Guest Post: Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking

January 18, 2012 · 23 comments

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This is a guest post written by Sharon Kane, the author of The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking. She has spent years perfecting her technique for these artisanal breads. Out of this “labor of love” Sharon has become the leader in gluten-free sourdough technique. When I met her at the Weston Price conference in Dallas, I was able to taste her gluten-free breads and I must say, they are amazing. In addition, she is able to communicate the skills it takes to bake this bread, in her wonderful book which she has generously offered to my readers as a giveaway in honor of our 28 day probiotic food challenge.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking is a method I developed for myself when I learned that I had multiple food allergies: gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy. I was also sensitive to commercial yeast, large amounts of salt, almost all sweeteners, and fruit. Before learning about the allergies, I had been successfully making 7-day Sourdough Rye Bread using a simple recipe that used only 3 ingredients: rye, water, and salt.

To continue eating bread, I tried to find a bread that used minimally processed organic ingredients, had no chemicals, and had no ingredients that were created in a laboratory.

When I looked at the commercially made gluten-free breads, I found that they all contained something I could not or would not eat: yeast, xanthan/guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and other sweeteners, fruit juice, eggs, milk, soy, and large amounts of high-starch flours.

In addition, these commercial breads were all essentially “quickbreads” as the ingredients were mixed together, risen quickly or not at all, then baked. I believe bread processed this way will not be easy to digest and may actually stress or damage our digestive systems. This may lead to future problems down the road.

I knew the digestive value of eating fermented grains and I deeply wanted to continue eating thoroughly fermented, highly digestible breads. That’s when I began experimenting with the old-fashioned sourdough technique I had mastered, and rather than using rye flour I used pure gluten-free ingredients.

This labor of love took a few years to perfect and resulted in a nutrient-dense, pure-food bread that tastes good, has great texture, and is very satisfying. The sourdough technique, plus careful flour combining, eliminates the need for the all the ingredients I can not or choose not to use.

Here are the basic ingredients I use in my recipes:

Water Kefir to kick start and preserve the starter: (Dairy kefir or kefir whey can  be used instead of water kefir)

Whole Grain Flours (I use different combinations of these flours usually 1-3 per recipe)

  • Amaranth
  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Chick Pea
  • Coconut
  • Corn (sprouted corn flour)
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Teff

Note: I do not use millet because it is believed to interfere with thyroid function, something many people with gluten allergy suffer from.

Starch Flours (Some recipes have small amounts of starch flours)

  • Arrowroot
  • Potato flour
  • Tapioca flour

Seeds (some recipes have seeds)

  • Chia seed
  • Flax seed

Salt

Oil (your choice of oil or fat)

Sweeteners

  • I use small amounts of sweeteners in some of the recipes. My book includes a conversion guide to use your choice of sweetener.

Other Ingredients

  • There are other miscellaneous flavoring ingredients like fruit, herbs, spices, garlic, scallions, onions, vanilla, carob powder, and maca powder.

The ingredients I do not use are:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Potato starch
  • Xanthan gum
  • Guar gum
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Commercial Yeast

My recipes include loaf breads, muffins, dessert breads, and pizza dough, and I am currently experimenting with crackers, cookies, and cakes intent on keeping the amount of sweetener to a bare minimum.

As long as you have water or dairy kefir on hand, you don’t need to save starter for future baking. You can begin a new starter any time. Alternatively, a small to large amount of starter can be frozen for the next batch.

Making gluten-free sourdough bread is easy, once the principles and guidelines are understood.  It is encouraging to me that those of us dealing with challenging medical issues can utilize the wisdom of the ancients to strengthen and nourish us. And Heal!

Free Starter Recipe Download: Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Recipe

Read about my book:  The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking

View videos on making my bread  The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking

Sharon Kane is a musician, teacher and improvisational cook. She can be reached at: glutenfreesourdoughbaker@gmail.com

This post is shared at: Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Real Food 101, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Sustainable Ways, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, Real Food Wednesday, Mommy Club, These Chicks Cooked, Hearth & Soul Hop

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