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Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread Recipe With Sorghum and Millet (Lectin-Free)

gluten-free lectin-free sourdough bread with millet and sorghum

Making artisan lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread has been one of the most exciting and rewarding projects in my past five years of food blogging and healthy cooking and eating.

Making sourdough bread is not rocket science, as I used to believe, and it is my mission to demystify the process and show you that anyone can do it.

This millet and sorghum sourdough loaf is our master recipe. Once you learn how to make this bread, the possibilities for creating other types of bread are endless.

A bread everyone will love

Even in the absence of gluten, this bread looks and tastes like real bread. My dad, a big bread lover, who was raised with real bread made with freshly milled grains, said this was the best bread he’s ever had. Like all Danish people, my husband loves his bread, and even to my surprise, he is a convert.

My friend in Dallas, Kristi, who has been my sourdough buddy, is now making bread for her family and friends. Everyone loves it. Like myself, Kristi has never made sourdough bread in her life before. We want to assure you that if we did it, you can too.

If you have celiac disease, ensure the ingredients you buy to make this bread are certified gluten-free, as sometimes cross-contamination might occur.

If you are new to this process like we were, you must start by making a lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough starter. You will find all the instructions in the below-linked article. While the article is long because I wanted to cover every detail possible, the process is easy and only takes a few minutes of your day for six days.

My lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough starter made with teff, millet, and sorghum flour in a small glass jar
Rosey – My lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough starter made with teff, millet, and sorghum flour

Does sourdough bread have lectins?

The short answer is yes; regular sourdough bread, made with wheat flour or rye flour, has lectins.

However, out of all the types of bread you can have, if you want to avoid pesky lectins as much as possible but are not ready to give up bread, you can occasionally eat real sourdough bread made with organic white wheat flour. The fermentation process helps neutralize some of the anti-nutrients in grains and enhances the absorption of minerals. However, there are still many people who will react to wheat (especially those with autoimmune diseases and gut issues), no matter how it is prepared.

Also, besides gluten and lectins, let’s not forget the Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), a type of very small protein found in whole grains like wheat and rye, more specifically in the bran. So, when eating whole-grain bread, we are not only exposed to gluten and other bigger lectins but also to WGA, which can pass the mucosal barrier of your gut even if your gut is not compromised.

That’s why I developed this method to make sourdough bread with flour that is naturally gluten-free, lectin-free, and WGA-free.

gluten-free sourdough bread

What are the three lectin-free and gluten-free flours we will be using to make sourdough bread?

Artisan sourdough bread is usually made with just flour and water, wild yeast, and salt. For a gluten-free and lectin-free sourdough bread, we need a few more ingredients to compensate for the lack of gluten.

Buckwheat flour and rice flour are common ingredients in a gluten-free flour blend, but we are taking this bread one step further. We are only using ingredients that are not only gluten-free but also lectin-free.

Our lectin-free and gluten-free flour blend is made of millet, sorghum, teff flour, and a little bit of tapioca starch and psyllium husk.

Sorghum Flour

Sorghum flour is obtained from ground sorghum grain and is also called jowar flour. It is commonly used in India to make jowar roti, an unleavened flatbread made with only hot water, sorghum flour, and salt.

Sorghum flour is also very popular for lectin-free, gluten-free baking, especially for making sourdough starters and bread.

Sorghum flour
Sorghum flour

Millet flour

Humans have consumed millets for thousands of years. They are still important crops in many countries in Asia and Africa. In Romania, my home country, millet was the staple grain before the introduction of wheat and corn, and millet was an important ingredient for different types of bread and porridge in the Roman world. Millet is also very popular in Ukraine and Russia.

Millet flour is excellent for making lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread and gives the bread a light look, like white wheat. It’s also a mild-tasting flour. Old millet flour can get bitter, so make sure you buy good flour and store it appropriately.

Millet flour
Millet flour

Teff flour

Teff has long been considered a gluten-free flour but only recently has been added to the list of lectin-free flours by Dr. Steven Gundry. Like the above cousins, this grain is a staple in many countries worldwide, used to make flatbread, sourdough bread, and porridge.

Teff flour is used to make the famous injera, the Ethiopian fermented flatbread.

Teff flour
Teff flour

Fermentation is key to health. All grains need to be fermented. Sourdough culture is this mixed ecosystem of bacteria and yeast slowly breaking down the carbohydrates and gluten and releasing the nutrients in the grain.

Richard Bourdon

Other ingredients

Tapioca flour. While I try to reduce unnecessary starch used in baking, in the absence of gluten, this bread needs a little boost. Compared to other gluten-free sourdough bread recipes, which are heavy in starches, the quantity of tapioca flour used for one loaf is 70 grams. Sometimes I also use 50 grams, but 70g is a sweet spot I’m happy with.

Psyllium husk. An essential ingredient for gluten-free bread. In the absence of gluten, psyllium husk is the sticky agent that will bind everything together (what the gluten network does in the case of gluten bread). Always use flakes, not powder.

Water. I think I will repeat this many times during the article. It’s crucial never to use chlorinated water or reverse osmosis water at any stage of making sourdough, from washing the fruits to creating the yeast water to making the bread. Use spring, filtered, or bottled water.

Salt. In the case of gluten-free sourdough, salt is mainly used for taste. I’m not exactly sure how much salt influences fermentation in our case. Always use a good quality fine sea salt, non-iodized.

Extra virgin olive oil. Oil will help with the texture of gluten-free bread. You can use between 5-12 grams, but I settle at 6 grams. More than this, I feel it makes the texture gooey and moist, which I am not a fan of. I’ve made bread with zero oil, and they were quite good; not much change in the texture but a little drier, which is not necessarily bad with gluten-free bread, which tends to be moist and sticky. But, since I love olive oil so much, and I think adding oil lowers the glycemic index of carbs, I’ll always add a little bit.

Honey. The best quality honey you can get is local, raw, and organic from a trusted producer. Honey will give the preferment a boost as the bacteria will feed with the sugar in honey. You can skip the honey if you are vegan.

Add-ons. Later, after we perfect a basic bread, we can play with additions such as lectin-free seeds, olives, herbs, and spices.

Gluten free sourdough bread fresh baked out of the oven. It looks absolutely delicious.

Ingredient shopping list:

Sourdough equipment & tool list:

You will need some tools in order to make sourdough bread. You might already have some jars, spatulas, glass bowls, towels, a Dutch oven, and parchment paper. Some are more specific, like the proofing or banneton basket or the razor for scoring. Below you have a checking list to understand what you already have and what more you need. These are just suggestions:

  • Digital Kitchen Scale
  • Small jars for preferments (and starter)
  • Glass bowl (one that can hold about 9-10 cups of fluid, around 80oz, 2.5 Qt)
  • Plastic covers (if the glass bowl doesn’t have a lid, but also for the proofing basket)
  • Silicon or plastic bowl/dough scraper
  • Wooden spatula / spoon
  • Banneton basket (fermenting basket with liner)
  • Towels for the banneton and for wrapping bread
  • Parchment paper sheets (get the heaviest duty you can find as we work at high temperatures)
  • Dough scoring razor/lame (a simple razor will work too, but it’s easier if you have a handle)
  • Ball tea strainer for dusting (or any small, fine sieve)
  • Dutch oven or an appropriate cooker that works for baking bread. My friend Kristi uses this Lodge Cooker that can be used for bread, so far I’ve been using my red Staub cocotte (3Qt, bigger works even better)
  • Sourdough baking starter kit (alternative to getting some of the items on this list separately). Don’t get one with a metal scraper, as that won’t be useful in our case.
  • Proofing box: Brod and Taylor Folding Proofer and Slow Cooker (This is optional. It can be helpful if you can’t control the temperature and humidity in your home, if you live at a high altitude, if the air is too dry, etc). My friend bought this one and is using it to make bread; I don’t have one yet.

The above ingredients and equipment can also be found on our SHOP page under the category ‘project sourdough’.

Recipe: Sorghum & Millet Sourdough Bread (Gluten-Free, Lectin-Free)

I will start by sharing the recipe I like the most so far. This bread is made with an equal mix of sorghum and millet flour. To add more texture to the bread, sometimes I use a mix of finely ground and whole grain flour for each of the two flours, but that’s not necessary, and you can add this step later when you are getting used to making lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread.

When I make a sorghum and millet bread, my preferment will be made with sorghum and millet; when I make only teff bread, my preferment will be made with only teff flour; when I make a bread with the three flours, my preferment will be made of equal amounts of the three flours (in this case I will use the premix I use to feed my starter) and so on.

VIDEOS: I made a few videos so you have a visual of the process. If you are a visual person like me, these will greatly help. Please check them out (a few paragraphs below). You will see that while the text had to be very long so I could cover all the details, the process is pretty straightforward.

The sliced gluten free sourdough bread. The bread is baked to perfection and the slices look really nice.

The first step: Make the preferment

Any bread starts with a preferment. The preferment, at least in our case, is made the same way as if you would feed the starter. Please consider feeding your starter first and make sure you know which one it is (if you use similar jars). Only after you fed your starter can you proceed to make the preferment.

You will make one preferment for each loaf you are planning to bake.

Usually, if you feed your starter twice a day, in the morning and evening, you will make the preferment in the evening, when you also feed your starter.

To make the preferment for a loaf of bread, use the following quantities:

  • 10 grams active starter (before you feed it)
  • 30 grams filtered / spring water
  • 35 grams of flour (the flour that you will be using to make the bread, in this case, equal quantities of sorghum + millet)

The difference between feeding the starter and the preferment:

  • They both use the same quantities; however, the starter will always be fed with the three flour mix, while the preferment will always be fed with the flour or mix you are using for the bread. In case you make a loaf of bread using equal quantities of teff + sorghum + millet, the preferment will be the same as the starter.

The preferment will almost double in size, but even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean is not good. The visual cue for a good preferment is the change in texture, which will become airy inside. At its peak activity, the preferment will have a dome, and the top will be cracked. On the side of the bowl, you will see bubbles.

MY BAKING SCHEDULE (you can create your own schedule based on your availability):

  • Evening (before sleep): I feed my starter and make a preferment with the flours I plan to use for the bread.
  • Morning (shortly after I wake up): I feed my starter and mix the dough ingredients. Start the fermentation process.
  • After about 1h of fermentation, I check the dough. If it’s ready, I shape it and transfer it to the proofing basket.
  • Usually, my dough proofs in about 1h, so now I start to preheat the oven with the Dutch oven in.
  • After one more hour, I check the dough and if it’s ready, I score it and transfer it to the Dutch oven.
  • I bake the bread for 40 minutes with the lid on, then I take the lid off and bake for 40 more minutes. The temperature is always set at 250C/480F.
  • I take the Dutch oven out carefully so I don’t burn myself. Remove the bread and place it on a cooling rack.
  • Wait for at least 5 hours before slicing it.

Ingredients for making lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread

While it might not show in the ingredient list, AIR is the most important ingredient in sourdough bread. Luckly, air is democratically available and free. We just have to acquire the skills to incorporate it into our bread.

There is something very magical about cooking with air.

Michael Pollan, COOKED

The wet mix:

  • 17 grams psyllium husk flakes (not powder)
  • 420 grams of room temperature water (spring, filtered, bottled, no chlorine, no tap, and don’t use reverse osmosis water)
  • 10 grams organic, raw honey, preferably local (skip if vegan)
  • 6 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 75 grams sorghum + millet preferment (made the night before)

The dry mix:

  • 230 grams flour (115g sorghum + 115 millet)
  • 70 grams starch (tapioca flour)
  • 6 grams non-iodized good quality fine salt

NOTE: generally speaking, you can use any mix of the three flours you want, or just one flour, but if you are using teff, you might need to adjust the quantity of water, as some brands of teff flour absorb more water. In this case, start with the initial quantities, and when you mix the dough with your hands, if you feel it’s too dry, add 10-20 more grams of water. Also, in my experience, teff tends to ferment faster, so you will have to consider this.

Mixing method

  • In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the water, psyllium husk flakes, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well and set it on the side. Once the psyllium husks absorb the water, this mixture will have a gel-like texture (it needs about 5 minutes).
  • In the meantime, mix all the dry ingredients in a glass bowl.
  • Now add the preferment to the psyllium husk gel. Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Add the preferment gel mixture to the dry ingredients bowl, incorporate as much as possible with a spatula or wooden spoon, then start mixing with your hand. Mix well until the dough is homogeneous and has no lumps. The dough is soft and sticky.
  • Now you can start mixing with the silicone or plastic dough scraper, scraping the dough from the sides of the bowl, and folding it into the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat with the same movement for about 1 minute. Please watch the video below for a visual guide.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic cover, then wrap it in two extra big plastic bags and tighten the bags. From now on the fermentation starts. I keep my bowl on the kitchen counter. Ideally, it needs a place where the temperature stays constant throughout the process.

Bulk fermentation

Let it ferment for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity in your house. At about 20 degrees Celcius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), it can take 2 hours. If it’s hotter than that, the time will decrease. At about 72-74 degrees Fahrenheit, my bulk fermentation takes about 1 hour. Make sure your bowl is covered with a plastic wrap, with additional plastic wrapped around it (I used two big plastic bags and tight them well).

Shaping the dough

The videos above will be the most helpful here. Gently invert the dough on a working surface, dusted with just a tiny bit of flour. Gently lift one-third of the dough and fold it on top of itself. Then fold it one more time, so now what was on the bottom on the working surface is on the top. The following step is to shape the dough and seal the bottom part. Please watch the video, Part 1.

Proofing the dough

Ensure the lining of your Banneton or proofing basket (or a towel if it doesn’t have a liner) is dusted with flour. Now that the dough is sealed and shaped, gently transfer it to the proofing basket with the sealed side up. This is the Part 2 Video. Dust the top with flour, and cover with a plastic wrap or wrap it in a towel. Because my house is pretty dry, I spray a little bit of water on the towel. I cover it in the plastic wrap, and then in two plastic bags that I tighten very well. Again, you might not need these extra steps in your house, but since I moved to Denmark, I needed this extra step to help with a healthy proofing of my dough.

Scoring and transferring to the oven

So many new terms to learn if you are new to baking sourdough bread! Scoring refers to the process of cutting a slash into the surface of the dough before baking. This is best done with a razor. Check my list of tools above for a suggestion. A simple razor will work, but having a handle makes the process easier and safer. The reason for scoring is to let some air out when your dough will rise in the oven (what is called ‘oven spring’).

An extra tool you will need for this step, is a spray bottle with filtered water. You will spray the dough on top before you cover it.

There are the steps:

  • When the dough is proofed and your oven and cast iron are preheated, gently invert the dough from the basket to the middle of a parchment paper sheet.
  • Dust the dough with flour (any of the flours you are using, I prefer sorghum or millet) and gently spread it on the surface of the dough with your palm. Have the razor ready for scoring.
  • Now it’s time to carefully remove the cast iron and the lid from the oven, closing the door quickly. This is when you need to work pretty fast but be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Make the scoring of your choice (I’ll post a link below with one of my favorite scoring and also an easy one to make). From this point on, the dough needs to quickly go into the cast iron, covered, and into the oven.
  • Lift the dough with the edges of the parchment paper and gently lower it into the cast iron. Spray the dough with water to create steam, cover it with the lid, and put it back in the oven.
  • Bake covered for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, carefully remove the lid and bake for 40 more minutes.

Check out this scoring video by Foodgeek.dk, my favorite scoring for a boule is Palm Leaf (5:43). I think is very easy for a beginner and looks great on the baked bread. When you have time check more of his videos, we can learn a lot from him, even if he only makes gluten bread.

The gluten free sourdough bread in the oven. It is baked in a cast iron pot.
The bread in the parchment paper

Baking

You need to preheat the oven to 250C / 480F for one hour before baking, with the pot and the lid in. I usually start the oven when I start the proofing (because my proofing at the moment lasts between 1h and 1h 20mins).

You will bake the bread for 40 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid, but keep it in the oven so there isn’t a sudden drop in temperature.

Please ensure your Dutch oven can stand this high heat and that the cover has a heatproof handle. At first, I was a little worried my pretty red cocotte from Staub would not take such a high temperature, but it is doing just fine.

The empty cast iron pot in the oven.

Alternatively, you can get a cast iron made for baking sourdough bread (check the list of tools above).

You can also bake the bread on a pizza stone or directly on the oven tray. The Duch oven and cast iron methods give a better crust, that is why I prefer them, but you can make an excellent bread with other methods.

Making gluten-free sourdough bread: The fermentation process

The yeast consumes the sugars during fermentation, causing the dough to form air pockets and rise.

With fluctuating weather, changes of seasons, or changing countries like in my case, it can be hard to control the temperature and humidity of your dough and the fermentation times. That’s why, in my experience, the most challenging part of making sourdough bread is knowing if your dough is under-proofed, proofed just right, or over-proofed.

While it might be tempting to want a big rise, when the dough looks big and round and feels very light and jiggly, is usually over-proofed. It is under-proofed when the dough doesn’t look like it has changed much in size and still feels heavy. A perfect rise is not bigger than double compared to how you started (before the first fermentation). The dough feels airy but not too light and has a slight jiggle to it.

We tried the poke test, but we concluded it is not very useful for lectin-free, gluten-free sourdough bread.

The process of fermentation of the dough is split into two parts:

  1. Bulk fermentation occurs when the dough ferments in the bowl you mix it in. This will take somewhere between 1 hour and 2 hours. The bulk fermentation is complete when you observe boules on the bottom and sides of the glass bowl, and the dough has risen about 30% in size. When I started in the winter in Romania, my first fermentation time was 2 hours. When I’m writing this in Denmark, it takes about 1 hour. As a rough estimation, if the room temperature is 20C/68F, it will take about 2 hours; if it’s 22C/72F, it will take about 1 hour.
  2. Proofing is the part of the fermentation that occurs after you shape the bread and place it in the banneton or proofing basket. This will also take somewhere between 1 hour and 2 hours. As a rough estimation, if the room temperature is 20C/68F it will take about 2 hours, if it’s 22C/72F, it will take about 1 hour.
Dough after bulk fermentation
Dough after bulk fermentation
Dough after proofing
Dough after proofing
Over-proofed dough
Over-proofed dough

In each phase, I check after one hour to see what the dough looks like. If I feel it needs a little more, I add extra 10 minutes, then check again. Sometimes, in my weather conditions in Denmark, I do about 1h or 1h 10 mins in the first phase and 1h or up to 1h 20mins for the second phase. It happened to me to overproof the dough when it was hotter outside.

NOTE: Fermentation and proofing can be done at any temperature, including in the refrigerator. Lower temperatures will delay the process, so if you make the dough and don’t have time for it right now, you can put it in the fridge. Fermentation and proofing will happen in the fridge at a slower rate, so you can also over-ferment dough in the fridge. The image you see above (the 3rd picture from the left, with the over-proofed dough) is a dough I tried to proof overnight in the fridge. Obviously, 12 hours was too much.

Under-proofed bread (bursts on the bottom and sides)
Under-proofed bread (bursts on the bottom and sides)
Over-proofed bread (hollow top and doughy bottom)
Over-proofed bread (hollow top and doughy bottom)
Proofed just right
Proofed just right

Frequently asked questions:

Is all sourdough bread gluten-free?

Only sourdough bread made with certified gluten-free flours in a gluten-free facility are truly gluten-free. So, if you have severe allergies to gluten or are diagnosed as celiac, you will have to ensure the flours you used are not contaminated. However, many people who have a sensitivity to gluten, will be able to tolerate any sourdough bread, even the one made with gluten flour.

Is all lectin-free sourdough bread also gluten-free?

Yes! All sourdough bread made with lectin-free flours is also gluten-free, provided the ingredients used are certified gluten-free and there is no cross-contamination. Naturally, gluten is a lectin, so anything that is lectin-free is also gluten-free.

I want to make this bread. Where do I start?

Start by making your own starter. The process is explained in detail here: Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter With Millet, Teff and Sorghum Flour (Lectin-Free).

I want to make sourdough bread, but I’m so intimidated by the process

I understand! I was for many years. I always thought is the hardest thing to make and require qualities I don’t have. But once I started, I fell in love with the process. Preparing your own sourdough bread is the most exciting and rewarding cooking experience you can have.

I’m scared I won’t be able to keep my starter alive

Making sourdough bread is like any long-term project, hobby, passion, or even having a pet. You have to dedicate it a little bit of time and attention to nourishing it. But there are ways to put it on hold if, let’s say, you are not home for a while. You can put your starter in the fridge without having to feed it. You can dry your starter, travel with it, and reactivate it. You can also make a bread schedule that will fit your lifestyle. You can make bread only in the weekends. You can make more than one bread at a time. And you can slice it and store it in the freezer.

I will travel, or I won’t have time to take care of my starter. What can I do?

If you travel or want to put making bread on hold for a while, this is what you need to do. Feed the starter as per the schedule, let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, then put it in the fridge (with the lid on, but not air-tight). It can stay in the fridge without being fed for one, two weeks, even more if necessary. But I do recommend, if you can, refeeding it again after two weeks, and you can put it back in the fridge. When you start to refeed it and want to make bread, take it out of the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, then feed it as per the usual schedule, morning and evening. Feed it twice, at least, before you make a preferment.

I made the dough, but I have to leave the house. What do I do?

You can put the dough in the fridge at any stage of the fermentation process. Just keep in mind that it will continue to ferment in the fridge, just at a slower pace.

Can you freeze sourdough bread?

Yes, you can. I don’t have time to make bread every day, so whenever I can, I make a loaf of bread even if I don’t need it that day. Then I slice it, separate the slices with parchment paper and freeze it. When I want to eat it I defrost it in my toaster and then toast it.

The sliced gluten free sourdough bread. The slices are separated with parchment paper, which makes it easier to freeze them.

Do I really have to wait for 5 hours before I slice the bread?

There is no way around it. You have to wait and let the loaf completely cool. And I even recommend letting it sit overnight before slicing it. This way all the moisture from the bread has time to come out. You will ruin your bread if you slice it before. With smaller breads, like the demi-baguettes and bread rolls, 2 to 3 hours are enough. Focaccia can be served straight away.

I don’t have a Duch oven. Can I bake the bread without one?

Yes, you certainly can. I actually do sometimes bake bread directly on the oven tray, but I like the Dutch oven because it makes the crust more crispy and thick, how I prefer it. If you bake it directly on the oven tray, preheat the oven to 250C (480F), drop it to 230C (450F) when putting the bread in (on a piece of parchment paper), and add a tray with a small quantity of hot water in (about 150ml), and bake it with steam for 20 minutes. Take the water tray out, turn the oven down to 220C (430F) and bake it for about 40 more minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Depending on your oven, you might have to experiment with different times and temperatures.

I made a dough but will not have enough time to bake it before it over-proofs. Can I save this dough?

Yes you can. Leave the dough in the fridge until you are ready. Then take it out, split it into 8 balls, then flatten each one using your hands, a rolling pin, and a lot of flour until you get a very thin sheet of dough. Brush it with olive oil and herbs, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and make flatbread (bake for about 12-15 minutes at 240C/460F). Or, use it to make a pizza crust, but don’t roll it so thin. This is the recipe for gluten-free, lectin-free sourdough flatbread.

Can I save an over-proofed bread?

I actually cut any good parts of the bread into cubes and freeze it. Then I use it to make croutons or bread crumbs.

My bread looks moist and gummy. Is that normal?

Gluten-free bread tends to have a moister texture than regular bread. But if it’s too moist or sticky, there are a few things you can do. Give it more time before you slice it, a few extra hours will make a difference. Next time bake it longer. And let it rest overnight before you slice it. Toasting it after slicing will also remove the moisture.

Can I make another shape of bread?

Yes, you can also make a battard (the long, oval shape). There are now proofing baskets in all kinds of shapes, including triangles. You can use any of those; just make sure it is the right size for this bread (not bigger than 1kg).

Is it expensive to make this bread?

I was curious to see how much it would cost me to make a loaf of bread, so I calculated the costs. Of course, there will be differences depending on the flour your purchase, the country you live in, etc… But for an average cost of ingredients, it costs less than $3 to make one loaf of bread.

Have more questions? Need help with troubleshooting your lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread?

Join our Facebook Private Group – Creative In My Kitchen, and we will find a way to fix your problem or answer your questions. Or comment below.

The bread looks beautiful with a nice crust.

Resources and inspiration:

  • Ana A. Negru – Artisan baker in Romania, with whom I took a paid workshop and made my first ever lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough loaves. You find her on Instagram @sourdough_storytelling. She is a great teacher, so you can book workshops with her if interested.
  • Michael Pollan – I am so fascinated by his view on food in general and making sourdough bread in particular. I recommend you watch COOKED on Netflix.
  • GeorgeEats.com
  • The Guardian: From starter to loaf: how to make gluten-free sourdough bread from scratch
  • Foodgeek.dk, especially the videos about scoring, but in general, watching him making sourdough is entertaining and educational.
  • And so much more… I read everything I find on this topic and learn and experiment with new things daily. Instagram is a great source of inspiration.

I’m very grateful for all the free resources about making sourdough bread, and especially those aproaching troubleshooting. I probably read them all while I was trying to figure out why, after I moved to Denmark, I wasn’t able to make good bread like I was making in Romania.

I am beyond grateful for my friend Kristi, from Dallas, who joined me in this challenge. I don’t think this article would be possible without her. We hope everything we learned during this time is reflected in this article, and you will not have to go through the same issues we did. And we won’t stop here. We have pizza, focaccia, flatbread, and more to share with you in the future.

Grilled sandwich with lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread
Grilled sandwich with lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread (made with teff, sorghum, and millet flour mix)

More gluten-free, lectin-free sourdough recipes:

If you prefer a soft bread, you will find a recipe for lectin-free sourdough focaccia:

And a recipe for bread rolls:

Or maybe you’d like an easy flatbread recipe:

And when you feel like pizza:

*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 Sorghum & Millet Sourdough Bread (Lectin-Free)

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By Claudia Curici Serves: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Learn the magical skill of making lectin-free and gluten-free sourdough bread and bring healthy and delicious bread back to your table. This millet and sorghum sourdough loaf is our master recipe. Once you learn how to make this bread, the possibilities for creating other types of bread are endless.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE PREFERMENT (make the night before, right before you feed the starter):
  • 10 grams starter
  • 30 grams of water (spring, filtered, non-chlorinated)
  • 35 grams of flour mix (for this bread, equal quantities of sorghum and millet)
  • THE WET MIX:
  • 17 grams psyllium husk flakes (not powder)
  • 420 grams of water (spring, filtered, bottled, no chlorine, no tap, and don't use reverse osmosis water)
  • 10 grams organic, raw honey, preferably local
  • 6 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 75 grams sorghum + millet preferment (made the night before)
  • THE DRY MIX:
  • 230 grams flour (115g sorghum + 115 millet)
  • 70 grams starch (tapioca flour)
  • 6 grams non-iodized good quality fine salt

Instructions

1

MAKE THE PREFERMENT:

2

Mix all the ingredients the night before (you will prepare the dough in the morning)

3

THE MIXING METHOD:

4

In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the water, psyllium husk flakes, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well and set it on the side. Once the psyllium husks absorb the water, this mixture will have a gel-like texture (it needs about 5 minutes).

5

In the meantime, combine all the dry ingredients in a glass bowl.

6

Now add the preferment to the psyllium husk gel. Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.

7

Add the preferment gel mixture to the dry ingredients bowl, incorporate as much as possible with a spatula or wooden spoon, then start mixing with your hand. Mix well until the dough is homogeneous and has no lumps. The dough is soft and sticky.

8

Now you can start mixing with the silicone or plastic dough scraper, scraping the dough from the sides of the bowl, and folding it into the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat with the same movement, for about 1 minute. Please watch the video in the post above for a visual guide.

9

Cover the bowl with a plastic cover, then wrap in two extra big plastic bags and tighten the bags. From now on the fermentation starts. I keep my bowl on the kitchen counter. Ideally, it needs a place where the temperature stays constant throughout the process.

10

BULK FERMENTATION:

11

Let it ferment for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity in your house. At about 20 degrees Celcius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), it can take 2 hours. If it's hotter than that, the time will decrease. At about 72-74 degrees Fahrenheit, my bulk fermentation takes about 1 hour.

12

SHAPING THE DOUGH:

13

The videos will be the most helpful here, please watch them. Gently invert the dough on a working surface, dusted with just a tiny bit of flour. Gently lift one-third of the dough and fold it on top of itself. Then fold it one more time, so now what was on the bottom on the working surface is on the top. The following step is to shape the dough and seal the bottom part (please watch the second video to see how sealing and transferring to the proofing basket is done).

14

PROOFING THE DOUGH:

15

Dust the lining of the Banneton or the towel with flour. Now that the dough is sealed and shaped, gently transfer it to the proofing basket with the sealed side facing upward (the smooth face down), as shown in Part 2 Video. Dust the top with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or wrap it in a towel. Because my house is pretty dry, I spray a little bit of water on the towel. I cover it in the plastic wrap, and then in two plastic bags that I tight very well. Again, you might not need these extra steps in your house. The proofing time will about the same as the bulk fermentation. At 72F it might be 1h or a little more. Whenever I use teff flour in my bread, fermentation time, in general, tends to lower (read more about my fermentation times and experience in the post above).

16

OVEN: You need to preheat the oven to 250C / 480F for one hour before baking, with the Dutch oven inside (both pot and lid).

17

SCORING AND TRANSFERRING TO THE OVEN:

18

When the dough is proofed and your oven and cast iron are preheated, gently invert the dough from the basket to the middle of a parchment paper sheet.

19

Dust the dough with flour (any of the flours you are using, I prefer sorghum or millet) and gently spread it on the surface of the dough with your palm. Have the razor ready for scoring.

20

Now it's time to carefully remove the cast iron and the lid from the oven, closing the door quickly. This is when you need to work pretty fast but be careful not to burn yourself.

21

Make the scoring of your choice using the razor or the scoring blade (please check my suggestions in the post; keep it simple and easy in the beginning). After scoring, the dough needs to quickly go into the cast iron, covered, and into the oven.

22

Lift the dough with the edges of the parchment paper and gently lower it into the cast iron. Spray the dough with water to create steam, cover it with the lid, and put it back in the oven. Alternatively, you can throw an ice cube into the pan, but not on top of the bread, somewhere next to it, below the paper.

23

Bake covered for 40 minutes.

24

After 40 minutes, carefully remove the lid (placing it back into the oven, so there is no sudden drop in temperature), and bake for 40 more minutes. Some ovens run hotter than others, so keep an eye on the bread after 30 minutes. If you feel like your bread gets a little dark, next time drop the temperature to 230C/446F for the last 40 minutes of baking.

25

Take the pot out, and carefully remove the bread. You can check the bottom for the hollow sound.

26

Let the bread rest on a cooling rack for at least 5 hours. I know it can be tempting, but don't slice it earlier than 5 hours, as you will ruin the texture. For the best crumb, I recommend leaving it to rest overnight.

27

Store the bread for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, in a paper bag, or wrapped in a cotton towel. The first and second day is great fresh, but from day 3, I prefer it toasted. You can also slice it, separate the slices with parchment paper and freeze it. I thaw it in the toaster.

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Julia
    June 28, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    This is so delicious! My bread turned out after all! I was getting discouraged. My starter was off to a slow start. I waited a total of 7 hours through fermentation and proofing. Then decided since it was slightly bigger, i’d just get on with it—I wanted a sandwich for supper!! I forgot to spritz it with water and forgot to dust with flour before I scored it, but dusted after and those mistakes made no difference. The loaf had even “holes,” crusty crust and a moist interior. And the score looked like I didn’t forget a thing. I think my starter was not strong enough but patience won the day. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      June 29, 2022 at 4:26 am

      Hi Julia, wow, happy you didn’t give up and tried it anyway. Maybe you can send me some pictures with your starter at different stages, and your bread. 7 hours sounds way too much for this type of bread. We need to make sure the starter is strong, as otherwise, you will always have a problem (my friend Kristi made her yeast water and starter with reverse osmosis water and she had to redo the starter as it was very weak). Send me all the details you can on my email. xx

      • Reply
        Julia
        August 12, 2022 at 2:57 pm

        I’m making the sourdough bread this weekend and I think I found my 7-hour-rise error. When I made the preferment, I used the sorghum + millet + teff flour instead of the flours in the recipe. It was too weak.

        • Reply
          Claudia
          August 13, 2022 at 4:35 am

          H Julian, thanks for the update. Hopefully, this time won’t take that long. xx

  • Reply
    John Adams
    August 29, 2022 at 10:25 am

    This is hands down, one of THE BEST breads I have eaten, gluten or gluten free! The taste is perfection and the texture is amazing, with a perfectly thin crispy crust and a light body. I have yet to find a gluten free bed that isn’t dense and is airy, this hits the spot!! I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the process, as there are many steps and can get overwhelming for first time bread makers like myself, who knew nothing about sourdough or bread in general (the Air episode of COOKED is worth the watch and answered a lot of my questions about bread). My advice is to read through the post and the recipe a few times, as this helped me figure out the process and make connections between the post’s valuable information and the recipes structure Also, Claudia was such a great resource and was very responsive and provided great feedback and advice, so DO NOT hesitate to ask her questions. It is worth the work!!! My favorite part of the process is watching everything grow and come together, from the yeast water that changed color and smelled robust, to the starter rising and the smell of the mother starter that confuses your nose, right up to the rise and how the scoring makes your bread so appealing. 100% recommend, not only for the taste, but for the value both monetary and nutritionally, and for the satisfaction of creating such a wonderful product. Kudos to Claudia for her hard work and her ability to create such a great recipe!!

  • Reply
    Cathie Ferguson
    September 15, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Claudia,

    I’m ready to make bread but I’m a bit confused. Do I make a preferment the night before using 10 g of mother starter before I feed the mother starter? Or take the 10 g out right after I feed mother starter? Thank you! I’m so excited to make this.
    Cathie

    • Reply
      Claudia
      September 15, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Cathie! To make a preferment, you need an active starter. That means you take 10g from the starter you fed in the morning (which is active). The process will go like this: you have one jar of active starter in the evening. You take 10g of it, put it in a new jar, and make a new starter (which is called feeding the starter). Then you take another 10g, and make the preferment, in another jar. What’s left is discard. You can either store it in the fridge and use it as a raising agent in baking, or simply discard it. I hope it makes sense.

  • Reply
    Cathie Ferguson
    September 15, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Ok I understand now thank you! I’m going to make my preferment tonight and give it a go tomorrow. I’ve been feeding my starter for 4 days so far. 😊

    • Reply
      Claudia
      September 16, 2022 at 4:02 am

      Please let us know how it goes! xx

  • Reply
    Zuzana
    September 19, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Claudia, can I use the flaxseed meal instead of the psyllium husk?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      September 20, 2022 at 4:01 am

      Hi Zuzana, I’ve never used flax meal, but I think it works. When I took the class from the basket who taught me, she first suggested a mix of flax meal and PH but I preferred only PH because I had a slight sensitivity to flax.

      • Reply
        Zuzana
        September 22, 2022 at 6:50 am

        Hi Claudia, I have used the exact amounts of ingredients as mentioned in your recipe, however the dough was too runny. To make the consistency as per your video, I had to add additional 210g of mix flour. Do you know why it would happen? Thank you

        • Reply
          Zuzana
          September 22, 2022 at 6:54 am

          just to add I used all three flours for starter and the same for making the bread.

        • Reply
          Claudia
          September 23, 2022 at 5:42 am

          Hi Zuzana, that’s so weird. Even if water absorption differs depending on the flour brand, how old the flour is, and how coarse or fine, 210g is still way too much; it’s almost double. Can you try to see if you forgot something in the recipe? Maybe you didn’t add tapioca flour? Or enough psyllium husk, or maybe you added too much water? Many people around the world, using different brands of flour, successfully made this bread, so I don’t think it can be just the flour. Please keep in touch to try to troubleshoot this. If you are 100% sure you used all the ingredients as per the recipe, can you send me, in an email, the brands of flour you used, including the tapioca and psyllium husk? claudia.curici@gmail.com

          • Zuzana
            October 9, 2022 at 3:59 am

            Hi Claudia, the second attempt worked perfect. I used psyllium
            husk instead of flaxseed meal. The bread is delicious. Thank you

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    October 22, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    I stumbled across your site and tried a few of your recipes and was amazed! Made your bread for the first time and it is AMAZING!! I’ve been doing “my own” recipe for he past year and never could get it right! Thank you so much!!! This is wonderful!!!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      October 23, 2022 at 5:21 am

      Thank you so much, Suzanne! So happy you loved the recipe you tried and that you love the bread. xx

  • Reply
    Nina K
    December 5, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    I’m in the process of making my starter. The mother starter (Gigi) is on her way. Could you please confirm how you measure the water? Is it by weight? Just want to be sure I’m doing this correctly. Super excited to have another type of bread to make. I’ve made many of your other recipes and love them! Earlier this week I modified the Teff Hazelnut Banana Bread and used homemade pecan butter and apple butter instead of hazelnuts and plantain. Creative in my kitchen!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      December 6, 2022 at 5:47 am

      Hi Nina, and hi Gigi 😊. I measure the water in grams. 30 grams usually, but depending on the type of flour and sometimes the weather, it might require a few grams more, as much as to form a hydrated paste without being watery. Wow, I’m impressed by your adaptation of that bread! So happy to hear it works, and I love that you are being creative in the kitchen :D. Hugs and happy holidays, Claudia

  • Reply
    Lynn Walder
    January 8, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Claudia,
    I haven’t tried my bread yet as it is sitting on the rack cooling, but I have 2 questions. When doing the flour for the dusting and to work the dough, is it better to use the millet or sorghum? Also, my dough didn’t seem to want to rise very much, but it didn’t burst on the side so I’m assuming it wasn’t under proofed. Any ideas how to get it to rise more?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      January 9, 2023 at 3:45 am

      Hi Lynn, any flour will work, but I prefer sorghum. But sometimes, in order to get more contrast in the crust, I would use opposite colors. Like if I make a white bread (with sorghum and/or millet), I will use teff flour and if I make a darker bread, I will use a lighter flour. The most important rise of the bread happens in the first 20 minutes, when the dutch oven is covered and there is steam inside (it’s called oven spring). So you have to make sure there is enough steam (from the water spray or two ice cubes) and that you handle the bread after scoring pretty fast. Also, if too much time passed from when you made the preferment, that might slow down the bread. But let me know how this one comes out when you slice it. The crumb texture will tell us more. You can post a picture here or in our Facebook Group – Creative in My Kitchen – A Plant Paradox Support Group.

      • Reply
        Lynn Walder
        January 9, 2023 at 12:27 pm

        Hi Claudia!
        Thank you so much for answering! The texture came out perfect so I am thrilled!!!

        • Reply
          Claudia
          January 10, 2023 at 3:46 am

          Yay, so happy! Thanks for letting us know.

  • Reply
    Lynn Walder
    January 8, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    I haven’t tried my bread yet as it is sitting on the rack cooling, but I have 2 questions. When doing the flour for the dusting and to work the dough, is it better to use the millet or sorghum? Also, my dough didn’t seem to want to rise very much, but it didn’t burst on the side so I’m assuming it wasn’t under proofed. Any ideas how to get it to rise more?

  • Reply
    Lynn
    January 8, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    I haven’t tried my bread yet as it is sitting on the rack cooling, but I have 2 questions. When doing the flour for the dusting and to work the dough, is it better to use the millet or sorghum? Also, my dough didn’t seem to want to rise very much, but it didn’t burst on the side so I’m assuming it wasn’t under proofed. Any ideas how to get it to rise more?

  • Reply
    Andreea
    January 10, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    I made today not only my first ever sourdough bread, but also lectin free, following Claudia’s recipe. It’s been 8 days since I started with the yeast water, went through creating and feeding the starter, and finished with this glorious bread.
    It’s intimidating at first, but actually the instructions are so clear and so well structured, that I nailed it from the first try.
    Delicious and healthy, I am super happy with the result!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      January 10, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you so much, Andreea! Well done! So happy the post was easy to follow. Keep us updated with all your lectin-free sourdough experiences <3

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    January 26, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you so much for these recipes! I have made this bread a few times now and it turns out great! I’ve never found a gf (and lectin free!) bread recipe that I’ve liked so much! Just wondering if I should freeze right away or can it be on the counter for a few days while we are eating it?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      January 26, 2023 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much, Lindsay; so happy you loved this bread! Sometimes I keep my bread on the counter, wrapped in a cotton towel, for 5 days. I wouldn’t freeze it immediately, maybe the next day if you feel like you are not going to eat it all or want to make another loaf.

  • Reply
    Michelle O
    February 11, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Claudia, I’m almost ready to make my bread! Tonight I will make the preferment. Can’t believe I made it this far. Question: Why do you feed the starter if you only need the preferment to make the bread? Separate question, can you keep the yeast water? Or do you have to discard it immediately?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      February 12, 2023 at 3:07 am

      Hi Michelle, congratulations!!! Now you are ready to make bread :). You need an active starter to make a preferment. You will keep a starter active only by feeding it regularly. This starter, theoretically, has infinite life. If well cared for, you can have ot for 100 years. Then, whenever you want to make bread, you make a preferment. Which is different, depending on the type of bread you make. If you make teff bread, your preferment will have 10g of starter, 30g of water and 35 grams of teff flour. If you make focaccia, the preferment will be doubled. Possibilities are endless, but only if you have a healthy, active starter. I hope this makes sense. You can keep the water in the refrigerator for a while, just in case. It will still be good within one week or so.

  • Reply
    Mario P
    March 13, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Claudia, Thank you so much for this recipe- I have been waiting for a gluten-free bread which is also lectin-free. I bake every two weeks; when I make the preferment- instead of feeding the starter- can I put the remaining starter in the refrigerator and start the feeding process the day before my next baking?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      March 14, 2023 at 2:53 am

      Hi Mario, my pleasure! The correct way to do this is: when you make the preferment, you also feed the starter, you leave it for about an hour on the counter, then you put it in the fridge until the next time you make bread. Take it out, leave it at room temperature for an hour, and feed it twice or three times before you make the preferment.

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