GLUTEN-FREE SOURDOUGH BAGUETTES

I’ve been working with gluten-free sourdough since May and have had some success . . . with many failures; baking regular bread can be tricky on its own, gluten-free breads are even more difficult. And oh boy, do I wish I could say I’ve unlocked the secrets but I can’t. Here’s what I’ve learned so far as well as a recipe for these gluten-free sourdough baguettes – which also makes terrific pizza dough.

One of the reasons I wanted to work with sourdough is taste. Personally, I love the taste of sourdough and wanted a hearty bread I could use for crostini, bruschetta, or breadsticks to enjoy alongside a nice pasta – all of which work with this dough. And as I said, it also makes a fantastic pizza crust; we took dough to Big Summer Potluck and rolled out crusts for the gluten-free pizza station – they were a big, big hit!

First and foremost, if you don’t already have a gluten-free sourdough starter, this recipe will take two weeks to make. But once you have your starter going, the dough comes together in a day. I make my starter using white rice flour and kombucha but you can also use rice flour and kefir water crystals. Jenny of Nourished Kitchen has great in-depth information on the benefits of sourdough as well as a sourdough how-to; she uses wheat flour but the formula is the same for a gluten-free starter. You’ll need to allow one full week to get a starter established by feeding it rice flour and kombucha (or water kefir) every day and then another full week of feeding your starter with rice flour and filtered water. It takes time and patience for this part of the process but the payoff is exponential. One additional note: once your starter is established, it should smell like yeast – if it begins to smell like vinegar, you’ll need to toss and start over. I don’t bake every day or even a few times a week so I store my starter in the refrigerator and have found that it will last about 2-3 months before it’s time to make a new batch.

baguette2

The good news is that the dough will freeze well if you make a recipe and you don’t use it all; we make a full recipe and divide into pizza-size dough balls, drop a teaspoon of olive oil into a quart-size zippered freezer bag and place a single dough ball inside, close and freeze. Although I’ve not yet tried it, I’m betting the same would go for these baguettes.

Another plus is the recipe isn’t enriched, meaning this recipe is free of eggs, xanthan, guar, flax, chia or psyllium husks – it doesn’t even use yeast (although you can add a pinch of yeast if you want to boost your starter a bit – entirely optional). The air pockets and lift that is achieved comes strictly from the gases in the sourdough. More good news is that these baguettes, straight out of the oven and cooled about 30 minutes – are yeasty, sourdoughy and to die for spread with butter.

baguette3

And now for the bad news . . . they do not keep well and by the next day the taste is off and dry. So my advice is to bake and enjoy every last crumb or bake what you need for that meal and freeze the unbaked dough for another time. Additionally, gluten-free breads need structure to hold their shape; rolling out pizza dough is completely different than shaping a baguette or boule – as the dough warms and starts to rise, it spreads out versus rising upward – unless it’s contained so it’s important to shape your baguettes with cold dough and place in the pan for rising.

Working with gluten-free sourdough is a process and I have much more to learn – this recipe is by no means the holy grail of sourdough – but it’s a decent start. I’d love to hear from anyone who makes this recipe – successes, failures, trouble-shooting – all constructive feedback is welcomed!

15 Comments

  1. Hi Debra, When you call for kefir in the recipe, are you talking about kefir milk? I’m new to this and there appear to be several different types of kefir available.

    Thanks for your help!
    j

    • Hi Jane ~ yes, kefir milk is what I’m referring to; buttermilk would be a good substitute as well. Good luck!

  2. Hi there!

    Can you help me with the best way to freeze these? I’m assuming it’d freeze after it’s been baked, correct? How do you thaw/heat it back up?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Kimmy

    • Hi Kimmy ~

      Yes, the baguettes can be frozen after baked; let cool completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer zip bag and freeze. To reheat, thaw on the kitchen counter for about 10-15 minutes, then reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 20-minutes and you should be good to go; every oven is different so if you find the baguette isn’t quite heated through, place back in the oven and check every 5 minutes. We usually thaw, cut into crostini and toast, pull out of the oven and rub with fresh garlic clove; or cut into bruschetta and toast, then top. Let me know how it goes – thanks for the question!

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  5. Sounds great! However, could you print the sourdough starter recipe as well? Thanks!

    • Hi Debra,

      Could you give out the sourdough starter recipe? And do you have a version that uses cups and oz – rather than grams?

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  7. Wow are those beauties! I am so impressed! When you want something, wow you just go for it until you get it perfect, and perfect they are! But don’t feel bad about these baguettes only staying fresh for the day – our bakery baguettes we buy in France are the same. So I guess that means you should be opening a bakery! 🙂

    xoxo

  8. I have to show this recipe to my neighbors who are recently GF. These baguettes are gorgeous, Deb. I think I would have a difficult time having any leftover for the next day. Brava on your bread baking skills!xx

  9. what is the recipe for the sour dough starter?

  10. DEB DEB DEB! You just changed my whole world girlie. For real! This is going in the rotation pronto. Holy yum.

    p.s. – XOXOXOXO
    ~H

  11. Gorgeous! I’ve been playing around with sourdough this summer, too, settling on a blend that is heavy on sorghum. Not only is it a delicious change of pace, I feel like my digestion has really straightened out after re-introducing bread (I’ve been gloofy for something like 12 years, and never really missed bread, just lived on taters and tortillas).

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