Can I Convert My Sourdough Starter to Gluten-Free?
Sourdough starter is a naturally fermented dough that helps break down gluten proteins that may cause gluten free sourdough sensitivity in some individuals.
Sourdough can also aid in improving gut health by increasing the flora and microbiome. Plus, it’s easier to digest than traditional bread which often contains many additives.
What is a sourdough starter?
A sourdough starter is a live colony of wild yeast and beneficial bacteria. To stay healthy, they require regular feeding, watering, and consistent temperatures to thrive.
Maintaining your living culture is not only important, but can easily fit into a daily or weekly schedule. With these steps in place, you’ll be well on the way to enjoying delicious sourdough bread every day!
Sourdough bread is more nutritionally dense than unleavened bread due to the lower levels of physic acid (which inhibits calcium and iron absorption). Plus, sourdough bread contains more calories per serving and contains prebiotics which encourage good gut bacteria growth.
California uses an ancient sourdough starter that was originally from a gold miner’s starter 150 years ago! This special recipe has become so beloved that people from all over the world travel thousands of miles to experience it first-hand.
How do I convert my sourdough starter to gluten-free?
A sourdough starter is an active organism created by fermenting gluten free flour and water with wild yeast and bacteria. Not only is this project fun and rewarding, but also incredibly simple to make!
After several days, you should begin to observe bubbles and activity on the surface of your starter. Don’t be alarmed by these signs – they simply indicate that your starter is ready and bubbly!
Once your starter is active and bubbling, you can continue to feed it daily. You may store it in your fridge (remembering to bring it back to room temperature once used up) until you are ready to bake bread with it again.
You can even switch up the type of flour you feed your starter to boost its energy levels. I have personally found rye flour and other whole grain flours to be especially beneficial for tired, lacklustre starters. Just be sure to follow all hydration instructions for that specific flour type!
How long will it take to convert my sourdough starter to gluten-free?
Gluten-free sourdough starters take more time to develop than their regular counterparts, but it will eventually come on board. Unlike wheat flours, gluten-free sourdoughs tend to be quite thirsty and require more water for fermentation than other types of starters.
Once ready to use, feed it a mixture of 250 grams of gluten free flour and 220 mL (just under one cup) of lukewarm water. Stir thoroughly then allow to sit for 6-8 hours until bubbly.
If you’re not sure if your starter is fully hydrated, simply keep adding water until it reaches the consistency of a thick paste.
After day two, your starter should start to smell slightly sour and have some bubbles rising up the side of the jar. Discard half of this mixture and repeat with 50 grams of flour and 50 mL of water. Continue this feeding schedule until your starter is bubbly and ready to use in baking!
What can I use to convert my sourdough starter to gluten-free?
You can make gluten-free sourdough starter by replacing the flour with one of your preferred gluten-free varieties, such as buckwheat, tiff, millet, rice or sorghum.
The process is relatively straightforward – simply substitute regular flour with gluten-free flour and mix thoroughly. Over the course of several days, the mix will absorb natural yeasts from the air and become active.
This gives your bread its characteristic “rising,” with large bubbles created by the fermentation process, giving it its distinctive tangy flavour and open crumb texture.
Your sourdough starter can remain healthy and active on the counter or refrigerator. The cool temperature helps slow fermentation, keeping your starter healthier for longer.