Want to make your own gluten-free kombucha sourdough starter? Sourdough is the traditional way to make bread. You just leave some flour and water in a jar at room temperature and wild yeast will eat the flour up and produce carbon dioxide bubbles that will make your bread dough rise.
The process of sourdough fermentation also makes the flour grains more digestible.
I never tried making sourdough before until I took the Gluten Free Baking Academy course. While I have been brewing kombucha for years, I read about using kombucha to make a sourdough starter in The Big Book of Kombucha.1
Being the curious person I am, I wanted to see if I can make my own gluten-free sourdough starter using kombucha! This experiment took a few weeks in the making, but hey, fermentation is an exercise in patience, right?
Collecting the Kombucha Yeast
If you brew your own kombucha at home, you might be familiar with those brown yeasty bits. I usually discard those when bottling kombucha, but since I wanted to make the sourdough starter, I collected all those yeasty bits with each brew.
Here are some pictures of the brown yeast, the red brew was just a hibiscus tea experimental batch. Save those brown yeasty bits in a glass jar until you have like 1/2 cup full. This may take a while, but keep at it!
Getting the Sourdough Starter Started
Once you have 1/2 cup of kombucha yeast, you can start the sourdough starter. Since I wanted to make gluten-free sourdough, I used brown rice flour.
In a glass jar, place 1/2 cup of brown rice flour, 1/2 cup of kombucha yeast and 1/2 cup of plain kombucha. Stir everything using a wooden spoon. Cover with a tight-weave dishcloth and use an elastic to keep it in place.
Place this jar on your kitchen counter away from direct sunlight and let our microbe friends do their magic. The yeast in the starter will eat the flour and produce bubbles.
This process took a few days. It won’t look so bubbly right away. Maybe it was cold when I started and sometimes I forgot to feed the starter too. It took a while for me to see bubbles, until one day, there were there! My sourdough starter was alive!
Feeding the Kombucha Sourdough Starter
You’ll have to “feed” your sourdough starter every day. This means you have to give it more fresh brown rice flour.
Remove about 1/2 cup of starter and place it in another jar. This is the discard starter which you can use to make sourdough pancakes or these gluten-free blueberry banana sourdough muffins. Cover with a lid and keep this discard starter jar in the refrigerator.
To your sourdough starter jar, add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and 1/2 cup filtered water or 1/2 cup plain kombucha. You may want to add kombucha in the beginning until your starter is established. Stir until thoroughly mixed and cover with the tight-weave dishcloth. Do this at least once a day until you see more bubbles.
Making Gluten-free Sourdough
When it looks pretty bubbly and you are ready to make some bread, you will need to feed the starter every 8 hours or less.
Typically, you’ll need to let your sourdough rise for at least 2 hours. The first time I made sourdough though, it wasn’t rising as much as I thought it would after 2 hours. Not like the dough made with dry active yeast. So I let the sourdough rise for 24 hours. 🙂
I have since let it rise for less time with great results too. I find that around 6 hours yields good results.
Maintaining the Sourdough Starter
When not actively using the starter, I keep the jar in the fridge and just feed it every 3-6 days.
When you are ready to make some bread again, just take the sourdough starter out of the fridge and feed it every 8 hours or less to make it active again. Once it gets bubbly, use it to make some more bread!
Have you tried making your own gluten-free sourdough starter? Let me know in the comments below!
Try my other fermented food recipes:
- Pineapple Kombucha Green Smoothie
- SCOBY Fruit Leather
- Watermelon Kombucha Shake
- Fermented Salsa
- Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Sourdough Muffins
Kombucha Sourdough Starter
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup kombucha yeast
- ½ cup plain kombucha
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup filtered water or plain kombucha
- In a clean glass jar, add flour, kombucha yeast and kombucha. Mix together. Cover with a tight-weave dishcloth and use an elastic to keep it in place. Keep away from direct sunlight at room temperature.
Feeding your starter:
- Discard ½ cup starter, then add ½ cup brown rice flour and ½ cup water or plain kombucha everyday to feed it.
Using your starter:
- When the starter is bubbly and lively, use it with your favourite gluten-free sourdough recipe.
- Crum, Hannah, and Alex LaGory. “Snappy Sourdough Starter.” The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea. North Adams, MA: Storey, 2016. 261-62. Print.