Monday, February 23, 2015

Gluten Free Artisan Sourdough At Last!

Since starting a gluten free diet several years ago, I have longed for a great loaf of sourdough bread! This is one of my favorite types of bread. I attempted to make sourdough bread in my early gluten free days, but never made what I would call "good" sourdough. Several were very tasty but the texture was another story. Not even close! I simply didn't have enough experience baking gluten free bread back then. After years of relearning how to make bread, I figured I would give it another shot. After all, I have gotten pretty good at making gluten free bread.

I browsed the internet and every gluten free food blog I could find that had any information at all on the subject, in an attempt to learn as much as I could about sourdough bread baking. It didn't seem that difficult, so I thought. I simply needed to follow the same guide lines for making regular gluten free bread. I needed a good combination of flours, an emulsifier and a natural yeast for leavening instead of commercial yeast. That being said, it took me 5 loaves to get it right!!
Here is my recipe for gluten free Artisan sourdough bread!!

  • 3 cups of a Multi-Grain gluten free flour mix
  • 1/2 cup of gluten free oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon dough enhancer (optional)
  • 1 cup of very active gluten free starter
  • 1-1/2 cups warm, filtered or distilled water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients and stir well. In another bowl add the starter, water, oil and honey if using, mix until smooth. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients with the mixer running on low speed. Scrape down the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for several minutes.

Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, transfer it to an oiled bowl loosely covered with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the fridge and allow the dough to rise slowly for the next 12 hours. After that, place the bowl on your counter for another 12 hours to finish rising.
This will also ensure the dough is room temperature before it's final rise.

Punch down the dough and place it on a floured piece of parchment paper. 
Then shape it into a round ball and lightly flour the surface. 

Place a clean, lint free towel over the dough and let it rise until nearly double in bulk. This could take anywhere from 3-4 hours to as long as 8-12, it will vary with the conditions in your home, heat etc..
Be careful not to let it rise too long, this could result in a collapsed loaf of bread!

After 5 hours my dough is ready to be baked!

Make 1/4 inch deep slashes in the dough to allow for expansion as it rises

Preheat your oven to 450F and place a Dutch oven inside as it heats. If you don't have a Dutch oven, a covered roasting pan or a covered baking dish that can withstand high temperatures and large enough to accommodate the rising dough can be used. Covering the dish encases the dough in steam, preventing the surface from drying out too quickly, allowing for a better rise.

Once the oven is heated, carefully remove the dish (it will be scorching hot)
 and gently place the dough inside, along with the parchment paper. 

Place the lid on the dish and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for 10 more minutes. This will ensure you get a brown crispy crust.

Remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow the bread to come down to room temperature before you attempt to slice it. Letting the bread rest will also allow the flavor to further develop and make it easier to slice.

Once it has completely cooled, no longer warm to the touch, it can be placed in a bread box or a paper bag with the top folded over. After it has been cut, place the bread cut side down to prevent excess moisture loss. If using a paper bag, place a piece of waxed paper inside and place the bread cut side down on top of that. Placing the bread in a plastic bag will soften the crust.

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