52 Homesteading Skills in One Year: Project #19: Learning to make gluten free sourdough
This story starts with a dehydrated package of gluten free sourdough starter. And then a second package. And then a third package…It turns out making gluten free sourdough isn’t the easiest homesteading activity. It took me months to get my sourdough active enough to make bread.
And this is about when I went a little sourdough crazy.
It was a Friday night and I was actually debating whether Jérémie and I should risk going out for supper because I might not be home in time to feed my baby (aka gluten free sourdough starter).
You see, sourdough (especially the gluten free kind I craved) requires that you feed it about every 4 hours (yes, I actually considered getting up in the night to feed it, but it turns out I like sleep more than bread), keep it at the perfect temperature and carefully monitor its activity. If you don’t, it doesn’t work and it’s as simple as that.
What I really needed was a sourdough babysitter, which actually exists, but only in Stockholm. Apparently, the Swedes share my dilemma.
Instead of forgoing vacation (because what would happen to your precious sourdough?), you can leave it at the airport with a sitter. Problem solved! But I’m pretty sure if I would have suggested hiring a sourdough sitter to my husband, he would have thrown my baby out the window.
So off we went to dinner. I still had no idea how obsessed I was until I came home that evening and instead of immediately asking how the kids were, my first question was “how’s the sourdough?”.
I have to admit that my first experiments were more like eating toasted bricks with a chewy centre.
Now I can make…I wish I could say the world’s best gluten free sourdough, but the truth is Jérémie will only eat my bread if it’s toasted with cheese. So this is the world’s 259th best gluten sourdough bread. I bet you can’t wait to try it!
What is sourdough?
Until a few centuries ago, we all ate sourdough. Commercial baker’s yeast was not available to our ancestors. Instead, they fermented flour and water. The combination of wild yeast from the air and the lactic acid bacteria found in flour is what makes the bread rise and gives it its superpower.
As a fermented food sourdough is easier to digest, more nutritious than regular bread and will increase your lifespan by several years. Okay, I don’t know if this last comment is true, but it could be. So go ahead and order that sourdough starter.
Feed that sourdough
One of the reasons why it took so long for my starter to work was because I wasn’t feeding it often enough. During the day I now feed my sourdough a 1/2 cup of flour and a 1/2 cup of room temperature water every four hours.
Sourdough likes it hot, but not too hot
Sourdough likes to be kept at a much warmer temperature than our winter room temperature of 17°C. Instead it prefers to overwinter down south at temperatures between 21°C and 30°C. I keep our sourdough in the oven with the light turned on.
Once your starter is bubbling (it should look like it is boiling. You can actually hear and see the bubbles surface and pop) and doubling in size between feedings, it’s time to make bread. I used this recipe from the Art of Gluten Free Baking with a couple modifications.
As per the recipe, you can choose an equal mix of your choice of flours. I used brown rice, tapioca and millet flours. I also substituted the 2 tbsp of sugar for a tbsp of honey.
And voilà! Now slice yourself a little piece of sourdough heaven. Or toast it with cheese. I won’t judge.