Gluten Free Sourdough Bread (and Starter)

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread, Quirky Cooking

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at gluten free sourdough bread for years, and during lockdown I was finally home enough to experiment with it! I’ve always been a bit hopeless with anything that needs constant feeding and looking after (other than my kids and pets!)… I tend to get busy or go away for a week and you can guess what happens. ???? So I took lockdown and the resulting “slow down” as a sign that I should learn how to make sourdough (as many others did)! I began by making a gluten free starter based on this recipe by Vanilla And Bean (tweaked to use what I had and measurements altered for us Aussies.) Despite a few mistakes which you may notice in my video (eg. changing the flour when I ran out of buckwheat and leaving it to sit for too long so it got all “hoochy”), somehow it WORKED!! The magical wild yeast visited my starter and it grew and bubbled, making me very happy. ???? 

Gluten free sourdough starter video, Quirky Cooking

Watch the video: how to make the starter (watch on Instagram or Facebook)

The ingredients you’ll need to make the starter are:
     – hulled buckwheat flour (2 Tbsp/day)
     – sweet rice flour (2 Tbsp/day)
     – filtered, room temp water (1/3 cup/day)
That’s it! (Oh, plus lots of patience! ha ha)

As I mention in the video, I milled my own grains and used Arborio or sushi rice for the sweet rice flour – it’s usually made with glutinous (sticky) rice, but I couldn’t get that for love nor money during the lockdown, and still haven’t found any since shelves have been restocked… but the substitutes worked fine, just so you know.

(These are Australian (metric) measurements using a 20ml Tbsp – if using Imperial measurements the Tbsp is 15ml so you’d use 1/4 cup water.)

Basic Method for Starter is below – see this recipe for detailed instructions.


Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

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hulled buckwheat flour

sweet rice flour

filtered water


Day 1: Whisk together in glass jar or bowl – 2 Tbsp buckwheat flour, 2 Tbsp sweet rice flour, and 1/3 cup water. Cover with a wet cloth, leave to rest 24 hours at room temp.

Day 2: Whisk together in glass jar or bowl – 2 Tbsp of yesterday’s mixture (the starter), 2 Tbsp buckwheat flour, 2 Tbsp sweet rice flour, 1/3 cup water. Cover with a wet cloth, leave to rest 24 hours at room temp. (Save remaining starter in a jar in the fridge – this is called the ‘discard’ and can be added to during the week, then used in baking pancakes, muffins, crackers, etc – search ‘sourdough discard recipes’ for ideas.)

Day 3 through Day 6, 7 or beyond: Repeat above each day until the mixture becomes bubbly under the surface, has air pockets, and a sweet-sour smell. It took 7 days for me, but it can take longer. Use visual cues for readiness – watch my video if you’re not sure.

Before using starter to make bread, you will need to ‘refresh’ or ‘feed’ it: In clean, lidded, glass jar, place 1/4 cup starter, 1/2 cup water, 3 Tbsp buckwheat flour and 3 Tbsp sweet rice flour, and mix until combined. (Place discard in the fridge to use in other baking.) Place lid on jar, and a rubber band around the jar to indicate level of starter before rising, so you can see when it has doubled. (See example in video.) Allow starter to develop for 8-12 hours at room temp, until doubled in size. The time it takes depends on temperature in room. (If starter is taking too long to double, place it in a warm spot like in the oven, temp off with oven light on.)

Once your starter has doubled in size, is bubbly, and has a sweet-sour aroma, it’s ready to use! After measuring out the portion needed for your recipe, refresh the starter as above and store until ready to use again.

Storage of starter:

Room temp if baking every day: store in glass jar with lid and refresh daily after removing starter needed for recipe

Fridge: store in glass jar with lid, refresh once a week; may need to refresh twice in 12 hours before using in recipes to get it active again

Freezer: store in glass jar with lid, thaw and refresh a few times before using

Have fun, and be patient!!! It can take a couple of weeks for the starter to ‘start’!

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag @quirkycooking on Instagram — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Video, Quirky Cooking

Watch the video: how to make gluten free sourdough bread (watch on Instagram or Facebook)

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread!

Me: “Yay I have a gluten free sourdough starter, I’m going to make my own sourdough bread!” …172 tries later… Ok not that many ???? but it’s been a lot of trial and error and I may keep tweaking it as I learn more, but I promised to share so here it is!

FYI – there’s a LOT of variables with bread making, and there seem to be even more with sourdough bread making, so if your first go doesn’t work as well as you’d like, make toast and try again! (Thats what I do, anyway.) I find the starter needs to be quite fresh and lively, if it’s too sour smelling and has liquid on top you will need to tip off the liquid (known as ‘hooch’) and keep refreshing it until it’s sweet-sour smelling and bubbly again. If your starter has a pink or orange tint, it has gone bad and will need to be thrown out. But keep it happy and fed, store in refrigerator, use often, and it’ll be fine!

I tweaked my Gluten Free Artisan Bread recipe to make it a sourdough bread (see below), but I’m working on other versions (eg. egg-free) so stay tuned! You’ll also find plenty of other GF sourdough recipes online, so have a play.

If you have any questions or want to share a photo of your sourdough with us, feel free to post in the Quirky Cooking Chat Group!

Have fun! Jo xx


Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

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200g gluten free sourdough starter (above)

600g lukewarm water

4 large eggs

65g olive oil

30g honey

4 Tbsp psyllium husk powder

300g brown rice flour (buy or mill your own)

300g millet flour (buy or mill your own), or can use sorghum, amaranth, teff, quinoa, gf oat flour, or tigernut flour

300g tapioca starch (or arrowroot)

1 Tbsp fine sea salt/Himalayan salt

sesame seeds (opt, for top of bread)


1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together starter, water, eggs, oil and honey until frothy. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together psyllium husk powder, rice flour, millet (or other) flour, tapioca starch, and salt until well combined.

3. Pour the wet mixture into the large mixing bowl with the dry mixture, and combine with a wooden spoon, mixing quickly as it will soon start to thicken. (It won’t be a ‘dough’, more of a thick batter.)

4. Divide the batter between two loaf tins lined with large pieces of baking paper.

5. Sprinkle dough with a little water and mould into domed loaves, smoothing the surface with wet hands. Sprinkle tops of loaves with sesame seeds if desired. Slash tops of loaves with a sharp knife in diagonal lines 2cm apart and 1cm deep (if you like).

6. Fold the baking paper hanging over the sides of the tins over the tops of the loaves, and cover with a doubled over tea towel.

7. Leave bread to rise in a warm spot for 7-9 hours (until bread doesn’t seem to be rising anymore) – it won’t quite double in size. Don’t over-rise or bread will be more sour and heavier than usual.

8. Place a pizza stone on a rack in the centre of the oven, and a heavy, high-sided baking tray on the bottom of oven. Heat oven to 230C fan-forced. (Oven may take about 30-40 mins to really heat up – it needs to be REALLY hot for the bread to ‘bounce up’ and rise properly.)

9. Place bread tins on the hot stone, quickly pour a cup of water into the hot baking tray, close oven door, and cook for 20 mins. Reduce heat to 180C and cook another 30-40 mins, until top of bread is golden brown. Take bread out of tins and knock on the loaves underneath with your knuckles, to check they sound hollow and the crust is crusty! If they need a bit more baking time, leave out of tins and place the loaves directly onto the hot pizza stone for another 10 mins then check again.

10. Cool loaves slightly before slicing.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag @quirkycooking on Instagram — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

28 thoughts on “Gluten Free Sourdough Bread (and Starter)

  1. Hannah carson says:

    Hi Jo
    I started my sour dough starter – got to say 3 and it had a pink film on top of thought it was mild so threw it out and started again. Day 2 of fresh batch is the same.
    I had it on the window sill then on the bench. It’s not warm in my house during the day but at night we have the fire on so house is warm.
    I’m thinking I might need to change every 12hrs instead of 24hrs or keep in the pantry.
    What are your thoughts?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Hannah, yes it may be a bit warm at night… although if it’s only a faint tinge of pink I have scraped that off (just in case) and continued on before and it’s been fine! But do store it in the pantry, I think that’s a good idea.

  2. Mands says:

    We made a starter with just the buckwheat flour and water. My son was so excited as sour dough was one of his favourites before being diagnosed as having coeliac disease. I will definitely try this recipe next week

  3. Bec says:

    Can’t wait to see your egg free version! My daughter is allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, egg and corn.

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Bec. Thank you for your comment:-). Unfortunately I did not get around to do it yet;-/. I will definitely share the recipe when I do come up with an egg free version. All the best:-)

  4. Cathy Bowen says:

    Hi Jo,
    firstly, LOVE your recipes which are a Godsend for people like me with food allergies. I am SO keen to make this bread but am stuck on the sweet rice flour. I have been searching everywhere for it. I’ve also been searching for short grain rice to make the flour. Would you mind elaborating on the flour please? Can we use medium grain rice to make the flour? Is it specifically, only short grain?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Cathy. Thank you so much and I am so glad you are enjoying my recipes:-). Sweet rice flour is made from from sushi rice or short grain white rice but yes, you can also use medium grain rice too…It should work just fine:-). Good luck on your sourdough journey:-).

      • Toni Renfree says:

        I’m looking forward to making this recipe as I have all the ingredients except sweet rice flour. I have found Erawan glutinous rice flour 500g $1.90 advertised at both Coles and Woolworths. Thank you for doing all the hard work.

  5. Cathy Bowen says:

    oops, just realised my comment should have been on the starter recipe. Sorry about
    that 🙂

  6. Janise says:

    I followed your recipe to a tea for sourdough bread It turned out like a brick. l have watched your video I don’t know if some has been left out ,as l didn’t hear or see you put the tapioca starch in ,or how much of it you used .And also how much millet flour. In the recipe it ask for 300g of tapioca,millet,brown rice Is this correct Thanks

  7. Jess says:

    I attempted this, it didn’t look quite as tasty as your gluten free sourdough bread but was still a hit with the family, thanks for sharing this

  8. Krystol Brailey says:

    I started making your sourdough starter and 2 days it was looking awesome, all bubbly and beautiful but started to grow mould on day 3, I was so sad. What can I do to stop that happening again? I want to try again.

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Krystol. Yeah, sourdough starters are a bit fussy like that and sometimes can grow mold. You might want to look for an alternative spot for your starter and make sure your jar is sterilized beforehand – just rinse it with hot boiling water and let it dry. Good luck :-). Fingers crossed it works for you next time.

  9. fAKHAR says:

    A great recipe that is easy to make and very tasty. May Allah grant you a long life and may you continue to offer us such recipes.

  10. Rosie Gale says:

    I had to turn Gluten Free last year which wasn’t too challenging except for bread. I have found a nice store bought bread although I love sourdough bread. I’m going to give this gf sourdough starter a go….you have inspired me… I hope it works
    Thanks Jo
    I love your recipes ????

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Corinne. You should be able to use buckwheat flour to feed your starter but to start of with I would suggested to use both – buckwheat and sweet rice flour. Buckwheat flour is slightly heavier and I am simply not sure whether it would actually work as I have not tested it myself. Good luck.

  11. hollie says:

    Ho Jo, a question about the starter covering- do you let the tea towel dry naturally in the warm room or keep wetting it over the 24hr period? Thanks

  12. maddison says:

    if i accidentally used tapioca starch as opposed to white rice flour with one of the sourdough days will I have to restart my starter?

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