FAQ’s Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread
Q. What is water kefir:
A. Definition of Water Kefir from Cultures for Health website: "Kefir consists of lactic acid bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship.
Originating in Mexico, water kefir grains (also known as Sugar Kefir Grains) allow for the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage.
This beverage is loaded with probiotics and enzymes which are created during the fermentation process. You drink or use the fermented liquid and reuse the culture to make an infinite number of batches."
Q. Do all of your sourdough starters need water kefir?
A. I have found that gluten-free starters spoil easily and boosting the starters with water kefir prevents spoilage. Other fermented drinks will prevent spoilage. Just use the same amount called for in the recipe:
- dairy kefir
- dairy kefir whey
- raw milk whey
- kombucha tea
Q. How many of the recipes contain the starchy flours?
A. The guideline for my recipes is to use a minimum of starch flours and as much as whole grain flours as possible. Many of my recipes have no starch flours, some of them have 1-4 tablespoons in a batch that has approximately 2 cups of whole grain flour.
Q. Your book teaches how to grind your own flour and how to soak all the different flours? Do we need special equipment for the grain grinding?
A. The breads do best with a flour that is less fine than what is available commercially but I continue to experiment with how to best use commercial flours since most people don’t want to grind their own. One benefit of grinding is that the flours are fresher and have more nutrients.
Link to my grain mill video:
Equipment: Grain Mills
My book suggests which recipes work best with home milled flours and which work best with commercial milled.
Q. Why don't you use xantham, guar gum, commercial yeast, baking soda or baking powder? What do you use instead?
A. I created these recipes for myself, having sustained a lot of health problems from undiagnosed gluten allergy for many years. I found that I when I ate pure, simple food ingredients I felt well and when I began eating products with a bit of gums, chemical leaveners, or commercial yeast, I began to feel badly again.
Many people can eat these substances with no problems but since I couldn’t I created the recipes without them. I prefer to use ingredients that are minimally processed:
Xanthan gum is a fungus grown on corn in a lab.
Guar gum isn’t so bad but it is highly processed.
Commercial yeast is often derived from gluten products like brewers yeast from beer.
Baking powder/soda are not highly processed ingredients but they raise the sodium content of the finished bread product making it challenging for people who watch their sodium intake.
The sourdough process creates a thickening and somewhat gelling of the batter eliminating the need for gums and leaveners.
Q. Is buckwheat gluten-free?
A. Buckwheat is a seed grain completely unrelated to any wheat or gluten grain. It is 100% gluten-free.
Q. Can I use your bread for a sandwich?
A. My early breads do not work very well for sandwiches because I choose not to use much starch flours. Starch flours are what give the bread fluff. Usually the ingredients in a fluffy loaf of gluten free bread will have a high amount of starch flour. A large amount of starch flour can cause blood sugar fluctuations which causes more stress to a system that has already been greatly stressed by gluten.
Recently I developed a sandwich muffin that works well for a sandwich and does not use any starch flours! I saw my husband use the new sandwich muffin for a roast beef sandwich complete with mustard and mayo and it worked very well. I continue to experiment with these starch-free breads and hope to have great results very soon.
In the meantime, rather than eat sandwiches I slice and toast my breads and muffins and eat them as an accompaniment to a meal. I use coconut oil instead of butter because of a dairy allergy.
I have heard from some readers who slice the breads very thin and do get a good sandwich out of it.