A vegan gluten free sourdough bread recipe made with whole grain gluten free flours and a brown rice based gluten free sourdough starter that doesn’t require kneading shaping or a Dutch oven.
This easy vegan gluten free sourdough bread recipe has, no xanthan gum, no eggs, no dairy, no oil, no high starch flours, no sugar, no yeast is vegan and perfect for your clean eating diet.
Finding the healthiest way to make a tasty loaf of vegan gluten free sourdough bread that is also xanthan gum free, starch flour free, oil free, yeast free, dairy free, egg free that cuts without crumbling and falling apart, is quite a challenge. But it’s possible! I made this vegan gluten free sourdough bread every week for the last 5 years!
Whole Grain Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe
There is no right recipe for gluten free sourdough bread because everyone uses different methods and they all get good results. It’s all about a balanced ratio of flours, a good sourdough starter and patience.
My vegan gluten free sourdough bread uses only unprocessed whole food ingredients! I needed this gluten free bread recipe to be xanthan gum free, yeast free and without psyllium husk because these created gastrointestinal discomfort for me.
So to ensure a well risen loaf with a good structure, I had to get my hands on an active gluten free sourdough starter. I admit, at first I was a bit intimidated because I wasn’t sure what I would do with so much starter, but then I realized that it can be used for so many recipes.
Like these Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Buns, my favorite Vegan Gluten Free Pumpernickel Bread or this Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Banana Bread, these Vegan Gluten Free Crackers With Seeds and these Gluten Free Sourdough Tortillas / Wraps, which are also gum free.
Before trying this vegan gluten free sourdough bread recipe, I used to bake the traditional rye sourdough bread, which I love for its earthy tangy taste.
Rye is very low in gluten and my husband loved it too, but I wanted to try a completely gluten free sourdough bread recipe due to my gluten intolerance.
Since baking gluten free I managed to switch entirely to only using sourdough and I use it in most of my favorite breads, rolls, tortillas, muffins and naan, check out my recently launched cookbook.
Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Without Xanthan Gum
Most people use gums (guar, xanthan) to get a beautiful shape and texture for their vegan gluten free sourdough bread, but I had to keep my list of ingredients as close to real food as possible.
Some of the registered side effects of xanthan gum consumption is: intestinal gas, bloating, flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems. And I definitely felt some of them.
How To Make Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
Instead of using yeast, I let the natural fermentation do it’s job. As a leavening agent I’m using a gluten free sourdough starter from Cultures For Health. Or you can aslo find it here on Amazon – which is maintained with brown rice flour. This is the easiest and convenient way if you don’t have milk/water kefir on hand.
I also have a post with how to start a gluten free sourdough starter, how to maintain, store and troubleshooting tips with pictures and video. Make sure to watch that too, if you want to be successful on your first try.
You can customize the recipe by trying a variety of flours with higher nutritional quality in terms of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Like buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, oat, flax seed, sorghum etc. Make sure to read below about the best flour to use in gluten free bread baking.
Once you get the right balance of flours and you have an active gluten free sourdough starter, it’s pretty easy: mix everything together, pour in a baking tin and let it rise and ferment until it’s ready to bake. That’s it, no kneading necessary.
Reasons To Try This Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe
- The slow fermentation process allows bacteria to fully break down the carbohydrates which basically pre-digests the bread making it easier to digest.
- No artificial additives, preservatives, no high starch flours or gums, no oil, no nut flours, it’s dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and yeast free.
- Easy to make and easy to store for longer periods of time (freezer) just throw some slices in your toaster whenever you want a sandwich.
- This sourdough starter is very easy to care for and maintain. I store it in the refrigerator, feeding it just once a week.
- Because of the acids and bacteria naturally present in the starter, sourdough breads tend to have a longer shelf life than their commercial yeast-based counterparts.
- Enjoy high quality fresh bread without causing inflammation or digestive issues.
How To Make Gluten Free Sourdough Bread – Healthier
Then choose flours from sprouted grains. This is especially great for people having a hard time digesting starches, typically when dealing with allergies and food sensitivities.
Sprouting minimizes the presence of phytic acid (known as a mineral blocker or enzyme inhibitor), it breaks down the grains’ starches into simple sugars that are very easily digested afterwards.
Moreover it makes the nutrients more bio-available. Usually it’s pretty hard to find good quality gluten free sprouted flours, sometimes I can find them on amazon, but most of the time they are more affordable on Vitacost.
Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Without Dutch Oven
You don’t need to invest in a dutch oven to make this gluten free sourdough bread. And even if you have one I don’t recommend using it, because the dough is not stiff enough to hold it’s shape without walls of a loaf pan. The walls keep the rising upwards and not on the sides.
The best thing I found for easier gluten free (sourdough) baking is this adjustable oval baking frame or tin without a base. It has no bottom so it’s easy to remove while baking. And since it extends in and out easily it works well for any bread size if you decide to bake a larger loaf than anticipated.
How Baking Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Without Yeast, Gums And High Starch Flours Is Different
- In general gluten free sourdough bread needs “walls” to hold it up because, it spreads more than rise upwards. If you want your loaf to stand up on it’s own, you can add high starch flours. But I prefer a more nutritional gluten free bread made with whole grain flours.
- There is no kneading required. The batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter, I found the best results to be achieved when it looks like a thick oatmeal porridge.
- My gluten free sourdough starter is kept in the refrigerator and is fed just once a week. When I take it out of the fridge I take 80% of the amount of starter for my bread to be and I feed the rest 20% (about 1 cup) with another 1 cups of fresh flour and 1 cups of fresh filtered water.
- The final batter is pretty sticky so is best to cover your baking dish with parchment paper before pouring.
- The dish in which the dough rises can limit the extent of the rise. Be sure to leave plenty of room for expansion.
- You can use natural and healthier binders (like flax seeds, chia seeds or psyllium husk) that can keep your bread from falling apart. I do not use psyllium because it I found that it irritates my stomach.
I also made a video tutorial to help you understand the process of making this gluten free sourdough bread recipe more easily.
Although it’s been a while since making this recipe, with experimenting it has changed and improved. See updated recipe video in the recipe card.
Best Gluten Free Flour For Making Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
When making bread I like to use a combination of gluten free flours because using just one is not going to give you the right texture, they all have different density, taste and smell. So mixing different types of fours will give you the best results.
When baking my whole grain gluten free sourdough breads I use a ratio of 70% medium density flours, 10% high density, heavier, coarse flours and 20% low density with softer, finer texture.
Depending on the grind, gluten free flours can also be very coarse or fine. The sharp granules can slice through protein chains, and make bread doughs crumbly, rather than elastic and chewy. So when choosing your flour make sure to choose a finer texture as well. Different brands grind the same type of flour differently.
For example the regular brown rice flour and sweet brown rice flour (made from short grain varieties). That sticky starchy quality of sweet brown rice flour makes all the difference – it’s finer, less gritty and more starchy: a natural binding agent.
What About The Bread color?
If you want a gluten free sourdough bread that is lighter in color, then use lighter flours. For example buckwheat flour can be found in darker color and lighter color. The light one is made with hulled buckwheat; the darker flour is made from unhulled and has dark flecks from the hull. The dark one, naturally, also has more fibre. So if you want a more delicate crumb with a light and airy appearance then use the light one like this one, or organic sprouted buckwheat flour.
My favorite is the oat flour – it’s perfect in gluten free baking: it’s light in color and when paired with other flours, it can help soften and lighten up the texture, give more of a chew and help keep baked goods moist. Plus it’s cheaper.
Make Your Own Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
If you decided to make your own gluten free sourdough starter, you have 3 options: 1 – make it from scratch with just whole grain gluten free flours and water (a less reliable method). 2 – add a helper: fruits, cabbage leaves, or water kefir. 3 – or buy a starter culture that also acts like an aid and ensures that the whole process of making a gluten free sourdough starter is successful.
For all 3 methods you need mostly filtered water, flour, and the same amount of time (about 6-9 days).
I’m using method number 3 – with a sourdough culture (which is basically an established starter, packed in a dehydrated form, made from brown rice) because it gives me the peace of mind that it won’t fail. Make sure to watch (video) the whole process of creating a gluten free sourdough starter in this post.
Once you have an active sourdough starter you can proceed to baking, see recipe and video below. There is also an updated and improved recipe below the recipe card, make sure to check them both out!
Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe, Yeast Free, Gum Free
Prepare The Refrigerated Gluten Free Starter For Baking:
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour - organic
- 1/2 cup filtered water, room temperature - or a bit less if your starter is more liquid.
Add The Rest of Ingredients To Form The Loaf:
Another Recipe Version (yields better texture)
- 1 cup gluten free sourdough starter - active
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup gluten free oat flour
- 2/3 cup ground flax seeds - I increased the amount comparing to original recipe.
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup - optional
- 1 tbsp Himalayan pink salt - or 1.5 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp psyllium husk - optional, but yields a more flexible texture
- Once the starter is active (is bubbling regularly within a few hours of feeding) take the amount of starter you need (1 cup). The rest of the jar place in the fridge covered with a cheese cloth and a rubber band. Now you can proceed to step 2, and add the rest of ingredients.
Step 1: Activate the gluten free starter that’s already stored in the fridge:
- Take the amount of starter you need, the rest feed it and place it back in the fridge.
- To that add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of filtered water. This step will activate the cold dormant starter. If your starter is thin and watery, use less water (about 1/3 cup). Let it sit in a warm (not hot) place for 3-4 hours until is light and bubbly. During winter it might take even 5 hours.
- If the starter is not too active (you don’t see too many bubbles) feed it again (brown rice flour + water). But you will need to use only 1 cup of starter for the recipe, the rest you can place in the fridge or use for another recipe.
Step 2: Form The Gluten Free Sourdough Loaf
- To the active starter add the rest of ingredients: the flours (sifted), water, salt and maple syrup (it's optional, but I use to enhance the taste plus the sugar makes the bread rise faster).
- Mix to combine. The dough should look like a thick batter or like a brownie batter. No kneading is required.
- Prepare the baking pan by lining it with parchment paper, it will prevent sticking. I’m using an extendable baking tin. It has no bottom so it’s easy to remove while baking. And since it extends in and out easily it works well for any size if you decide to bake a larger loaf than anticipated.
- Scrape the dough into the pan and smooth it out with a spatula to produce a nice dome shape. Add seeds or nuts on top if you want.
- Cover with a plastic wrap or a towel to seal moisture (you can also spray the inside of the wrap with water to prevent dough cracking) and let it rise in a warm place approximately 4-5 hours. It depends on how warm is your kitchen.
- Preheat oven at 425 degrees F (220 C).
- Once ready to bake the bread, remove the wrap, cover with an aluminium foil (without touching it), turn the temperature down to 390 F (200 C) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Then remove the foil (at this time you can also remove the baking tin for an uniform baking on all sides) and bake for another 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely before handling or slicing (use a serrated knife)! Best to do that the next day.
- Also check out the updated version of this recipe (more details and pictures below the recipe card). The instructions are similar: activate the starter then mix with the rest of ingredients, transfer the dough in the baking tin to ferment and bake.
Tips For Making The Best Vegan Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
- The ground flax seeds act as a binder and help the gluten free sourdough bread form a better structure. They are stable during baking and do not loose their health benefits like the flax seed oil does at high temperatures.
- Since I’m not using any high starch flour like tapioca or potato flour, no gums or eggs, the dough will spread during proofing and baking, so it is best baked in a high wall pan. These extendable baking tins are a great choice.
- Do not shake or touch the dough once it has risen and is ready to bake, it will collapse and loose it’s shape.
- Topping bread dough with seeds and grains is a great way to develop even more crunch and depth of flavor. You can experiment with mixing seeds, nuts and dried fruit.
- For a lighter in color bread use lighter gluten free flours, read more about choosing the right flours in the post above.
How To Store Gluten Free Sourdough BreadThe slices can be stored in a closed container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. Freeze for longer storage. When needed, slices can go from freezer to toaster directly. Personally I like double toasting or toasting at the highest intensity of my toaster, the texture and smell is just incredible! ADDITIONAL TIPS:
- A larger percentage of sourdough starter in the dough allows it to rise in a cooler location and rise faster.
- If you want a less sour bread – reduce the fermentation time or increase the frequency of your feedings, this will create a more mild taste, minimize the alcohol content and reduce the overall acidity of the sourdough.
- Whole grain flours tend to contain more organisms to feed the yeasts and bacteria. Switching from a whole grain flour to white flour may cause a decline in the health of the starter.
- Always revive a dehydrated sourdough starter first with the flour type indicated on the package. Switch flours only when your sourdough starter has been fed for at least a week and is healthy, bubbling and growing.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.
After experimenting with different flours, the most successful combination of ingredients for making this yeast free and gluten free sourdough bread recipe (in terms of taste, texture and shape i.e. softer and more flexible) became this one:
- 1 cup gluten free sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup organic brown rice flour + ⅓ to ½ cup filtered water (depends on how thick is your starter)
- 1 cup organic buckwheat flour
- 1 cup organic gluten free oat flour
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2/3 cup ground organic flax seeds (or 1 egg), I increased the amount comparing to original recipe.
- 1 Tbsp organic maple syrup (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt or 1.5 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
INSTRUCTIONS (also see pictures below):
1. After combining the starter (1 cup), the brown rice flour (1/2 cup) and the water (1/2 cup), I let it activate for about 3-4 hours. During winter it might take 5 hours. If your starter is thin and watery, use less water (about 1/3 cup).
2. Then I add the rest of ingredients: buckwheat flour (1 cup) and oat flour (1 cup), ground flax seeds (2/3 cup), salt and maple syrup or maple crystals (optional) and water – 1 to 1 ½ cup. Pour the water gradually, you may need less (it depends on the flour brands). Since I noticed I can tolerate psyllium husk again, I starter to use 1 tsp additionally in the recipe. It makes the bread even more flexible, but it comes out nicely without it as well.
3. Mix well and pour the dough in the lined baking tin. Let the dough ferment and almost double in size for another 4-5 hours (keep it covered to avoid moisture loss).
4. Once ready to bake, preheat the oven at 425 F (200 C). Remove the wrap, cover with an aluminium foil (without touching it), turn the temperature down to 390 F (200 C) and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Then remove the foil (at this time you can also remove the baking tin for an uniform baking on all sides) and bake for another 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Keep in mind that even the crust is brown, there is a chance that the bread is not fully cooked inside.
6. Allow to cool completely before handling or slicing! (Best to do that the next day). Freeze it if you will not consume it in the next 3-4 days.
If you can’t find gluten free (and organic) oat flour, use your blender to make it.
If you want your gluten free sourdough bread to be more sour you can keep it even longer to ferment, otherwise you won’t feel the sourness much.