GF 24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is a very traditional sourdough bread recipe, using artisan methods to create a nice, tangy, San Francisco-style sourdough bread.  If you like a really sour-but-smooth sourdough bread, this is the recipe for you.

There are just a few differences between this recipe and a standard wheat-based recipe.  The most notable difference, of course, is the psyllium husk, which is a gluten substitute.  Read more about psyllium and other binders here.  Then of course there's the flour.  I use my own Bread Flour Blend for bread baking, but if you live outside the U.S. read my post Make Your Own Gluten-free Bread Flour.  If you use your own flour blend, you may have to adjust the amount of water and psyllium you use.

Why sourdough?  It's incredibly delicious, for one thing.  The natural process of fermenting the bread through the sourdough process makes it really good for you, too.  Then there's the fact that sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than regular bread.  It will stay soft and flexible for about four days, and it can stay good for a week or two on the counter without molding - even in damp climates like Portland, Oregon where I live.

If the sound of spending 24 hours making bread intimidates you, let me reassure you that it really isn't very much work.  Most of the time is spent in letting the bread rise.  There is actually very little active time in this recipe - in fact, baking sourdough bread is much more flexible than baking bread with commercial yeast.  Also, the schedule is extremely flexible to allow for your schedule, whatever it might be.  I usually mix the dough after work and then bake the bread the next night, and I developed this recipe to easily fit into a "bake the next day" scenario.  I have put notes in the recipe where you can fudge the timing - even for hours or days.  Only the last rise is time sensitive and takes some attention to the dough.

24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

First mix: 10 minutes
First rise: 16-24 hours
Second mix: 5 minutes
Second rise: 2-4 hours
Bake time: 45  minutes

Whisk together until blended in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a fork:

490 g Spring Water (don't use tap water or any chlorinated water)
30g whole psyllium husk (or 20g ground psyllium husk)

Mix into the liquid with the paddle attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon:

328 g Bread Flour
50 grams wild yeast Sourdough Starter (@120% hydration)
12 g (1 TBSP) sugar

The dough will be pretty wet, like the photo to the right.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 16-24 hours.  The longer it rises, the more the dough builds its sour flavor. (If you need to go longer than 24 hours on the first rise, put the dough in the refrigerator after 6-12 hours.  You can leave it in fridge for up to a day or maybe three, but let it get back up to room temperature before the next step.)

The dough should have doubled in size by the 12-hour mark at room temperature.  After that time you won't see much difference but it will still build flavor.

When the first rise is done, punch the dough down.

Knead into the dough by hand or with the dough hook on your stand mixer:

100 g bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
12 g (1 TBSP) sugar

When the flour in completely incorporated into the dough, make a ball of the dough by hand, bringing the seams to one side so the ball is continuous dough on the other side.  Place the dough ball seam-side down on floured parchment paper.  The dough will be tacky and a little shaggy, so just do the best you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Spritz the top of the dough with a little water.  Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap so the plastic is touching the dough to keep the water in, but it's loose enough to let the dough expand while it's rising.  Invert a large bowl over the bread while it rises for 2-4 hours.  Check it regularly after the 2 hour mark to see if it's ready to bake. You will know the bread is ready to bake when it has risen quite a bit and a finger mark gently poked against the surface of the dough doesn't fill in immediately anymore.  Once it passes the "finger test" heat your oven to 450 degrees F with a cast-iron dutch oven inside.  Now you can shape the loaf.

Shape the bread into a slightly tighter ball by tucking the sides of the dough underneath all around the edge.

Let the shaped dough rest while the oven heats for 15-30 minutes.  Just before baking, score the loaf with a sharp knife, making 1/2 inch slashes.  A cross-hatch pattern is traditional for sourdough bread in the San Francisco style.

Carefully take the hot dutch oven out of the oven.  Grab the parchment paper by the edges and lift the bread into the hot dutch oven.  Before putting the lid back on the pot, spritz the inside of the dutch oven several times with water.  Place the lid on the pot and return it to the hot oven.  

Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 450.  Then, take the bread out of the dutch oven, remove the parchment paper if you can, and place the bread on the rack.  It should be lightly browned by now.  (If the bread doesn't brown, it's because the skin dried out.  You may have to brush it with oil or butter during the last 5-10 minutes of baking to get it to brown.)  Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top crust is deeper brown and hard.  The bread should sound crisp on the surface and hollow in the middle when tapped on the top.  Once it is done, you can take it out of the oven and cool on a rack for a chewy crust.  For a crispy crust leave it in the oven, turn off the burner, and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.  Leave the bread in the oven until cool.

Bread is difficult to slice while still warm.  For better slices and a tangier flavor, wait a few hours or overnight before slicing.  If you just can't wait to try it, at least let the bread cool for 20-30 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Enjoy some artisan sourdough bread!  It will stay soft for up to 4 days on the counter in a plastic bag.   Putting it in a paper bag will keep the crust crispy.


Vicki Montague said…
Wow! This looks amazing. I have recently started experimenting with sourdough and am having lots of fun. I need to get some gluten free pysillium and give this a go!
Gina said…
Thanks Vicki! Making sourdough bread is really fun. I like using psyllium because it hold well enough to do free-standing loaves like this one, but the bread is still soft and flexible inside. I've combined it with other things before, like chia and flax seed, but psyllium is a great one-ingredient binder. Let me know how your experiments turn out!
Valerie said…
I'm excited to bake this bread! I just finished mixing the first mix. This is my first time baking with psyllium, and I'm a bit nervous about it- my dough was very sticky, almost gelatinous. Is this normal?
Anonymous said…
This recipe is great. It's exactly what I've been looking for, close to regular bread with no eggs and no gums! I follow a low FODMAP diet so I don't have to be strictly GF, I can tolerate a bit of spelt. I experimented with using a small amount of wheat based sourdough starter which I fed up with a mix of brown rice/millet, sorghum and spelt flour and I use the same mix for the initial mix the and add starches for the second knead/mix. This process and mix of flours seemed to work really well for me. I've also made a regular loaf and bread rolls using mini loaf tins with the mix. Thanks for the recipe!
Mike Lucas said…
Thanks very much for this recipe. 3-4 years ago I used to be really into sourdough bread baking, but then I discovered gluten-free and paleo and gave it up. I never missed the bread itself that much but I really missed the baking! It was wonderful to be able to make GF bread that was similar to my old sourdough, and it came out with fantastic oven spring, good crumb and great flavour!

I read some of your posts on and saw some of the progress you made to develop this recipe. I have some questions for you that I'll post later on.
Mike Lucas said…
My biggest question is around the flour addition after the first rise. Is there a reason that you decided to incorporate more flour at that point? I can understand why you want to leave the salt addition until later on (kind of like a very like autolyse), but wouldn't it be simpler to add all the flour at the beginning?

I actually second-guessed the amount of water you had used (I'd never used psyllium before and considered the over 100% hydration to be too high!) so I left out some water at the beginning. Then when trying to add the flour after the second rise, the dough was too dry, but luckily I was able to add more water at that time and it turned out well.
Gina said…
Mike - Thanks for following me here from TFL and for trying my recipe! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

There is a reason for the flour addition after the first rise. This is a pretty typical step in traditional recipes. At first I thought the addition of flour for the last was just meant to make the dough less sticky to knead in traditional breads, and skipped it. Then I decided to try adding it back into my GF recipes and got better results, especially with the rise. My thinking is that the new flour is fresh food for the yeast, and gives the dough more spring on the last round. It's especially helpful for home bakers who don't have a professional level of control over all the variables. If the yeast kind of burns out a bit - if the dough over-proofs slightly on the first step - adding more flour helps to correct that.

Holding back the salt until the last rise is supposed to help the yest grow in the first step, but I'm honestly not sure how much of a difference this makes. I haven't done enough comparisons.

The whole psyllium husk do suck up a lot of H2O, but I wonder what the humidity in other climates can do to the recipe, so it doesn't hurt to second-guess the hydration and adjust before the last rise.

Thanks for the excellent questions and the great comments!
Mike Lucas said…
Thanks for answering my question Gina, that totally makes sense. The experimenter in me does want to see what happens when adding all the ingredients at the beginning (possibly with 1-3 hour autolyse before adding salt), so I'll let you know if I try that!

I should mention a couple things with the last batch I made. I tried using no sugar in the beginning, and only 9g sugar after the first rise. It still browned very nicely (though I did preheat to 500F, and baked at that temp for the first 15 min before turning down to 460 for the rest of the bake).
I should also mention that on the first rise my dough had tripled or maybe even quadrupled in size by the 18 hour mark! I guess my sourdough starter is happy to be used for bread again!
Gina said…
Mike - I'm glad your bread is turning out nicely and it sounds like you are getting phenomenal rise! All the things you're mentioning experimenting with I have also tried. I left in all those features to help with the rise on the last step - gluten free bread often has trouble getting volume after the first rise. The addition of the sugar is the only thing that I'm not sure is that helpful. It's one of those things that I tried taking out for a few recipes, then I wasn't sure about the impact, so I left it in to be safe. It doesn't hurt the bread, and it might help the yeast grow during the first few hours. I imagine that with the long rising time, the bread doesn't need the extra help sugar gives for browning, and the yeast should consume it all - it doesn't actually sweeten the bread. So that's what I'd experiment with first if I had my say - and let me know what you find out!

A word about autolyse - this term refers to resting the dough before adding the yeast or starter. It's supposed to condition the dough and improve flavor. I have never tried this and don't know if there's any advantage in GF baking.

Adding the salt after the first rise is just meant to keep from slowing the yeast down while it does the majority of its procreation at the beginning. I don't know if this technique has its own term. I'd either throw the salt in at the beginning too or just add salt before the last rise. Adding the salt in the middle of the first rise probably wouldn't have any benefit and might slow down your first rise.

If you do experiment with adding all the ingredients at the beginning the benefit would just be saving time. I have tried this and I've noted that my bread gets less rise on the last step and less oven spring, but it's still good!
Sarah said…
This bread is absolutely amazing! I used some leftover starter I had from making injera (so it was made of teff flour), but otherwise followed the instructions exactly with great results. I can't believe how good the sour flavour is, and how nicely textured the loaf is. Thank you for your always brilliant bread recipes!
Gina said…
Sarah - I'm glad your bread turned out so well! I have never made injera but I've used a teff starter for this bread with good results, so I'm not surprised your injera starter did the trick. Thanks for the positive feedback!
Tina said…
Gina, could you please explain how to use SD starter with your other bread recipes? Is there a formula? I would appreciate any help you can give!
Gina said…
Hi Tina - thanks for the comment! This recipe is my basic formula for sourdough bread. I have one other recipe on here, which is a single-rise sourdough recipe. From those two recipes you could extrapolate any kind of bread you'd like. For instance, if you wanted to do a sourdough teff bread then you would mix the teff flour blend in that recipe and use the amount indicated in this recipe for each step (there would be a little left over). If you wanted to do a sandwich bread then you might need to adjust the hydration - I'm not sure because I haven't tried it yet. That's on my list to do! Is that helpful at all? Is there a specific recipe that you'd like to see on here in sourdough form?
JoVon said…
Hello! Can someone please confirm that the amount of starter is correctly listed @ 50g?
Gina said…
Hi JoVon. Yes, the starter amount for this recipe is 50g. It's less than you may need for other recipes because this one rises for so long. Hope that helps!
Unknown said…
So I have been experimenting with making gluten free bread and i was having problems with the rise. I noticed that sugar was helping but your idea of adding flour for the second time makes things special.
I modified the blend to include:
220G sorghum flour
90G tapioca starch
90G potato starch
50 chick pea flour

I did not want to use the millet as there are some studies that claim that it has effects on the thyroid.

In the future I also want to try to substitute potato starch with tapioca starch.
I wonder why you picked the blend of tapioca and potato starch? Why not only tapioca?


Gina said…
Hi there! I picked an equal blend of potato and tapioca starches because potato starch absorbs an unusual amount of water per gram, and tapioca absorbs unusually LITTLE water per gram. They sort of equal each other out when blended. That being said, if you want to use a different kind of starch it's easy to substitute by weight. The water absorption may vary, so it can take a little experimenting but the recipe is pretty flexible. I'm glad to hear your chickpea flour experiment worked out well! Your bread looks beautiful with great crumb and browning!
JoVon said…
Gina, thanks so much for confirming the 50g. I'm really impressed by the amount of care you've taken to develop this recipe. I'm an editor, so I tend to follow recipes quite literally and the first several times I made this bread I was certain the 50g of starter was a typo because I had whisked the water into the psyllium husks, then measured out the other ingredients and continued. The husks absorbed all the water, making the initial mixture a thick glue (as another reader pointed out). With 50g of starter and 328g of flour blend, the dough was crumbly and didn't resemble the photo at all. Since then, I've started to measure out all of the ingredients in advance and I've stopped whisking. The loaf is near-perfect! I'm working on some tests to help develop the flavor as it isn't quite sour enough, even with a 24-hour 1st rise.
Gina said…
I have found that occasionally I get a loaf that's too dry if I leave the psyllium husk to gel too long in the water. I haven't found an exact time yet, but maybe less is more. I think the psyllium just needs to be evenly wetted, not completely gelled, before adding the rest of the flour. I have also used a couple of grams less psyllium ~27g - and this still gives enough structure but a more tender crumb. This is definitely an area that can use some improvement on the recipe.

As for sourness, there are just so many variables! Every once in a while I get a loaf that's just beautifully, punch-you-in-the-face sour, and I love it. But I can't always replicate it. I suspect that it has more to do with the condition of the starter than the recipe for the bread. Sometimes I just keep smelling/tasting the starter until it seems the right kind of funky, then use it to make the dough.

I hope your experiments turn out!
Unknown said…
Hi Gina, thank you for the recipe. U wrote that if I use my own flour blend I should adjust water and psyllium amount. How can I know the amounts? How the dough should feel/look? If I want to use less starches, what adjustments should I make?
Unknown said…
Gina, thank you so much for this recipe! I had no idea you could get these results with gluten free bread, and using a sourdough starter, too! Some modifications I used that others can try is using a 8.5in round, rice-floured banneton to proof the loaf, honey instead of sugar, and buckwheat instead of millet. These yielded great results for me. Again, thank you!
Aidan said…
Hello, thanks for this great recipe! I have tried a few different recipes over the last week or so and this one results in the best flavor by far! But I have been having the same issue with all of them, that I end up with an insanely moist interior that is gummy and stciky, almost feeling undercooked even when I have certainly overcooked the loaf. After reading some of the comments I think I may have left the pysillium husk to gel for too long.

I didn't follow the recipe *exactly* I used my own flour blend of rice flours, tapioca and potato starches and a bit of coconut milk powder. The starter I have is using Bob's 1 to 1 blend which does have some xanthan gum in it. Do you think that's the issue? I can't imagine there's a lot of the gum in 50g of starter though
Gina said…
Hi Aidan,

Yes, the timing on the psyllium gel can get tricky. If you're worried about it you can mix the psyllium in with the dry ingredients rather than the wet ingredients.

I think the issue is more with the flour blend you're using though. If it has xanthan gum that means you have extra binders (gluten replacements) which could certainly cause gumminess. The sourdough starter I used for the recipe had no binders. Another issue is the rice flour. I have never been able to come up with a bread flour blend that uses any form of rice flour. For me, it just doesn't rise, is heavy, is dense. I have tried the rice flour blend in "Gluten free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" with success, but it uses a different proportion of psyllium husk, and I had to use WAY more water than the recipe called for. So in short, the proportion of psyllium husk to flour is specific to each flour blend.

Another issue that I've encountered is when I've ground the psyllium husk too fine. That can cause gumminess. If you're grinding it in an electric coffee/spice grinder don't grind for more than about 7 seconds.

I hope this helps and I'm so glad to hear this recipe beat out the competition for flavor!

Tanya said…
I currently have a 100% hydration starter made with equal amounts of millet and sorghum flours. Will this work or do I need to modify my starter? If I need to modify, how would I do that? I am still very new to GFSD baking and looking for the perfect loaf of sourdough. Thank you!
Angelo said…
Hi Mike,

Can you please share what flour blend you use (or at least % of starches) and what flour for the starter? I struggle achieving a 2x rise without using additives like ultratex, so I'd love to have some hints to try and get 2x or more. Thank you!!!
Gina said…
Tanya - your starter is similar enough to the one that I use that you may not need to modify anything. Worst case scenario, the dough is a little too dry and you can add a smidge of water for the last proof to correct if you feel it's too dry.
shaid10024 said…
Thanks for the reply Gina!

Ive been tweaking and working this recipe and the recipe from Vanile et Vanile. I've gotten to the point where I have a good crumb and crust but I keep over proofing my dough (which is surprising bc I'm in Alaska)

I was struggling to find ingredients in my tiny town up here but am going to make your flour blend and give this another go!

Really appreciate the recipe and the response and ideas for success. I will update!

LindaLuFiber said…
A real beauty, and very much like a gluten loaf to work with! No millet, I used white rice buckwheat, put a pan of water in the oven for the lid free time.
911_laurab said…
For the flour blend, can I just use Bob 1:1?
Sarah Electa said…
Hi Gina! First of all, I love your bread recipes. I have been making gluten free breads for about 8 years now, and always looking for new recipes. This summer I finally decided to try sourdough breads again (I had given it up when we gave up gluten), and I was (and still am) so excited by the texture and taste difference!! But then just a month or so ago I came by your website, and I am so happy! Your breads are so simple to make and they all taste sooo good! I love that they use very basic ingredients and the process seems more similar to making wheat bread. I love punching down the dough! I haven't done that in a while and I realized it reminds me of my childhood when my mom always let me punch down her dough. So, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes. I feel like the whole world needs to learn these from you.
I'm wondering if you have any advice on how to add seeds to bread dough. How does it affect the amount of water needed in a given recipe? My husband keeps requesting seeded bread. I'm willing to experiment, but I'm hopeful you have some wisdom to share to get me going in the right direction!
Thanks so much! Sarah
Gina said…
Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your generous compliments! I'm so glad you are enjoying the bread recipes. I found that they started working better as I started using more traditional techniques, but it's also a bit of nostalgia to use this old-fashioned process. This is the method my dad used to make (white wheat) sourdough bread when I was a kid. And lo and behold it worked better than most GF recipes I was trying out at the time.

I don't dabble much in inclusions, but I know people have used this recipe to incorporate seeds. The idea is usually to add them after the punch down when you're doing the second mix. Seeds don't absorb a lot of water so I'd be tempted to just use the recipe as is, plus seeds for the first trial. I hope you have success!
Patty said…
Hello. I am
Hoping you have other ideas of what to bake gf bread in other than a Dutch pot? Thank you
Gina said…
Hi Patty, Anything that will hold in the steam will do. I was at a rental house recently and cooked a loaf on an aluminum pizza pan with an alluminum stock pot inverted over it. It wasn't ideal but it worked! Any kind of pot with a lid will also work. Or a Pizza stone with something inverted over it. If you don't have any of those options available, look online for ways to add steam to the oven - I have not gotten this to work that well but it depends on the oven I think. I hope that helps!
Holly Morgan said…
My loaf is just on the second rise right now, oven warming, but... I had to use quite a bit more water in the first part to get it somewhat close to your description. Usually I add only about 90% of the water a recipe calls for, so I was very surprised at that! Hopefully I guessed well enough and it will turn out all right. I've seen so many raves about this recipe that I can hardly wait to see how it turns out.
Robbie_00 said…
Thank you for developing the best bread recipe I have tasted since I went gluten free about 10 years ago! I baked a lot of bread prior to going gf but nothing prepared me for the failures that resulted when I tried gluten free bread baking. Dense loaves with a taste like styrofoam.

After deciding to attempt your bread recipe I made a gluten free sourdough starter using sorghum flour and a purchased gf inoculant. I incubated the starter for about 1 month before using it in your Rustic Sourdough Boule recipe. While the Boule had a good flavor, I didn’t care for the dense crumb. I then followed your recipe for the 24 hour traditional sourdough boule but divided the dough in half and made 2 baguettes instead. I also added 1/2 tsp. Yeast along with the sourdough starter and the rise was better and the crumb airier and lighter than the original boule.
Thank you again!
Unknown said…
I just love this recipe, and it is now my go to. It’s easy and so delicious. Toasted it tastes as good or better than any sourdough bread I’d had before going gluten free. Thank you for this delicious recipe!
Julie said…
I am about to add the ingredients for the second rise but have a question. Do you find the added pysillium in the first step ferments? Does this add much to the sour flavour? Why is it added in the first rise and not the second rise?
Gina said…
Hi Julie, I don’t think that the psyllium ferments much, having so few carbs. However, it benefits from spending the time in the dough after being hydrated. The texture of the bread really improves the longer the psyllium is hydrated, and the second mix helps the psyllium even more. That’s why I put the psyllium in during the first mix, for the texture. The flavor comes mostly from the other ingredients -psyllium has little flavor on its own.

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