Gluten Free Vegan Sourdough Bread (with steps to use the Tangzhong method)
Updated: Apr 7
This is not a complete explanation or even a strict method following baker's percentages and the like for baking sourdough bread. This recipe will get you started, de mystifying the overall process so that in time you will feel comfortable working with a more detailed and precise methodology
I tested a few methods to make this sourdough loaf. The 2 that worked best follows. One option includes the scalded flour method (tangzhong or yukone) and the other does not. The scalded flour option was the winner but only by a small margin. The major difference is that the dough made with scalded flour was lovely to work with, it felt pillow-y and more elastic. I braided and shaped the dough so that advantage mattered to me. If you just want a good loaf of sourdough bread, you can opt for either. Read more about the Tangzhong method here
There were several other factors that are worth mentioning:
1. You need a high protein flour blend. If you are using a pre mixed blend, choose a bread flour mix instead of a 1 to 1 mix. If you want to try making your own blend, use a light flour (e.g. brown rice), a high protein flour (e.g. oats, millet, almond), and starches (for me that would be tapioca and potato starch, not potato flour). Make your blend using this formula as a guide, you can always adjust to your liking (for more info on making your own bread flour blend check this Post 1 and this Post 2:
65% light flour
15% high protein flour
2. Baking the bread in a dutch oven or your solution for a dutch oven, for half of the baking time results in a “crunchy” crust
3. When the bread is done baking, turn off the oven, open the door and let the bread hang out in the oven until the oven is completely cool. This improves the texture, the bread will be a lot less “gummy”. The bread in any state is good for toasting.
4. My starter is always at 100% hydration. Which means, I use the same amount of water and flour to feed it. Some gluten free flour blends need a little more water than flour. I still treat this as 100% hydration
Most Sourdough loaves are proofed in a Banneton Basket and then subsequently baked in a Dutch Oven or a Cloche Bread Baker. This recipe works with a regular loaf tin (preferably one with tall sides like this) and a bowl for proofing.
Gluten Free Vegan Sourdough Bread Recipe
½ cup mother starter (100% hydration)*
¼ cup bread flour
¼ cup water
Mix and allow to mature for a few hours or overnight. Then follow the remaining steps below
*My sourdough starter or mother starter was made with brown rice and water. The mixture was fed over a few days until there was a strong culture of wild yeast
See below for the tangzhong method or continue with the steps below.
2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp xanthan (omit if this is in your flour blend)
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder (preferred)
1tsp salt (omit if this is in your flour blend)
1 tsp sugar
1/8 cup flaxmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup Sourdough Pre-ferment
¼ cup oil
½ cup aquafaba slurry**
3/4 cup water (more by tbsp if needed)
1 tbsp vinegar
**Aquafaba is the liquid recovered from boiling chickpeas (channa) or the brine drained from a can of chickpeas. This is used to add extra protein which helps to maintain structure. You can swap with a non diary milk, the result may not be the same. For more information on how I make my aquafaba slurry see here: https://www.moysglutenfreekitchen.com/post/improve-your-baking-with-aquafaba-slurry Directions
Grease or line a medium sized baking tin. A baking tin with tall (deep) side walls works best
Place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add all of the wet ingredients except the vinegar. Beat on a low speed to combine, the dough will be somewhat shaggy at this stage. Raise the speed of the mixture and mix until the dough is sticky but smooth. Let the dough rest a few minutes (5-10). After the brief rest, check the dough.
Add the vinegar and if the dough feels somewhat dry add a tablespoon of water at a time until it becomes sticky to the touch. Gluten free bread needs more hydration than regular loaves, in time you will figure out how much is best.
Spoon dough into the prepared baking tin, smooth top and cover bread with lightly greased cling wrap. Allow the bread to rise 4-6 hours or overnight. You can also let it rise until it is almost to the rim of the baking tin and then place it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. It will continue to rise, very very slowly, but the slow rise technique creates a more flavorful loaf.
When you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the refrigerator, allow it to come to room temperature and continue with the steps below.
The dough is ready to bake when it has risen just above the rim of the tin. Do not be tempted to let the dough rise much further, it can collapse in the oven.
Toward the end of the rise preheat oven to 350°F. When the dough is ready place the tin in the oven and bake for 50 minutes After 50 minutes, lower the heat to 275°F and bake for another 15 mins. After the 15 mins, turn your oven off and leave the bread there for another 20 mins, you can take the loaf out of the pan for this (if the bread feels really firm on all sides, especially at the bottom of the loaf you can skip this step)
Place the loaf on it's side onto a cooling rack. Cut only when completely cooled, up to 5 or 6 hours later.
Wrap the rest of the loaf tightly to maintain freshness for as long as possible, keep refrigerated. Bread is best sliced, wrapped and stored in the freezer if it will not be used within three days.
If using the tangzhong method below, adjust the bread flour to 1 3/4 cups and the water to 1/3 cup. Add the cooled tangzhong slurry to the wet ingredients
¼ cup bread flour
1 ¼ cup water
Combine the flour and water, mixing until there are no lumps. I use my immersion blender to do this. In a skillet cook the mix over medium heat until it thickens. Whisk often, the mix will soon form a gelatinous slurry. As you stir the mix you will notice that it is somewhat sticky and pulls away as one mass from the skillet. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Note: If you are kneading by hand make sure the ingredients are well mixed and evenly distributed