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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

At Last! Gluten Free, Vegan Sourdough Bread or Pretzels That Tastes GOOD

Just like anything truly worthwhile, with the proper planning and preparation, this sourdough bread is very rewarding! The first time you make it, you need to plan ahead a couple of days, thereafter, you can whip up a batch of fresh, homemade bread, fresh made pizza crust, or even giant soft pretzels in just a couple of hours!



First, you need to make your "Starter"
 Combine:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup non-dairy milk at room temperature
1 cup Sweet Rice Flour (also called "Glutinous Flour")
1 teaspoon vegan sugar such as Florida Crystals
1. In a 1 quart glass jar (must be glass), dissolve the yeast in the milk by stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the rice flour, sugar, and mix well. Cover the jar loosely with small piece of cheesecloth or other cloth  and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
2. The mixture should bubble and develop tiny "craters". It will also likely develop a thin liquid along the top. Stir that back into the mixture. Cover the jar again loosely and allow it to sit out on the counter overnight.
3. Repeat the procedure in Step 2 for the next two days, stirring to combine, loosely covering, and then stirring again the next day, all the while leaving the jar of starter out on the counter at room temperature.
4. At this point, you will "feed" the starter and let it grow, then make the bread 4-8 hours later. If you do not plan to use the starter at this time, place it loosely covered in the refrigerator. You will need to “feed” it before you use it.

“Feeding” Your Sourdough Starter

The first time you want to make some bread (or use the same dough for pizza crust or giant pretzels), you will need to plan at least 4 hours ahead.
1. FIRST TIME ONLY:Remove the starter from the refrigerator, uncover it, and stir it until smooth with a wooden spoon. Remove one cup of the starter and discard it to the compost pile or use to make a second jar of starter so that in the future you could bake a double batch at once. (If you make a second jar, feed it also) Hereafter, when you bake, you will use the 1 cup, not discard it!
2. FEEDING YOUR STARTER: Add ½ cup warm water  and 1 cup Sweet Rice Flour to the starter and stir. Allow the starter to sit out at room temperature to grow for at least 4 hours, or overnight, loosely covered. The starter should be bubbling and thick. It is now “fed.”
3. AFTER THE FIRST TIME: Remove 1 cup from your refrigerated starter as called for in the recipe, and then replenish the starter by feeding it again with ½ cup warm water and 1 cup Sweet Rice flour, stirring to combine, cover again loosely, and return it to the refrigerator.

Now, we make the bread!

Combine:
3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like King Arthur or blend your own like gluten freely frugal flour blend (I am still developing my own, but wanted to share this recipe now)
2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum  (omit if this is in your all purpose mix)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup vegan sugar such as Florida Crystals
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
3 tablespoons organic Earth Balance, melted and cooled
1½ cups warm non-dairy milk  (about 100°F)

1. Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan (or pizza pan for pizza crust, or a cookie sheet for pretzels). Set aside.
2. In the bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar, salt and yeast to combine. Add sourdough starter and the Earth Balance and mix well.
3. Pour in the milk in slowly. Beat by hand until thoroughly combined. The dough will be a thick batter and sticky. Scrape the dough into the greased loaf pan (or onto pizza pan for pizza crust) and smooth the top with wet hands. For pretzels, leave in mixing bowl to rise.
4. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, humid place out of drafts until it has about doubled in size, approx. 45 minutes or more if in winter! This can be facilitated by boiling some water in a small bowl, and placing it and the dough inside of your microwave (not on!) 
5. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
6. FOR BREAD: Bake the loaf in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. 
7. Let cool completely before slicing.


If making pizza crust, spread dough onto large pizza pan and let rise, poke holes in crust, bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, put on sauce and topping and return to oven for another 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.


For pretzels, after dough has risen, Punch down and add enough flour (of choice) to make dough un-sticky, approx. 1 cup, maybe more if the air is humid. Flour your hands. Separate into 4 equal parts, then each in half. Roll each of the eighths into a ball, then a cylinder about a 2 feet long and as big around as your thumb.  Using one cylinder, form a 'heart' shape and twist the top center twice and lay in the middle of the heart and press ends onto the lower third of your heart, as seen in pic below. Smooth with wet fingers. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with Earth Balance, top with sea salt.


Makes 8 giant pretzels.





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13 comments:

  1. that looks like a gorgeous loaf of bread and doesnt look gf at all! amazing!

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  2. I hope you will try it, it is really worth the extra few days to prepare the starter the first time. After that you always have it ready in the fridge! So easy and so delish!

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  3. Wow!! Thank you for this. I am going to try this indeed.

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  4. I just made this. I couldn't find the sweet rice flour, I used regular rice flour. I'll have to order the sweet rice flour online I think. I also planned to make a double batch but I didn't have enough king arther flour, so I only made one but had melted extra earth balance. However it was very tasty. It didn't rise as much as a normal sandwich loaf would.

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  5. Earth Balance is so unhealthy..might want to try another alternative...

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  6. Do you have any suggestions for a replacement for Earth Balance? It comes in an organic version, ans is quite tasty. I am unaware of any vegan margarines other than earth Balance, but then again I live in a small town ...

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  7. do you know if i could freeze the pretzels half-baked, then bake the other half before serving? i LOVE soft pretzels and haven't been able to eat them for years, so i'm definitely trying this recipe out. however, i don't have a lot of time for food preparation and would like to make a large batch that i can eat over the period of a few months. thanks so much for posting this!

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  8. Hi Shelley,
    Janelle from Gluten Freely Frugal here. I decided to try this a few days ago, and started my "starter" on Wednesday morning. Today (Saturday) I made my first loaf, but a few things aren't making sense to me.

    1) You say to remove 1 cup of the starter and discard it. There was very little more than a cup in it, so that would mean discarding most of it. I decided to keep a full cup and discard the remaining amount. Should there have been a full 2 cups? Because there was not for me.

    2) When you feed your starter, you say to add 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 full cup of sweet rice flour. When I did that, it obviously got thicker than the pre-fed starter (which is a 1 cup liquid to 1 cup flour ratio). Then, after I removed my 1 cup to make the bread, there was hardly any left again, and when I fed it AGAIN, it got even thicker. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize it's just going to keep getting thicker and thicker. It's so thick right now I can't even stir it.

    I am pretty sure I followed the recipe EXACTLY, so I'm wondering if you can think of something I might be doing wrong, or if it really is supposed to be that thick? I don't want to throw it out but I'm worried about the safety of it, since it obviously isn't working right.

    Thanks for your help!

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    Replies
    1. Did Shelly ever answer this? I would like to try the recipe, but feel I must wait for the answer.

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  9. "vegan"? There is milk. My son is allergic to milk/butter/dairy as well as gluten. Would like a sourdough recipe w/o milk. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. looks like the recipe calls for non dairy milk (nut milk, I would think), but why not just use warm water?

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  11. Can you make these without sugar? Ex: coconut sugar, or honey? Thanks!

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Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear what you think!
~ Shelley