In Pursuit of the Perfect Gluten Free Sourdough
By Amy Waeschle
If I had to live off of one food, I would choose bread. Though I do love apples, and cheeseburgers, and chowder, bread is my favorite. Even better when it’s served with organic, sweet cream butter.
Duke’s sourdough has always been something I looked forward to. When I was attending the University of Washington, my dad would invite me down to Duke’s for a quick bite, and sometimes the sourdough would be the entire meal, topped with fresh tomato slices and drizzled with bleu cheese dressing. Or topped with avocado.
So when I discovered that I couldn’t eat wheat anymore, my world just about fell apart. I had to give up eating bread. No more solving the world’s problems over a loaf of sourdough with my dad.
I’m not much of a chef, but I’ve always been a decent baker. When I went gluten free, I used my baking enthusiasm to take on challenges like sandwich bread, pizza, muffins, and even pie. In the beginning, some of my efforts turned out terrible. English muffins that looked like hockey pucks, bread so dry I needed a gallon of milk to wash it down, pancakes that tasted like paste. Yuck.
Over the years, my ability to understand the unique challenges of gluten-free baking has improved. You should see my sandwich bread now! Recently, my dad shared with me his goal to make the whole restaurant gluten free. What’s holding him back? The sourdough. So I took on the challenge of trying to make a recipe that would work for Duke’s. Just me and my gluten-free pantry, plus a few cookbooks, and lots and lots of loaves.
Each time I think I have the solution, Dad will give it the full review. After slicing a thick piece, he inspects the size and number air pockets, measures the sourness with a hearty sniff, and then he’ll butter it and taste it. Each time, he’ll say, “Hm. Pretty good. Keep trying.”
I’ve been at this for months. Each time I get closer, but my dad won’t endorse a gluten-free sourdough for Duke’s until it’s flawless. So, back to the drawing board I go. I know the solution is out there if I just keep trying. Meanwhile, at least I’ve been able to return to solving the world’s problems over a slice of sourdough with my dad. Hopefully someday we can do it at Duke’s.
Do you have a great gluten-free sourdough recipe that might entice my dad’s selective taste buds? Please send it my way!