I am excited to share this boule with you! I have been working on gluten free sourdough bread as I still miss that nice crusty hearty tangy loaf. Thanks to Jeanne Sauvage of Art of Gluten-Free Baking for making my search for great sourdough easier.
I sometimes like to wing it. Just plain make something totally from scratch no recipe no measurements no rules. I usually fail but I get really excited during the process, so maybe it’s worth it. I decided to do that with some sourdough. I made a starter by throwing together a combo of flours I don’t even remember and then added a dash of yeast. I let it sit on the counter for days, feeding it occasionally. Once I thought it was properly sour, I added some more flours and maybe some xanthan gum and probably a dash of olive oil Then defying all the gluten free rules, I decided to knead the dough. So I did, then I let it rise. It didn’t rise much but I baked it anyway. It was a nice sour lump of rock. I added far too much gf flour in the attempt to make it kneadable. Gluten free breads almost always start out as a stiff batter, but I was in baking denial. However, the attempt did get me baking again and it’s been quite a while.
So I searched for recipes. I felt like I had cheated using yeast to begin with even though it did sour over time. I found this great starter/poolish recipe also from Jeanne. So I started another starter to compare.
Of course I didn’t have any cabbage on hand so I just started it on the counter hoping that the yeast gods would be kind to me. Three days later after showing some sign of bubbling but no sour smell, I did add some cabbage leaves to a small portion of the starter, left it for a day and then added it to the rest of the batch. It was nice and sour tasting.
Here is what I did for my starter:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup navy bean flour ( i did try a batch with garbanzo/besan/chickpea flour but for me the bitterness came through in a non appealing way)
1.5 cups of water
a couple of red cabbage leaves torn into large pieces – mine were not organic
You want a mixture of a higher protein flour to better replicate wheat flour, thus the navy bean flour which is full of protein.
Mix the flours and water together, this will be pretty liquidy batter like. Pour into your fermenting container of choice. I used a 2 quart glass mason jar as then I can see the action. Stir in your cabbage leaves. I left mine open and stirred it ever so often. If this were summer time, I would probably cover it, but no flies are out and about in Michigan right now. I was hoping for some wild yeast to help the process.
Jeanne recommends adding more flour and water every 12 hours, I forgot and added it each morning. Then mix it up. Once you see the bubbling your yeast has arrived, so give it another day or two to fully develop. Then remove the cabbage leaves. They do leave a bit of a purple tinge, but that will get diluted once you add more ingredients to your starter.
From there I strictly follow Jeanne’s recipe so I won’t post it since you should go to her page and read all her research on the project. I did use King Arthur’s Gluten Free flour mix for my flour mixture. I really like it although it is expensive. It seems to be a well thought out combination of flours and starches. By strictly I mean I follow her proportions and directions. Of course I add things to it but we will get to that in a minute. Once the dough is in the parchment paper and rising bowl, I sprinkle a bit of rice flour on top and smooth it over. After the dough has risen and just before plopping it into the heated dutch oven, I slash a pattern into the dough. Adding the rice flour makes the pattern much more distinctive and easier to slice without pulling the dough.
Since I don’t eat a lot of bread and my hubby is only here every third weekend, I choose to make a half batch. One small boule using my 2 quart Staub dutch oven. That is what is pictured above.
Things I have added to my loaves of bread:
Parmesan chunks, rosemary, garlic powder and black pepper, sometimes slices of green olive too
Caraway seed, dehydrated onion and a dash of cocoa powder to make a “rye” style.
If you are experimenting with sourdough too, please let me know your success and tips!