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A simple loaf of bread for those following a gluten-free diet. Bake this wheat-free bread and use it to make sandwiches or toast, or simply slather it in butter.
Grease a 900g loaf tin, or flour a baking sheet. With oiled hands, shape the dough into a sausage shape for a loaf or a ball for a cob. If making a loaf, place the dough in the tin. For a cob, place it on the baking sheet and score the top with a sharp knife. Cover loosely with a piece of oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm for 1 hr, or until risen by a third or so.
Bake for 50-60 mins until golden and well risen. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool for at least 20 mins before cutting.
When it comes to baking with gluten-free flour, there is not one single type of flour which does it all. Instead, a blend of at least three flours is necessary to create the ideal characteristics of a perfectly textured gluten-free loaf that doesn’t crumble and is not rock solid. For simplicity, our recipe above uses a gluten-free white flour, but you can mix this with gluten-free brown flours and other types.
At least 50% of your flour should be from a light flour, such as yellow cornflour (a finer ground version of the coarser ground polenta made from maize/corn), gluten-free oat flour, brown rice flour, or the widely available white rice flour; 25% of the flour used should be rich in protein and fibre to create the bread’s structure; these flours include chickpea flour (also known as gram flour), soy flour, potato flour, teff flour, or a blend of them. The final 25% should be a starchy flour such as cornflour (commonly used for thickening sauces and sometimes called cornstarch), arrowroot, tapioca or potato starch (different from potato flour which is made from the whole potato) or again a mixture of all of them. These will help to bind the dough together.
Some brands will sell a ready mixed blend of flours which has been proven to work well when baking bread. Doves Farm bread flour is a good option if you are starting out.
Yes – yeast is a fungus and is naturally gluten-free. However, it’s always advisable to check the ingredients to make sure it has not been blended with wheat starch in the case of dried yeast. If you are using fresh yeast, check it has been fully sealed so as not to have been contaminated with wheat from the bakery.
If you prefer not to use yeast you can make a soda bread using buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda as the raising agent.
If you have a bread machine, you can use this recipe in it. However, the main point of difference between a regular bake and a gluten-free bake is that there is no knocking-back of the dough. The dough is only risen once with gluten-free bread. You will need to check if this setting exists on your machine first.
The programme should have a 20-minute mix cycle, followed by an hour of rising, finishing with an hour of baking.
When using a bread maker, measure the liquid in first and the flours on top, that way you will avoid dry bits sticking to the pan. Check the flour has been incorporated properly after the mix cycle and if not use a rubber spatula to mix in any dry parts.
Gluten-free bread can be made without egg but bear in mind that without gluten these gluten free-flours do need a binder to help gel the ingredients together. The most popular plant-based binder is a powder called psyllium husk, as a rule of thumb you’d use about 5% of the dry weight but you’d probably have to make the recipe several times to adjust it to a consistency you like. This is usually hydrated along with whatever liquid you are using before being added to the dough. It will turn the liquid into a gel.
Flax seeds and chia seeds are also helpful as a binding agent in place of eggs, as is aquafaba (chickpea brine) and agar agar (vegetarian gelatine).