Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread


[Updated Nov. 2, 2015]

If you’re longing for a good gluten-free sourdough bread, this recipe is for you. It’s naturally egg-free and can be made dairy-free, too. (Just use coconut milk for the sourdough starter.) Yes, it takes a few days to get the sourdough starter going, but it’s not a lot of work. 

So before you say “it’s too much," think again. Fresh sourdough bread is well worth the time.


3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend of choice
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup “fed” Sourdough Starter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter replacement, melted and cooled
1½ cups warm milk or milk of choice (about 100°F)


1. Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar, salt and yeast to combine. Add Sourdough Starter and butter and mix to combine.

3. With the mixer on low, pour in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Once the flour has begun to incorporate the liquids, beat the ingredients on at least medium speed for 4 to 6 minutes. The dough will be pretty sticky—thicker than cake batter, not quite as thick as cookie dough. Scrape the dough into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top with wet hands.

4. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, humid place for 30 to 45 minutes or until it has about doubled in size. (In a colder, drier environment, this will take longer. If the environment is warm and humid, it may take less time.) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. Bake the loaf in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a nice, golden brown crust has formed on top.

Each serving contains 170 calories, 3g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 8mg cholesterol, 231mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn.  Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011. To buy this book, click here.

Comments (24)

I have used this recipe for at least two years. It's the bread I make for myself, as I am GF. My 3 cups GF flour blend is about 1-1/4 C starch plus 2-3/4 C any gf flours (your choice). When fresh out of the oven, it can be a little sticky in texture(especially if I use too much potato flour in my mix) , but my loaf lasts two weeks (in fridge) - I usually use only one slice a day for my breakfast toast. When refreshing my starter, I just mix some rice flour - maybe 1/4 to 1/2 C rice flour to 1/8 to 1/4 C water and put in fridge until next time. I've also mixed cooked rice in my starter and that works also. Best gf whole grain bread! YUM

Posted by: debbh | November 2, 2015 4:54 PM    Report this comment

A lot of unanswered comments on this recipie, especially concerning the starter. Although the recipie calls for white rice flour, is it regular or glutinous (sweet) rice flour that is being used?

Posted by: lizef | November 2, 2015 3:26 PM    Report this comment

For those of us who are gluten intolerant, I was told to cut out not only wheat but sugar and yeast as well or it will feed the candida albacans....and continue the disbiosis.

Posted by: | November 2, 2015 1:42 PM    Report this comment

For most of us that suffer with gluten intolerance, yeast is not good for us either. I would like to find a good SODA bread recipe. I was told to cut out wheat and yeast when I was diagnosed with candida albecans overgrowth...

Posted by: | November 2, 2015 1:41 PM    Report this comment

As an experienced bread baker, I have settled for the gluten-free bread recipes available. Having made this bread, however, I found it actually good. Instead of discarding the extra cup of starter, I made a foccacia style bread in a parchment-lined 10'' springform pan, topping it with sliced garlic and Italian herbs. The creamy, tangy sourdough slices made a great accompaniment to a hearty soup--and nobody knew or cared that it was gluten-free. I use a variation of the LW high-fibre flour blend. I also have thinned the starter with more water, up to equal parts brown rice flour and water, depending on the initial thickness of the starter. My next experiment will be with a buckwheat flour blend.

Posted by: homecook | October 28, 2013 12:30 PM    Report this comment

As a mother of a young child, I really appreciate the comments from folks who have already tried these recipes. Not being realy keen on baking and not looking for a challenge, it's nice to know which ones to avoid, and which ones to take on. Thank you!!

Posted by: elena t | April 5, 2013 1:45 AM    Report this comment

This message is for Joyce who says that her bread is not getting done in the center. Here's my suggestion:

You might try removing the bread from the pan and letting it bake on the oven rack for a few minutes longer. In fact, I often turn the oven off and let the bread bake longer (on the rack) as the oven cools. It gives it a nice crust. Depending on how "wet" the bread is when you bake it fully, you can also try removing 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid from the recipe. Add back a tiny bit if the dough seems dry and crumbly as you mix it. Beth Hillson, Food Editor, Living Without

Posted by: | May 22, 2012 3:29 PM    Report this comment

I tried the Sourdough recipe again, and put the bread in two smaller pans. Still did not get done. I do not have a bread machine anymore. Got rid of it. Have tried other gluten free yeast breads, and none get cooked in the middle. Have even left them in the oven for 45 minutes more. Quick breads come out okay. It is only the yeast breads that I have trouble with.
Thank you,
Joyce P

Posted by: Joyce P | May 12, 2012 11:03 PM    Report this comment

Our test kitchen director had a suggestion on using a bread machine: Use the "dough setting" (if it has one) to mix and prepare the dough; it is commonly used to make pizza dough. You could try this setting and then put your dough into a hot oven to bake. Make sure it has doubled in size before baking. - Moderator

Posted by: LW Moderator | February 2, 2012 2:44 PM    Report this comment

Comments are monitored daily for technical issues and for questions about recipe accuracy. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff to be able to research and answer every question posted. The comments section is considered to be a place for readers to exchange ideas and give feedback to each other. - Moderator

Posted by: LW Moderator | January 2, 2012 5:30 PM    Report this comment

Does no one monitor these comments and reply to questions?????

Posted by: Unknown | December 29, 2011 9:57 AM    Report this comment

I would never throw away the starter...I'd give it to a friend or make pancakes using it.

Posted by: Elgie | November 7, 2011 12:40 PM    Report this comment

The way I read this recipe, the sourdough should be "fed" 4 hours before making the bread (or the night before). While this makes an excellent tasting bread, it doesn't taste "sour." It is also somewhat wasteful to throw away a cup of starter in order to feed the starter before making the bread (and then you have to feed it again).

I am going to try using a cup of the unfed starter (and then feed it) to see if that gives me more of the flavor I am wanting for a sourdough. If that doesn't do it, I may try doing a sponge with the starter.

As for the amount of liquid in the starter, it is way too thick without added liquid. I typically add the flour and then the required amount of water, stir and add more until it is a more stir-able consistency (from playdough to canned pumpkin consistency) . I would guess it is about 1-2 tablespoons of water but I don't measure it. It would probably be ok to make it thinner, especially if not planning on using it for a few days, the thing it would primarily mess up would be the flour/liquid ratio in the bread but it doesn't seem to be that picky of a recipe.

Posted by: Christi S | November 7, 2011 12:01 PM    Report this comment

I am in the middle of using my starter to make the recipe and when I removed the 1 cup of starter, there was hardly any left. I added the warm water and 1 cup rice flour but it made a very stiff dough-like mixture with hardly any moisture in it. I have not discarded the cup of starter yet. Should I add more to the mixture to make it moist? If so, how much? I don't want to go to all of this work to make the loaf of bread and not have it turn out.

Posted by: Pamela E | October 24, 2011 2:42 PM    Report this comment

If your child can't have cane sugar, can she have beet sugar? It's widely available in the Midwestern part of the US. As for kosher salt...use just a bit less table salt. Kosher salt has larger crystals, so there is slightly less sodium in a measurement.

Posted by: Elgie | October 18, 2011 11:14 PM    Report this comment

I don't have a stand mixer or bread machine. Is there any way that I can make this?

Posted by: Pat R | October 16, 2011 6:54 PM    Report this comment

i googled for a yeast substitute and found an easy one on a how-to website - i can't post the link, but basically you use fresh baking soda in the amount of the dry yeast, add that LAST to the dry ingredients, : for 1 tablespoon of yeast = 1 tablespoon FRESH baking soda....then add 1 teaspoon lemon juice LAST to the wet ingredients....then proceed as usual. they say it may not be quite as light but it will still be light and good tasting

Posted by: Unknown | October 16, 2011 2:00 AM    Report this comment

I don't have a stand mixer; can this be made in my bread machine?

Posted by: Linda D | October 14, 2011 5:29 AM    Report this comment

Motherof6: I am sure that you can use other sweeteners in this recipe (such as honey, agave, coconut sugar) as long as there is sugar in it. The yeasts need something to feed on, so sugar substitutes (like stevia, xylitol) will not give the desired result here.

Any salt should work fine, and you usually don't have to add extra xanthan gum if your flour mix already has some in it.

Hope that helps! Good luck : )

Posted by: Sarah P | October 13, 2011 5:24 PM    Report this comment

In answer to question from Joy T: When reading the recipe for making the sourdough bread and it states "sourdough starter" click on that and you will be taken to the recipe FOR sour dough starter :)

Posted by: Motherof06 | October 13, 2011 4:28 PM    Report this comment

What is the recipe for the sour dough starter?

Posted by: Joy T | October 13, 2011 2:26 PM    Report this comment

I have an allergy to bakers yeast. Though this sourdough bread sounds wonderful, is there a substitution for those who have an allergy to yeast? Thanks.

Posted by: Debra C | October 13, 2011 2:10 PM    Report this comment

I have a couple of questions. . .What can you substitute for the 1/4 cup sugar in this recipe? My daughter can't use cane sugars. Also, do I HAVE to use kosher salt? can I use regular table salt? ALSO, I am new at this, that's why the amount and type of questions (I suppose). If the flour I use is gluten free and HAS xanthan gum in it, do I still need to add it to the recipe?

Posted by: Motherof06 | October 13, 2011 12:53 PM    Report this comment

My daughter can't have sugar also. . . What would you recommend to use as a substitute for the 1/4 c sugar in recipe?

Posted by: Motherof06 | October 13, 2011 12:18 PM    Report this comment

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