celiac; gluten free bread


fellow sourdough companions:

i am new to this forum, and new to baking real bread.  my 13 year old daughter, who is a fabulous baker, recently purchased a book entitled, "crust," authored by richard bertinet.  this has been my introduction to making sourdough bread, though i have been eating it for years.  this is a wonferful book, and we made beautiful baguettes twice in two weeks.  i have been told that this bread is better than most breads one can buy in a store.  we plan on trying teh sourdough very soon.

since i am gluten intolerant, i can make the bread, but cannot eat it.  does anyone know how to make gluten free bread such that it tastes at least 10% as good as sourdough bread?  for those of you who are not familair with gluten free bread, you folks would consider it garbage, and could not understand how anyone could eat it. 


any suggestions are appreiciated.



327 users have voted.


gingerbreadgirl's picture
gingerbreadgirl 2010 May 5

Hi Gary

I am a baker in London and often get the same request.

Sadly it is almost impossible to make gluten free bread that is even 10% as good as non gluten free.  Your best best is to buy a good gluten free wheat flour that is specifically grown and milled for bread making.  In the UK, Dove's farm do one - you can look them up on line. 

If you are gluten intolerant (rather than at risk of losing a kidney, in which case don't try!) you may be able to tolerate spelt and rye, both of which make excellent sour dough.  Use a rye sour dough and combine it with spelt (white or whole) or 100% rye or a rye and spelt mix to make truly truly excellent bread.

glutenfreesourdoughbaker's picture
glutenfreesourd... 2010 May 6

Hi All,

Lead Dog, thank you for referring Gary to my site. I am probably completely biased but I would say my breads are 99%-100% as good as traditional sourdough breads. :-) Probably because I am using old fashioned sourdough techniques with pure food ingredients. No chemical leaveners, no gums. Just simple gluten free seed and grain flours. It took me a few years to figure it out and then perfect them.

I bake them every other week, they are almost perfect every time, they have great taste, texture and shelf life, 5 days on the counter, after that a few more days in the fridge, freeze and thaw well. I teach bread baking classes and sell my book from my website. There are many testimonials expressing the great joy people with celiac and multiple food allergies are having when they learn to bake my bread.


To see what's involved you can get a free download of my starter and pancake recipe from my website. Click on the recipes page.


You can eat good sourdough bread again!


sharon a. kane




Panevino 2012 August 20

I'd luv if you would post some photos of you're gluten free bread.  I went to your site hoping for a look.  Cheers.


Nevermind, I found the photos.  Thanks.

bluedog 2012 March 19

 Hi Gary, 

I've been eating sourdough bread made with my own GF starter for several months now. I think it is darn good--even gluten eaters like it. The first thing to do is make your sourdough starter. (google art of gluten free baking and she has a GF starter recipe and a reference to another recipe. sorry, but i am new to this forum and can't figure out how to put in links, or pictures!) To be honest, i didn't follow her recipe, except that i used the organic red cabbage leaf she suggested to boost the starter in the first 3 days. (But you could also use organic grapes, etc--lots of fruits and veggies have wild yeast on them.) But i didn't have sorghum flour at the time (I'm in france and you can't buy it here), so i admit, i randomly used the GF flours i had. My starter was bubbling by day 3 and by day 5-6 i had made a loaf of bread with it. My first loaf turned out lovely. (I would post a picture if i knew how!) I found that there are 3 key MUSTS. 1) spring water, unless you are absolutely sure your water is high acidity and has no chemicals (ie is spring water), 2) warm room temp, and 3) dial back the xanthum gum bc it over-reacts with the acidity of the sd and your loaf will shrink as it cools and become too dense.  I started mine in the winter and i live in a 500 yr old house  that is drafty in the kitchen so i wrapped my starter container in blankets at night and put it by the radiators. I also found that using bean flours turned the starter too sour. Sorghum, millet, rice, amaranth, etc work best. (i don't like buckwheat either bc the taste is too strong.. . perhaps bc GF flours are more transparent in taste than wheat, ect, the sourness comes thru more strongly.) The web site i mentioned above also has a recipe for GF sourdough bread, though i admit i don't use that either. I have fiddled with my own recipe and am very happy with it now. If you are able to get your starter going and want my recipe let me know and i'll post it.   I plan to dry my starter soon, so if you aren't able to get some started, let me know and i may be able to dry some and send to you. You can treat it just like regular sd starter. When i'm not using it, i throw it in the fridge, and take it out and feed it a few times before i use it, etc. I am excited to see if i can modify some of the recipes on this site to make them GF! 


Cielkaye 2012 May 16

Hi, I bake GF for friends who can't eat my regular SD. It would be good to see your recipe. Good observations you make about the sour qualities of grain flours.

Staffo 2012 May 26

 Hi Gary,

I have been baking GF  bread, yeasted and sourdough, for a while now. There are a few techniques around that use all sorts of exotic recipes and ingredients to make GF breads. I have developed a range of yeasted breads and pastries.

My breads, yeasted and sourdough are all made with kneadable dough.

On sourdough.com I have shown some of my work. I am still working at extending GF sourdough beyond just ok, to bread that anyone would enjoy eating. See this link:



bluedog 2012 June 5

 Hi Staffo, 


Very interesting re your kneadable GF breads. But why do you knead if there is no gluten? I'm very curious also bc the gf yeast and sourdough breads i make are too wet and/or sticky to even think about kneading. I would think that a kneadable GF bread would be like a brick. What flours and starches do you use?


Also, have you tried your sd starter in different locales? I just came to the USA after developing and baking my GF SD starter in France, and it isn't reacting the same!!! :-( The natural yeast in france must be better suited to sd than in New England. But i am perservering. 

Staffo 2012 June 11

Hi bluedog,

Kneading gf dough improves the crumb. (I think even some of the batter brigade like to keep mixing until the last minute.) This applies to my yeasted gf breads as well as to my gf sourdough.

 I have travelled within Australia (east to west, and back) with one of my starters and it has worked well in both locations with flour from different sources. I make my starters using a flour and water method - no exotic ingredients.  I have tutored people in Europe and Australia in my techniques, so, yes they work in different locations with different flour sources. 


You can see some of my breads, and read some of my observations here:



and here:



I reckon I have only just scratched the surface of this. There is so much to learn!

cariefox 2012 August 19

I came across this article

Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients , which can be found at http://aem.asm.org/search?fulltext=sourdough&submit=yes&x=12&y=8 (Applied Environmental Biology). They conclude "a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans."


Staffo 2012 August 19

I have come across some of those names before - they seem to be part of an Italian research group. I did some patent searches earlier this year and found patents on the use of a few very specific lactobacillus strains being used. I looks as if it might be part of an attempt to develop a commercial process for making gluten free, or at least low gluten bread. 

The bit I don't understand is this: if you remove gluten from wheat, you remove the critical component of making regular bread. It is possible to make good bread without gluten (and without gums and other chemical additives) so why go to the trouble of developing a technique to reduce gluten in wheat breads?

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