Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Real 100% fermented sourdough baguettes with "wild yeast" starter, no commercial yeast, and no lectins, this French bread has crust, air, and crumb.
We P-doxers crave bread! I put this picture up on my Instagram and it blew up! Sure there are good lectin free breads out there, but not like this. This is made from just lectin-free flours, water and salt, the "Old World" way.
You don't need commercial yeast (more about yeast later), there are no eggs, and we don't add fibers that can trigger an overactive bowel. This bread has fiber and resistant starch naturally from the lectin-free flours. The dough rises, stretches and acts like real bread dough, because it is.
(For more lectin free sourdough recipes get my e-cookbook, Sourdough Rising!)
Not all sourdough is created equal, so it's important to know your sourdough. The more you educate yourself the better off you'll be. Some of the content out there has conflicting or ambiguous info about sourdough. Can you eat it or can't you? It depends how it's made. I do know for sure that the loaves of bread in the grocery bread aisle labeled "sourdough" are a big no-no. Those are not sourdough at all! Just read the ingredients. Commercial yeast! That right there means that it’s short-rise, unfermented bread. And it is a lectin bomb.
On the other hand, some artisan breads, like La Brea, are made the old world way with only wild yeast starter. But some artisan breads still have commercial yeast to speed the process along. Avoid commercial yeast. Wild yeast requires more time to rise, and the longer dough sits, the more time it has to ferment and kill lectins. We’re talking days, not hours. For many artisan sourdough breads, while the "leaven" is certainly fermented, often the dough is not, or isn't fermented long enough. So even some artisan sourdough breads still contain lectins.
Eating bakery artisan bread is a big gamble. The only way to be sure your sourdough bread is lectin free is to make it yourself, or find a bakery that shares its fermenting times and has had their breads' gluten/lectin parts per million (ppm) measured. Here is a chart that may help make sense of your sourdough options:
I can't tell you how excited I was to make a real sourdough baguette. I'm even more excited to share it all with you. So let's get "started" on the first step, the starter.
Step 1: Make the Starter
This is arguably the most important step in making great sourdough. Starter is the "sour" in sourdough. It's basically fermented flour and water. It takes about two weeks to get your starter ready. After two weeks it's still considered young, but it works. The bread above is from my two-week starter. Hopefully this will be the first and last starter you make. Starter dough is sort of like a baby. Once you have it, you have to keep feeding it to keep it alive.
Here's the thing about yeast. Wild yeast is all around us in our environment. It's in the air. Like local honey, you want to consume your local yeast. When you buy commercial yeast, it comes from somewhere else, so it's foreign. Making your own starter allows you to capture and harvest wild yeast that your body already accepts and likes.
When you need to use your starter, take only enough for the recipe. And always leave some behind so you can add to it. Okay, let's make starter!
Lectin Free Sourdough Starter
1/4 C Any Starchy Lectin Free Flour (I used a combo of Cassava, Almond, Coconut and Arrowroot)
1/4 C Distilled Water
In a clean jar with a lid, combine the flour and distilled water well so it feels like batter. Cover, not too tight, and place on a dark shelf. After 6 hours, give it a very good stir to incorporate some oxygen. After another 6 hours, stir it again. After another 6 hours, add 2 T of sorghum flour and 2 T distilled water. I like sorghum flour for feeding because it has a lot of starch, which is what this living thing feeds on. You can use arrowroot too, or half sorghum and half arrowroot. Just use a good starchy lectin free flour for feeding. Stir well, cover loosely and place back on the dark shelf. Repeat every 12 hours. Pour off some when it gets too big for the jar. What important here is the fermentation. So give it room to breathe.
After a few days, you should start to smell bread. When I got my first whiff I felt very excited and hopeful for my future with lectin free bread. Keep going! You may notice yellowish liquid settled on top. This is pretty much moonshine. I wouldn't recommend drinking it. It tastes terrible (okay I drank some). But you can stir it in or pour about half of it off if it seems like too much. As it gets closer to the end, you'll want to pour it off. In about two weeks your starter should be ready. If you see lots of bread-like holes and your starter doubles in size one or two hours after you feed it, it's ready to use. You may notice that when you drop a tiny dollop into water, it has a certain buoyancy. It's all those air holes! The top will be bubbly and cracked like wrinkly skin.
This is what ready starter looks like. Once your starter is ready, you can use it to make sourdough baguettes or store it in the fridge. If you store it, you only need to feed it once a week.
Step 2: Make the Leaven
Proper fermentation is key to a good Lectin Free Gourmet sourdough. This next step is crucial to a successful loaf.
First, be sure your starter is very active. If you've been storing starter in the fridge, you need to wake it up. So take it out and let it sit on the counter a few hours. Pour off the liquid and stir. Add about 2 T of sorghum flour and 3 T water and stir well. Let sit for a few hours. If your starter is not refrigerated, just make sure it looks very holey and alive and is at a ready stage as described in Step 1.
Next, you need to mix the leaven.
1/2 C Distilled Water
1/4 C LFG Sourdough Starter
4 T LFG Flour Blend*
1 T Arrowroot Starch
2 T Sorghum and/or Millet Flour
*2:1:1 cassava, coconut and almond flours
A bit about the flour combinations. Let's face it, the reason most bread is made from wheat flour is because it's a great flour as far as baking goes. Wheat flour has protein, starch and fiber. There really isn't a perfect lectin free flour on its own. So we need to combine flours to get all the qualities of wheat flour. It's chemistry! Cassava flour is primarily starch, coconut is fiber rich and almond flour has a good amount of protein. This is the blend I have found to be the most like wheat flour. Sorghum and arrowroot flours are also a good starchy flours and good for fermenting.
Now, to make the leaven, in large mixing bowl, dissolve the starter in the distilled water with a whisk. It's important to use non-chlorinated water for all steps so as not to kill good bacterias we are brewing. Next, whisk in other flours and starch with vigor to incorporate lots of air. Cover it with a plate and let it sit for 12 hours. You'll know when it's ready when it looks like the picture. Be sure to have some starter left over. Feed it again now, so you have enough for later.
Step 3: Make the Sourdough
Finally, we're getting somewhere! Once your leaven has reached the ready stage, you can use it to make the rest of the sourdough. I have studied the traditional French sourdough method of San Joaquin who won the prize for the best baguette in Paris in 2008. I have adjusted the recipe quite a bit for lectin free ingredients. This step in particular is drastically different because we add more starter. Traditional sourdough methods use starter only in the leaven.
So, here we go. Sourdough making is all about percentages that add up to a lot more than 100%. That's because we have so many steps. For LFG sourdough, it's about 337.5% water, 100% levain, 56.25% starter, 337.5% LFG flour, 337.5% Sorghum four, 25% Arrowroot starch, 25% xanthan gum, and 10% salt for about 1,229% of ingredients. The San Joaquin recipe has a total of 960%.
Mind blown? Forget about the percentages here and just go with these measurements.
Lectin Free Gourmet Sourdough Recipe
1 1/2 C Distilled Water
All the LFG Leaven from Step 2
1/4 C LFG Sourdough Starter
1 1/2 C LFG Flour Blend
1 1/2 C Sorghum and/or Millet Flour
1 T Arrowroot Starch
1 T Xanthan Gum
1 t Salt
First, get out your stand up mixer with dough blade. This will make your life very easy. In the mixer bowl, dissolve the leaven and additional starter in distilled water by giving it a few whirls in the mixer with the dough blade. Add the rest of ingredients and mix on low for about one minute until the dough forms a ball and appears "shaggy" like the picture. Dough is very wet, and sticks to your finger when you touch it and leaves "peaks" behind.
Next, very lightly oil a large glass bowl. I like EVOO here. But you can also use butter. Lift the shaggy mass out of the stand up mixer bowl and transfer to the lightly oiled glass bowl. Cover with a dough cloth. Every 30 minutes for a total of three hours, you need to "stretch and fold" the dough. I do a total of five stretch and folds each time, covering with the cloth between rounds.
Stretch means pulling the dough like taffy as far as it will go without breaking, and fold means to bring the ends back together. Stretch and fold, stretch and fold, stretch and fold, stretch and fold, stretch and fold (5 times each time). The first couple of stretch and fold rounds will be inside the bowl. But you'll notice that on the third round, the dough has a lot more elasticity and you can stretch and fold FREESTYLE outside the bowl. So you're going to do two rounds in the bowl and four outside the bowl for a total of six rounds of stretch and fold in three hours. After which, your dough will look smoother, and less shaggy.
Next, ditch the cloth and cover the glass bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This is where the dough will rise and grow twice its size.
Step 4: Shape, Proof and Bake Dough
After your dough has risen in the refrigerator for 24 hours, you can make your bread. Ready dough has thousands of holes and has doubled in size. On parchment dusted with sorghum flour, shape your dough into one large baguette and roll it in sorghum flour dust. You could also make a large round loaf, dinner rolls, hoagies, or whatever you want. For my first round, I kept it simple and made a baguette. When I was comfortable, I experimented with different shapes.
Once you have your shape, you can score it. For a baguette, I find that staggering three long scores down the length of the loaf, instead of across, is best. Once you've shaped and scored the dough, let it "PROOF" for one hour. Do this by leaving the dough where it is and covering the baguette with a dough towel. Dough will continue to rise during this stage.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a steam pan. I use a bread pan filled with water on the bottom rack. Put it in the oven five minutes before you bake the bread.
After one hour of proofing, transfer your baguette to your baking pan. If you have a special baguette pan, or peel, you will get a nicer, rounder bottom. I bought one from Amazon that I love. I can bake up to four baguettes at a time and they always turn our beautiful. Baguette pans have a round bottom and little holes for optimum shape and air flow. Buy Kristine's baguette pan on Amazon for gorgeous looking bread. The pan is 15x13 and holds up to four baguettes.
Next, place the bread in the oven. Be careful! Hot steam can burn your face. Immediately turn oven down to 480 degrees. After ten minutes, turn down again to 455 degrees for the rest of the time. I live at high altitude and find that times vary. I bake my bread for a total of 25 minutes until it's crusty and brown. You will just have to experiment to see what works in your area and your oven. THE HOUSE SMELLS LIKE BREAD!
Let bread cool for about 10 minutes. I like to eat a few slices hot with a dipping plate of oil and balsamic vinegar, black pepper and herbs. You will notice this LFG sourdough bread has is crusty and chewy on the outside, and airy on the inside. Just like sourdough bread should be.
I can't wait to see how everyone's bread turns out. Post your creations on Instagram with the #LFGSourdough. I'm thinking of doing a contest and the winner will get to spend a day cooking with me. What do you think?