The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Regular sourdough starter and gluten-free

sadears's picture
sadears

Regular sourdough starter and gluten-free

I finally found some sourdough starter at a health-food market while on vacation.  I had to buy some even though I am gluten intolerant.  Here's the question...


If I build on this starter for a while with gluten free flour, how much of the gluten will remain?


I really miss baking bread...hell, I miss regular bread.  The gluten free stuff sold in stores is (1) expensive, (2) really dense, and (3) doesn't taste that great unless heated.


Thanks,


Stephanie


 

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I am not sure if you can maintain a sourdough starter using only gluten free flour.  But I suppose you have a better chance doing so than starting a SD starter using gluten free flour alone.  I have tried using rice flour and raisins... the "Starter" looked active for a bit then it smelled like something had crawled in it and died there.  I didn't want to take a chance so I threw it out. 


I have been trying to make gluten free breads just for the challenge.  I have had many failed batches yet a few "good" ones, but they're not sourdough.  I don't believe one can ever make a gluten free bread that will feel and taste 100% like regular wheat bread.  But if you can stomach the store bough stuff... which to me is not for human consumption... you should like some of the recipes that I found and modified.


One of our infrequent posters here had a blog about using water kefir to make gluten free SD starter.  She also has the recipe how to make water kefir (assumed you have water kefir grains or buy them from her or from someone else), for SD pancake and SD gluten free bread. 


I am not associated with this particular poster and I have not tried any of her products or her recipes so if you do want to try you can do a keyword search here or google "gluten free sourdough starter" and you should find her post and links.


Best of luck!


 


Al



sadears's picture
sadears

Thanks Al.


I suppose I will just have to try it and see.  I think the sourdough starter I have will kick start the process.  I plan to use just a bit as eating wheat bread really wipes me out.  For the gluten, I have Xanthan gum.  There is another product as well, the name of which escapes me at the moment.  I wonder if I put some Xantham in the starter.


Mmm.  Have to think on it a bit and do more research.


Thanks Al for the quick response.


Steph


p.s. On the store bought stuff...when you can't eat the good stuff, you do what you have to.  Unfortunately, that stuff really isn't worth the price, which is why I am trying to bake my own.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Steph, I believe it's the guar gum that you're referring to.  I wouldn't put any gum into the starter.  To maintain a SD starter all you need is water and flour.  Xanthan and guar gum act like gel to hold the flour together when baking but I don't believe it will help the starter at all.  Most people use xanthan gum but for those who are allergic to corn will use guar gum.  I use guar gum too because I am cheap!  LOL  Most of the recipes I see call for 2 to 2.5 tsp of xanthan gum for every 2.5 - 3 cups of flour mix.  Since guar gum is more powerful I use less than 2 tsp for 2.5 - 3 cups of my mix.  You may want to play with it until you feel "right". 


You're right about the store bought stuff.  Not worth the money and just doesn't taste like food.  I guess that's why I want to try to formulate a good recipe for those who really need it.  I made regular SD breads for my family and I am the only human guinea pig for my gluten free breads.  LOL

sadears's picture
sadears

I have both guar and Xanthan. From what I've read they do pretty much the same thing...replace gluten.


Guess experimentation is the only thing one can do.


So far, I have yet to find a bread product that is worth the money.  Whole Foods sells bread for up to 9 bucks!!! There's even a gluten free bakery here in town...they charge as much as the grocery stores.  Oh, bought some gf pizza dough. Wasn't too bad, but really the toppings mask the taste.


Thanks for the help.


Steph

ScottHall's picture
ScottHall

I am not a professional, but one thing I know for sure - GF has nothing to do with bread. Its more like yeast leavened cake. For the sour  - brown rice flour, mix with %50 water and %45 Budweiser (not much, just the bottoms). Feed it with brown rice flour and water every eight hours, toss it in the refrigerater over night, feed it in the morning - do this for at least four days then incorporate that into a good gf sour recipe, the late Bette Hagman advised strongly against any kind of co-mingling of non gf with gf recipes. Quick tips - use a bit of egg replacer with the xantham gum pwdr - here is a good white gf flour mix I use all the time (Bette Hagmans 4 flour bean mix) - 1 part cornstarch - 1 part tapioca starch flour - 2/3 garfava bean flour  - 1/3 sorghum flour - ya

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

Hello everyone. I'm intrigued by this thread b/c it has so many misconceptions. Yes, you can make excellent GF breads, because, yes you can make starters from ANY grain. I've been baking naturally-leavened GF breads now more than a year which my non-celicac friends love as do I. No way my loaves are "Yeast Leavened Cake" - they're crisp on the outside, moist in the middle, last 8 - 10 days without staleing, don't need toasting to taste good, and disappear like walnuts in a squirrel's nest when set out on my table. Oh, and that other ingredient you wonder about is maybe HPMC, which I've tried but don't recommend. Oh and BTW since natural leavens require whole grain and spring water, they're pretty healthy too - and GF natural leaven breads don't need oils, sugars, dairy, eggs or dough conditioners. They're stunningly simple.


So, hey, go at it and see what you come up with!


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Please, can you post some recipe?
One of my sisters is intolerant to gluten (although not celiac) and I'd like to make some decent bread for her.
Just today my corn starter has doubled for the first time, after 3 days of feeding.
I know absolutely nothing about GF breads, I'm just going on by common sense and I'm afraid to make a mess.

Thanks.

sadears's picture
sadears

So can you share some recipes?

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

Thank you for asking about recipes. This creates a dilemma I knew I was making for myself when I replied to the thread. I want to share my good thing but I also want to retain some control since I'm trying to start up a small-group workshop biz. BTW I'm not a professional chef but a soon-to-retire community college professor. I do know how to teach, and my field is fine-art photography so I know how to create/invent/work with chemistry. I live in NJ and hope to offer the first workshop this winter, February or March. ALso hoping to travel and teach.


That said, I'm comfortable revealing these general things: A good place to start is by creating a sourdough with sorghum flour and spring water. Follow the instructions in The Bread Builders (Wing and Scott) as if making wheat-based starter. WHen your starter is ready, a good flour blend is (bakers percentage) 100% flour {of which 70% is sorghum and 30% is starch (potato, tapioca and/or corn)}, 35% sponge, 1% salt, 2% xanthan gum, 98 - 110% water. I like to make hearth loaves but this is tricky b/c xanthan gum does not strengthen well as it proofs, so a safer place to start is with pans. Also the high temperatures of hearth loaf baking dictate certain structures, not all of which make nice sandwich loaves (if that is important). BTW I SOmetimes boost volume when proofing with 1 tsp yeast and 20 - 30 grams of sugar; it depends on the structure I'm after and sour/sweet balance.


This is art and chemistry so the experimental field is wide open. Good luck.


I suggest following this link and investigating some of the articles cited:


http://www.csaceliacs.org/documents/Gluten-freebaking_000.pdf


My college library helped me with locating the cited abstracts.


Oh and if you belong to a celiac group and want me to teach a workshop I'd love to talk with you. I'm not after big bucks, just support for my baking habit :). My page will allow you to send me a message.

ScottHall's picture
ScottHall

Perhaps you could post some pictures of your magic bread. I sell gluten free bread to celiacs who cannot handle anymore than 20 ppm wheat gluten, you cannot make a starter from ANY grain. There are many people who pretend to have problems with gluten because they have problems with mainstream anything - they want to me more "natural" and "holistic". This is fine - but do not misguide people into thinking you can use any grain to culture a starter for gluten free bread. If you are not going to share your recipes - Don't bother posting.

ScottHall's picture
ScottHall

I think I may have misunderstood you about the starters. I apologize. Thanks for the link.

sadears's picture
sadears

I don't have Celiacs, I have chronic fatigue syndrome, which causes me to be sensitive to gluten, lactose, and my statins for cholesterol. They all make me really fatigued. I can eat some things with gluten...for some reason Carl's Jr.'s $6 burgers don't seem to bother me much.  However, pasta, regular bread, and wraps (especially whole wheat) really mess me up. I stopped eating gluten voluntarily because I can't function exhausted like that.  I miss my bran muffins.


As for my starter, I bought the sourdough starter in September thinking that maybe I could use some of it to jump start gluten-free (sort of) starter. I know that sounds really un-gluten-free, but I am hoping that by the time it's ready to bake with it won't have too much gluten in it.


Steph

ScottHall's picture
ScottHall

If you are not celiac, try using Spelt and Kamut flour. I have found that most people who are gluten intolerant can handle the small amount of protein in these ancient grains. Dough properties using potato starch, bean flours, sorghum flour and other such GF alternatives have very little in common with traditional bread making. This is my opinion. Try Kamut and Spelt first - Kamut has about 1% protein and Spelt has about 2% protien. 


Simple Kamut flour recipe:


1000g Kamut


20g Salt


5g IDY


750g water


Combine ingredients, fold till developed, scale 2 or 3 loaves or whatever, proof in the regfrigerator overnight, pull - let it come to room temperature and rise a bit, score and bake. 


Plus its organic- when you buy organic Spelt and Kamut flours you know exactly where your grains came from and that the farmers harvesting those grains were stewards of the soil. Most of the alternative flours today used in gluten-free baking like soy, tapioca, sorghum and bean flours certainly are not organic (though packaged and sold in a similar manner). Soybean in particular has large environmental impact and is destroying the soil in Brazil adding to the decimation of rainforests and desertification of large tracts of land leaving behind a wake of lifelessness...and tastelessness for that matter...Anyway, try Kamut and Spelt first, because you may not need to suffer the wretched taste of gf pseudo-bread and, as a bonus, you know where the grains were harvested.

sadears's picture
sadears

Nope. Tried spelt.  Had same effect. Kamut is a brand, though their product and spelt are both wheat.  Tried spelt thinking it would be even better for me than whole wheat. Woe is me. :-(


 


Steph 

ScottHall's picture
ScottHall

Kamut is a brand name yes, at least that is what google just told me, but it is also a different strain of wheat that has a very low level of protein.

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

I've written a complete description of my GF sourdough technique/recipe, along w/photos, and posted in a blog: Excellent sourdough rolls.


As I read this post back to myself it sounds very complicated, but it you break it down to single steps it's actually easy. I hope that whoever tries this enjoys the results.


Thanks everyone for your encouragement.


Charles Luce

sadears's picture
sadears

Where's the blog?

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

clicking on Charles' name (next to "submitted by"), then scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see "view recent blogs".  It's good!  Al

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just a few things come to mind.  In working with low gluten flours, I have noticed that starters don't rise much, and far from "double."   Dough made with just gf flour and water with yeast will appear to just sit there.   


I think it would be safe to say that non-gluten sourdough starters will look very different from their gluten counterparts.  They will not rise but they will give off gasses.  Evidence of this would be cracking in the surface of firm starters and effervescence in liquid starters.   Could be that keeping a liquid starter in a bottle with a balloon over the top may help indicate activity.  There are other simple tests for CO2 gasses.   Yeast water should be looked at keeping in mind that when gf flour is fed, the beasts are there but harder to detect to determine when they are ready to me mixed into and raise a dough.  So not to worry, eventually the ingredients that are added to gluten free dough that add stretch, will soon make evident the gas being produced. 


Whether these stretch ingredients should be added to a gluten free starter itself is debatable and i have no experience with them but can imagine that some of them have been examined in the food industry for their keeping qualities and microbe killing/thwarting  abilities.  This could be good or bad and I would love to see any research that would apply.  Also if the microbe killing abilities of sourdough dough have been specifically analysed.  Then again it may just be their ability to produce acid and change starter pH to favor their survival (and corresponding sheer numbers) that repels invading microbes. 


My point is don't expect a gluten free sourdough culture to act like a gluten one in order for it to work. 


(Some caution is advised if the starter becomes putrid, develops mold or craws out of the container.  Oh, and don't starve it.  Once you figure out a schedule, feed it well & regularly. )


Mini

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

Hello Mini. Thanks for your comments. I can confirm that all are true. For those who are interested, I added a blog about using digital photography to prove that a starter is fermenting. Like Al says, click on my name etc etc. Couple of points: For a while I was refreshing my starter w/ sponge that included gelatin. The starter eventually became very sour and stinky and refused to work - I suspect the gelatin was a growth medium for bacteria and their population overwhelmed the yeasty beasties. Also, I've baked with starters that were so strong smelling I could barely force myself to run the mixer, and I ate with bated breath. But we all love stinky strong cheeses, right? And what's the diff, I asked myself. And no, I never got sick (and my celiac-whacked gut is fairly sensitive). Finally, the one thing many GF starters excel at is oven spring. WHich is good and not-so-good, because GF loaves tend to collapse easily post baking. So my work these days is to figure out ways to increase rise at proof, lighten the loaf and not rely so much on oven spring. You can follow this saga on my new blog: http://myceliaglutenfree.blogspot.com/