In Evergreen, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Sourdough
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter with lots of bubbles

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

A gluten-free lifestyle shouldn’t keep you from getting to enjoy delicious, sourdough bread and other sourdough goodies. You just need a gluten-free sourdough starter.

Gluten free baking is a bear in itself, so sourdough baking was something I had never considered. Of course, that is, until Kelsey started posting all of these amazing sounding recipes. Sourdough bread, sourdough muffins and sourdough wraps were looking mighty appealing! I wondered if a gluten free sourdough starter was even possible.

I’ll be honest, I was intrigued…but not yet motivated. The intrigue really was more like self pity that she gets to enjoy all these delicious recipes, and my gluten free home had to miss out! The motivation didn’t come until she pointedly suggested I give it a try. Those of you who cannot encounter Kelsey face to face can count yourself blessed if you like to hold onto your excuses. She has this amazing gift to make the seemingly impossible totally doable, and not even a big deal.

Armed with Kelsey’s confidence, I resolved to make an attempt. Since my son’s allergy to wheat is so severe, I have to be really careful about sourcing ingredients for our home. It made sense for me to jump in with both feet, and first learn how to culture my own starter. I heard that you can use just water and flour, and the naturally occurring yeast in the flour will mix with the natural bacteria in the air, and magically, a sourdough starter is born.

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The skeptic in me thought this too good to be true. Fully expecting that to fail, I also mixed up Bette Hagman’s sourdough starter recipe from her cookbook “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread“. Imagine my surprise (actually shock) when both starters were not only successful, but totally not a big deal! Just as my wise friend predicted. Since both worked like a charm, I decided to go with the simpler flour/water method, and use a combination of three different rice flours.

Sourdough eBook Cover
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter with lots of bubbles

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

  • Author: Full of Days
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes per feeding
  • Total Time: 4-7 days
  • Category: Sourdough
  • Method: Fermentation


A gluten-free alternative to your favorite sourdough recipes.



  1. In a large jar, whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour and sweet rice flour. This is the flour mix you’ll be using to feed your starter.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup rice flour blend until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl clean, cover with a plate, leaving about a 1/2 inch crack for air circulation, and place in a draft free warm-ish place. The top of the fridge is a good spot. 
  3. Every 12 hours, or so, feed your starter with another 1/2 cup of the flour mix and 1/2 cup water.*
  4. Repeat Step 2 for 4-6 days.**


  • My starter usually starts to bubble after three days, and fully ferments by day four. This could take longer depending on your environment, so I suggest you stick with it for six days before trying again. I start to get nervous by day three, and I am so glad I have waited “just one more day”!
  • You can keep your starter alive by continuing to feed and replenish as you use it for baking, but after I figured out how simple it is, I just start from scratch again after using up all my starter.
  • * I have read feeding starter every 12 hours is critical and needs to be exact, but honestly, I varied everywhere from 9-14 hours, and even forgot a feeding one day! If your starter gets liquid on top, this is called “hooch” and it’s an indication your starter isn’t being fed often enough. Simply stir in, or pour off the hooch and feed your starter immediately. Stirring the hooch back into your starter will give more of a “sour” flavor which some find pleasant.
  • ** Make sure to scrape the sides of your bowl clean, and keep that plate cracked for air circulation. I learned the importance of this the hard way. Allowing the starter to coat the sides of your bowl leaves it weak and prone to fuzzy mold growth. Totally gross, and a bummer to have to toss and start again!


  • Serving Size: N/A
  • Calories: N/A
  • Sugar: N/A
  • Sodium: N/A
  • Fat: N/A
  • Saturated Fat: N/A
  • Unsaturated Fat: N/A
  • Trans Fat: N/A
  • Carbohydrates: N/A
  • Fiber: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Cholesterol: N/A
Gluten Free sourdough pinterest pin, feeding the sourdough and the sourdough all bubbly

Did you successfully make sourdough starter?

Yay! Congratulations! Now you’re ready to try your hand at Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread. We have lots of tips and tricks on that post as well. Here’s to delicious, gluten-free, sourdough bread!

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below, although not an expert by any means, I’m happy to help trouble-shoot and encourage you along the way! And please, if you have loved ones that would love to try their hand at gluten-free sourdough baking, then share this post on social media…it really helps us out!

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Showing 8 comments
  • Avatar

    If you continue to keep the starter going, do you still have to feed 2x/day and keep in a bowl with a little ventilation? Or…?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Good question Carolyn! Once your starter is extremely active, you might be able to back off to 1x/day feedings. You’ll just want to watch how much hooch forms, and smell your starter. If it starts smelling off, then up the feedings as it’s getting too hungry. GF flours act much differently than regular flour. I tend not to keep my GF starter going all the time, rather I start a new batch a few days prior to baking. This way I’m not using up precious flour for no reason!

  • Avatar
    Jill Kuramoto

    Hiya..searching for a way to make starter without rice flour. Any suggestions????

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Howdy Jill! Our gluten-free “expert” tells me that you should be able to substitute the rice flours for another grain-free flour such as cassava or tiger-nut flour. Although neither of us have tried this, the science behind sourdough says it should work the same. Let us know if you give it a go and how it turns out! GF baking isn’t always as simple as “swap this for that”!

  • Avatar

    I checked out your GF sourdough bread and saw that it called for coconut flour. My son can’t digest coconut that well and was wondering if it would be the same thing to us a 1-1 GF flour?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Hey Joshua! Great question…the coconut flour is used in this recipe for structure and protein, but totally not a must have. If you want to sub the GF flour mix, it’ll be more of a 2:1 ratio (2 parts GF blend to 1 part coconut flour), but it’s important to say that this is all dependent on how runny/thick your starter is. So, start with 2 parts GF flour, and if your starter is extra runny, you’ll need to add more flour. The only downfall to swapping out the flours is that your GF flour won’t have time to ferment since it’s added shortly before baking. So it’s a trade-off, but one that should work just fine. Your bake time may need to increase or decrease as well, so I’d start with a slightly shorter baking time (by say 10 mins) and check your loaf for “doneness”, then continue baking if needed. Let us know how it turns out! I’m sure you’re not the only one who’s wondered about this!

  • Avatar
    Sharon Whitfield

    My gluten free dairy free (attempt) is pretty new for me. The Hardest thing is the dairy. I And my husband love butter and cheeses. Can I make dairy free cheese and butter? Where can I find out how? I thought I could work my way into this a little at a time but I seem to be having more trouble when I slip up.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Hi Sharon! I hear ya on the diet change…eliminating foods you love can be tough. We’re not a strictly dairy free/gluten free home, so my recommendations on dairy free butter and cheese probably aren’t the best (as I haven’t tested different brands). I do know you can sub coconut butter for butter on certain things (but it may not work for all recipes), and Earth Balance seems to be a popular butter substitute, too. There are many different vegan cheeses, oftentimes made from nuts, and sometimes people with dairy sensitivities can handle goats milk products, and goats milk cheese is AMAZING (if you can tolerate it). I personally haven’t tried any dairy free butters or cheeses though, so can’t recommend a specific brand! Best of luck on your df/gf ventures!

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