Creator: Sharon A. Kane

Gluten Free Brown Rice Starter Success!

Sharon A. Kane
Sharon A. Kane July 11, 2009

Why Boosted Brown Rice Starter?

When I first had to give up gluten I had successfully been making seven-day sourdough rye bread (unfortunately full of gluten) using 100% dark rye flour. This goopy no-knead bread had an easy starter routine: once a day for seven days. The starter bubbled quickly and was quite beautiful to watch grow. I thought I could transfer my rye bread sourdough baking knowledge to gluten free baking but after many failures (that ended up in the compost pile) I realized I had to experiment. A plain brown rice flour and water starter took almost 6 days to start showing signs of activity and often by that time it was molding. The heaviness of the rice flour causes the starter solids to sink leaving the liquid on top. It seems hard for the bacteria to make their way through the heavy solids. I consulted with a knowledgeable gluten free sourdough baker who suggested I feed the starter every 8 hours and use a fermented drink called “Water Kefir” right in the starter on the first day. Water Kefir is a culture that is used to make a dairy free drink much like lemon soda. I purchased my grains and made the water kefir using water, sugar, raisins and lemon. It fermented in less than 48 hours and I put a few tablespoons of it into brown rice flour and water. I built the starter gradually feeding it every 8 hours until I had the amount I needed. I was happy to see activity beginning shortly after 48 hours. Each subsequent feeding created increasing activity with large and small bubbles and hissing sounds when I stirred it down. This very live starter easily leavened the bread recipe without the use of eggs, commercial yeast, baking soda, or baking powder which was of prime importance to me being allergic to eggs and sensitive to the other ingredients.

I call this starter “Boosted Brown Rice Starter” because I have boosted its activity with Water Kefir. I find I can get a dependable starter every time when I use water kefir as a booster.

Good Luck,

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