How to Make Scrumptious Gluten-Free Homemade Bread
We’ve shared an easy, basic recipe for homemade bread, and hopefully many of you are now wholly in love with the process of baking your own from scratch. There really is nothing quite like the scent and taste of fresh-baked bread, but for those of us with Celiac disease or other gluten intolerances, the breads that you can enjoy are basically poison to us.
What are we to do, then? Go through life crunching on tasteless rice crackers and gnawing on quinoa, slowly forgetting what light, fluffy, delicious bread tasted like? Thankfully, no. As more people turn to a gluten-free diet for health reasons, there are countless fabulous recipes for gluten-free bread that are damned near as close to the “real” thing as you can get without ending up with stomach misery for a week or two.
Most breads you’ll find at the grocery store are made of either wheat or rye flour, or a combination of the two. Some fancier ones may be made of spelt or kamut, but guess what? There’s gluten in those too. The flours and pulses you’ll have to work with for GF (gluten-free) bread-making are as follows:
- Almond meal
- Chick pea (garbanzo bean)
- Corn starch
- Fava bean
- Hazelnut meal
- Potato starch
- Rice flour (white or brown)
- Tapioca starch
When working with gluten-free flour, you need to add a “sticky” additive that replaces the gluten found in wheat, rye, etc. Xanthan gum and gelatin are used most often for this purpose, and can be found at most health food or bulk food shops.
My go-to flour mixture for gluten-free bread is as follows:
- 1 part rice flour
- 1 part tapioca flour
- 1 part of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of potato flour per cup of mixed flours above
I normally make about 9 cups worth in one go, so the mixture consistes of 3 cups each of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, plus 3 tablespoons of potato flour. There are many different combinations that you can delve into, and if you’re eager to make your own breads, I’d recommend picking up the book The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread, by Bette Hagman. This flour mixture is known as the “Featherlight Flour Mix”, and I use it for bread, scones, muffins, and much more.
This is the “Featherlight Rice Bread” recipe from the aforementioned book, and a staple in my house. We’re going to use the measurements as needed for a small loaf of bread: double it for a large loaf.
- 2 cups Featherlight Flour Mix (as mentioned above)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin
- 1 teaspoon egg replacer, or beaten egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup dry milk or non-dairy substitute (such as almond meal)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast granules
- 1 egg, + 1 egg white, beaten
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey, molasses, or agave
- 1 cup warm water (approximately)
Grease your bread pan and then dust with rice flour. Preheat your oven to 400F.
Blend the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the egg + white together, along with the margarine, vinegar, and honey until blended. Add most of the water, reserving a few tablespoons for later (if needed).
With your mixer turned to low, add the dry ingredients, including the yeast, a little at a time. Check to be sure that the dough is the right consistency: it should be like cake batter. Add more water as necessary. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 3 and a half minutes, then spoon into the prepared pan, cover, and let rise in a warm place until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, but cover it with aluminum foil after it’s been in the oven for 10 minutes.
You can make variations on this bread to suit your tastes, such as adding 1 tsp dry lemon peel and 2 tsp poppy seeds, or reducing the sugar and adding grated cheese and herbs into the mixture for a savoury bread.
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