Chef Sourdough Starter


I'm very happy and thankful we got a Chef Sourdough Starter as a gift.

As I understand, the Chef Sourdough Starter nuetralizes all gluten in the wheat. I'm not quite sure how long it needs to stand on the countertop for this to happen, though. We are having delayed allergic reactions to Wheat Bread but not to Gluten-free Bread. Can anyone please help me with this?

My first batch of bread I had to throw away since I used one cup All-purpose Flour and about 10 cups Millet flour. I punched it down and kneaded it way too much (I think) two hours before I put it into the refrigerator (since I for some reason decided to add 2 cups flour and some water, and then 2 more cups flour and some water and again 2 more cups of flour and some water). My second batch I used only All-purpose With Unbleached, Unbromated, and Enriched 'Better for Bread' flour came out well, but I do need to find out if all the gluten gets neutralized and need to learn how to make it look more appetizing too.

If one of the experts can chek for me please: 

1. Keep Chef Sourdough Starter (on the dry side) in refrigerator in closed plastic container over night (9 PM - 6 AM)

2. 6AM Take out Chef Sourdough Starter out of refrigerator. Add 1 cup Unbleached White Flour and 1/2 cup water. Lid loosely on.

3. 11 AM add 2 cups White Unbleached, non-brominated Flour, and 1 cup water to form a dough ball, set aside, lid loosely on. 

4. 1 PM add 2 cups Flour and 1 cup water to from a dry dough ball, set aside,  lid loosely on. 

5. 8 PM add Flour (about 1 cup) and water to from a moister dough ball.

    Add two tsp. salt and divide in two portions.

    Put Chef Sourdough Starter (1 1/2 cups) in plastic container, lid loosely on. 

    Form two balls, one ball into bread, into pan and cover loosely with plastic.

    Form other ball into pizza shape or bread rolls - cover loosely with plastic.

6. 9 PM Put Chef Sourdough Starter (closed) in fridge.

    Put bread/pizza/rolls (loosely covered with plastic) in fridge.

7. 6 AM Take out Chef Starter and items to bake. Start over from 2 above.

    Heat oven to 200 degrees, place bread/pizza/rolls in oven for one hour. Place cookie sheet with some water under bakes goods in oven and change oven temperature to 450 degrees (it takes 23 minutes to get it to 450 degrees), then bake for 15 minutes. Change oven to 400 degrees and bake for 23 minutes. Take out bread pans, flip out on cooling rack, slice and eat. Remainders, if any, in brown paper bag.


Each time I add flour and water, I just incorporate it with a wooden spoon. Plan to form that bread ball at the end... I guess I need to add more flour until I can stretch and knee it to form it.


Please note that I did not try this schedule yet but thought that that might work better to get all the gluten neutralized. What happens if you just leave it out of the refrigerator completely? Does it become too sour, get too much air bubbles or will it spoil?



Another question that I have is how is the Chef Sourdough Starter different from the Mother Sourdough Starter and what makes it superior to the Mother Starter in that it can neutralize all gluten?


Advice please - Thank you very much in advance.


362 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 June 7

Hello Learningbaker,

As I understand it, the word 'chef' is just another name for a sourdough starter.  Some people use 'mother', others 'poolish'.  There has been a discussion on this site about trying to standardise the terminology but like so many things usage is far from standard.

Some starters have varying consistency depending on the hydration (water content).  Some are like dough (50-70% hydration) others are like a thick batter (100% hydration) whilst others can be quite liquid (120% hydration).  The latter are more likely to separate into layers with time.

I can't imagine a starter 'neutralising' all of the gluten whatever that might mean.  If it means breaking it down/removing it then I imagine the bread would end up being very flat and dense as it is the strength of the gluten that allows the bread to rise and hold its shape until the starches set with the heat of baking.

I gather that certain enzymes etc in sourdough convert starches into sugars and make the bread more easily digested.

In terms of method, there are probably as many available as there are bakers.  I could only suggest that you try it.

In terms of a good reliable method with explanations, I would suggest that you read the beginners blogs by SourDom on this site.

Good luck with your projects.


LearningBaker100 2012 June 8

Dear Farinam,

Good to hear from you. Thank you for the encouragement and helpful information, it is appreciated.

I found out that a Chef Sourdough Starter is different from the Mother Starter in that it contains the yeast, bacterial culture in a fully developed, mature state, unlike a Mother starter.

The Chef can be made going through a process of making it yourself from scratch or from a liquid starter that you have been using, taking a ball of dough saved before the final forming of your loaves. You have to fully culture the flour in a multi-step souring pattern of at least 24 or more hours in total - using a Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} recipe that is a true sourdough application, and plan to one day find out what that means, hopefully I do not have to and mine will be good for as long as I need bread. After several bakings, you will have a chef that continues to mature in flavor each time you perpare to bake.

The Chef needs to be closed up and put in the refrigerator over night. It might be freezed and reused as well.

My question now is, does overnight Bread Dough fermentation in the refridgerator (made with Chef Sourdough Starter) achieve the same results as when you sprout Hard Whole Red Wheat Berries?

Thank you :D

PS. The schedule I put up worked very well. I sprinkled water before I baked my loaves and skipped the 200 degree, 1 hour 'waking up' and just let it sit on the counter top for 3 hours, then baked at 450 degrees for 15 min. and lowered the oven temperature to 400 degrees and took out my loaves after 30 min.


HopesHope 2012 June 19

Here's a link for sourdough gluten free baking.


I agree with Farinam  Chef is another word for Mother, poolish.    The way in which you described how it is made, is exactly how traditional sourdough starter is made, absent the "commercial" yeast.  If you add the commercial yeast then it's no longer a "natural" yeast.



Take care



Staffo 2012 June 26

 Hi HeresHope,


I'd be wary of sending people to the website you referenced. The site claims to be makiing GF sourdough, but also claims that it is yeast free. That is pretty misleading. In another forum I have queried this claim with the author, but there'd has been no change. The problem is the author is making claims of health  benefits, and also claims to be an expert in GF sourdough. When I queried the "no yeast" claim I was told that the recipes offered there do use wild yeast not commercial yeast. So, they do use yeast! Being wild yeast it could include anything, inicluding the strains used for commercial yeast.

Here in Australia making health claims for food products is a fraught business, but making them with the force that site makes, and with misleading information could lead to serious consequences. However, my concern is is for people who are ill informed and may be mislead to their hurt, not those doing the misleading.


Keep on baking!


HopesHope 2012 June 19

Here's a link for sourdough gluten free baking.


I agree with Farinam  Chef is another word for Mother, poolish.    The way in which you described how it is made, is exactly how traditional sourdough starter is made, absent the "commercial" yeast.  If you add the commercial yeast then it's no longer a "natural" yeast.



Take care



Staffo 2012 June 21

 Hi Learningbaker100,

I am with Jeff and Farinam in sounding caution about the starter neutralizing gluten. There may be some effect of enzymes modifying gluten, but, if you use a starter made with flour that contains gluten, and if you make your dough from flour that contains gluten, the resulting bread will contain gluten. If you are only gluten intolerant, eating the bread is a risk to your health. If you are coeliac eating the bread is dangerous for your health.


It is possible to make good gluten free sourdough. I have been doing that for a while now.  I have also developed a range of GF yeasted breads (see


You can follow some of my work on on the following pages: 




HopesHope 2012 July 11

 There is nothing wrong with the site that I referred this person to.   Could it be that YOU didn't understand what the site was talking about?    She is speaking truthfully when she says that she is yeast free, she just so happen to forgot to mention "commercially"    


I would caution you to be careful on your judgment of people, as it is in some parts of the world considered "defamation of character".  


Take care

LearningBaker100 2012 July 17

Dear helping bakers,


I want to thank all of you for your help, it is greatly appreciated! :D


First, I killed my wild yeast by not preparing it well (feeding and waiting a fermenting a few hours) after refrigeration before using it in baking. The plan is to start over. I suspect using Agava syrup instead of honey also helped that along(?).


Also, trying out a Sprouted whole hard red wheat & Spelt Flour, Wild yeast recipy now. It seems as though sprouted wheat is tolerated well as well as Spelt flour. Plan to let you know how it goes.


Thankful baking,




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