Self reliance: Gluten Free Sour Dough Bread

Gluten Free Sour Dough Bread

Gluten Free Sour Dough Bread

A fresh Gluten Free loaf

Although we try to steer away from eating  grains because they are hard to grow in sufficient quantities yourself without resorting to monoculture, we do enjoy having some bread. Unfortunately, with grain allergies and gluten sensitivities in the family, we cannot consume wheat, oats, spelt and other glutenous grains. So we make our own gluten free sour dough.

We purchase our grains through Demeter as part of a community effort. They arrive in bulk bags which minimises packaging and are guaranteed organic or bio dynamic. I store the flour and grains in large food grade buckets with lids to keep them safe from vermin. We used to grind wheat, spelt or rye to make our own breads, however now we are gluten free it is easier to work with already ground flours.

I bake my gluten free loaf with quinoa, rice and buckwheat flour and add some sprouted buckwheat kernels. But first, lets prepare the starter culture.

Before we start, please ensure you only use non-metallic implements, bowls, mixing spoons and bread “tins”. Metallic ones may interfere with the culture.

I put 1 cup of rice flour and 2 cups of warm water in a jar and add about 1 – 2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice. I seal the jar and leave it stand in a warm place for around 3 days.

When I open the lid I can smell a healthy ferment smell, if it stinks, please do not use it! I put 1 cup of rice flour and 1 cup of quinoa flour in another jar and add 1 cup of warm water. Then I add 1/2 cup of starter culture. I put the original starter culture in the fridge for later use. Then I let the rice/quinoa/starter culture mix stand in a sealed jar in a warm place for another few days, until bubbles have formed in the mix. Again, if it smells bad when you open the jar, do not use it, it should just have a pleasant ferment smell. This is the starter.

Starting the bread mix

Now you can start making bread. I soak 1 cup of buckwheat kernels for 1/2 – 1 day and let them sprout (rinse regularly) in a colander or sieve for 1 or 2 days. Then I add them to 1 cup of rice flour, 1 cup of quinoa flour and 1 cup of buckwheat flour. Add 1/4 cup of the starter and mix 1 1/2 tsp of celtic sea salt (or to taste) with warm water. I mix the dough, adding more water if it is too dry. The dough should be thick, but not dry, it is a different consistency than conventional bread.

Once mixed, put the dough into a greased bread tin and cover with a plastic bag.

The GF sour dough bread mix in our bread “tin”
The bread rising on the shelf above our wood stove in winter. In summer any warm spot will do.

Put in a warm place and leave it for around 12 hours to rise. I leave our bread to rise on a shelf above the wood stove, nice and warm there…

Bake the loaf at around 180 degrees C (around 350 degrees F) and check after 1/2 hour. The crust should be firm when touched and brown, if not leave it in the oven for a bit longer. Pull out of the oven and leave it to cool in the tin. When cooled enough, gently work around the edges with an egg flipper and ensure the bottom is loose before you tip the tin upside down onto a plate or cooling rack. Let cool until you can’t handle it any more and you just have to have some!

A small cooked GF loaf, straight from the oven!

©2012 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – Self reliance recipe: gluten free sour dough bread


  1. Thanks for the recipe. So do you just use up the second, more diverse starter that you took 1/4c of for the loaf and then feed the first starter? In general why do the two different starters, why not just feed the first one you made with more and different flours and scoop out of that one? Your method is different from others I’ve seen but I like it. I think I’ll try it for my first try. Thanks for posting this. Much love.

    1. Hi James, the first starter seems to be too strong. The taste is very present if you use it in the bread. I prefer to use the second starter, but like with all recipes, please play around with it and see what works for you. Good luck!

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