Is Sourdough Bread Gluten-Free? – Eating Sourdough on a Gluten-Free Diet

Published Categorized as Sourdough Tips

For many bread lovers out there, having to switch to a gluten-free diet would eventually mean that they’d have to part ways with their favorite type of food – bread. Though there are a decent variety of gluten-free breads available, due to their taste and texture differences, it doesn’t come close to replacing wheat bread. Many may have gravitated to sourdough bread while on their gluten free journeys, and perhaps you’re wondering whether that is even an option. Is sourdough bread gluten free? Let’s find out!

A slice of fresh sourdough bread

What is Gluten and is it Bad?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat and barley. Gluten is also found in other foods, including bread, pasta, cookies and other baked goods. It can even be found in beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Technically gluten is a pretty harmless protein, unless you’re suffering from celiac disease.

People with celiac disease can’t eat gluten without getting sick. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes an intolerance to gluten. Gluten can cause damage to the small intestine, which makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, gas and bloating.

Is There Gluten in Sourdough Bread?

Sourdough bread is a good alternative to traditional bread, especially if you’re looking for a way to avoid gluten.

Sourdough is fermented and contains less gluten than other types of wheat-based breads. However, if you have celiac disease or are otherwise sensitive to gluten in your diet, sourdough is not safe for you.

While this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try eating sourdough if you have celiac disease (or other food allergies), it does mean that those who have been diagnosed should proceed with caution when deciding whether or not they want to consume this type of bread regularly.

Initially, sourdough bread is often regarded as safer for those with a gluten sensitivity to eat than regular bread. This is because sourdough bread is made using a longer fermentation process, which breaks down the proteins in wheat flour. The fermentation process also makes the dough softer and more pliable, giving it its characteristic tangy flavor.

Is There Gluten in Sourdough Starter?

The answer to this question is yes. Sourdough starter does contain gluten. Though many people who suffer from gluten intolerance can eat sourdough bread without experiencing any adverse side effects.

Sourdough starter is made by mixing flour and water together with some yeast and bacteria. The bacteria ferments the food, converting sugars into acids that help break down starches and proteins into simpler compounds that are easier for your body to digest and absorb.

Essentially, it is a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented with naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. It’s used to make bread because it gives the final loaf a distinctive taste and texture.

Types of Gluten Free Flour

There are different types of gluten free flours you can use in recipes.

Here are some for you to try:

  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Oats, Oats Bran and Oat Flour

Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is a good source of protein, fiber and magnesium. It can be used to make bread, but it’s not as nutritious as the other gluten-free flours. It doesn’t have any leavening properties in itself.

It’s also a good substitute for wheat flour in baking, but it doesn’t work well as a thickening agent or as an egg replacer. Brown rice flour is not a good substitute for wheat flour in pancakes or other savoury dishes because it has no starch content, so it will make your recipe gummy instead of creamy.

Almond Flour

Almond flour is made from finely ground almonds. It is high in protein, fiber and healthy fats, so it makes for a great substitute for wheat flour in baking.

Almond flour can be used to make breads, muffins and cakes. The texture of baked goods made with almond flour is similar to that of regular wheat products. Almond flour also has a slightly sweet taste that pairs well with savoury dishes like soups and salads.

Almonds are naturally gluten-free, so they don’t contain any allergens that may trigger an adverse reaction from someone who is sensitive to gluten.

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is made from whole, dried chickpeas that are ground into a powder. It’s found in many different forms, including whole-grain and white varieties.

Chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber and iron. It can be used in baking as well as making pancakes, waffles and flatbreads. Chickpea flour can also be used to make savory dishes like falafel, and desserts like cupcakes.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a gluten-free, low-carbohydrate flour made from dried coconut. It’s high in fibre, fat, protein and sugar.

Like other flours on this list, it can be used to thicken soups or stews and make baked goods like muffins, pancakes and cookies.

Sorghum Flour

Sorghum flour is a gluten-free flour that can be used to make baked goods and other recipes. It can be used in pancakes, muffins, cookies and other baked goods as well as breads.

However sorghum flour should not be used as a substitute for wheat flour.

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is made from the seeds of a plant that’s related to rhubarb, not wheat. It’s often used in gluten-free baking because it’s high in protein and fiber. It also makes a great substitute for recipes that call for all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.

Buckwheat flour is best used when you want to add more protein to your baked goods, such as pancakes and muffins. The flour can also be found under different names, including kasha and soba noodles.

Oats, Oats Bran and Oat Flour

Oats, oat bran and oat flour are gluten-free whole grains that can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in many recipes. A staple for thousands of years, oats are one of the first domesticated crops.

Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain, which means it contains all of the nutrients found in whole oats but with fewer calories. These nutrients include fibre, protein and antioxidants, all of which can help reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Oat flour is made from grinding whole oatmeal into a powdery consistency that can be used in baking instead of wheat flour. It’s ideal if you want to make pancakes or muffins because it’s high in carbohydrates, low in fat with no gluten at all.

white flour on brown wooden table

Baking Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

When attempting to bake gluten-free sourdough bread, take care of your starter and make sure it’s ready before adding any other ingredient.

Before you add any other ingredients, it’s important to make sure that your starter is active. Your sourdough starter should be bubbly and smell yeasty. If it’s not, feed the starter at least once a day until it becomes active again.

You should start by feeding your starter with a 1:1 ratio of flour and water every day until it doubles in size. Once your starter has doubled in size, remove one cup of the starter and set aside for later use as “seed” to start another batch of sourdough batch.

Now that you’ve made your gluten-free sourdough starter and waited for it to ferment, it’s time to bake!

Baking a gluten-free sourdough loaf

  1. First, set the oven to 425 °F.

  2. Then, if you have one, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on the bottom of your oven floor. This will help give your bread a better crust as well as keep it from sticking to the pan during cooking.

  3. Bake the bread until it’s golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not sure if it’s done, poke a skewer or toothpick in the center of the loaf; if it comes out clean, your bread is ready to come out of the oven.

Baking gluten-free sourdough bread takes longer than traditional bread: always use an instant-read thermometer to determine when your loaf is ready.

If you like your baked goods extra crispy, remove them from the oven when they reach 200 °F. If you prefer softer loaves with a light crust, remove them from the oven at 205 °F. However you like yours baked will depend on how long it spent rising and what kind of flour was used in its preparation; some flours need more time than others before they can be baked into something edible.

If a loaf appears under baked or overbaked within ten minutes of removing it from its preheated oven, simply return both pieces back into their respective pans. Bake for another 5–10 minutes until desired doneness has been achieved.

Sourdough Gluten Free Recipes

The great news for all you gluten-free folks is that sourdough bread has become a viable option in this day and age. Not to mention it’s delicious!

Sourdough is an ancient method of making bread without using commercial yeast. The process relies on naturally occurring enzymes in flour to leaven the dough, as opposed to using packaged yeast. This method creates a unique flavor profile that can’t be replicated with commercially produced products like active dry yeast or rapid rise yeast.

Have a go at some of these brilliant, mouth watering gluten free sourdough recipes.

  • Vegan Sourdough Pizza
  • Gluten Free Sourdough Banana Cake
  • Honey Glazed Donuts

Vegan Sourdough Pizza

Making your own gluten free pizza is easy, especially if you use a sourdough starter as the base for your dough. The long rising time of sourdough makes this recipe rise quickly and beautifully, with a super-smooth texture that’s perfect for topping with tomato sauce and cheese. You can also add herbs and spices to the wet part of the dough.

Take a look at the recipe below:

  • 2 cups gluten-free starter
  • 2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds – ground
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp guar gum
  • 1 cup water
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine sorghum flour and gluten free sourdough starter. Mix with your hands until well combined. If you’re using a food processor or stand mixer, this will take about 5 minutes of continuous mixing on medium speed to form a dough ball.
  2. Now that you’ve got a fabulous dough, it’s time to add your seasonings. Add herbs and spices to taste—you can use any combination of the ones listed above, or experiment with creating your own signature blend. If you’d like to add salt, now is the time to do so. Finally, drizzle olive oil over all of this (or other oils if desired).
  3. Spread the dough over the pan in a thin layer. Don’t spread it too thick, or your pizza will be heavy and dense; don’t spread it too thin, or you’ll have trouble with your toppings sliding off. Avoid spreading it near the edge of the pan, or you won’t be able to fold up enough crust for a good fold-over effect when you pick up your slice.
  4. Your pizza is ready to bake at 450F until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  5. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
dough and hands

Gluten Free Sourdough Banana Cake

With beautifully potent banana flavours, followed by a touch of sweetness from fruit and honey, this gluten-free cake is the perfect snack for any time of day. Pair this with your favourite cool or warm beverage, depending on the weather, or your mood!

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup gluten free sourdough starter
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  1. Mash the bananas in a medium mixing bowl, then stir in the coconut oil, gluten free starter, and flours. Combine well until a soft dough has formed.
  2. Cover and allow to ferment for 6 to 12 hours.
  3. Once you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F, and butter a baking tin.
  4. Add the egg, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to the fermented dough. Mix the ingredients until well combined, then add a drizzle of baking soda.
  5. Scrape the butter into a prepared baking dish and place in the oven baking for 30 minutes.
banana bread

Honey Glazed Donuts

These impeccable honey glazed donuts are the perfect gluten free, sugar pumping snack, to really get your sweet tooth going!

  • 3 tbsp pourable honey
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, until a smooth texture has formed.
  2. Fry your donuts, then roll them in the glaze.
  3. Place them on a cooling rack until you’re ready to consume.
Donuts.

So is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free?

Sourdough bread is fermented, and contains less quantities of gluten than other wheat bread, which makes it a safer option for those who are planning to avoid gluten bread altogether.

FAQs

Is Sourdough OK For Gluten Intolerance?

Yes you can eat sourdough if you’re gluten intolerant. Sourdough is a fermented product. Essentially, it’s a process that breaks down the gluten in the flour and makes sourdough bread safe for people with gluten intolerance.

What Breads are Naturally Gluten Free?

Some breads that are traditionally gluten free include: cassava bread, potato bread, and chickpea bread.

Is Sourdough Bread Inflammatory?

Sourdough bread is anti-inflammatory, with rich vitamins that can easily be digested.

Why Can Celiacs Eat Sourdough Bread?

Though sourdough bread isn’t gluten free, the methods used to make sourdough bread break down some of the gluten in the flour which is why it is suitable to eat for those who suffer from celiac disease.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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