Gluten-Free Sourdough Flat Bread

In my last blog post, I describe steps to successfully making and keeping a gluten-free IMG_3706sourdough starter. In this post, I’m offering a recipe that transforms  (or repurposes?) a failed sourdough bread dough into a triumph: a bread with such pleasing texture and amazing flavor that people will beg you to make it again and again, never suspecting that your pièce de résistance began as a culinary error. Although I hope that everyone who attempts to make a delicious boule of gluten-free sourdough bread does so successfully the very first time, the truth is that often that first loaf decides not to rise as it should. Hour after hour, you lift the cloth that covers the dough you so carefully nursed from its inception as just a mixture of gluten-free flour and water; hour after hour the dough seems to be the same size as when you last checked. Finally, after six hours or so, you realize that the dough is as tall as it’s going to grow, which is not tall at all.

Disappointment overwhelms you at this moment of truth, and you are tempted to just throw the entire unleavened mass in the trash. Why bake it at all, you ask yourself, just to get a short loaf that will look unlovely and unappetizing, and will most likely be inedible. The moment you move to scrape the dough into a trash bag, however, you begin to calculate the cost of the ingredients (gluten-free flours are not inexpensive, after all) and time (you spent hours nursing your sourdough starter and waiting for the dough to rise). You hesitate, wondering what you might do to use turn this failed dough into a success, thereby redeeming the time you spent mixing your labor with the expensive materials, as well as justifying the cost of your gluten-free baking habit. If (or when?!) you find yourself in this exact situation, wonder no more what you can to do turn your figurative lemon into lemonade. Explore your pantry for whatever special spices or herbs you may have on hand, and look in your refrigerator for some form of cheese. These items will become the topping for your flatbread. With very little labor, and in very little time, you will have some gourmet gluten-free sourdough flat bread to serve with dinner. Your family or guests will rave about your talent in the kitchen, and unless you tell them the flatbread they are so greatly appreciating was supposed to be a fat boule of chewy-tender sourdough bread, they will never know they are eating a mistake.

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The following is the gluten-free sourdough bread recipe that failed to rise for me. I hope it will work for you, but given that I was trying to find a way to use less gluten-free sourdough starter to make a loaf of sourdough bread, it probably will not rise for you, either (hint: gluten-free sourdough bread just requires a LOT of sourdough starter  – can’t get around that fact, but more about that in another blog post). This recipe does, however, produce a delightfully delicious gluten-free sourdough flatbread. I’m 99% positive that any failed sourdough bread dough can be turned into tasty gluten-free sourdough flatbread, so feel free to use your own failed (or even successful!) gluten-free sourdough bread recipe!

*I prefer to use my own blend of flours, but you can substitute all purpose gluten-free flour. Just be sure to use 600 g of the flour blend you use.

*Ground ginger and sunflower lecithin are dough enhancers, and the lecithin helps to preserve and extend the bread’s texture.

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Smoky Salted Gluten-Free Sourdough Flat Bread With Manchego Cheese and Ground Juniper Berries

300 g Gluten-free sourdough starter
60 g Tigernut flour
140 g Tapioca flour
200 g Sprouted Brown Rice Flour
200 g Cassava flour
24 g Pink Himalayan salt
3 Tbls Organic cane sugar
2 dashes of ground ginger
1/2 – 1 tbls Sunflower Lecithin
Unchlorinated water (as needed)
Olive oil
Freshly ground juniper berries
Smoked salt
Grated Manchego cheese

Mix all the dry ingredients together. In a food processor, or with a mixer with a paddle or dough hooks, place the sourdough starter and sunflower lecithin. Add half the dry ingredients and mix well. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Add 100 g of unchlorinated (purified) water to the mixture; mix well. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, mixing well. Again the dough will be dry and crumbly. Add water, about 50 grams at a time, until the dough is thicker than cake batter, but not so thick that it can be kneaded. Spoon the dough into an oiled medium bowl. Cover with a shower cap or a clean dish towel and place in a warm place to rise. Allow the dough to rise four to six hours. When the rising is finished, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Dip your finger tips into olive oil and use them to spread the scoops of dough into circles, about 1/2 inch (or less) thickness. Drizzle each flat bread with olive oil, then sprinkle each evenly with the smoked salt, ground juniper berries, and Manchego cheese. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

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