How To Make Grain-Free Sourdough (Oven or Bread Machine)

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This nutritious gluten-free and vegan bread recipe is filled with seeds to create the most wonderful texture. Let me show you how to make grain-free sourdough in the oven or a bread machine.

A sliced loaf of bread made with lots of seeds.

Whether you follow a strict gluten-free diet because of celiac disease or prefer to avoid grains for health reasons, this grain-free sourdough recipe is lower in carbohydrates, high in protein, and fibre-rich.

Unlike traditional bread, grain-free bread is much better in many ways! It’s tasty when fresh with your favourite spread, or freeze the leftover slices to make toast whenever the cravings hit you.

I’ll elaborate on the differences between gluten-free and grain-free in a separate post.

The grain-free sourdough bread is baked in a loaf pan with a lid.
The grain-free sourdough bread is baked in a loaf pan with a lid in the oven or prepared in a bread machine.

Recipe Disclaimer

This grain-free sourdough is a great gluten-free bread recipe for people who don’t consume xanthan gum, guar gum, egg whites, sugar or commercial yeast.

It should fit within a vegan paleo diet way of eating. It might also be okay for someone with unique dietary needs or diabetes.

Always consult a medical professional to learn if the ingredients in the recipe are safe for you.

Is Grain-Free Sourdough Low-Carb?

Not all grain-free sourdough bread recipes are low-carb. Making it lower in carbohydrates depends on the ingredients used.

This grain-free sourdough recipe with flaxseed is lower in carbohydrates.

My original grain-free bread recipe is not as low-carb, but it’s a nutrient-dense grain-free bread recipe. It does not include commercial active dry yeast and can be transformed into a sourdough grain-free loaf. The recipe post includes information on how to prepare a sourdough version.

Hand showing a glass jar with a grain-free sourdough starter prepared with cassava flour.
Grain-Free Cassava Flour Sourdough Starter Recipe

Grain-Free Sourdough Starter

To begin, a grain-free (or gluten-free) sourdough starter is necessary for this recipe. I made this grain-free cassava sourdough starter. Cassava flour is excellent as it‘s an easy grain-free flour to transform into homemade wild yeast. It takes about seven days to create a new sourdough starter.

A close second would be a chickpea flour starter. You can start with cassava flour, then feed it with chickpea flour (or bean flour) once the starter is ready. Consider adding coconut flour to the mix if you want it to be lower in carbs.

If you can consume buckwheat flour, I would consider it the next best gluten-free and grain-free flour to try. It works even better when you take raw buckwheat groats, mill them into fine flour and then use that to make a sourdough starter.

Because it’s easier to make a gluten-free sourdough starter with grain flours, an alternative would be to try with brown rice flour, sorghum flour, oat flour, or other gluten-free flour, and then once bubbly and active, slowly convert it to a primarily grain-free version by feeding it grain-free flour such as cassava or chickpea. 

Before and after photos of two bowls with a variety of seeds and their transformation into a gorgeous grain-free sourdough.
How gorgeous seeds and wild yeast can turn into grain-free sourdough bread is impressive!

Baking Tools 

  • Bread/loaf pan with lid (e.g., Pullman style: 8.5 x 4.75 x 4.375 inches or Ceramic 9.4 x 5 inches)
  • Unbleached parchment paper
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Large bowl and smaller bowl 
  • Small personal blender or food processor
  • Soft silicone spatula
  • Bread machine (for bread machine version)
  • Instant read digital food thermometer with a long probe
  • Oven Mitts

Note about bread pans: A smaller bread pan can help the dough rise and not create a flatter-looking loaf (smaller slices). I did not try doubling this recipe to make a taller loaf to fill an average bread pan.

If you don’t have a bread pan with a lid, try loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil for at least one hour of the baking time.

Top view of bowl filled with a variety of grain-free ingredients such as seeds, almond flour and coconut flour.
Making grain-free sourdough bread consists of using the best nutritious ingredients such as seeds, tiger nuts (small tubers), nuts or other grain-free ingredients that you can tolerate while following a grain-free lifestyle.

Grain-Free Sourdough Ingredients

For best results when making this grain-free sourdough bread recipe for the first time, combining a variety of beautiful seeds will make the bread extra tasty. 

Flaxseed is an essential ingredient in this recipe. I wouldn’t swap flaxseed for anything else. But if you want to replace 20 grams of the flaxseed with chia seeds, they will also help bind the ingredients, so it should be okay.

  • Whole Psyllium Husk* 
  • Warm 110°F water
  • Whole Flaxseed 
  • Superfine almond flour (or a combination of seed flour: sesame, poppy, sunflower, etc. or tiger nut flour or other nut flour)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds (or other seeds: hemp, sesame, poppy, etc.)
  • Organic coconut flour
  • Grain-free sourdough starter (cassava, chickpea or buckwheat**), active (recently fed and bubbly) 

Note: *Psyllium husk powder was not tested. Use less to try (50% to 75%).
**Buckwheat is a pseudograin. Some do consume buckwheat flour on their grain-free diet. If unsure, consult a trusted medical professional to learn if gluten-free buckwheat is safe.

Also, I did not include olive oil, potato starch, or tapioca starch, which are common gluten-free and grain-free bread ingredients that create a lighter and better mouthfeel. I eliminated the starches to keep the sourdough on the more nutritious side, and many also like to avoid oil, so I did not add any. 

See the recipe card at the bottom for all the details.

Process photos showing how to mix grain-free ingredients to make a sourdough bread recipe.
Preparing grain-free sourdough is straightforward: combine the ingredients, mix (by hand or bread machine), shape, rise and bake.

How To Make Grain-Free Sourdough 

Even though this grain-free bread recipe is prepared with wild yeast (grain-free sourdough starter), the step-by-step instructions are easier to understand compared to sourdough bread recipes with wheat flour or gluten-free ingredients.

The grain-free sourdough bread is baked in a loaf pan with a lid.
Bake the grain-free sourdough in a metal/aluminum loaf pan or ceramic bread pan with a lid, like in the photo above.

Oven-Baked Instructions:

Preparing the dough for the oven-baked version is straightforward. 

  • Firstly, gather all your ingredients and warm up some water to 110°F.
  • Grind all the seeds or nuts that need to be transformed into meal/flour. 
  • Combine and whisk the warm water with the psyllium in a smaller bowl and set aside, giving the mixture a few minutes to thicken.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the dry ingredients, including the sea salt. 
  • Add the psyllium gel mixture and the grain-free sourdough starter to the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix with a spoon, then finish combining the dough with your hands. NOTE: Do not add more water to the mixture, even if tempted. Try it once, as listed. 
  • Shape the dough into an oval and transfer it to a parchment-lined bread pan. Smooth imperfections, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or the bread pan lid.
  • Let the dough rise on the PROOF setting of the oven or in your kitchen at room temperature for 3 to 5 hours or until you notice some springiness to the dough when pressed down with a finger. NOTE: The grain-free dough recipe will not double in size and won’t require a second rise.
  • When some rise is noticeable, even just a little, preheat the oven to 425°F for at least 30 minutes. Continue rising the dough on your kitchen counter, covered, while the oven is preheating.
  • Bake the grain-free sourdough for 1 hour and 10 minutes (70 minutes) up to 1 hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes) or until the internal temperature reaches 210°F. NOTE: It’s important to bake the grain-free sourdough for longer than 1 hour; otherwise, it will deflate once it is out of the hot oven.
  • Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, pull the loaf out with the parchment, remove the paper, and finish cooling on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Beautifully sliced grain-free sourdough bread
The texture of grain-free sourdough bread can vary depending on the seeds used.

Bread Machine Instructions:

Some bread machine setting experimentation will be necessary as the GLUTEN-FREE setting is not always the best setting to select for making gluten-free and grain-free bread recipes. 

What you need is to mix the dough for a few minutes, remove the mixing paddle, shape the dough, rise the dough on the FERMENT setting or with the machine turned off for 3 to 5 hours, and then bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (1:20) or up to 1 hour and 30 minutes (1:30).

See the recipe card below for the full bread machine instructions.

Troubleshooting 

The top issues one could experience with this grain-free sourdough bread recipe are either too much water, not baking long enough, not using the right bread pan, or using the wrong ingredients.

Problem: My loaf felt too moist.

Fix: After baking for at least 1 hour and 10 minutes in the oven or 1 hour and 20 minutes (1:20) in the bread machine, consider reducing the water by 1 or 2 tablespoons for the next bake.

Problem: My loaf deflated once cooled. 

Fix: Try the recipe at least once with the water amount suggested. If your loaf deflates after it cools, bake for an extra 10 minutes the next time you try it.

Problem: I wish my loaf was taller.

Fix: Use a smaller bread pan to encourage the loaf to rise and bake taller, or consider doubling the recipe for your larger bread pan. Longer baking time may be necessary.

Problem: I don’t particularly love the texture.

Fix: If you make ingredient substitutions like changing the almond flour with other ingredients such as seeds, the texture of the bread may vary. Try tiger nut flour next time, as you might prefer the texture if you don’t love seeds. Or toast the bread, as it too will help dry up the texture, which you might like better.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Recipes

More Bread Machine Recipes

Gluten-Free, No Eggs or Dairy Bread Machine Cookbook Cover by Chantal Secours

Gluten-Free, No Eggs or Dairy Bread Machine Cookbook
Available on Amazon

How To Make Grain-Free Sourdough YouTube Video

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A sliced loaf of bread made with lots of seeds.

How To Make Grain-Free Sourdough (Oven or Bread Machine)

  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: +/- 1 hr 10 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins (+3 to 5 hrs rising time)
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Breads
  • Method: Oven-Baked, Bread Maker
  • Cuisine: Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan, Allergen-Friendly
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This grain-free sourdough bread recipe is perfect if you love bread but can’t bake with traditional ingredients (yeast, wheat, gluten, eggs, dairy, grains, sugar, oil). It’s unbelievable to think that combining gorgeous seeds with a grain-free sourdough starter could transform into bread, but impressively, it does, and this bread is delicious! 

Baking Tools: Bread pan with lid (e.g., Pullman style or Ceramic, unbleached parchment paper, digital kitchen scale, large and small bowl, small blender (or food processor), soft silicone spatula, bread machine, food thermometer with probe, oven mitts.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 360 g (360 ml/11/2 cups) warm 110°F water
  • 25 g (1/3 cup) whole psyllium husk* 
  • 160 g (1 cup) whole flaxseed 
  • 100 g (1 cup) superfine almond flour, see notes 
  • 100 g (1 cup) raw pumpkin seeds, see notes 
  • 21 g (3 tbsps) organic coconut flour
  • 6 g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) Grain-free sourdough starter
    (cassava, chickpea or buckwheat**), 
    active (recently fed and bubbly)

Instructions

Oven-Baked Instructions:

  1. Firstly, gather all your ingredients and warm up some water to 110°F.
  2. Grind all the seeds or nuts that need to be transformed into meal/flour. 
  3. Combine and whisk the warm water with the psyllium and set aside, giving the mixture a few minutes to thicken.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the dry ingredients, including the sea salt. 
  5. Add the psyllium gel mixture and the grain-free sourdough starter to the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix with a spoon, then finish combining the dough with your hands. NOTE: Do not add more water to the mixture, even if tempted. Try it once, as listed. 
  6. Shape the dough into an oval and transfer it to a parchment-lined bread pan. Smooth imperfections, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or the bread pan lid.
  7. Let the dough rise on the PROOF setting of the oven or in your kitchen at room temperature for 3 to 5 hours or until you notice some springiness to the dough when pressed down with a finger. NOTE: The grain-free dough recipe will not double in size and won’t require a second rise.
  8. When some rise is noticeable, even just a little, preheat the oven to 425°F for at least 30 minutes. Continue rising the dough on your kitchen counter, covered, while the oven is preheating.
  9. Bake the grain-free sourdough for 1 hour and 10 minutes (70 minutes) up to 1 hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes) or until the internal temperature reaches 210°F. NOTE: It’s important to bake the grain-free sourdough for longer than 1 hour; otherwise, it will deflate once it is out of the hot oven.
  10. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, pull the loaf out with the parchment, remove the paper, and finish cooling on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Bread Machine Instructions:

  1. Firstly, gather all your ingredients and warm up some water to 110°F.
  2. Grind all the whole seeds or nuts into meal/flour. 
  3. In the bread machine pan, insert the mixing paddle, combine the psyllium husk and warm water and whisk or mix with a soft silicone tool. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine and whisk the dry ingredients. Transfer them over the psyllium gel in the bread machine pan with the active grain-free sourdough starter.
  5. Find a bread machine cycle that will mix the ingredients for 5 to 10 minutes. Help the machine mix the ingredients by scraping the sides with a soft spatula. Remove the mixing paddle once the dough is combined, and smooth out the dough with a spatula. Consider the following settings: RAPID, BASIC, QUICK, MIX or DOUGH. Turn the bread machine off once the dough is mixed. If using the DOUGH setting, remember to remove the paddle (if you wish) after the mixing cycle before the proofing cycle begins. Each bread machine is different, so check on the dough after each hour, as it might be ready to bake faster than if left at room temperature. 
  6. The grain-free sourdough is ready to bake when the dough slowly springs back up after being pressed down with a finger.
  7. Use the BAKE setting on your bread machine to bake the grain-free sourdough for 1 hour and 20 minutes (1:20) and maybe even a little longer (up to 1:30).
  8. When the machine beeps, check the internal temperature with a digital food thermometer with a long probe. The bread is ready when it reaches 210°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, bake the bread for a minimum of 1:20 or, to be safe, 1:30 to ensure it’s fully baked. TIP: If you took out your bread after 1:20 and the loaf deflated once cooled, bake it for 10 minutes longer next time. Some bread machine pans retain more moisture.
  9. Remove the bread pan from the bread machine and cool the loaf for 10 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Notes

*Psyllium husk powder was not tested. Use less to try (50% to 75%).
**Buckwheat is a pseudograin. Some do consume buckwheat flour on their grain-free diet. If unsure, consult a trusted medical professional to learn if gluten-free buckwheat is safe.
Substitutions: I did not test chia seeds. If you love chia seeds, consider replacing 20 grams of the total 160 grams of flaxseed as an experiment (e.g.,140 grams of whole flaxseed with 20 grams of chia seeds for 160 grams).
Nut-Free Option: Replace superfine almond flour with a combination of seed flour: sesame, poppy, sunflower, etc. or tiger nut flour (tiger nuts are tubers, not nuts). You can grind sliced tiger nuts into flour with a smaller blender.
Substitute raw pumpkin seeds with other seeds: hemp, sunflower, sesame, poppy, etc.
Baking Times: If your grain-free sourdough sinks after cooling, bake for longer next time. This recipe is very moist and needs longer to bake. Possibly even up to 1 hour and 30 minutes in a bread machine.

Top view of sliced grain-free sourdough loaf with a buttered piece off to the side.

Why Allergen-Friendly Bread Recipes

I get many emails from individuals who are desperate to create bread with ingredients that are safe for them. I get excited about the challenge of developing various gluten-free, grain-free and vegan bread recipes for people with unique dietary needs. 

Many can’t consume corn, legumes, and the Top 9 Food Allergens. Some prefer not to consume any refined sugar or oil. Early on, I didn’t realize that active dry yeast is a common reactive ingredient for many, but it is, which is why homemade wild yeast (sourdough starter) is often better for those individuals.

More and more now, you have the people who have been following a gluten-free lifestyle for years but now need to eliminate grains, all grains, even the gluten-free ones. 

If you can’t find bread recipes that work within your food sensitivities, allergies or health condition(s) in the bread section of my blog, send me an email. The next one could be for you.

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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.