Gluten-free buckwheat sourdough starter

If we want to have a good active sourdough starter, we need to love and nurture it, then it will give back a lot more than we give. This way we can have the most amazing gluten-free sourdough starter or so called homemade yeast and bake the most delicious fermented gluten-free bread you've ever tasted.

I usually use buckwheat flour to make gluten-free yeast, but occasionally I also use millet or rice flour, chocolate or carob flour. The quickest way to start sourdough starter is with brown rice flour or teff flour. I keep the starter in the fridge and it is the basis for making the active leaven or natural yeast that I use when baking fermented bread.
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  • 10 g gluten-free sourdough starter
  • 30 g cocoa
  • 30 g water

Gluten-free sourdough starter

The starter is made in an airflow Kefirko glass jar. Keep the jar at room temperature, on the kitchen counter, during the entire time the starter is fermenting. Use the non-metallic spoon provided for stirring and removing the mass.

The process of preparing the starter is slightly longer only the first time. Afterwards, the gluten-free sourdough starter is simply maintained and always available.


Don’t be misled when the starter becomes bubbly in the first two or three days. This is not an active starter yet. This is not a fault in the process, although there is often an unusual smell in this phase.

The leaven thrives best at temperatures between 20 and 24°C, but temperatures above 26°C are less advantageous.

There are three stages of fermentation in the preparation of sourdough starter. The odour phase can be avoided by adding a teaspoon of milk or water kefir, kombucha or yeast water to the starter. If nothing is added, the process takes place in three steps:

1. First phase of fermentation

Bacteria are naturally found everywhere, on hands, cereals, vegetables, etc.

In this phase bacteria appear and consume all the oxygen. This creates an anaerobic environment without oxygen. When the oxygen runs out, these bacteria from the first phase die.

2. The second fermentation phase

When the bacteria from the first phase die off on days 2-4 (often on the second day in the case of gluten-free cereals), the Leuconostoc bacteria are activated. These are lactic anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria produce lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide. This is the bubble phase. The more acidic the environment becomes, the closer we get to the third phase. This is why Leuconostoc bacteria die quickly if the pH is below 4.5, and yeasts only grow below pH 3.5. Leuconostoc bacteria produce gasses, so the starter becomes bubbly or even starts to smell. Where decaying is occurring, there may also be a smell, but not necessarily. At that time, the yeasts and lactic acid bacteria are not yet activated. In between there is a dormant phase, which may be longer or shorter.

3. Third fermentation phase

This phase starts somewhere between days 6 and 14. This is why we wait so anxiously for the starter to activate. During this phase, lactic acid bacteria and yeasts are activated. This is when the ideal balance between lactic acid bacteria and yeasts is established and our starter is in a state of agitation. The starter becomes active and ready for baking.

Gluten-free sourdough starter recipe

Day 1:

In the morning, put in a glass and stir well:

  • 10g buckwheat flour,
  • 10g water.

Partially close the fermenter by covering the jar with a versatile cup, without sealing it, to allow air to circulate, and wait 24 hours. The starter must have access to air during the entire process of fermentation.

Day 2:

In the morning add:

  • 20g flour,
  • 20g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well and partially close it.

Day 3:

We can usually already see bubbles appearing in the fermenter, but we know that this does not mean active starter yet.

In the morning, add:

  • 40g of flour,
  • 40g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well and partially close the jar.

In the evening, leave 1 teaspoon (up to 20g) of the starter in the jar, discard the rest. Use the discarded sourdough starter to make pancakes or grated porridge.

Add to remaining starter:

  • 20g flour,
  • 20g water.

Stir the contents in the Sourdough Fermenter well and partially close the jar. Before closing it, wipe the sides of the jar with a paper towel to prevent mold from developing.

Day 4:

In the morning add:

  • 40g flour,
  • 40g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well and partially close the jar.

In the evening, remove enough starter to leave about 20g (1 tsp) and put it in a new jar. You can always use the discarded starter as mentioned above.

Add to the starter:

  • 20g flour,
  • 20g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well and partially close the jar.

Day 5:

In the morning add:

  • 40 g flour,
  • 40 g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well and half-close the jar. Wipe the rim of the jar well.

In the evening, discard enough starter to leave up to 20g or 1 teaspoon in the jar. Clean the fermenter well.


  • 20g of flour,
  • 20g water.

Stir the contents of the jar well, wipe the glass and partially close it.

The remaining dough can be used in the preparation of other dishes.

Then continue feeding the gluten-free starter the same way until the starter is fluffy when you remove the top layer with a spoon. This can take up to two weeks in the colder months.

When the gluten-free starter has grown in height after each feeding (adding flour and water), so that the surface bulges and the inside is very fluffy, it is ripe or active. Such gluten-free sourdough starter is used for baking bread. Gluten-free starter does not necessarily need to rise as high as gluten sourdough starter..

Recipe by Suzana Kranjec

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