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Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

A few months ago, we were able to add sprouted wheat to my son’s diet.  This was a huge gain for us, as he was entering preschool and packed lunches were a necessity.  When he was in a home daycare setting, I could easily send leftovers for his lunch and his caregiver would heat them up for him and all was good.  Going to school was a whole different animal.  We have bento boxes, thermoses & tupperware– but we just haven’t found a good way to send leftovers for a school lunch.  My son also happens to LOVE sandwiches and would probably eat them for every meal if I let him.  Most likely a side affect of having so little bread in his lifetime– now that he’s had it, he can’t stop eating it.

Unfortunately, the sprouted wheat bread you buy in the grocery store has added stuff in it that he doesn’t need. After speaking to a nutritionist friend of mine, she suggested trying sourdough.  I decided to first try a gluten free starter because Action Boy has a good friend who hasn’t been able to add gluten back into his diet yet– so we thought it would be fun to make something they could both enjoy. I will be making a sprouted wheat version next, but we’ve really enjoyed this gluten free option for now!

For my starter, I read that using all brown rice flour didn’t turn out very well, so I began with a gluten free flour blend from Bobs Red Mill and then added brown rice flour after 3 days. In total, I fed the starter for 6 days, twice a day with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup filtered water.  I kept the bowl on the counter covered with the lid, but I didn’t close the lid all the way so there was some air flow. The website A Whole New Mom has a lot of great information on there about making a gluten free starter, so I highly recommend reading through her site as well.

Once the starter was ready, I decided to try using a GF mix before committing to a bunch of large bags of GF flours. I chose the Bob’s Bread Machine Mix and after making it 4 times, I feel like this process is solid and produces a really good loaf of gluten free sourdough bread. I did try one batch in the bread machine, but it was a huge fail– so these directions will be for the counter top and oven. The bag itself has amounts and directions listed, but I have found the best results using the proportions below. The baking directions I modified from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Her directions are spot on but I needed to modify it for the mix I was using. The steps below are what I did– please note that oven temps can vary the baking time dramatically.

1 Cup Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
1 Bag of Bob’s Gluten Free Bread Machine Mix
1/4 Cup melted Butter
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 whole Egg plus 3 Egg whites
1 Cup milk (I used Almond Milk)

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the scraping paddle attachment, add the sourdough starter, milk, eggs, butter and vinegar. (I didn’t warm the milk because I live in Texas and it was plenty warm in my kitchen to get a perfect rise. If yours doesn’t rise well in the time stated, you might try room temp eggs and warm milk.) Mix on low until incorporated.

2. Open the bag of mix and remove the yeast. Pour the yeast right into the bag of mix and then slowly add all of that to the mixer bowl. Mix on low until the flour is all incorporated– then turn it up to high and beat for a couple of minutes.

3. Remove the paddle attachment. Use a spatula to make sure the sides of the bowl are scraped and round the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.

4. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray (I used a Pampered Chef stoneware pan, but still sprayed it). Put the bowl back on the mixer and use the paddle attachment to re-mix the dough for another couple of minutes. After re-mixing the dough, pour it into the prepared pan and use your spatula to form the rounded loaf shape.

5. The dough needs to rise for another hour or so before baking. I put mine in the microwave and leave it in there for an hour. I like putting it in there because I can close the door and it prevents little people from sticking their fingers in the rising dough.

6. When you’ve got about 20-30 minutes left of rising, put a broiler pan in the bottom of your oven and preheat the oven to 375. Before you put the dough in the oven, pour some ice cubes in the broiler pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Check the color of your bread– after 30 minutes, mine looked just right color-wise, but it needed a little more time to bake, so I covered it with aluminum foil and baked it another 15 minutes.

7. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the pan on its side and scoot the bread out of the pan to release steam. Give it 10-15 more minutes, then remove the bread and let it finish cooling. Make sure to wrap it well when you store it- wrap in plastic wrap and then in a ziplock. Mine stay fresh for 3 days wrapping it this way (by then its usually gone anyway!).

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