Gluten-Free Sourdough Teff Bread Recipe

Sourdough bread is something many people lament missing in their gluten-free lifestyle.

I get it. In my teens, I could live on sourdough bread, dunked in olive oil, garlic powder, and balsamic vinegar.
Recently, my friend Rose turned me on to making sourdough gluten-free bread. Since I loooove sourdough, and haven’t been able to eat it since going gluten-free years ago, baking sourdough bread is something I could get excited about!

Rose’s gluten-free sourdough bread hooked me, tastebuds and sinker!

Rose’s gluten-free sourdough bread hooked me, tastebuds and sinker!

One problem: baking hasn’t been my thing for a long time.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the results of someone else’s baking. And when I was a kid, I loved making cookies. No-bake cookies, that is.

But one taste of Rose’s gluten-free sourdough bread and I was hooked. Okay, what do I have to do to get me more of this?

And the motivation to bake was thus born in me.

This recipe is truly much easier than I imagined. Still, I did run a mental rehearsal several times, just to be sure I could handle all the steps without royally screwing up.

Essential tip: assemble all your gear and ingredients before you start.

Sourdough with miso, refried beans, avocado, onion Namaste Nutritionist

Savory sourdough toast with miso, refried beans, avocado, onion flower

No kneading required!

Several people asked for this recipe when I shared the photos on social media. Honestly, it’s much easier than I expected. You can mix the batch in a food processor, in a Ninja, in a bread mixer, or by hand. Very simple.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150625_09_35_01_Pro

Did you know that combining eggs and toast provide acetylcholine, a brain compound that promotes learning and memory?

I find that sourdough bread is so flavorful and tangy, it is easy to reduce salt at a meal.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150506_18_16_38_Pro

Melted cheese over toast with ripe tomato and dill weed. Very yummy.


Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150701_007

Leftover or stale sourdough bread is delicious turned into croutons!

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from the cookbook Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family. Without Alissa Segersten’s culinary genius, this wonderful recipe would not be possible. While recipes are not currently copyrightable, I believe it is important to give credit. I heartily recommend every book by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN!


  • 4 cups gluten-free sourdough starter, active and bubbly
  • 1/2 cup warm water, + more as needed to achieve desired consistency
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 4 Tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp whole psyllium husks
  • 1 to 1-3/4 cups teff flour (or any combination of whole grain gluten-free flours
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds or other preferred seeds (optional) – try chia, pumpkin, crushed walnut, flax.

Instructions for mixing:

Your sourdough starter needs to be warm and bubbly to start.

Gluten free soudough starter active Namaste Nutritionist

These are bubbles, not lumps. In another 12 hours, this will be much more bubbly and strong smelling!


  1. Place sourdough starter into a medium mixing bowl or bread maker.
Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150821_10_09_43_Pro

I use a Ninja because it whips it up effortlessly

  1. Whisk in the liquids and salt (warm water, salt, olive oil, maple syrup).
  2. Next, whisk in the ground chia and psyllium husks (this replaces gums that bind gluten-free flours, and works very well!).Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150708_13_43_44_Pro
  3. Then, add the flours. (Avoid letting the mixture sit more than a minute or two, as the chia and psyllium start bulking the dough up quickly!)

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150708_13_50_12_Pro

5. Mix them all together with a strong large spoon, or use your food processor.

The dough: enter the Art of Bread-Making

The dough needs to be slightly wet, but still stiff enough to hold a shape. I judge this by how it slides off of my spoon. I look for it to slide slowly and gently off. If it plops off, or doesn’t leave the spoon, it needs more warm water. I add 1/4 cup at a time until I achieve a less thick consistency.

If it is runny and doesn’t hold a shape or feel sticky, add a little flour. I add 2 tbsp at a time to achieve desired consistency.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150708_13_51_03_Pro

This photo reflects the dough consistency I want to achieve. It is thin enough to drain from the spoon, but it is also still quite thick.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150708_14_43_42_Pro

Instructions for baking:

  • Oil a 9×5 bread pan, or two smaller bread pans.
  • Place your dough into it, or divide among two pans. Level the bread out.
  • Cover with parchment paper or a cookie sheet.
  • Place in a warm place so that it can rise for 3-6 hours. For me, this is near the stove. If the environment is warm, it should rise in about 3 hours. If it’s pretty cool, it could take up to 8 hours to rise.  The recipe author suggests placing it on the top of the refrigerator to allow it to double in size. My dough doesn’t rise a lot, but it does rise some.

Adding Seeds, Optional:

  • My favorite seeds are currently sunflower.
  • Sprinkle them all over your bread dough. I sprinkle mine on by the handful, and just let my eyeballs tell me when I’ve added enough.
  • Lightly oil a small piece of parchment paper (make sure it fits your bread pan without too much paper hanging over on the side).
  • Gently press the parchment over your dough. Your parchment paper should stay down, as this keeps your seeds from burning. If it does not, you can place a cookie sheet over your bread pan to weigh the parchment down (without smashing your bread). This prevents the seeds from burning.

It’s time to bake!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bread until it reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees.

If you’re baking with seeds

Remove the parchment paper or cookie sheet when your bread reaches 200 degrees internal temperature. You are lightly baking the seeds. You could even turn your oven off at this point. Bake until the bread reaches 205 degrees.

Remove from the oven

Let it cool on your counter for 10-20 minutes. Then remove it from the pan by running a large spatula around the perimeter of the pan to loosen it. Slide the spatula under the bottom of the bread to gently loosen it from the pan. Go slowly, and it will come out. Allow it to continue cooling on a clean cutting board or a wire rack.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150730_16_50_38_Pro

Tip on Storage:

You’ll probably find it’s easiest if you slice your bread before storing it. It will store nicely in the fridge for a week. Beyond this, I recommend storing it in the freezer.

Gluten free Sourdough teff bread Namaste Nutritionist20150504_09_23_39_Pro

You might also enjoy these posts on teff:

Now, I’d LOVE to hear from you!


  • I do not understand – do you use a sourdough starter made from flour?

    • Yes, you start with a flour-based starter to make the sourdough. I personally use teff flour, which is gluten-free. Hope this helps!

    • Yes, you start with a flour-based starter to make the sourdough. I personally use teff flour, which is gluten-free. Hope this helps!

  • Hi, Frances. This recipe is fabulous! Could you please give us an idea of how to make teff sourdough starter, please? Thank you!

    • Hi Paloma,

      I received my starter from a friend. However, you can start one with a 1/2 cup teff and 1/2-3/4 cup water (preferably filtered, non-chlorinated). Add enough water to your teff flour to make it into a batter texture. Then, cover it with a very clean, breathable towel and place in a warm location. It should start becoming active (bubbly) within about 24 hours. If it does not become active, you may try adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar (start with 1 tsp). If it smells putrid, you will need to dump it out and try again. Everyday, you’ll need to feed your starter with equal parts water and flour. Be sure to use a non-reactive glass container for the starter.

  • How many days do you feed the tiff sourdough starter?

    • Hi Silvia,
      Feed it daily for as long as you wish to keep it alive. You can let it go a day or two between feedings, but you’ll see it become quite dark. It’s getting hungry. =0)

  • That looks wonderful

  • Hi Frances,
    Thanks for the recipe! that looks great!
    Unfortunately I do not have a thermometer to measure the internal temperature. How long it takes to bake the bread?


    • Hi Ruth,

      The length of time to make the bread will vary depending upon oven, climate, and altitude. I found baking to be very different here in the Pacific NW (low altitude and very moist) than in the high desert of Reno, NV (high altitude and very dry).

      You can always test the doneness of your bread by putting a knife all the way through the largest portion of it to see if it comes out clean. The bread will continue baking after removing from the oven as well. I would recommend getting a thermometer – they are very inexpensive and are super helpful for a range of cooking/baking activities. =0) It will help save you from underbaked bread, and will minimize and waste or frustration in the process. Good luck and enjoy!

      • Hi
        Thanks for the answer.
        I’m not sure I know what kind of thermometer I should buy (:
        Do you have any recommendation?


  • Hello Frances

    I just want to double check the starter quantities. Your ingredients list 4 cups, is that right? It seems way too much compared to other receipies. What would that be in metric as I am not sure if we are converting liquid or dry flour by weight. Thank you very much in advance. I cant wait to start baking 😀

    • Hi Miro,

      The recipe calls for 4 cups of dry flour to be added to a wet sourdough mix. The challenge (and art) comes primarily from the sourdough starter containing unpredictable amounts of moisture. For example, I always add the same amount of liquid and flour to my starter: 1 part flour to 2 parts water. However, evaporation and humidity play varying roles depending on the time of year and climate. This affects the bread dough greatly (more than one might imagine!). I’ve had times when my sourdough bread only needed roughly 4 cups or less of the teff flour. I’ve had other times when I’ve added more flour, and I have also tinkered with increasing moisture levels as I go. I look for consistency of cake batter. It’s not been an exact science. If you’re needing exact, I would recommend another recipe, such as one that doesn’t use a sourdough starter. I find this recipe is both art and science. You might also decide to check out Alissa Segersten’s books, as she has a number of gluten-free bread recipes that you may find are easier to follow. =) =) I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

  • Hi Frances and community,

    Just adding to my earlier comment….

    So the starter would be made up of 4 x 240ml or Teff flour turned into starter? I’m confused because in the comments you said make the starter with 1/2 a cup so that is 120ml cup of teff flour? Hope does that then result in 4 cups ie 960ml of starter specified in the receive. Sorry but I am quite confused by all this.

  • Is it possible to guarantee a better start of the starter by adding some dry yeast to it? I know it would not be a true wild yeast sourdough but there would be some wild yeasts in it as it is still left out to ferment as per the recipe.

    Just thinking.

    Cheery O

    • Hi Miro,

      I have not tried adding dry yeast to this recipe. Why not experiment with it and let me know how it goes for you? I’d love to learn from your experience. =0)

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