The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten-Free Sourdough Loaf

guyshahar's picture

Gluten-Free Sourdough Loaf

Hi there

I have recently become very interested in Sourdough baking, and, being Coeliac, need to make gluten free bread.  I have evolved the recipe below - the dough proofs really well and the taste is great.  The only problem is that the inside of the bread has a sort of uncooked quality about it every time.  It is fine when well-toasted, but not really edible as untoasted bread - it is quite moist and a little sticky.  I thought this might have something to do with the cooking time, but I increased this significantly - and tried it at both higher and lower temperatures, and it didn't solve the problem.  I substituted brown rice flour for some of the sorghum flour last time, hoping that this would make it drier inside, but it made no difference.

Does anyone have any ideas what I might be doing wrong?  The recipe is below.



200g Sorghum flour

100g ground Quinoa

100g Tapioca flour

100g Potato starch

75g Chestnut flour

25g ground Hemp seeds

25g ground Flax seeds


120g starter

10g salt

1 tblspn live yoghurt

¼ tblspn baking soda

500ml water (around 30 degrees)



1     - Put starter and 300ml of water in a large bowl

2   – Stir in ground quinoa, hemp and flax, chestnut flour and half of the sorghum flour (may need to add a little more water if not enough)

3   – Add the live yoghurt

4   – Leave for a few hours in a warm place.

5   – When risen, remove a small amount to use as the basis for the next starter.

– Add the rest of the water, and stir in all the remaining ingredients  (may need to add a little more water if this is not enough).


7   – Put in a bread tin and leave to rise for a few hours.

8   – Cook at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes.  Remove from tin, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes.

– Leave for an hour or so, then eat.



dustinlovell's picture

The first thing I'd look at is temperature. How high did you try it? I would try cooking it at around 350 or 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes. The internal temperature should be around 200 degrees. You're never going to get there cooking it at 180. :) Good luck, and post some photos with your next post. I have friends with celiac and would really love to bake something for them.

ladychef41's picture

I'm sure the temp is 180 degrees Celsius as that would convert to 356 degrees Fahrenheit.......

I do have a couple of questions though;

Are you using a starter you had already made? (yes, I see where you say to save some of the dough for the next starter and am assuming that's what you used but want to just confirm)

Do you feed your saved starter, and if so, what do you feed it and how often?

Why do you wait to add the potato and tapioca flour instead of adding with the other flours?

This sounds like an interesting recipe and I plan on trying it out for a friend that has celiac....



guyshahar's picture

Hi Wendy, and thanks to all for the helpful comments and links.

Yes, I am using a brown rice starter that I made myself.  Sometimes (in the terrible British climate) it seems to go hard and dry, but usually picks up sooner or later.  I often have more success by taking a part of the sponge from the last loaf and using that as the base for a new starter.  I feed it on brown rice flour, about once a day, or more often if it either rises sooner and starts to fall back, or if it goes dry.

I wait before adding the potato starch and tapioca flour because it is my understanding that soaking the whole grain flours first is helpful in releasing enzymes and making the bread easier to digest.

I understand from some of the responses that tapioca flour also retains a lot of moisture and that this might be contributing to the problem.  Someone suggested that I try replacing it with corn flour, which I will try next time.

If you do try making the bread, would appreciate it if you let me know how it goes, and any success you have had in adapting it (

Best Wishes


bwaddle's picture

I had the same problem when I used ground quinoa. I'm using a finely ground quinoa flour instead. You are using 2 grains, quinoa and tapioca, that hold a great deal of water.

I hope this helps.



superreader's picture

Center gumminess is a common problem with GF breads and there are several issues that may cause it. Previous responders had good points. I'd look at the crumb and crust to try and figure out what's out of whack, then try one thing at a time to try and fix it. There are many GF baking guides but this can get you started...

`/// Make sure it's all the way done before you remove it from the pan
Doneness measures need to be adjusted for GF breads. The general advise is 205*F as the internal temp to strive for.

`/// Check for compression
The loaf can compress internally and/or externally because the structure's not strong enough or moisture exits too fast for the structure to tolerate. To solve it you could try one of these:
· raise protein levels by subbing in soy or garfava flour for equal amounts of the sorghum, 25 G at a time. · add an egg white or egg white powder with liquid (balanced with dry matter)
· add GFG (Gluten Free Gluten) from Orgran . It contains a combination of gels, fibers, yeast, dough conditioners and other substances to improve structure in GF breads
· sub in Expandex modified tapioca for regular tapioca, up to 25% of total starches (more info

· bake the bread in a pan with tall sides to help support it and not too wide so the middle gets heat very soon, or
· make a focaccia shape using a wider, shallower pan (I use a 7"x10" cake pan) and see if it does the same thing when the dough weight above it is much less and the heat can get to the middle quicker

`/// Adjust the gel balance
GF breads pretty much all incorporate a gel to help strengthen the crumb, and sometimes other ingredients as well (i.e. egg whites, methyl cellulose, etc.). You're using the flax seed which (and maybe the hemp) gels when it mixes with water and sits. This helps the structure but if not balanced with dry ingredients it can make the inside gooey. You may want to add them near the end to limit the time they have to soak up liquids before the heat hits, or if you mean it to sub for eggs or otherwise help the structure then keep it in the preferment but add an equal amount of dry matter (half flour, half starch) to balance the flax seed + the water it'll take up.

`/// Wait until it's completely cool to cut into it!
I don't recall the scientific reason behind it but GF breads tend to gum up even more than glutenated breads if you cut into them when they're hot. The only solution is to wait for complete cooling before you open them up, which may take 2.5 hours or more.

`/// Other resources
· This recipe and method are very similar to the GF Chestnut Ciabatta in the Gluten Free Italian Cookbook by Wheat Free Gourmet Mary Capone (info at ). The recipes and methods I've tried so far have been both delicious and reliable. You might want to get the book and try that out, then adapt her recipe if needed to suit your taste.

· There are several magazines with GF recipes. I think the best bread recipes are by Rebecca Reilly for Living Without

· There's a very active GF baker's forum on Delphi . One of the Assistant Managers (Mireille) is especially skilled at GF sourdough and she helps troubleshoot poster's experiences with her recipes.

I hope this helps some, and I hope interest in and materials for GF baking grows here on The Fresh Loaf!!


sharonk's picture

I've been experimenting with gluten free sourdough for a few years now and have had some great successes. Since gluten free breads need more moisture in them there is the tendency for a heavy dense loaf. There are a few things I have noticed that help:

-make the starter less soupy and more on the thick side.

-to preserve any sponginess that occurs during assembly, mix it as little as possible and don't overmix!

-bake for at least an hour

-take the bread out of the pan as soon as possible (as it sits in the pan, moisture can form on the sides and bottom)

-try narrower pans (someone already suggested this)

-use less batter and have a shorter but less dense loaf

I attended a GF baking conference (where they did not discuss sourdough). the pastry chefs and bakers said that it was much easier to have success with small bread products like muffins, buns, etc but that loaf breads were challenging because of the extra moisture needed.  You might try your recipe in muffin tins or cake pans and see how it goes.  A loaf of bread is lovely but perfect smaller breads can satisfy very nicely.

Take a look at the free recipes on my blog. You may get some ideas about the proportions I use to help you with yours.

Good luck and keep experimenting!