gluten-free sourdough bread

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For years now, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with bread.

The funny thing is, I don’t really care much about eating it anymore. I enjoy the bread we make, like the loaves of gluten-free sourdough bread you see above, in moderation. Certainly, I taste bread when I’m testing a recipe, even if it’s the fourteenth time I’ve made it in 2 weeks. Sometimes I’ll tear off a hunk of bread to eat with a good cheese and a side of kale salad for lunch. That’s a good meal. However, I never crave bread anymore.

Instead, I’ve been fascinated with investigating the nature of long-fermented, old-fashioned bread. Bread is a living thing. Let a wet dough, made in the right ratio of flours to starter to water to salt, sit overnight in a pleasantly warm kitchen, and in the morning it’s a workable, kneadable bread. Put it in a hot oven and it becomes something crusty and soft at the same time. The starches in bread still keeps cooking long after you take it out of the oven, which is why a bread you cut into 20 minutes after you have pulled it from the Dutch oven will feel a little underdone, even slimy in the middle. Wait the requisite 5 to 6 hours after it is finished baking and that crumb is light and toothsome, maybe even with air holes.

I never thought I could make gluten-free bread with air holes. Or a crust so crunchy it shatters on the teeth.

The first few years I was gluten-free, the recipes I created for bread were….earnest. I tried. I wanted them to be good. However, I looked first to other gluten-free bread recipes as my inspiration, assuming like everyone else that great gluten-free bread couldn’t be made the same way as traditional bread.

When we started creating American Classics Reinvented, more than two years ago, Danny and I spent weeks sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of suggestions that the crowd of readers requested. The most-requested recipe of the entire book? Red velvet cake. (I do love our recipe for it now.) The second-most-requested recipe? Sourdough bread. Now this? This was a challenge I loved.

For months, I dove in. I studied every source on sourdough bread, artisan bread, and long-fermented bread I could find. I had a stack of bread books in our cooking studio at the time, in the corner. I’d study one, assiduously, take notes, make loaves of bread, then set it aside to study the next one on the list. Of all those, the most interesting to me were The Tassajara Bread Book, Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s ApprenticeBeard on BreadTartine Bread, and Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish. That last one was my favorite for more than a year until I started reading the new Della Fattoria Bread. After diving into that one, I do sometimes have dreams of building a wood-fired oven on a piece of land on Vashon someday and spend my days making great bread for people. (It’s just a dream, really. But maybe?) Samuel Fromartz’s learned book on the history of bread making, In Search of the Perfect Loaf, is filled with my inked notes now.

I’m a bread geek.

For two years, Danny and I posted photos and videos of sourdough bread in formation on Instagram and Twitter. Every time, many someones would leave the same comment: Recipe?!?! We couldn’t give it out then, even though we felt a little like jerks. Good food is meant to be shared.

However, I know this now, after we have created three cookbooks together: there’s a reason a cookbook takes at least 2 years to create, edit, think about endlessly, tweak, and publish. Book editors and copy editors and proofreaders are gifts from the book gods. The recipes we first created for our gluten-free sourdough bread weren’t nearly as solid or clear or easy to follow as they are now. The recipe published in our new cookbook, American Classics Reinvented, makes me feel good about sending it into the world.

I’m still tweaking. I’ll always be playing. Great bread is a living thing.

(And maybe, within a few months, we can share some great news about gluten-free bread. I’ll leave it at that for now.)

Finally, finally, we can share this recipe for gluten-free sourdough bread with you.

American Classics Reinvented will be published on September 1st, 11 days from today.

We hope you enjoy the sourdough bread you make in your kitchen.


shauna and danny


p.s. Pre-orders are really important in publishing now. A big pre-order push is how bookstores decide how many copies of a book to buy and media decide what to talk about in cookbooks and food. We’d very much appreciate it if you would share this with anyone who is gluten-free. Besides, right now, American Classics Reinvented is on sale for half the listed price. That will go up to the normal price after September 1st.

p.p.s. If you are already chomping at the bit to make this bread, may we suggest you invest in a banneton proofing basket (we like this oval banneton basket and this round banneton basket)? For a crisp crust, you’ll need a Dutch oven with a lid. The Le Creuset enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is the absolute best but also expensive. This Lodge Dutch oven with a lid will work well too. Also, you might want to stock up on some of our gluten-free flour.












34 comments on “gluten-free sourdough bread

  1. Pterrymc

    Wow. The proofing baskets have me intrigued, and the breads look beautiful. And I’m wistful about sourdough.

  2. Joanne Armenio

    Just ordered the new American Classics cookbook – can’t wait to get it! Tx for all you do!

  3. Ginny

    I’ve had my preorder on Amazon for a while. I can hardly wait. I don’t get this excited at Christmas!

  4. Terri

    When I was first diagnosed, bread was what I missed most. Now, like you, I do not crave the bread itself, but sometimes really want a grilled cheese sandwhich, or a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving. Store bought GF breads are bad enough that I stopped trying every new one to knit the shelves. Super excited to try this recipe. I will be out of town when my pre-ordered book arrives, but knowing it is here will make the return from vacation a good thing.

  5. Susan

    Hi – will the new book recipes use a flour combination that I can put together in the UK – or are they written for your new flour mix? Hopefully the answer will be the former, I have your other books & so enjoy cooking/baking from them.

    1. shauna

      OH I would never create a book that depends on you buying our flour! We walk you through the formula for both blends we created and you can make them yourself. We created the boxed flour so people could buy them if they want.

  6. DamselflyDiary

    I have never been a “bready” whereas my husband doesn’t consider it a meal unless it is in the form of a sandwich! That said, bread is a staple food so giving it up is hard. Sometimes you need/want the portability of a sandwich. Or, you just want something easy. My breakfast most days? Toast with peanut butter. Easy, filling and healthy.

    I am hoping your new book has bread other than sourdough. I am one of those weirdos that doesn’t like sourdough. Going to San Francisco was always torture to me because everything was on or came with sourdough!

    Your photo here sure does make it look good though. Maybe something other than dry Udi’s is in my future.

  7. Liz Tree

    I would love to see a crumb shot. I just spent about 5 years perfecting sourdough bread, about to start a micro-bakery……..AND……………what do you know my kid now has celiac!!!! I have been “getting over it” and I realize gluten free cooking is really just Good cooking… … BUT… the bread, i do miss it. (Yes the entire house is gluten free)
    thx for working on all this and making a cookbook (I have your others) When I see gluten free bread in the store it is all I can do to shout out, “That is NOT bread!”
    Liz Tree

    1. shauna

      I’ll put up a crumb shot in a couple of days, Liz. I had that same complaint for years! It really is bread.

  8. Sharon Dow

    Hi Shauna,
    I’ve placed my order! I love bread and in pre GF life I was an avid and committed bread baker. I have a request I live in the UK and the book doesn’t ship until 1 November… could I plead for an digital version of the recipe before 1 November. I’d like bread sooner than that 🙂

    1. shauna

      Hey Sharon, thank you for your order! I’m afraid I don’t have any control over digital versions, as that’s all in the hands of our publishers. But I’ll certainly ask!

  9. Lisa

    Just pre-ordered your book and it costs a small packet to get it delivered to Australia so I hope it’s worth it! Looking forward to mixing up my own GF flour blends instead of buying the crappy packaged stuff in the shops.

  10. Anrola

    I must get around to trying more of your recipes. My husband is strictly gluten free for medical reasons, and me by choice. He would love some of this bread.

  11. Bindia

    I’m so eager to attempt this! I had tried different things with gf sourdough a while back, yet wasn’t content with the outcomes. Your formula utilizes all my most loved flours so I’m extremely cheerful! What’s more, now that Im making water kefir, I can include that in too ! My poor little girl truly misses sourdough bread! I’ll attempt to return and report after I get an opportunity to give this a shot. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing it.

  12. Tabby

    I love your site but lately the promotion of the cookbook is relentless! I understand you need to promote and market your latest book, but I follow a number of bloggers and this is the only one where I see a constant relentless advertisement and no recipes for weeks on end. Sorry if I’m coming off harsh, but I am going to stop following the site for a while.

    1. shauna

      That’s entirely your right. From our end, we worked on this book for years, mostly in silence, and we’re eager to share the stories. Since the recipes from this book came from the direct requests of readers who missed specific recipes, we’re excited to share the final story. As far as the recipes go, there are 130 of them in the cookbook. Those are the recipes that interest me the most at the moment.

  13. Roberta

    Do the recipes in your new book use white starches? They would put my blood sugar through the roof. I am looking for recipes (baking) that use bean flours, etc.

  14. Katrina

    I just ordered my book! I’ve loved using your GF blend for the last couple of years. Everything I make turns out great and friends and family are amazed. Thank you for your hard work perfecting GF recipes. I’m excited to make sour-dough bread and other great foods that I haven’t been able to have for a while!

  15. terri

    I started my starter yesterday and am surprised by the thickness, much more paste-like than gluten filled starter. I used a scale. Am I on the righ track or should I start over?

    1. shauna

      You’re right on target! It thins out over the days. Don’t worry. Starters all have different textures, depending on the flour and the water. Keep going.

  16. Ann Larsen Flinchum

    I pre ordered your book from a Facebook link on August 22nd. I ordered the Kindle version. Today was my first moment I had to look for it… I can’t seem to find it. What do I do? Soooo excited for this cookbook! Thanks 😉

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