Sourdough Can be Gluten Free and Delicious!

I have been making some gf sourdough breads and other baked goods for quite a few months now; since last winter. Hiatus over summer due to hot kitchen although I did continue to make sourdough bagels regularly. I love them with eggs for breakfast and I often have an open-faced bagel sandwich for lunch. The starter I use is make of brown rice flour and water. Occasionally I treat it to some honey. Currently it sits in the fridge until the day before I bake. Then I feed it more flour and water and stir it up to get active. Hey, I know, sourdough is not for everyone, and it has the reputation of being super tricky and unreliable. I can attest to some of that, but I have my secret weapon; a teaspoon of active yeast is my little helper. Added to the dough with the majority of ingredients it gets that dough to puff up, albeit over about 5-6 hours. Shhh! Don’t tell any serious sourdough bakers; they are somewhat fanatical bakers who are incredibly dedicated to their starters, recipes, the lengthy process and are fairly willing to waste lots of ingredients and hours of time waiting for a rise that often is minimal at best. After a few months of up and down results I have gone over to the dark side; that teaspoon does the trick; it is less than half a packet of yeast but it is enough to boost the rising power of my dough to results that are delightful and give me great joy. Until this year, I hadn’t had sourdough since going gf in January – February 2007. My mom loved sourdough and I sure missed it and looked longingly at the loaf of it at family gatherings. No more longing; I am making my own delicious sourdough breads and bagels.

The recipes I use come from a few sources, Aran Goyoaga bakes an amazing looking loaf of sourdough, but my favorite site is Bakerita; I belong to a fb group dedicated to her recipes and advice. Her boule is delicious if exacting in construction. I use her recipe for gf sourdough bagels, and it is super easy and super forgiving. And for those who think bagels are too difficult to make; Wrong! It is a one rise of the dough in the mixing bowl, cut into 8 equal chunks, roll into a ball, poke a hole through the ball and shape into a bagel. Let rise an hour or more, give each bagel a bath in boiling water with baking soda in it; 30 seconds on each side; place back on baking sheet. Dress up with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or Everything bagel mix (my favorite). Bake for an hour and there they are, chewy, golden and just lovely to munch on. I was driven to making my own when I found all the store gf bagels were lacking in texture and flavor and when Aldi’s stopped selling gf Everything Bagels. The last straw for me!! I slice them in half and freeze. Usually get through them in 3 weeks and I bake again.

Bagels, bathed, sprinkled and ready to bake

You can look on facebook for Bakerita’s site. Also for a gf sourdough baking group although I warn you, they are so deadly serious about it! And on both these sites there are recipes in the notes for a wide variety of baked goods. I have two of Aran’s cookbooks. I do tend to do the Bakerita recipes more often; if you follow them closely and add that tsp. of instant yeast you will get great results. Aran’s cookbooks have a detailed step by step recipe for creating your own sourdough starter; not that difficult to do. I have made sourdough scones too; see a few past blogs. I tried sourdough crackers with some limited success. The most recent recipe was the Bakerita boule but made as a loaf and allowed to rise 6 hours before baking. It has lovely even holes in the bread and my guy swears it tastes just like sourdough bread he buys. [He is not gf except when he is at my house so he eats wheat-based products regularly and can easily compare my breads to them.]

blueberry rhubarb sourdough scones

I find it a fun and almost scientific process; you weigh all the ingredients; strongly urge you to get a good electric scale that can do both ounces and grams. Essential. As is a stand mixer for most recipes. The bagel recipe can be made without a stand mixer. And bonus, far cheaper than buying the bread and far better flavor! Plus your house wil; smell fantastic as the bread bakes. Finally, there are the family’s accolades at your amazing sourdough bagels. Who know it could be so easy and fun to make bagels. I promise you will love them. Have fun and be adventurous! Sourdough is for us gluten free types! Go out and bake some.