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Gluten-Free Rusk Bread (Made with Sourdough Discard)

February 7, 2024

Do you love crispy bread snacks? Have a sourdough starter? Then, you’re in for a treat! Friselle, also known as Italian rusk, is like a crispy bagel. It’s cut in half and baked twice to make it extra crunchy and long-lasting.

This special gluten-free rusk bread recipe uses a gluten-free sourdough starter discard, a mix of lectin-free flours, and a touch of carob powder for slight sweetness and a deep, brown color. You can tweak it with different starters and flours, too. And if you prefer soft bagels, you can use the same recipe and method and stop before double baking.

The Inspiration. What is Rusk Bread?

Rusk bread is a type of hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread. It’s originally designed to be long-lasting, making it a convenient staple for storage and consumption over extended periods.

Italian Friselle, Greek Rusks (Paximadi), and Greek Carob Rusks are specific variations of rusk bread.

The inspiration to make this recipe came from a video I saw on Instagram by Maurizio from The Perfect Loaf. He used a regular wheat sourdough starter to make Friselle, but I changed it to adapt it to my gluten-free sourdough method. And wow, it turned out to be a favorite way to use my sourdough discard!

What I love about this recipe, is that you can adapt it to make bagel-like sourdough buns (minus the boiling part) that are perfect for sandwiches. Instead of slicing and double-baking the dough, you can bake the whole bagels for five extra minutes to get a fluffy, soft bread shaped like a bagel.

gluten free sourdough bread bagels

My Gluten-Free Sourdough Method

If you’re new here, I make my starter with a mix of organic teff, millet, and sorghum flour. Check out my popular millet and sorghum sourdough bread, and stay tuned for more discard recipes at the end of this post.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to add carob powder to this recipe. It was only later I found out about a similar Greek bread made with carob.

Fun fact: my ancestors are from the South of Greece and Italy, so maybe it was a little nod from my heritage. I really like the gentle sweetness, rich flavor, and dark color that the carob adds to the rusks.

If you’ve tried my bread recipes before, this one follows a similar process until we get to shaping the dough. It might sound complicated when explained in words, but check out the visual guide, it’s actually easy and fun to make these rusks.

For the flour, I chose equal parts teff, sorghum, and millet. You can mix and match these flours as you like. I used ivory teff, so the dark color comes from the carob. If you use dark teff, your bread will naturally have that rich brown color without carob.

gluten free sourdough bread bagels sliced

Ingredients

  • 17 grams psyllium husk flakes (whole)
  • 10 grams honey
  • 7 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 grams water
  • 150 grams sourdough discard
  • 200 grams flour mix (equal parts teff, millet, and sorghum flour)
  • 30 grams carob powder
  • 70 grams tapioca starch
  • 6 grams salt

How to Make Sourdough Rusk Bread

  • In a bowl, combine the psyllium husk flakes, honey, olive oil, and water. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the flour blend, carob powder, tapioca starch, and salt.
  • Add the sourdough discard to the gel mixture. Stir well using a silicone or wooden spatula.
  • Gradually incorporate the gel mixture into the flour blend. Mix with a spatula first, then knead by hand until the dough is uniform.
  • Use a plastic dough scraper to fold the dough. Start from the edges, folding toward the center while rotating the bowl. Continue this process for about 1 minute.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to bulk ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • After fermentation, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough by folding it in thirds, then rotate it with slight tension until the bottom seals. Place the dough, seam side up, in a floured banneton. Cover and let ferment for another 30 minutes.
The process of making the dough for the gluten-free rusk bread
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then create a hole in the center to form a bagel-like shape. Lightly flour each piece and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let ferment for an additional 30 minutes.
making sourdough gluten free bread rusks
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 320°F (160°C).
  • Slice each piece in half using a serrated knife. Arrange the halves on the baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, or until they are thoroughly dry. It may even take one hour, but keep an eye on them.
  • Serve immediately or allow to cool completely before storing in a paper bag. The rusks should keep for weeks.
gluten free sourdough bread rusks after baking

How to Store and Serve These Sourdough Rusks

Storing and serving sourdough rusks properly can greatly enhance their flavor and longevity, making them a versatile staple in your pantry. These crunchy delights can be kept for weeks when stored in a cool, dry place inside an airtight container or a paper bag to maintain their crispness.

To serve, you can follow traditional Mediterranean practices, which often involve rehydrating the rusks slightly to make them more palatable. This can be done by briefly dipping them in water or topping them with juicy ingredients.

  • Topped with Tomato and Olive Oil: Soak a rusk briefly in filtered water, then cover it with fresh chopped tomatoes (without skins or seeds), a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and herbs like oregano or basil for a simple, refreshing snack, bruschetta-style. For additional flavor, rub a garlic clove on the rehydrated bread.
  • With Cheese, Avocado, and Honey: Serve the rusks with a slice of feta or buffalo mozzarella, smashed avocado, drizzled with local honey, and topped with nuts and fresh mint for a sweet and savory combination.
  • Make French Toast: Dip the rusks into beaten eggs, spices, and your choice of milk until they soften, then shallow fry them in butter. Top with cinnamon, inulin powder, and local honey for a delicious breakfast or snack.
  • Transform them into bread crumbs: Break the rusks into smaller pieces and run them through a food processor to create delicious, crispy bread crumbs. Use them as salad toppings.
  • With Sardines: For a burst of flavor and the perfect nutritious snack, top your rusk with sardine pate, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh parsley.
  • Dipped in Coffee or Tea: Enjoy your rusk as a biscuit, dipped in your morning coffee or tea to soften it and enjoy a quick, energizing snack.
  • As a Side to Soups and Stews: Use the rusks as a crunchy side to dip into your favorite soups and stews, adding texture and flavor to your meal.
gluten free sourdough bread rusks after baking

More Sourdough Discard Recipes

For more ways to use your sourdough discard, check out these recipes:

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

Gluten-Free Rusk Bread (Made with Sourdough Discard)

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By Claudia Curici, Health Coach Serves: 8
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 65-75 minutes

Do you love crispy bread snacks? Have a sourdough starter? Then, you're in for a treat! Friselle, also known as Italian rusk, is like a crispy bagel. It's cut in half and baked twice to make it extra crunchy and long-lasting. This special recipe uses a gluten-free sourdough starter discard and a mix of lectin-free flours. You can tweak it with different starters and flours, too. And if you prefer soft bagels, you can use the same recipe and method and stop before double baking.

Ingredients

  • 17 grams psyllium husk flakes (whole)
  • 10 grams honey
  • 7 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 grams water
  • 150 grams sourdough discard
  • 200 grams flour mix (equal parts teff, millet, and sorghum flour)
  • 30 grams carob powder
  • 70 grams tapioca starch
  • 6 grams salt

Instructions

1

In a bowl, combine the psyllium husk flakes, honey, olive oil, and water. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency.

2

In a separate mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the flour blend, carob powder, tapioca starch, and salt.

3

Add the sourdough discard to the gel mixture. Stir well using a silicone or wooden spatula.

4

Gradually incorporate the gel mixture into the flour blend. Mix with a spatula first, then knead by hand until the dough is uniform.

5

Use a plastic dough scraper to fold the dough. Start from the edges, folding toward the center while rotating the bowl. Continue this process for about 1 minute.

6

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to bulk ferment at room temperature for 1 hour (this applies for a temperature of around 70°F (20°C).

7

After fermentation, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough by folding it in thirds, make sure the seam is on the bottom, then rotate it with slight tension until the bottom seals. Place the dough, seam side up, in a floured banneton (lined with a towel). Cover and let ferment for another 30 minutes.

8

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

9

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball, then create a hole in the center to form a bagel-like shape. Lightly flour each piece and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let ferment for an additional 30 minutes.

10

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 320°F (160°C). You can use a higher temperature if you want the process to go faster, but be careful so they don't burn.

11

Slice each piece in half using a serrated knife. Arrange the halves on the baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, or until they are thoroughly dry. It may take one hour or so, but keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

12

Serve immediately or allow to cool completely before storing in a paper bag. The rusks should keep for weeks.

Notes

If you'd rather use this recipe to make baked bagels, allow the whole bagels to bake for an extra five to ten minutes, then take them out on a cooling rack and serve after they cooled completely. You can slice them in half and toast them, or simply take a bite from this bready donut. I like to top them with honey and ground walnuts for extra goodness.

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