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Gluten-free bread served on a bread board

Gluten-free bread

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus rising time
  • Easy
  • Makes 1 loaf (10-12 slices)

A straightforward loaf of bread for anyone who's following a gluten-free diet. Bake this and use it to make sandwiches or toast, or simply slather it in butter

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian
Nutrition: Per slice (12)
NutrientUnit
kcal136
fat3g
saturates1g
carbs23g
sugars1g
fibre0.5g
protein4g
salt0.52g
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Ingredients

  • 400g gluten-free white flour (Doves Farm is available at most supermarkets)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 284ml buttermilk (or the same amount of whole milk with a squeeze of lemon juice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  • STEP 1

    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry to make a sticky dough.

  • STEP 2

    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.

  • STEP 3

    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.

Which gluten-free flour is best for bread?

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.

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.

Can you use yeast in gluten-free bread?

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.

Tips for making gluten-free bread

  • When mixing your bread dough, treat it more like a batter than a dough. You won’t need a dough hook, just a regular paddle on a food mixer and you won’t need to knead it, just mix it until all dry pockets have disappeared.
  • The good news is that you don’t need to do all the heavy work of kneading which works the gluten in regular bread. You can simply shape it and place it on a tray or in a tin.
  • Gluten-free flour often need more liquid than regular wheat flour. Don’t be alarmed if the recipe calls for a large amount of liquid compared to what you may be used to when bread-making.
    Gluten-free bread will also need more yeast than regular bread as it has to do more work without the elasticity of the gluten in wheat.
  • Gluten-free bread may take longer to rise and it will only need one rise as it doesn’t benefit from the process of knocking back and a second rise, as with regular bread.
  • Gluten-free bread is usually wetter and will struggle to hold its own shape, so it is best risen in a boule, or risen and baked in a mould or a loaf tin. If baking a loaf, line the loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and spray the sides with oil to help you remove the loaf from the pan after baking.
  • Gluten-free flours tend to brown less than wheat flour, so don’t judge readiness on a golden colour alone.
  • The internal temperature of the bread must reach 105C inside. If you have a digital probe this is the most accurate way to tell if the bread is cooked through.
  • Gluten-free bread will take longer to bake so turn the oven down to 180C, instead of the 200C temperature you might normally bake bread at.
  • All bread-making calls for a warm environment. Make sure all your ingredients are the same temperature and are not being used straight from the fridge.
  • An initial burst of steam when baking bread helps the bread to rise. This is beneficial when baking gluten-free loaves as well. Try adding some ice cubes to a tray in the bottom or use a water spray just before you put the bread in and close the door.
  • Cool the bread slowly. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before attempting to remove the loaf from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. If you leave the bread in the tin, the base could become soggy.
  • Don’t store your bread in the fridge as this will draw out the moisture.

Can I use a bread machine?

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.

Can I make it vegan?

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).

Goes well with

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A star rating of 3.4 out of 5.14 ratings
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