Creating a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter.

A gluten free sourdough starter is needed to make sourdough bread. In this starter recipe there is no commercial yeast, only the wild natural yeast from the starter. Made with the basics … flour and water.

There are theories about the process of fermenting gluten sourdough for 2-3 days that makes it safe for celiac diets. Personally, neither of us are willing to put our health at risk and this is definitely not for a celiac diet. It is hard to understand how this can be safe and how gluten can be removed over a period of days. We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

With repeat feedings of flour and water, fermentation will take place and the natural yeast will grow to make your bread rise.

Make sure you keep your starter in a glass jar (500 ml size will work) and do not use metal, because the acidity in the starter will react with the metal. Keep your temperature constant and between 20 to 28°C and be consistent with the type of flour you use.


  • 20 g brown rice flour
  • 20 g corn flour (not corn starch) or millet, quinoa or buckwheat
  • 50 mls non chlorinated water (Or 10 ml kefir water or plain, raw kombucha with 40 mls water)
  • 2-3 raisins if your starter is not becoming active. Remove them later on.

In a glass jar – vigorously mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon to aerate. Adjust the water or flour amounts if your starter is too dry or too runny. The amounts don’t have to be exact. Keep covered at room temperature, with a tight mesh cloth, or paper towel with an elastic band to keep it in place. Leave at a constant temperature at 20 to 28°C. If your house is cool you can leave the starter in your oven with the light turned on.


Make sure fruit flies can not get through the cover.

In 6-8 hours (depending on the temperature of your kitchen), feed the starter again, with 40 g brown rice flour and 50 ml filtered water.

Repeat until  the starter begins to bubble or form a dome, then discard all but 40 g starter.

Add 40 g flour in total to the starter. (This could be 20g of brown rice flour and 20 g of millet, or buckwheat or quinoa .. you choose). And the 50 mls of water to the 40 g of active starter.

Keep feeding the starter on a regular schedule twice daily, until doubled in size and bubbly, with a mild yeasty smell that is not too sour.

When you start to see a regular rise and fall of your starter with feeding, then you know it is ready for baking. When it peaks and has a nice dome it is ready. If the starter has fallen after peaking, by an hour or two. You can still mix it into a dough, but if you go much longer than that, you will not get a good rise from your bread.

At this stage your starter is ready to make some sourdough bread, or keep the starter in the fridge until ready to use.

Keep the starter out of direct sunlight in a warm place. Not too hot and not too cold.

Gluten free flours are expensive so keep the discard flour in a separate jar to make sourdough pizza or pancakes and always save some of the starter. After the starter is established and active, you do not need to use huge amounts of flour to feed it. Most recipes we use only need 100 to 150 g of starter. Plus the 20 g to keep your starter going.

Signs from your developing starter:

  •  Yeasty smell but not too sour
  •  Some clear liquid on the top when it requires feeding
  •  Starter has a light spongy look
  • The aroma is mild and pleasant.
  •  The sound of bubbles popping and evenly distributed
  • No liquid on top when ready to use

We bake bread every 7-10 days so the starter is  kept in the fridge and taken out 1 1/2 days before baking.

Reactivate the starter by bringing it to room temperature and feeding 2 -3 times before baking bread.

  • Use 20 g of starter from the fridge.
  • Weigh 20 g of brown rice flour
  • Weigh 30 mls of room temperature, filtered water.

Add the water to the starter first to dissolve the starter, then add the flour and mix well.

Note: the starter is very forgiving so if your mixture is looking to dry … add a little more water. The same for if it is too wet and soupy … add a little more flour.

Feed again 8 hours later with all the starter and add 60 g of brown rice flour and 60 mls of water – giving 180 g of starter. Save 20 g of starter to keep for the next bread bake.

The starter only needs feeding once a week in the fridge with 20 g of flour and 30 mls of water.

If you do not like the smell of the sourdough starter, then you will not like the taste in your bread. Discard some starter and feed again before using. You can also take a small taste test.

Once your starter shows all the promising signs of activity and it at least doubles in size …. then you are ready to mix some dough!

16 thoughts on “Creating a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter.

  1. Mare says:

    This looks like a lot of work. Is it truly worth it. I have tried so many bread recipes in the past and some are okay but all are labour intensive. And at the end of the day not worth all the work.


  2. acoupleofceliacs says:

    The starter is easy to maintain once established and ours has been going for a year and a half now. Recently while I was away fir a month it stayed on the fridge and I reactivated it once I returned. As to the bread itself it’s something that you fit around your own schedule and there is actually not a lot of hands on time spent working with it. The time is leaving the dough alone to do it thing. I prefer it now to bought bread.


      • acoupleofceliacs says:

        Lately Ive been using brown rice flour and millet flour which the starter seems to love. I have also used a little buckwheat as well in the past. Try what you can use and see how it reacts. Some flours are quicker acting than others.


    • acoupleofceliacs says:

      Yes about the same. The flours do absorb water a bit differently but it doesn’t have to be exact for the starter. You are looking for the consistency of a thick pancake batter and as long as you get yeast bubbling after a few days that’s the main thing


  3. Nadine says:

    Do you think we could make a starter using only a gluten free 1-1 flour? Unfortunately we don’t have brown rice flour etc in the house right now.


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