I’m so excited to bring this easy gluten free sourdough bread recipe to you. It’s soft interior and crusty outer will make you wonder why you ever bought bread. Rather than use a sourdough starter which can be hard to keep alive I’ve opted to bake with kefir. Milk kefir is available in most large supermarkets these days and it makes the perfect alternative to a sourdough starter. Read on to find out how.
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Let go of all ideas that making gluten free bread, and gluten free sourdough in particular, is difficult. Once you’ve made this bread I assure you that you are never going to buy bread again.
And I’m going to talk you through just how easy it is. Stay with me. You can do this!
And if you’re still not confident about making gluten free bread then check out my post How To Make Gluten Free Bread. It will tell you everything you need to know to get you started.
Before we start with this recipe there are a few things you need to know. As I’m using milk kefir instead of a sourdough starter you might want to know what that is.
What is milk kefir?
Milk kefir is a fermented milk drink, rather like a thin version of yoghurt.
The difference between milk kefir and yoghurt is how they are made. Yoghurt is made by introducing a bacterial culture into warm milk and allowing the bacteria to proliferate, fermenting the milk into yoghurt. Yoghurt generally contains one or two different strains of bacteria.
Milk kefir on the other hand is made by introducing kefir grains into milk. The grains are a symbiotic colony of many different bacterial strains and yeast. When the grains are left in the milk at room temperature they utilise the lactose in the milk to produce lactic acid which allows the bacteria and yeast to proliferate and grow.
After 12 – 24 hours the resulting milk kefir is ready to drink.
I personally like to leave this in a sealed bottle in the fridge for a further 5 – 7 days before drinking it. In that time the bacteria ferments the milk further, using up even more of the lactose and turning the milk slightly fizzy.
Kefir is not just good for baking with. It has a huge number of reported benefits that you can read about here.
If you don’t want to make your own milk kefir there are a huge number of companies selling it. Just be sure to check that it hasn’t been pasteurised before reaching the shops. If it has been all the beneficial bacteria and yeast in the milk kefir will have been destroyed.
Read more about making milk kefir and recipes that use it: Milk Kefir Recipes & How To Make Milk Kefir
Baking with kefir
I like to make my milk kefir so that I can choose what milk I use. Being intolerant to cows milk, I use full fat goats milk to make mine. I am still experimenting with making a dairy free milk kefir and will keep you posted if I have success.
However, it is possible to buy coconut milk kefir in the UK as CoYo have just launched one.
Baking with kefir is really simple. It can be used instead of yoghurt in recipes (perhaps cutting down the liquid a little), or whenever you want a tangy flavour.
Kefir, being a source of yeast is also a wonderful ingredient to help bakes rise. Although this bread recipe does include some yeast, I have successfully made bread without any additional yeast. It is just more dense than this.
If you’re interested in baking with kefir then check out my gluten free buns and gluten free tea loaf. I’ve been experimenting with cherry scones made with kefir but until I post that check out these wholegrain gluten free kefir buns from Nourish Everyday.
You’ll find other recipes as I create them in this article: Milk Kefir Recipes & How To Make Milk Kefir.
How do you make gluten free sourdough bread without a starter?
This is where I get excited. Yup I know. It’s ridiculous. I really am a baking geek but if ever I can simplify a recipe then that’s what I’m going to do.
A few years ago I attempted to make a gluten free sourdough starter and keep it alive. Firstly, my house is quite cold for most of the year so that was a problem.
Then there’s the issue of remembering to feed it all the time.
And then, there’s another issue of having to throw it away every 24 hours to make room for more food. That’s really expensive when you’re using gluten free flour.
Finally I gave up. It just seemed like too much work.
Enter milk kefir and my kefir bread.
Milk kefir gives the same sour flavour as a sourdough starter does. It also contains yeast which makes the bread rise. I mean, check out that rise!
So why bother using a sourdough starter?
As I said before, you can even buy milk kefir now so you don’t have to keep anything else alive other than you and your family (and maybe your pets!).
What do you need to make gluten free sourdough bread?
The answer is not much.
I use my Sage stand mixer to make the bread dough in, but if you don’t have one, a large bowl, a spoon and some elbow grease will do. I fit the stand mixer with the K mixer, not the dough hook.
The first stage of the recipe is done up to 24 hours before you want to bake the bread and takes 1 minute.
The flours, ground flax seeds and milk kefir are mixed together and left covered with a T-towel. That’s it.
In the warm weather I’ve been leaving that for around 20 hours. The longer it is left the more sour the flavour of the bread.
Once you’re ready to bake the bread, the yeast, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, psyllium husk powder and salt are beaten into the dough.
The mixture is then poured into a prepared 2 lb tin and allowed to rise for around 1 1/2 hours covered with a damp T-towel. Once the dough has risen to near the top of the tin it’s time to bake, which takes just over an hour.
The only thing that is critical for this recipe is the bread tin. I highly recommend that you buy this particular one. It has high sides and a narrow base which supports gluten free bread as it rises. I use it in all my gluten free bread making.
How did you develop the recipe?
As I’ve said so many times before I’m not one for faffing.
It’s why I created my wholegrain gluten free flour blend. I was fed up with having to have a myriad of different gluten free flours in my cupboard. I wanted just one that I could rely on to use in all my baking.
This recipe originated from one by Naomi Devlin in her book, River Cottage Gluten Free. I took her oat and chestnut sourdough recipe and made it by own.
Firstly, rather than using lots of different gluten free flours I replaced all but the oat flour with my wholegrain gluten free flour blend. That makes it much simpler. And don’t be tempted to use a different flour blend because you won’t get the same result either in texture or taste.
Secondly, I used milk kefir instead of sourdough starter.
Finally I used whole eggs instead of just egg whites, because I hate wasting eggs.
If you’re not sure what a gluten free flour blend is then read this article: What On Earth Is a Gluten Free Flour Blend? It will help you to understand why your baking doesn’t always work and will save you a lot of money.
One of the great things about my gluten free flour blend is that it can be used to make everything. From cakes to bread, pastry and even pasta. It’s also a source of protein and fibre being made from 70% wholegrain flours.
If you love this recipe then sign up below for my free recipe ebook. In it I give you recipes for gluten free Yorkshire puddings, scones, pancakes, Victoria sponge and so much more. You’ll also get my weekly newsletter of recipe inspiration.
Other gluten free bread recipes
I’ve got lots of other gluten free bread recipes. You’ll find some of them here:
Pin my gluten free sourdough bread recipe to a Pinterest board:
Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
A simple gluten free sourdough bread recipe made with milk kefir rather than sourdough starter.
- 375 g Free From Fairy gluten free plain flour
- 160 g gluten free oat flour or grind the oats in a blender to create flour
- 15 g ground flaxseeds or linseeds. You can buy these ground or grind your own in a coffee grinder and keep them in the freezer for max. nutrition
- 450 g milk kefir dairy or coconut milk kefir
Start step 1 a day before you want the bread
Place the dry ingredients into a stand mixer bowl and mix together until well combined. Alternatively place in a large bowl and mix well
Add the milk kefir and mix well to combine and create a dough
Cover the bowl with a T towel and leave at room temperature for up to 24 hours (the longer you leave it the more sour flavour the bread will have)
Once ready, move on to step 2
Add all of the ingredients from step 2 into the dough. Mix vigorously to form a smooth, thick batter
Pour the batter into the loaf tin. Smooth the top off with a wet hand
Scatter with a few extra oats and cover with a damp T-towel
Leave to rise for around 1 ¼ hours until the dough has nearly reached the top of the tin
Put the oven on at 230 degrees C (210 degree fan). Place a baking tray on the bottom shelf
Once the oven has reached its temperature place the loaf inside. Add a cup of boiling water to the baking tray and shut the door quickly
After 20 minutes remove the loaf from the oven, cover with foil and place back in the oven.
Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees C or 180 degree fan and bake for a further 35 minutes
Remove the foil at this point and bake for a further 10 minutes to make sure the crust is crusty
Remove the bread from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition data is for information only
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