My pleasure!

Due to the overnight soak/fermentation, all of the grains (at least all of the grains I've tried so far) soften up beautifully and, simply put, come together to make a very nice, dense loaf with a lot of texture. This allows for skipping the fun, picking-stuff-out-of-your-teeth process 

I have used quinoa, millet, split lentils, amaranth, whole buckwheat groats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. These have all softened nicely for the final loaf.

Hilaryk 2012 February 11

Just to make sure I have understood - if I use lentils, they don't need to be cooked?  You just soak the raw lentils and use?


Looks really good and healthy and will use up all the bits and pieces in my cupboard!



sauerflauer 2012 February 12


Precisely. Anything you are putting in this bread can be raw, sprouted, whatever. The bread bakes for at least an hour, which cooks any whole grains/lentils you use!

Happy baking...post pics of your "clean out the cupboard" loaf! I have yet to make two loaves the same. My most recent loaf contained whole, raw, sweet brown rice (soaked overnight) and is delicious!



Hilaryk 2012 February 17


Well - it was a leap of faith making this bread but it worked and it was easy and it is really delicious!  I used up some gram flour that I bought ages ago and then forgot what I was going to do with it, the end of a packet of pearl barley and the ends of various other packets.  I might even try adding some dried fruit.

See my results!

I will definitely make it again.  My partner liked it too.

Thanks for the recipe.

sauerflauer 2012 February 20


Beautiful! I am so glad it workded for you. I think adding dried fruit would be wonderful. No two of my loaves have been the same, but they've all been delicious! Most recently, I threw in a handfull of chopped fresh dill and some dill seeds...

When you get down to the heel, try cubing it up and pan frying for some really delicious croutons.

Happy baking,

Betty 2012 July 16

Hi -- I'm very new to sourdough bread making, and this recipe caught my eye because it is very similar to one I have been making with a starter of unknown origin.  In your recipe you say to start the sponge using an established starter -- am I correct in assuming this means any starter recipe like I've been reading about on this site?  If I follow the recipe precisely, what will be the outcome -- 1 loaf, 2 loaves?  If I use a square pullman pan (approximately 15x4x4) will this be too big for the recipe?  I'm really anxious to try this -- I love the versatility of it using whatever grains and seeds I have on hand.  Thanks in advance for your reply.  Betty


Maija 2012 July 23

WOW!  I am so excited/thrilled to read your recipe and notes.  I have newly created sourdough starter that I'm anxious to get working with.  However, I'm also learning about living with less carbs.  I'm thrilled to see you are using alternatives to wheat.  I have a lot of this 'stuff' in my cupboards already, so I'm going to jump right in and give your recipe a whirl!  Thanks!

(what does 'vollkornbrot' translate to in English?  'brot' is bread?)

cebread 2012 September 14

Thanks for sharing this! I am embarrassed to post a picture of my gluten-free attempt, because I had the clever idea of making it in two smallish pans instead of one standard one, so the loaves are squat. They are also very very dense (I am beginning to suspect it's because my brown rice based starter isn't strong enough for the job)--but the main point is, YUM! This is such a delicious bread. I could eat it spread with butter for three meals a day and never get tired of it. So thank you!!

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