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Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

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Bubbly wild yeast in a glass jar ready to be used in a gluten-free sourdough loaf. freshisreal.com

Having an active, lively Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter is key if you want to bake gluten-free sourdough bread. A good starter can be ready in 7 days.

A bubbly sourdough starter is not only great to bake loaves of bread, but it can be excellent to add to pancakes, muffins, cookies, pizza crusts, crackers, quick breads and so much more.

This 7-day step-by-step recipe guide and quick video will list what-to-expect with some tips and tricks. Or keep reading to watch these new videos (also below) created to help you even more along the way.


7-Day Summary

  • Day 1 – Start by mixing flour and water
  • Day 2 – Feed your starter with more flour and water
  • Day 3 – Discard some starter and feed (this process creates a pleasant smelling starter)
  • Day 4 to 6 – Your starter is transforming into yeast, keep discarding and feeding
  • Day 6 to 7 – The starter comes to life, has a pleasant aroma, and is ready to use

Below is the original video (1:46).

Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

The texture of a light gluten-free sourdough starter is kind of like thick creamy buttermilk but with lots of bubbling action.

I don’t include dairy or eggs in baked goods anymore so I often use some lively bubbly starter along with adding other nutritious plant-based ingredients to create original tasting recipes.

Baking without eggs, dairy or other common allergens can be very different at first. I enjoy the challenge of transforming everyday meals and snacks into more nutritious alternatives.

Easier-to-Digest Bread

Sourdough is known as the easier-to-digest bread but please note that the sourdough loaves at your grocery store are most likely made with wheat. Just ask if you’re not sure. If you can’t eat gluten for whatever health reason, even the wheat version should be avoided.

On a positive note, so many bakers are now experimenting with fermenting a variety of gluten-free grains like brown rice, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, to name a few. So don’t be surprised to find more gluten-free and vegan (egg and dairy-free) options in the future.

Wild Yeast

Sourdough starter (wild yeast) is the leavening agent prepared with gluten-free flour, water and the bacteria that float around in the air, in your kitchen, and even on your skin. That cultured yeast is what will help your baked goods rise.

Bubbly wild yeast in a glass jar ready to be used in a gluten-free sourdough loaf. freshisreal.com

Easy to Make

Making your first gluten-free starter is a lot of fun! So much so, that my fridge is full of different smelling starters. But in all honesty, it’s very easy to make but it will require your attention for a few minutes per day to get it going.

A naturally fermented starter can create unique tasting loaves. Where you live in the world, the season, the activity in your kitchen (fruits on the counter, etc.), and even the gender of the person that makes it can affect how a starter will smell and taste in your baked goods.

Different People, Different Methods

Understand that most people will probably use different methods to make a starter. Just like no two people will ever make pizza the same way. Below are my tips on how to prepare a simple active Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter.

I’ve tested everything from adding kombucha, grapes, water kefir and apples to create pleasant smelling starters. Each method has different outcomes. I’ve even placed fruit beside my starter to see if the bacteria from the fruit would magically fly into my starter to make it sweeter.

My friend Melissa Torio makes her starter with kombucha yeast.

Start with a simple method. As you get better at experimenting you can test different ingredients to achieve a lively bubbly starter that you will love to bake with.

Discard

If you search sourdough starter recipes and methods, you will at some point run into the term discard. When you’re making a starter, some yeast will need to be discarded in order to create a strong active pleasant-smelling starter.

Some people toss out a lot of starter during the initial process—and, this part breaks my heart! I developed my method to discard as little as possible at the beginning and never again afterwards—unless your jar exceeds its capacity.

Hooch

Once in a while, your starter will have a clear liquid on the surface, it’s called hooch. Some stir the hooch back into the starter but I usually pour it out, feed my starter with fresh flour and water, stir, and wait for the yeast to do its thing.

Keeping the hooch is ok if it’s clear, but could result in a more sour tasting and smelling starter and loaf of bread.

Ready to Start?

You’re here now, so let’s try this together! You can ask me questions along the way in the comments below or join my free GFV Baking Facebook group.

Bubbly wild yeast in a glass jar ready to be used in a gluten-free sourdough loaf. freshisreal.com

Gluten-Free Baking Academy

If you’re interested in learning even more about gluten-free and vegan bread baking, consider learning from the GFBA! Check out Heather Crosby’s famous baking course. Learn how to make flatbreads, quick breads, and even yeasted loaves with even more plant-powered ingredients. Enrolment is usually twice per year. 

Baking with new ingredients, especially gluten-free ones is very different. Heather walks you through each step of the way with videos and printable documents. Included are shopping lists and troubleshooting tips for all her methods and recipes. Take a peek  

Previous Recipe

A beautiful crusty artisan-style, free-form, gluten-free and vegan Buckwheat Sourdough Loaf. Allergen-Friendly. freshisreal.com

My last recipe was my favourite Buckwheat Sourdough Loaf Gluten-Free Vegan. To make the artisan-style boule you will need a gluten-free starter, so you’re in the right place to learn.

Share Your Creations

If you attempted this gluten-free sourdough starter recipe, congratulations! You did it! Share your success by taking a picture! Post it on Instagram and tag it @freshisreal_ with the hashtag #freshisreal

And, don’t forget to rate your experience below.

BONUS 

As a thank you for reading this post, I created a cheat sheet for you! Download the 3-page easier-to-read printable to help you prepare natural wild cultured yeast! No sign-up required, simply click the graphic below!

FREE Step-by-Step Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Guide!

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Bubbly wild yeast in a glass jar ready to be used in a gluten-free sourdough loaf. freshisreal.com

Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes per day
  • Total Time: up to 7 days
  • Yield: 3+ cups 1x
  • Category: Bread, Sourdough
  • Method: Fermentation
  • Cuisine: Allergen-Friendly, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Vegan
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This sourdough starter recipe is prepared with gluten-free brown rice flour and is simple to make. Plan up to seven days to develop natural wild cultured yeast with a pleasant aroma and lots of active bubbles to use in a sourdough bread recipe.
BONUS! Printable Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Recipe Guide (3-page pdf).


Ingredients

Scale

8 cups gluten-free brown rice flour*
Filtered or spring water**
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon grape juice, freshly squeezed from organic grapes (optional)

Tools

1 large glass jar (at least 950 ml)
1 large elastic band
1 coffee filter***

* Organic brown rice flour might work best. Freshly milled grains work equally well.
** Chlorinated tap water will not work.
*** You can also use a doubled-lined cheesecloth or breathable clean cotton fabric.


Instructions

The ingredients are simple, but the process requires daily feedings and options to customize along the way. Included will be some general tips and tricks to help you create your first starter.

Start by printing this out: FREE gluten-free sourdough starter 7-day guide (pdf)
It’s the same great information as below but easier to reference. Keep it with you in the kitchen and check off your progress as you go.

What to expect from Day 1 to  7

Day 1 – Morning —————

Instructions: To a large glass jar, add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water. To help speed things up (optional): add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Stir well with a long wooden spoon or chopstick. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic band and place in a warm area. You can also cover the jar with a tea towel.

Day 1 – Afternoon/Evening —————

Instructions: Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area in your kitchen or other.

Day 2 – Morning —————

Instructions: Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 2 – Afternoon/Evening —————

Instructions: Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area in your kitchen or other.

Day 3 – Morning —————

What to expect:

  • At this point, you might start seeing some little bubbles.
  • The starter might still smell like wet flour or dough.
  • Some clear liquid might form at the top.

Instructions: Pour out any clear liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Note: if the clear liquid at the top is gel like it’s possibly because you added maple syrup. Don’t worry just remove it and continue with feeding your starter with flour and water.

Day 3 – Afternoon/Evening —————

What to expect:

  • At this point, even more, bubbles are forming, that’s a great sign.
  • The starter might start smelling sour, and that’s ok.
  • Some clear surface liquid might collect at the top.

Instructions: Pour out any clear liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic. With a piece of tape or chalkboard marker, indicate the level of starter in your jar with a line. By now, it should be at the halfway mark if you used a large 950 ml jar. Return to a warm area.

Day 4 – Morning —————

What to expect:

  • More bubbles are forming.
  • Some clear liquid might form at the top.
  • Starting to smell yeasty and sour.
  • If you did not use maple syrup on Day 1, your starter most likely smells sourer.
  • See option to add organic grape juice, in notes below.

Instructions: Pour out any clear liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Note: If you did not use maple syrup on Day 1, you could follow this optional step below to help sweeten the sour smelling starter. By the way, the sour smell is normal. It’s part of the fermentation process, but it is different if you are new to sourdough.

To help sweeten the sour smell (optional), add the juice of a few organic grapes (wipe grapes with a clean towel, do not use chlorinated water to wash). You can add about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed grape juice to your starter and mix. Green or red grapes will work fine.

Day 4 – Afternoon/Evening —————

What to expect:

  • More bubbles are forming.
  • Some clear liquid might form at the top.
  • If you added grape juice in the morning, your starter might smell less sour.
  • The level of your starter should be at about half the jar.

Instructions: Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 5 – Morning —————

What to expect:

  • More bubbles are forming, or your starter might have fallen flat overnight.
  • Some clear liquid (less than before) might form at the top.
  • Smell a little yeasty but not too sour (adding grape juice can help to sweeten the starter and reduce sourness).

Instructions: Pour out any clear surface liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 5 – Mid Afternoon (optional) —————

What to expect:

Consider adding a third feeding today, if you find that your starter is not where it should be.  If you fed it in the morning and a few hours later (like 5-6 hours) there was a tiny bit of surface liquid but not many bubbles, giving your starter more food might be beneficial. Feeding your starter extra flour and water could get things moving faster.

Instructions: Pour out any clear surface liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter (or reduce contents to half the jar) and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 5 – Evening —————

What to expect:

  • You’re noticing larger bubbles multiplying throughout—a great sign!
  • Only a little clear liquid formed at the top (for some none).
  • The starter smells better and better each day. Excellent job, you’re getting there!

Instructions: Pour out any clear liquid. Scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter (or reduce contents to half the jar) and discard. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 6 – Morning —————

What to expect:

  • Lots of bubbles throughout the starter looks fluffy and light.
  • No surface liquid.
  • The aroma is mild and pleasant.
  • Almost ready to use.

Instructions: Pour out any clear surface liquid. If your starter did not have any, you don’t have to discard at this point. You can scoop out 1 or 2 spoonfuls of starter and discard if your jar is getting too full. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of water to the same jar. Stir well. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with an elastic and return to a warm area.

Day 6 – Afternoon/Evening —————

What to expect:

  • Bubbles are distributed throughout and looking good.
  • Once uncovered, you can hear the lively bubble activity.
  • The aroma is mild and pleasant.
  • Almost ready to use or ready to use.

Instructions: At this point, you will need to decide if you’re going to bake with the starter or keep feeding it until you are ready to use it. If you’re not ready yet, continue with discarding a little starter (to make room in your jar) and feeding it once or twice per day until you are.

If your starter is not ready and bubbly yet, this could be because of the temperature in your home or other variables. Continue to feed it once in the morning and once in the afternoon (or evening) until you are happy with the texture, smell and bubble activity.

Tips:

If your starter is ready, but you can’t find time to bake with it for a while, transfer to the refrigerator until you’re ready. Once ready to bake with it, you will need to feed it and bring it back to room temperature in a warm place. This step will bring the yeast back to life.

Once your starter is ready, active and happy, the amount of flour and water you feed it is flexible. You won’t always have to be so precise. One day the starter might require more food, and on another day it might be thriving with much less.

This variable will also depend on the amount of starter in your jar when transferred to the refrigerator. If you store it half full, you will only need to give it a little food to create enough starter to use in a recipe. Gluten-free sourdough recipes will require on average half a cup to a full cup of lively starter. This detail is excellent to keep in mind when preparing to bake.

Day 7 – Morning —————

What to expect:

  • Bubbles are looking good and appearing throughout your starter.
  • Once uncovered, you can hear the lively bubble activity.
  • The aroma is mild and pleasant.
  • Should be ready to use.

Instructions: If your starter wasn’t ready on day 6, by now it should be. If yours hasn’t reached an aroma and bubbly activity you are happy with, continue to discard a little starter and feed it some flour and water until it’s right for you.

Day 7 – Afternoon/Evening —————

What to expect:

  • Bubbles are popping throughout and looking great!
  • Once uncovered, you can hear the lively bubble activity.
  • The aroma is mild and will keep getting better and better each time you feed your starter.
  • The starter is light in texture, lively and should be ready to use.

Instructions: By now your starter should be ready to use. Go ahead and start preparing your first sourdough loaf recipe. If you’re not ready to bake yet, you can continue to discard a little and feed your starter on a daily basis or transfer your starter to the fridge until later.

Tips:

Once your starter is ready, and you’ve used it in a bread recipe. Don’t forget to replenish your starter with more flour and water before you store it in the fridge for future recipes. Having an established and healthy starter means that you shouldn’t have to discard any more starter unless your jar gets too full. I don’t like wasting any starter so once I have a good starter I prefer keeping it at a level that requires zero waste (so no discard).


Notes

How to store If you don’t bake regularly I suggest storing your starter in the refrigerator. Once you’ve used some starter, I recommend feeding it 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of water, stir it and place it in the fridge covered with a coffee filter and secured with an elastic band.

Is it ready?

  • Your starter is ready to use once it grows a little (sometimes a lot) in size a few hours after a feeding.
  • The sourdough wild yeast has a lot of bubbles throughout.
  • When it smells pleasant, mildly sour, sweet, and not too yeasty. Note: If it smells too sour, and you don’t enjoy the odour, you’re not going to like using it in a loaf. Be patient, keep feeding it and discarding some starter until you reach a consistency and smell you do like.
  • When the texture is bubbly and light.

Ready to use On the day you want to bake a loaf (usually in the morning), remove the starter from the fridge. Pour out any surface liquid, feed your starter, mix, cover and let it sit in a warm area until it becomes alive, light, bubbly, and ready to use. This can take a few hours depending on the temperature of your house.

How to use Once the starter is bubbly and light, try not to stir or mix, it will go flat. Instead, gently pour out the portion you need into a liquid measuring cup until you’re ready to add it to a recipe.

How to maintain Storing your starter in the refrigerator is most likely your best bet if you don’t plan to bake a lot. Every once in a while you will need to feed the starter to keep it alive. For myself, once every week (or two) seems to work well for my starters. Some have probably gone longer without dying. To maintain a lively starter, remove it from the fridge, pour out any surface liquid, feed with fresh flour and water, cover it and return it to the fridge.

Troubleshooting FAQs

What to do if your starter dries out on the counter or fridge? You may or may not be able to salvage it. It’s hard to say unless you try. You could try scooping out a little bit of the dried starter, transferring it to a new clean jar, and try reviving it with more fresh flour and water. Don’t forget to cover it and then see what happens.

If mould appears, please throw it out and start over.

Your starter should also be completely discarded if undesirable aromas occur. You will know if it’s gone bad, the smell will be awful.

If you need a larger quantity of bubbly starter to bake more loaves or you want to bake twice in a day simply increase your feedings. You could also divide your starter into two jars to augment the total level of starter. This way your jars won’t overflow.

If you have more questions while making your first starter, please ask in the comments below the post or join the GFV Baking Facebook Group.

Lastly, if you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to print out the printable guide!
FREE 7-day gluten-free sourdough starter step-by-step guide (pdf)

Keywords: Sourdough, Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Starter, Vegan Bread, Sourdough Bread, Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread, Wild Yeast, Cultured Yeast, Fermentation

 

154 Comments

  1. Awesome post, Chantal!!

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  2. Zakia maulida

    Awesome post, thank you
    I have a question, Is sorghum flour will work as well?

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    • Hi Zakia! I’ve never tried myself with sorghum flour but I’m almost sure it will work. Just make sure your flour is fresh and sometimes organic flour works even better. Let me know if you try it!

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  3. Hi! What is the longest you can keep the starter in the fridge?

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    • For as long as you can keep it alive and happy! Keep feeding it at least once every 1-2 weeks (I’ve had some go for longer), and you should be fine. Once you take a refrigerated starter out, feed it with fresh flour and water, wait for it to get bubbly and active (about 2 hours in a warm kitchen) then you can use it for baking a loaf. Occasionally my glass jars get kind of yucky so I transfer most of the starter to a new jar and then feed it.

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  4. Hi Chantal. So glad I found your site and youtube channel!
    I’d like to make a starter but my house is very warm, about 26C. I assume the starter will be ready a lot faster. Do I need to change anything in the process?
    And another question – how much starter will I have if I start and feed only 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup? Will it be enough for 1 loaf of bread?
    Thank you very much!

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    • Hi Irina! Thank you so much for your interest in my recipes! Your house is warm, but it should be fine, as I often make starters in the summer! Try to keep yours out of the direct sunlight. Feeding a starter with 1/4 cup of water and flour is a good start. You can always increase the feedings to half a cup if you find that your starter needs more food to get going. Based on 1/4 cup feedings, you should have a pretty full large jar (up to 3.5-4 cups) by the end of 7 days. The final amount will also depend on if you feed your starter a little more on day 5 or throughout the week or at any given time. Did you find my 3-page pdf to guide you along the way? It’s a more condensed version of all the instructions for this Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter recipe: bit.ly/2Rtejw4. Ps. You will have enough starter to bake a loaf at the end of the week. Usually, a GF sourdough bread recipe requires 1/2 to 1 cup. My recipes call for at least 1 cup on average. You should also have a little extra left, feed it again, and then store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake again. Let me know if you have any more questions! Please keep me posted on your progress. You can also join my GFV Baking Facebook Group to help you troubleshoot along the way: facebook.com/groups/191987888217239

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  5. Hi Chantal,
    Will be starting this soon, just some clarification. How much do you feed the Starter to maintain it. I usually feed my wheat starter whatever I have discarded, if I remove 100 grams I feed it 100 grams each flour and water. Do I feed the GF Starter 1/2 cup each GF flour and water no matter the amount I remove to bake with? Thanks Joyce

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    • First off, if you have a good starter, you won’t have to discard (unless your jar gets too full)! I never do! I always leave just enough (about 1 cup) in my glass jar until the next feeding. I feed my GF starter(s) every week or so. Once you pull it out of the fridge to use it, feed it a little water and flour (1/2 cup of each is great, 1/4 of each will work too), leave it on your counter for a few hours until it gets active and bubbly! The key is to feed it enough food (water + flour) to create enough starter for your recipe and have some leftover for the next feeding. I hope this makes sense.

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  6. Hi Chantal,
    Have another question about the Starter. Along with how much I should feed it when it’s stored in the fridge; when you say keep it in a warm place. Do you mean regular room temp? My kitchen is usually around 65-68F, is that warm enough? Thanks again Joyce

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  7. Hi Chantal! I am working on my starter, by the way it is sorghum and doing great! If I pour off the clear liquid on top, doesn’t that affect the % hydration? I find that most GF recipes need a 100% hydration starter. I am trying to understand this. Thank you for your recipes and help!

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    • Hi Lora! I’m so excited for you! Sorghum is a great choice! I’m just about to try a non-rice version myself here too. Pouring out the water when you’re first developing a new starter is fine. You can add a touch more water when you are feeding your starter with fresh flour and water. If it’s too dry to stir around adding a bit more water is ok. Mine tend to contain more liquid and so far it’s never been a problem. With time you will get good at feeling out your dry ingredients and liquid ratios. If a starter or bread dough is too dry, it’s ok to trust your instincts and add more water. When first working on a new starter pouring out the top liquid helps to build a stronger starter with a pleasant aroma. Hope this helps!

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  8. Hi Chantal! Can I make the starter with buckwheat flour only? I can’t find brown rice flour.

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    • Hi Austin! I think you saw my reply on YouTube already but I will post my answer here as well in case it can help others. You can use buckwheat flour for sure! Although sometimes it can be a little harder to maintain. If you take good care of it and feed it regularly, it should be fine. You can also combine buckwheat with sorghum or millet flour, and that should work really well!

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  9. Hi Chantal
    I’m making a rice flour starter according to your recipe. It’s day three and I’m using a 950 ml jar but it has bubbled up soo much that it hit the coffe filter!! Did I do something wrong? Is my kitchen maybe too warm? Looking forward to your ideas :-). Thanks so much for your help!

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    • Hi Jessica! Wow! Three days and you’re already getting that much growth? Did you give your starter some sweetness like maple syrup of organic grape juice? If it grows too fast, you could discard a few scoops just to give your jar some space. Or consider transferring some to another jar if you don’t want to waste any. Try to give it a few extra days so the flavour, texture and wild yeast are just right to add to a GF sourdough bread recipe! Let me know if you have additional questions. Chantal

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  10. Can I use 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water instead of 1/2 cup? I will try to make the starter first time. However if the starter doesn’t come out good, can I use dry east for the sourdough bread recipe?

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    • Hi Hachio! You could use less water and flour, but it might take a little longer to get things going. Maybe for the first feeding use, 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of water. You can try reducing the quantities to 1/4 cup after the initial one. If you add a touch of organic grape juice (from a few organic grapes), a piece (or cubed) fresh organic apple or even a bit of maple syrup to your starter the natural sugar will help to speed things up. If you’re concerned with not having a successful starter you could even add a pinch (1/8-1/4 tsp) of active yeast to your starter as long as you’re ok with consuming active yeast. You can also add some active yeast (approx. 2 teaspoons) to your bread ingredients if you want to test that option. I’ve baked sourdough bread many ways, and all are good, but if you want a purely wild yeast gluten-free sourdough, you must only use a GF sourdough starter to make your dough and help it rise.

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  11. Adding this to my list of Summer activities. Can’t wait

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  12. Good morning! First time sourdough maker here. So far so good. Thank you for your step by step instructions and You Tube videos they were such a big help. Can I transfer the starter dough that I am taking out of my starter dough jar to make more room to begin another jar of starter? I hate wasting it! Thank you again for all of your help.

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    • Hi Yafa! I understand! I don’t like wasting either. When you’re first making a starter, you could use the little bit of discard in another recipe, but the taste might be strong as it’s not ready yet. Once your starter is bubbly and ready, you will most likely never have to discard as you can plan your feedings according to your recipes. Does that make sense?

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  13. Hi,
    Just started a starter based on your YT video in which you are using one half flour and one half water (I’m using millet flour right now). My question is do you always use this same flour:water ratio no matter what type of flour? (In another YT tutorial I heard millet absorbs less water than other flours and so the guy in his video is using 45 g millet flour with 30 g water to start with.) I plan to feed mine with diff. flours as well along the way though.
    Thanks,
    J

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    • Hi Julia! Great question! I do list measurements, but please adjust the water-flour ratio as you see fit. If it’s too dry, it will be hard to stir, if there’s too much water you will know it when you mix it. The combination should be like a thick pancake batter. Play around with it, and you will get better at judging. Once I have an active, bubbly starter, I usually grab a large spoon and give it two-three heaping spoonfuls and add enough water to get the right consistency. I don’t ever measure. I provide measurements as a guide. As long as you feed your starter enough food to create enough for your bread recipe, you should be good. And remember to feed it again before returning it to the fridge if your jar is on the low side. If you have more questions please let me know 😉

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  14. Hi Chantal, its my first time making my own sourdough.
    Today is the second day and till now I feed my starter four time in total and I didnt discard anything.
    In your Instructions you wrote that it takes up to seven day until the starter is ready to use but my starter is already now super bubbely und fluffy und double from totays mornig till todays evening almoast in size. Like I said earlier it is only the second day, what should I do? Is it ready to use yet?
    Im a bit unsure and dont know what to do, can you please help me !
    Thanks,
    P

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    • Hi Pauline! I’ thrilled that you’re trying GF sourdough! Is it warm in your kitchen? How does the mixture smell? If it smells like wet dough, it might not be ready yet. If the odour is a bit sour, yeasty and pleasant than maybe you’re lucky and it could be ready to use. If you stir it, can you hear the activity and the bubbles pop? Did you add any natural sweetness at the beginning? Like apple, grapes or maple syrup? Regardless, I would keep at it for an extra couple of days to make sure! You can send me a picture on Instagram or Facebook message if you’re still unsure. Chantal

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      • Hi Chantal, thanks for your answer.
        Yes I did add some maple syrup at the beginning and right now it is also really warm in my kitchen. To be honest Im not sure how exactly my starter smell right now, it is a bit of a fermented smell but in a not so pleasant way although it is not a terrible smell. Like I said in my last comment the starter grow a lot and in the night it also slopped over my jar but when I stir and feed it this morning it collapse a lot and is now small again. Is that normal? I also cant hear any bubbles pop while stiring. I try send you a pictue on Instergram today.
        Thanks
        P

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  15. Hi Chantal, thanks for your answer.
    Yes, I put some maple syrup in my starter at the begunning and right now it is also a little hot in my kitcken. To be honest I cant exactly discripe how my starter smell, its a kind of fermented smell but not really pleasant and also not super terrible.
    Like I write in my last comment my starter grow a lot even that much that it float over tonight, but when I stir and feed it this mornig it collabse a lot. Is that normal? Now it is a few hours later and it rise a lot again. If I stirred it I cant hear any bubbles pop and it even didnt look active anymore. It also didnt form some liquid on top and I didnt discard anything from my starter till now.
    Im stll quite a bit insecure.
    P

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    • Hi Paulin! Maybe it is ready to use! Great job if it is! If you’re still feeling a little unsure about using it in a bread recipe, simply keep feeding it for a couple more days. That way it will be ready for sure. If your container is getting too full, remove some starter and keep feeding it. This will make it stronger. You can use was you remove in a pancake recipe if you want. Chantal

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  16. Chantel,
    You Rock!
    Thank you for the Sorghum and Buckwheat Sourdough Bread Recipes. Luv um!
    Can’t wait to make the sourdough starter.
    Blessings

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  17. Hi Chantal,
    I’m a beginner and I just started my first starter last Thursday. I followed your instructions but I only feed my starter once a day. This is my third day (once a day feeding) and I see no activity. Do I have to feed it twice a day or once a day is sufficient? Also, the smell is unusual and I don’t smell anything being fermented. Thank you so much for your recipe.

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    • Hi Basia! Thank you for your message! When first creating a new GF sourdough starter, it is good to follow the 2-feeding per day as per recommended in the recipe. The bacteria need to feed off of fresh food (water + flour) to transform your ingredients into wild yeast. If it smells off, you will have to decide if it’s just a bit sour-smelling (which is normal) or the odour of a starter gone bad. It’s it smells terrible, you will know, and I would recommend starting over while feeding it twice per day and even three times on day 5 (see the recipe guide: https://bit.ly/2I6uoXo). Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!

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  18. Hi Chantal,
    Thank you so much for your video on Sourdough starter. I appreciate it so much. I am going to make a second attempt to do this. My first attempt wasn’t as successful. My question is: can I make a starter with a All purpose GF four alone or do I mix it with brown rice flour? I plan to follow your step by step protocol and make a starter with Brown rice flour, but I don’t have a good Sourdough bread recipe. Do you have any suggestions with Brown rice flour and/or with all purpose GF flour. Also should I keep my starter in the oven which is always warm, what temp do you recommend?
    Thank you so much!

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  19. Juan Andrés Pardo

    Hi Chantal, I hope you are doing great and thanks for all the recipes and videos. For the last 6 days I have been doing the normal brown rice flour starter and a sorghum starter as well. At the beginning they were looking good and I transferred them to a larger jar .However, after day three, both starters seemed to flatten. Since then it has been difficult to see bubbling activity. Also, I keep getting clear liquid in both. What should I do? They don’t seem to grow and be ready. Should I discard half? Should I feed them more? Or simple start over again? I would appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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    • Hi Juan! I’m sure you are doing everything right. Have you seen my step-by-step printable guide? Here’s a direct link (https://bit.ly/38u6akA) in case you haven’t. If you’re on day 6 to 8, your starters might be hungry. And at times, leaving more time in between feedings can help too. Or increase to 3 smaller feedings for one day to help boost the process. On days 5 to 7, I would typically pour out any surface liquid, but you can keep it in too. I pour it out because I prefer a less sour starter. Let me know if you have any more questions. Don’t give up, though. If your starters smell fine keep working on them before you consider starting over.

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  20. Hi Chantal,
    I have a question. I’m attempting to make your sourgum sourdough starter for the second time. After pouring out the hooch, does it make a difference if I stir the starter before feeding it?
    Thank you.

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    • Hi Rabia! I’m sorry that your first attempt wasn’t successful. What made you decide to start over? As for when you stir your starter, it doesn’t matter, you can mix it before, but it won’t matter because you will be stirring it more once you feed it more flour and water. Let me know if you have additional questions.

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  21. Hi Chantal, Thank you for getting back to me, I hope you enjoyed the Christmas holidays and have a Happy New Year! I should have mentioned that I didn’t add any maple syrup or grapes to my starter and it was quite cold in the kitchen so nothing was really happening . Maybe I should have persevered and carried on feeding it. I wasn’t sure if I could add the maple syrup on the 7 th day so I started again anyway this time added the maple syrup and result! My sourdough starter was ready to use after 7 days. I have now baked two sorghum sourdough bread now and it just keeps getting better, a grain free loaf with banana flour and tigernut flour. I can’t wait to try the dinner rolls now. Thank you so much for your recipes. Thank you again.
    Rabia.

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    • Wow, Rabia! What a great comment to read! I’m thrilled that you’ve successfully baked with your new starter! It makes me so happy! Have a wonderful day! Let us know when you try the rolls! Chantal

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  22. Chris Marshall

    Do you have any suggestions for High Altitude GF Sourdough starter and bread?

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    • Hi Chris! I’ve personally never baked other than in my Eastern Ontario Canada kitchen. From your experience do you tend to bake at a higher or lower oven temperature and for longer or less time typically? Have you ever created a GF sourdough starter before?

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  23. Christine Marshall

    HI,
    thanks for the reply. Yes I baked Sour Dough bread for years in San Francisco. So this new altitude andd humidity thing (or lack of it) is a pain. I have grown a nice healthy Gluten Free Starter – after playing with the recipe and reading volumes on High Altitude cooking. I ended up going with my gut instinct on its consistency and was able to make one decent baguette. I felt they were too wet so added additional rice flour to one and GF All Purpose to the other. The All Purpose gave a better rise and open texture Not so much a loaf.They smell great but would make excellent door stops. I’m thinking that next try I’ll add some yeast. In fact at the moment the GF starter is healthier than the reg sourdough starter.
    As of yet I have not played with the temperature or time other than eyeballing and knocking on the crust. It definitely is an experiment.

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    • Yes, it seems it would take some experimenting to find the right ratios of dry and wet ingredients and to find the right baking temperatures. Keep at it, with your experience you will figure it out! 😉

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  24. Mary Allyson

    Do you have a sourdough bread recipe to use with this starter?

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  25. Hi Chantal! Thank you very much for this recipe I’m working on it right now but It’s in the 2nd day and it still like pancake structure, I’m using millet flour it’s the only flour I could have in hand, beside it’s winter here the temp is 5°c so what can I do to help warm it and make it success?

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    • Hi Fatima! There are a few things you could try. When feeding your starter you could try adding warm water (not hot) to see if it can help get things going a little faster. You can place the jar in the closed microwave oven to see if it’s a little warmer in there. Or place it in a turned-off oven with the light on. Or find a warmer place in your home but don’t place the starter in the direct sunlight. Hope this helps!

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  26. I was wondering have you ever made sourdough starter with almond flour or coconut flour is that possible and I use a Crock-Pot

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    • Hi Donna! I’ve tried with coconut flour and it works it just requires a little patience and maybe more attention to maintain. If you already have a GF sourdough (made with either brown rice flour or sorghum flour) you can a little of that one to a new coconut flour starter to help you get it going faster. I don’t personally bake a lot with coconut flour as it’s a tricky flour to master as it’s so absorbent. It also tends to make really dense baked goods. If you try it only use a little in a baked recipe at first to see if you like it. As for using almond flour, it’s possible to use it to create a starter but it’s a much more expensive flour to experiment with.

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  27. Hi Chantal – Thank you so much for the step-by-step guide! Your starter recipe is the third one I’ve tried in the last two weeks and it’s actually working. I’ve found the key is having a warm place to keep it. Our kitchen is on an outside wall and we keep our house pretty cool (around 20’C) so having a lamp on it has made a world of difference.

    I am wondering about how full my jar is. I started the process four days ago and with the 1/2 c of flour and water twice a day, my jar is pretty full. Discarding 1-2 scoops before adding more flour and water doesn’t seem to make enough room. You say in your pdf that at day 3 it should be at the halfway point of your jar and mine was almost full already by then. Will it hurt it if I discard about 1/2 c before adding the new flour and water for the remainder of the process? I’m using a typical 900ml canning jar, which is what it looks like you’re using in your video. Thanks for your help!

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  28. Hi, Chantal
    We are on day 7 and get a few bubbles but not as light and fluffy as hoped. THe aroma is great but I don’t seem to be getting the action that we need.

    Any ideas what to try so I don’t lose this yummy smelling starter?

    Renee.

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    • Hi Renee! At this time of year, it’s possible that your starter might need a little extra warmth. Try placing it in a warmer spot of your kitchen or house and keep feeding it. Some even place their starter in a turned-off oven with the light on and sometimes that does the trick. If your jar is getting too full, remove up to half the starter and keep feeding it. Make sure to give it some time in between feedings. If yours smells good then it’s probably almost ready.

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  29. Thanks so much!

    I’ll let you know how it works out 🙂

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  30. Is there a way to make this on a smaller scale? There are only two of us. Could I do 1/4 cup of flour each time?

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    • Hi Anna! Yes, you can use smaller amounts for sure! Or start with the 1/2 cup for the first potion then continue with 1/4 cup for each feeding. I’m testing a new method this week that would require only 1 to 2 cups of flour to make a new GF starter. But until I can see if it works for sure continue with this recipe 😉 Hope you try it!

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  31. Hi,

    I have no previous experience with sourdough. I just realized that I forgot to feed my starter yesterday, I can tell there are pockets of bubble in the mix, like some lumpiness, liquid on top and nice sour smell. I think yesterday was day 5.

    How should I proceed? My common sense says I feed it 3 times today.

    Thanks for your help,

    Kim

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    • Hi Kim! If you forgot, it’s ok. It will still be fine. If you can start seeing little bubbles, that’s a great sign! If you’re on day 5 or 6, you will have to feed the starter. After the feeding, place it somewhere in your kitchen, keep an eye on it throughout the day. If you feel like it could use a mid-day feeding, you can try it. If not, feed it again before bedtime. Tomorrow, you can smell it, check it for activity and continue feeding it as per the 7-day schedule. Write back if you’re not sure about a step. You’re almost there!

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  32. I am 4 days into my starter and it has become much more watery than I thought it would. Is this normal? I’d say it’s equivalent to a runny pancake batter. I expected more of a pasty or goopy consistancy.

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    • Hi Trent! If it’s too thin by all means, reduce the amount of water at the next feeding. If it’s super liquidy, you might not need any water at the next feeding. Which flour are you using? Some are more absorbent than others. I hope you are well!

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      • I am using brown rice flour. It looked like I imagine it should up until this morning when I fed it. I think I will reduce the amount of water I use in the next feeding. I appreciate your input, thank you!

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  33. Hi Chantal,
    This is such a fun project in these weird times, love your recipes and videos. Really hope that this makes a nice moist sourdough GF bread which we don’t often get to try as celiacs 🙂
    I have a few questions… I am on day three and using organic brown rice flour, I used 1tbs maple syrup as well. My starter has been happy since the second morning and bubbling slightly. However in the evening of day 2 there were a lot of nice bubbles, my 1L jar 3/4 full, however some liquid (or I guess hooch) stuck in the middle of the jar as if there was a separation between nice bubbles, hooch. I mixed and fed again for the evening to wait and see what happened. It smelt/smells sour and fermented, but not unpleasant. This morning, day 3, the 1L jar was almost full, similar smell and same separation, but with more liquid. I read with a normal gluten sourdough starter to dump out the liquid by pouring it out, take some scoops out a refeed. This is what I have done so far. Do you have any other suggestions?

    also, in order to not waste the discard since it was already bubbly, I put about 1/4 cup in a separate jar and fed it equal parts water and brown rice flour. Can I make a second started using the discard and do you think the measurements will be okay if it looks like pancake batter to begin? Thanks so much for your answer.

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    • Hi Laura! Yes, making wild yeast is, for sure, a fun project! I have so many different kinds of GF starters now. My fridge is getting sort of full. This week I’m making an oat starter, and it smells so good! Do you consume oats, or do you avoid them? As of now, I find I’m still okay with consuming GF oats. Anyhow, string back in the hooch if it was more in the middle of your starter is okay. If it’s ever at the top, you can pour it out if you want to create a less sour starter. If your starter ever smells strong/odd or like vinegar, you can pour the surface liquid out before you feed your starter. It’s okay if you start a second jar, follow your instincts on how much to feed it. As long as you give it a little flour and water each day or when it’s hungry you could use that second one for things like pancakes if you wish. Although, if it’s active and happy, use either for bread baking.

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      • Hi Chantal, thanks so much for the reply!

        Oats, sounds like a great idea, and once I have this one nailed down, I will surely give it a try.
        Another question for you in the meantime. On day 5 in the morning my starters had fallen flat :(. I know in your recipe this is a possibility, so I fed them 3 times (one extra feeding as suggested) throughout the 5th day. Sadly, morning of the 6th day, they are still flat. Is it possible I haven’t discarded enough and they need more food than the half cup. They seem slightly bubbly on top and a bit foamy is how I would describe. Any suggestion would be great as I am dying to get these to the point of baking some bread 🙂 Thanks and Happy Easter!

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        • How’s the smell of the starter today, Day 7? It probably needs food and time. Remove a few spoonfuls and give it some fresh flour and see what happens. Maybe it needs a little more than half a cup of flour? The next time you feed it, give it a good 12 hours before touching it again. It might also need more time to get active and bubbly. Place it somewhere warm. In a turned-off oven with the light on is a great example.

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          • Hey Chantal,
            Thanks so much for the tips. The starter smells slightly yeasty and not at all sour today, I wouldn’t say sweet, but it is pleasant. I gave it about 1/2C and a tbs last night and left it for 12 hours, so just on instinct followed your tips, but no change this morning. I have it in a very warm cupboard similar heat to the oven with the light on so I don’t think heat is the issue. Based on my first comment, I did dump out some of the liquid that was in the middle of the started in the first couple days when it was nice and bubbly (day 2/3) I wonder if maybe I removed some of the important bacteria in doing so?
            Should I reduce the started more before the next feeding? Any other suggestions? I also wanted to confirm it needs to be bubbly and growing before I add it to a recipe, right? I guess the bread recipe also won’t rise if the started isn’t.

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          • Hi Laura! So what day are you at now again? If it’s having a hard time getting active you could consider removing a little more and then feeding it. If it smells good and you can see some bubbles, it’s probably getting very close to being ready. Just keep going!

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  34. First batch of sorghum starter got mould in it day 2. I was doing a lot of cooking that day and it was near the oven. Started again and put further away from oven.
    Day 6 no bubbling or growth.
    Day 7 no bubbling or growth.
    Day 8 one or two bubbles but no growth.
    Day 9 not much happening to it still so I put it in fridge as wasn’t going to around for then next few days.
    I got out to bake a few days later.
    Fed it and left left it for more than half the day. 1 bubble popped up.
    Decided to bake sourdough bread anyway with it.
    Bread was the best gluten free bread I have had consistency wise very dense didn’t crumble but did not rise much more in the bowl with the tea towel or in the oven so was quite heavy and dense. The cuts I made barely expanded. But the hubby liked it and actually could eat it without toasting but getting through crust needed a saw.
    Kind of like a soft biscotti.
    Hoping to get my starter more frothy somehow.
    Starter has been out of fridge 2 days now and is being fed but not much going on.

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    • Hi Kassie! Great job trying to get your GF starter going! It does sound like it needs to get a little more bubbly before you can bake with it. I’m not sure how large your starter glass jar or bowl is, but I would recommend removing everything but half (you can keep the discard for pancakes or crackers if you want) and feed it fresh flour and just enough water to mix it. Then give it time to get happy and lively to add to a bread recipe. If you find the crust too hard when baking a loaf, try to bake the dough in a Dutch oven, covered for half the baking time, and add a couple of ice cubes as the steam can help lift the dough and create a softer crust.

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      • maybe it’s the jar? They are too big and the glass is quite thick. They are glass storage jars about 21cm tall 10cm diameter. I have moved it to a smaller jar 17cm x 10cm but same thickness of glass, but still nothing after starting over with a small amount of starter. I have put it in the microwave so let’s see if that helps. Otherwise I will take it down to a smaller jar. I don’t have any jars sizes like yours Chantal until I eat the pickles!
        Also what to you do with the discard if you can’t use it straight away.
        I baked in Dutch oven for half time.
        I just think the starter wasn’t happy enough.

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        • Hi Kas! The size of the jar doesn’t matter. As for eating your pickles, just take your time! 😉 You can keep the discard in the fridge until you’re ready to make crackers or pancakes with some of it. Just give your starter some time and more flour if it needs it, it will get active eventually. Remember that spring or filtered water works best. If you stir in slightly warm (not hot) water when you feed it, that could help too. And try to mix the starter with a chopstick or something non-metallic. Write back anytime if you have questions, ok.

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          • It seems to like it in the microwave it’s looking a little more fluffy.
            I will try warm water.
            Can you bake sourdough in a rectangle loaf tin? Glass or metal?

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          • Hi Kassie! You can bake a sourdough loaf in a bread pan. I’ve tried with different types; ceramic and metal. I’ve personally haven’t tried it a glass bread pan. I’m sure it would be fine.

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  35. I’m now on day seven if the starter using brown rice flour. First several days I was getting great action, on about day 4 I squeezed some grapes uice in to soften the smell. Yesterday and today I’ve noticed no bubbles. What has happened? Is it still usable? Salvageable? Thank you

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    • Hi Patty! You’re doing great! It will be fine! So if today you’re on day 5, you can discard a little bit of starter before you give it some fresh food (flour/water). If your kitchen is cold, you could try mixing in warm water (not hot), the starter might like it. Keep an eye on it, but it will need a few more days of discarding a little and feedings to get active. If some surface liquid on the top, you can pour it out if it smells strong. If it has a yeasty and sweet aroma, you can stir it back in at the next feeding.

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  36. Hi Chantal,
    Do you think flax meal would work? Would I use 1/2 cup flax meal to 1/2 cup water?

    Thank you!
    Suzanne

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    • That’s a great question! I’m sure you could try although it would have to be milled super fine to work, I think. I’ve never tried or heard of anyone trying. Let us know if you do. As for quantities, ideally, you would need to start with 1/2 cup, but you could reduce the feedings to less after the initial one. A heaping spoonful or about 1/4 cup. Towards the 6th or 7th day you might need to feed it half a cup to create enough starter for a bread recipe. Also, remember that from day 3 to 7, removing a little bit of starter before a feeding is best to help your starter get stronger and livelier.

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  37. I used all buckwheat flour for my starter and put it in the oven last night with the pilot light. I was seeing bubbles by morning! How much bubbling should I expect to see before I should remove half??

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    • Hi Kathryn! It all depends. Which day are you at? If you’re at about day 3 you can discard a little before you feed the starter fresh flour and water. It may or may not have bubbling activity by day 3.

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  38. Kirsta Fontanilla

    Hi Chantal! I’ve made some mediocre attempts at gf sourdough, and am just about to do your recipe. I line the idea of adding a little Maple syrup.
    I’m wondering if the “discard” from the first week can be saved/used in any way for pancakes or something. I just Dial like that! 😉

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    • HI Kirsta! Of course, you can keep the discard and use it in pancakes or even a cracker recipe. Just make sure to smell it first. If you don’t love the stronger aroma that sourdough discard can occasionally have you might not want to use some in a recipe.

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  39. HI Chantal!
    Thank you for your time in helping us with GF Sourdough baking! I have a dilemma in that I am on Day 5 of my Brown Rice Starter and everything is going great except for….my oven has died on me and it looks like it will take a few weeks to get a new one installed! What should I do with my starter? Should I keep feeding it and then put it in the fridge on Day 7? Should I go ahead and put it in the fridge now and then try to liven it back up when I have a new range? Also, I have an older bread machine are there any recipes I could attempt with the bread machine while waiting on my new range? I noticed that you mentioned having a steamer option in your oven and would love to know if you recommend that since I am now in the market for a new oven. 🙂
    Thanks so much!!

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    • Hi Tracey! Yes, keep going until your starter is lively then place it in the fridge! You can bake pretty much any of my bread dough recipes in a bread machine. I’ve had better success at only using the baking setting on my bread machine to bake the loaves. I do everything else before (mixing, etc.) then only use the bread machine for baking the bread. It works well for yeasted loaves like this one: https://www.freshisreal.com/gluten-free-vegan-bread-machine-loaf/ As for my regular oven. I had a hard time deciding which brand to choose. I needed a range with a downdraft, so I decided to get a Kitchen Aid. It does have a proofing and steaming option, but I haven’t played around with all the features yet.

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  40. Debra Spyliopulos

    Hi Chantal,
    Thank you for your Step-by-step instructions to make the GF sourdough starter. I did it this past week as yeast was hard to find due to the pandemic. I made pancakes and I have to say the flavor and lightness were amazing. I also noticed a wonderful after taste that I have never experienced with wheat pancakes. Tomorrow I will make a loaf of bread. It is like a whole new world of baking has been opened up to me. It’s wonderful.Thanks again.

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  41. Debra Spyliopulos

    Hi Chantel, Thank you for your response. I did see the brownie recipe and will try it. I want to make bread tonight but I just noticed one of the ingredients is buttermilk powder and I am dairy free. Do you know of a dairy free substitute? The only dairy free suggestions I could find was almond milk and vinegar, but this is liquid and it calls for powder. I would normally leave it out but after a week of preparing my beautiful starter I want to do the right thing, any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

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  42. Hello Chantal, I’ve just recently found your youtube channel and love it.I’ve made some GF bread before but it wasn’t very memorable. I used one of your simple recipes (but with some dry yeast i still had laying around) and it came out a lot better. Thought i’d start on the starter then. I did 1/8 cup buckwheat flour 1/8 cup sorghum flour, and 1/4 cup water twice a day. I did add a bit of agave on the 1st day. By the 3rd day it exploded, almost doubling in size after a feeding, so i thought things were going well. The 4th and 5th day have gone by and I’m guessing something went wrong, because it’s been pretty flat now. There are still some bubbles but it’s definitely not bubbly, and I don’t think it’s been expanding any more (judging by the rise fall line, there was a bit on 4th day, and not really any the 5th day). Can this be salvaged? Is the feeding too little, would more agave/sugar help, etc. I do have brown rice and a few other flours I could use as well.. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    • Hi Chi! You are doing everything right! Have you discarded any since you started? I would recommend removing/discarding (you can keep it to make pancakes or crackers) and giving it a good feeding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour with enough water to stir. Place it somewhere warm and that should do the trick to get it going again. It’s probably hungry!

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  43. Hi Chantel! How are you? I am so happy I found your recipes, they are great! I’m starting day three and I run out of brown rice flour, is it possible to feed the starter with with rice flour? or other flours? Thanks! in advance from Argentina!

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  44. Hi there, Chantel! Thanks so much for sharing … Could you email me the recipe for reduced flour/ feeding for the GF sourdough starter please?
    It seems ok to use corn mean/ millet flour alone also? Or these can be mixed with millet and buckwheat?

    I added some kefir to my starter on day 1; well the sour smell is there, and i used the discard on day 3 to experiment some cornmeal bread… definitely sour… today is day 6 there are occasional bubbles but the starter don’e seem to be rising to 2x the height. there is the top layer of liquid/ hooch and no mold though…

    Thinking whether i should continue the daily feeding of 50g flour/ 50g water till day 10 before trying a new batch??
    Thanks!

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    • Hi! I’m still experimenting with a zero-waste version, but if you want to play around, reduce your feedings to 1/4 cup (25g) flour per day with just enough water to mix (think pancake batter texture). Also, you could try just feeding it once per day, but if by day 4 or 5, your starter is not showing signs of bubbles, add a second feeding. On day 4 to 7, I recommend removing a little starter before feeding it. This process helps to build a healthy and active starter. If you don’t want to waste any, keep what you remove to make pancakes, flatbread or even crackers. Some don’t particularly love the stronger aroma/taste that sourdough starter discard can have. That decision will be up to you. Adding Kefir water is excellent! Again, if your starter seems to be struggling, removing everything but half of what you have in your jar is often the best fix. Then, of course, don’t forget to give it fresh flour with just enough water to stir. I hope this info helps you!

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  45. Thank you so much for all of the information! I have my sourdough in the oven as my house is still a little chilly for fermenting, the average temp is 80. I have tried this recipe with brown rice flour and it does pretty well until the end of day 6, then more clear fluid appears on top and it goes completely flat with no bubbles. What am I doing wrong?

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    • On day 6, it’s probably hungry. Remove half of the starter in your jar and feed fresh flour with just enough water to stir. Place it somewhere warm, and that should do the trick 😉 Let me know how it goes.

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  46. Hi, I started my GF starter with brown rice flour. I did 1/4 flour & water and no maple syrup or grape juice. I’m on day 4 right now. Day 1-2 it was light and fluffy with lots of air pockets but day 3 it turned to thick pancake batter. Did I do something wrong? I live in CA and my kitchen is fairly warm. I even put it in my oven with the oven light on to make sure it had a consistent warm area. I have had clear liquid at the top to pour out on day 3 and little this morning (day 4). Is my starter dead?

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    • Hi Meghan! No, no, it’s okay! Just keep going. Have you been discarding any? Once you get to day 5 and not much is happening, you can discard half the starter in your jar and feed it fresh flour with just enough water to stir. Then cover it, place it somewhere warm and leave it alone for a good 12 hours. You’ll see it will come back. It’s probably just hungry!

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  47. Hi Chantal! Just baked my first loaf and am pretty happy with it! I accumulated a lot of discard, is it possible to take some out and feed it to “reactivate” it for bread? Or is it only usable at this point for crackers/pancakes, etc? Thanks!

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    • Hi Kelsey! Thank you for trying this recipe! As for your discard, you could try. Yes, some have done that with success! You could try making Injera flatbread with it. Have you tried that before? I can share a recipe in the Facebook group soon! It could be a fun, easy recipe for you to try! I like my Injera less sour, so I ferment the batter mixture for less time and add a touch of coconut palm sugar, sea salt, and sometimes I add a little baking powder.

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  48. Hi Chantal,
    I have made my own brown rice starter and have used it successfully in a few of your recipes, which have been wonderful. I keep my starter in the fridge between baking. I decided to experiment with a more sour taste by not discarding the hooch prior to feeding for my last loaf and it worked the bread was definitely more sour. But now I want to get back to the original less sour taste. Is this possible with my current starter, by removing hooch and feeding? Or do I need start another one?
    In addition after making your new wild yeast bread yesterday I forgot to feed the starter before putting it in the fridge. I thought it didn’t look quite right this morning and noticed It looked quite dense so I decided to feed it and it was very dry. I fed it and added more water to get back to the right consistency and put it back in the fridge.Have I killed it or will feeding it do the trick?
    Thanks Tess

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  49. Hi Chantal!
    Thanks for putting together such a wonderful resource! I started my starter following your recipe 15 days ago and I haven’t baked with it yet because it doesn’t grow. It has consistent small bubbles, smalls great and isn’t moldy. Has very little hooch now.
    From a friends suggestion, I split it into two and am trying feeding one 140g brown rice flour and 180g water. The other I’m feeding half as much. I take the starter down to about 1/4 C each time before feeding.
    I’m trying to figure out if I should just try baking with it now, even though it’s not growing. From reading all the other comments, maybe the missing link is that it’s not warm enough. I will try with warmer water or try to find a light that could keep our kitchen warmer.
    If you have any tips, let me know but I’ll also join your FB group and keep experimenting!
    Thanks so much!

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    • Hi Twyla! Thank you for your kind words. I would try taking one of your jars, removing half the starter and feeding it fresh flour with just enough water to stir. Place it somewhere warm, and that should do the trick. If you’ve been getting bubbles, there should be some wild yeast action, so it’s just a matter of increasing it to make it livelier to use in a sourdough recipe.

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  50. Hi, thank you for this amazing post, so I’ve started my starter lol it’s about 8 or 9 days old. But I’m concerned it’s not growing, I used Brown rice flour. Where I stay its difficult to get organic brown rice flour, I don’t know how much of a role it being organic plays when it comes to the fermentation process. However my starter is looking loose and it’s not rising at all. I also use a Mason jar that has a shut lid, so no air is going in is that bad, should have a lid that is breathable. My poor starter. Lol. Thanks

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    • Hi Kim! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve started a GF sourdough starter! Yes, I would for sure try to use a breathable cover! It’s a great thing to try especially if your starter is struggling a bit to get active. As for the actual starter, at this point try to remove half of what you have in your jar, feed it fresh food and just enough water to stir and place it somewhere warm and give it a good 12 hours to see if it’s going to get active again. Write back if you have additional questions, ok.

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  51. Hi Chantal

    Thank you very much for sharing all the knowledge and information with us. I am new to GF and bread making but I would loooove to try sourdough bread because I was diagnosed with UC last year and am better off on low fiber diet. Can I make starter with white rice flour instead of brown rice flour? I’m little concerned about fiber contained in brown rice.. also I live in Turkey and can’t find brown rice flour… And as for sourdough bread making, are there any flours that you can suggest that contains low fiber? TIA!!!

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    • Hi Tomomi! I’m happy that you’re finding my information about gluten-free sourdough bread baking useful! You should be able to create a GF starter with only white rice flour. Organic flour will work best, and please make sure that it’s labelled gluten-free. Can you consume GF oats? What about cassava flour? There’s also sorghum or millet flour that could work once you’re ready to bake a loaf. Have you looked at this recipe yet? https://www.freshisreal.com/simple-sorghum-sourdough/ The first part of the Simple Sorghum Sourdough recipe is to soak the ingredients overnight in the fridge to help break them down, making them easier to digest. Anyhow, once you have a GF starter ready, let me know if you have any questions about a bread recipe.

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      • Hi Chantal!

        Thank you for your prompt reply!! I will soon try sourdough starter with white rice flour and see how it goes 🙂 this is my sourdough debut I am so excited!! Thank you again, your blog and the information that you are sharing is literally saving my life!! So grateful and appreciated!!

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  52. Rachel Course

    Hi Chantal,

    I love you recipes and have made and loved the wild yeast bread and sourdough without psyllium bread. I seem to be having a few problems at the moment and wondered if you could help me. After an initial great rise with my sourdough, it seems to have very few bubbles now. Ive been using organic brown rice flour and bottled water. It definitely doesn’t look like the thick active sourdough from your pictures. Is there something I’m doing wrong. My other question is that my loaves are very heavy (unlike the gluten free conventional yeast bread I made in the past). Is this something to do with my sourdough? Many thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.

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    • Hi Rachel! Thank you! If your starter seems to be struggling a bit, try removing at least half of what is in your jar and feed it fresh flour with just enough water to stir. Keep it on the thicker side, but still stirrable. If it still is having a hard time, you could place a piece or organic apple, pineapple or even a few grapes to help boost the starter. Remove the fresh fruit after 12-24 hours. Keep it warm, but not in the direct sunlight. For the GF sourdough, playing with ingredients, baking methods (steam, Dutch oven, etc.), the amount of water you add could help in creating a lighter, less dense loaf, and yes, the more you use a GF starter, the better it will be a bread recipe. It’s about practicing (a lot), taking notes, tweaking details until you bake a loaf that you love (texture, flavour). It’s also important to remember that the ingredients we use and our environments are all different 😉

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  53. Hi! What is after 12 hours of starting my sourdough starter, it rises with bubbles? Can I already use that for a recipe? Do I have to wait 7 days to use it for my recipe? Thank I you so much!!!

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    • Hi Jackie! You could try but the starter might not be ready after only 12 hours. The more you wait the lively and better it will be in a sourdough bread recipe. How does it smell? Does it smell like wet flour or does it have a yeasty aroma? Once ready, the more you use a GF starter the better it will do in your bread recipes.

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  54. dave blackburn

    Hi Chantal,

    I’m on day of my starter, 5 using buckwheat, Im not getting any bubbles yet 🙁 I have made sourdough bread before with whole wheat flour, so Im not a complete newbie. Any advice? Im happy to try using brown rice flour if it’s a little easier. Thanks! Dave

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    • Hi Dave! Are you using light coloured buckwheat flour or the darker kind? Buckwheat starters can be a little trickier to get going. Do you have fresh pineapple, apple or a few organic grapes? Adding a piece for fresh fruit and help boost the activity while continuing to feed the starter. You can add brown rice flour to the mixture too. Make sure to place it somewhere warm but not in the direct sunlight. Ps. If you do decide to add fresh fruit, remove it after 12-24 hours. Let me know how it’s doing in a day or two!

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  55. Hi Chantal. I used your starter recipe back in April and am in love with it. Perfect buckwheat sourdough every week. The starter took me 9 days and lots of patience but it got there. I have had no issue since with the starter and after I pull it out of the fridge and feed weekly (for almost 20 weeks now) it’s almost doubled in size. All of a sudden today the starter is rising only a small bit when I feed it…. is it dying? could it be that the weather is cooling down? I wonder mostly if I am safe to use it and will I get a good loaf using it? I’m going to make one regardless and see but wondered if you had any tips when the starter doesn’t rise nearly as much as it used to. Thanks!!

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  56. Hi. I’m trying to get a starter going using a combination of sorghum and brown rice flours. I’m in Singapore, where it is warm and pretty humid all the time, I had to toss a few previous attempts because they got moldy within a day, I thought maybe this happened because they needed more feeding, so this time I am feeding twice per day right from the start. So far, so good, although today — day 3 — things are getting odd. This morning I had a decent amount of hooch, which I poured off. I discarded down to about 30 g of starter and then fed with more flour and water. Within just a few hours, I am already getting hooch on top.

    Do you think it’s just super active and needs even more food? If so, any suggestions on how to keep it happy? Add more flour and water right away even though it’s only been a few hours? Discard and feed? Ride it out? Thanks for any suggestions!

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    • Hi David! When creating a new GF sourdough starter, please don’t pour out the surface liquid right away. If it collects at the top a few hours after a feeding please leave it. It will eventually reabsorb when transforming into wild yeast. Did you see the newest instructions for an easier method of making a GF sourdough starter? Here’s the link as it might be helpful to you: https://www.freshisreal.com/easiest-gf-sourdough-starter/ And, your starter probably doesn’t necessarily need more food at the beginning it probably needs more time. And try to keep the sides of your bowl or jar as clean as you can to prevent mold. Good luck and have fun with the process. Let me know if you ever have any more questions. Ps. if you haven’t watched it yet, there’s even a video with the latest instructions, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/QuHSndIBMQI

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  57. Hi Chantal-

    I have had my starter going for just over a month and have been making the Buckwheat bread almost twice a week. It is huge hit for my family! I pulled it out of the fridge yesterday, fed it and left it out to come to room temperature but it is totally flat after 24 hours. It smells nice and yeasty but there is hardly a bubble in sight. Any suggestions to bring it back to life or did I somehow kill it? Please help!

    Marisa

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    • Hi Marisa! Don’t worry you didn’t kill it! Is it cold in your house? Did you change the brand of flour? If it smells good but it’s just flat, it might need more time or one extra feeding to get lively and happy again. If after two feedings it’s still not doing much, consider removing half of what you have in your jar then give it another food feeding with just enough water to stir. Place somewhere warm but not in the direct sunlight. Let me know how it goes!

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  58. Hello,
    First time doing this! My water (hooch) is at the bottom once it settles…is this a bad sign? Please let me know. Thanks so much. Tracey

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    • It’s completely fine. Is your starter prepared with sorghum flour? Sorghum does that for some reason. Leave it for now, it’s ok. Which day are you at?

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      • Thanks so much for getting back to me! No, it’s brown rice flour…
        Also, it’s been spilling over…ive been taking some out before feedings because it will spill out…ive been storing discard in a separate container in the fridge. Maybe I can use for pancakes or crackers?

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  59. Sukmawaty Facquet

    Hi Chantal… Thanks for ur recipe for the starter.. Im on 6th day but honestly i just still dont know how to figure out how does it look really like on the 6th day. Mine is smelling good,before i fed it in the morning i saw light bubbles small and its like creating littke boiling bubble. (Sorry dont know how to discribe it 😢). Is this situation good or not?. Does the quantity should be more a lot or not each day?. Mine is like gaining only 1cm less after a moved it to a large pot on the 4th day bcos it was growing like volacno 😂. Please Chantal I need hell..i cudnt sleep bcos of this… Too worry 😂😂.. Thank before.. Stay healthy.. Kissess..

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    • H! You can always send me a picture through Facebook or Instagram. That way, I can see your process. I’m sure it’s doing fine. Keep in mind that it’s new, and it’s developing into wild yeast. So it’s normal if it fluctuates on some days. If your starter is too thin, it won’t grow as much. At the next feeding, consider reducing the amount of water you stir in. And remember to have fun with the process! It sounds like yours is doing fine 😉

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  60. I definitely can’t wait to try this when I’m home from college. During quarantine, I felt a bit left out because a lot of my friends ended up making sourdough starters and I wasn’t able to due so due to being gluten-free!

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  61. Gillian Nieh

    Hi there! I’ve followed all the steps, and it is now day 7. My starter smells nice and fermented, yet I do not see much activity. Is it because my house is too cold or are there other factors that may affect the starter activity? How could I fix this?

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    • Hi Gillian! If it smells nice and yeasty you’re doing great! If your home is cold that might be why it’s having a harder time getting nice and bubbly. Would you say that your starter is very thin or like thicker pancake batter? At the next feeding, consider removing some starter (remove half of what you have in your jar if you can), then feed it fresh flour (at least half a cup) but with just enough water to stir. Cover it and place it somewhere warm for a while and see what happens. Give it a little extra time before you take the next step. If you’re not sure what to do next, feel free to message me on Instagram or Facebook 😉

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  62. Hello,
    I am going to try making my grain free sourdough starter. I used to love making sourdough bread and it is the one thing I really missed going AIP several years ago.
    Do you know if Green Banana Flour will work for making a starter?
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Blessings!

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    • Hi Julie! You can try with green banana flour, it can work but it’s much trickier to achieve and maintain long term but it’s possible. Consider this inside, I find that others have had better success with combining a few grain-free flours together to create their first starter. You could try with a common of any of the following: green banana flour, buckwheat flour (if you consume it on your grain-free diet), almond flour, cassava flour and even coconut flour. You can start with just green banana flour if you wish but after a few days, you don’t see much happening add a little bit of another grain-free flour. After a few days if it’s not doing much consider adding a third. If it works well for you with just green banana flour then keep going with just that one flour. Make sure to use good clean quality water, spring water or filtered water usually works best. Have fun and good luck!

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  63. Jill Eberle

    Hi. I’m about to start and am super excited. All of the other GF bread recipes I’ve tried have always failed. A lot of troubleshooting has lead me to believe it’s because the different brand GF flours that are milled and ground at different consistencies absorb the water differently and change the recipe. Can you share what brands you use so that when I try I have even more of a chance to actually making bread!!!!

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    • Hi Jill! When making a GF brown rice sourdough starter, I often use Bob’s Red Mill flour. If you can find organic brown rice flour, that’s even better. It’s the brand I purchase the most often for brown rice flour. I also get another brand, but it’s sold in Canada and sold by Purest.ca. I feel that any fine brown rice flour should work very well. Sorghum flour (sometimes labelled sweet sorghum flour) works great too!

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  64. Mindy McLearn

    Hello! I just found your recipe and am so excited to try it. Can I use white rice flour instead of brown rice? Also I am leaving out of town next Thursday for the weekend could I go ahead and start it today or should I wait to get back. I don’t want to wait that long.

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    • Hi Mindy! I would say to try and wait until you get back as you will need to feed it each day! 😉 Also, I’ve personally never tried with white rice flour as I feel brown rice flour or even sorghum flour work very well! Let me know which GF flour you end up trying!

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  65. Hi there!
    I didn’t read through all the comments so if you answered something similar I apologize! But I tried to make this starter and it went super well but after 2-3 days it was full, doubled in size and bubbly and sweet smelling. I didn’t know if it could be used then or not so I kept feeding it as per your recipe. Now it’s end of day 7 and it smells sour, hasn’t doubled in size since and doesn’t have very many bubbles. Should I restart? Is 2-3 days okay to use the starter if it’s seemingly ready?
    Thanks in advance for your time!!

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    • Hi Adele! If your starter gets too full too fast, you could consider reducing the feeding to 1/4 flour with just enough water to stir. I would love to say that a starter is ready after 3 days, but I’m afraid it would still be a little too quick to use it in a loaf of sourdough bread, expecting it to perform as well as a starter that is a little more mature. If you’re starter (after 7 days) smells too sour, you can remove up to half (you can use it to make pancakes) of what is in your jar and give it a new generous feeding. If you prefer a sweeter smelling starter, consider adding a piece of organic fruit (apple, a few grapes, the freshly squeezed juice of a few grapes, pineapple) or even a little maple syrup. If you try with fruit, you can remove it after 24 hours. You don’t need to restart. You’re doing great! Keep your starter jar nice and warm but don’t place it anywhere that’s too hot. Let me know how it’s doing in a few days.

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  66. Thanks for all of this info! I am looking forward to trying it. I make a GF sorghum-based starter last year. The first loaf or two would always be great, but subsequent loaves would have a big air pocket between the upper crust and the loaf… any ideas why this happens? I am planning to start a new one and hope to avoid this!

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    • Hi Tamara! The big pocket is called a flying crust. Your dough is either too wet or proofed for too long. Once you start a new one, let me know if you have additional questions. You can watch this newest video (https://youtu.be/QuHSndIBMQI) to help you make a new GF starter. It’s a similar recipe but for a smaller portion. Once it’s ready, you can feed it more flour and water to create more starter for the sourdough bread recipe you decide to make.

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  67. hey Chantal
    Ive had no luck at all with this recipe. I used brown rice flour, used the maple syrup, then a bit of the raisin juice later. Could the flour be faulty in some way. I bought it recently. no bubbles, just a holes sometimes you can on/inside of jar. ive been going about 7 days. I even scooped out quite a bit at some point to re-boot it. I get the liquid on the top and I tip it out. Ive followed the instructions! any advice at this point>? thanks heaps

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  68. Hi Chantal –
    I tried following your recipe and while my starter always starts out bubbly and great until about day 3, it then goes flat on me. This is the second time I try making starter. I threw out my previous one because it was day 10 and no bubbles were forming. Now I’m on day 4 of my second batch and again, the bubbles quit forming. I’m using organic brown rice flour and spring water and the first time, I used organic grapes. This time I tried the maple syrup. I don’t know if I should discard and start over (once again) or if I should try to continue feeding this one. Do you have any suggestions for me? I live in Pennsylvania. I’m using a glass jar and only wooden stirrers. I’ve been discarding the hooch each time I feed. And I’ve been leaving it on the counter with a coffee filter over top. Thanks for your videos by the way!

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    • Hi Marilyn! Please don’t give up, you can do it! On which day do you empty the surface liquid? Only do it around the 4 or 5th day (maybe the 3rd day) if it starts to smell sour like vinegar. You need the liquid in order for the mixture to transform into wild yeast. But once it’s too sour, you need to remove a little of the starter and then feed it more flour and water. Only add enough water to stir. Let me know how it’s doing today.

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ALLERGEN NOTE

Make sure the ingredients you purchase are prepared in a facility free from the top allergens YOU AVOID. Gluten-free products should be certified GF and clearly labelled. Consult your medical professional with your dietary questions.

Even certified gluten-free ingredients such as GF oats, corn, seeds, etc., can create health problems for individuals following a GF diet. Always consult a medical professional if unsure about ingredients for your needs.