Introduction: Surprisingly Soft Gluten Free Bread


Can't afford to spend $6-7 for a half sized loaf of stale GF bread at the grocery store?  Neither can I.
There are a ton of gluen-free bread recipes out there.  I've tried a few with mixed results. Mixes or made from scratch, they all turned out as some form of crumbly, dry foam-loaf that most resembles bread when viewed from across the room.

I've seriously geeked out on GF baking for the last year, and finally feel like I've got a recipe worth sharing with the world.
I started with the Udi's multigrain bread ingredients list that I took from the back of the bag, did some educated guesswork on the amounts, and made the best substitutions I could make.  (modified tapioca starch?)

I must've lucked out, because this far surpasses the Udi's loaf.  Soft, no weird flavors, and toasts well.

Did I mention that it's dairy-free as well?  Well if that's an issue for you, you're in luck. There is no dairy.  (But if you can drink milk, you should really drink Snowville.)

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Supplies

Probably the most actively time consuming step is measuring out the ingredients.  Once you get used to making it, try putting all the dry ingredients into quart sized Ziploc bags so you don't have to dirty your measuring spoons again for the next loaf (usually 2 days later in my house).


In a decent sized mixing bowl start with these

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour* - (I use Bob's Red Mill (BRM) bought in bulk from Amazon)
1 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch/Flour - (best deal is on the bags from the Asian food stores - under $1 per pound, but BRM is good too)
   1/3 Cup potato starch
   1/3 Cup sugar (due to the refining process, it's probably the most chemically pure ingredient in the world)
   1/4 Cup corn starch
2 Tbsp sorghum flour (for flavor)
1 Tbsp Quinoa flour (for protein)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Xanthan gum (go easy on this stuff)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered pectin (from the canning aisle)

1 tsp ground flax seed  - optional

*You can substitute some white rice flour if you're running low.  Play around have fun. Let me know what works best for you


In a separate (smaller) bowl, thoroughly mix your wet ingredients.  Maybe I should say emulsify them to be more precise.  I'm known to use a stick blender.

WET INGREDIENTS
1 1/3 Cup Water (warmer means a faster rise, but don't go over 130F)
1/2 + Cup Oil ( go a little more than half a cup, but closer to a half than two thirds)
1/2 + Cup Egg Whites (in equal parts to your oil)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I know the picture says 2 tsp, it was an earlier version.  Find what works for you)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until the lumps are gone.
YOUR MIX SHOULD BE RUNNY!  Notice in the picture that I stirred it with a whisk. Wet is good. 

Pour it into a well greased loaf pan, or whatever you like to use.

The observant and geeky among you may notice that there is a much higher ratio of starch (tapioca, potato, corn) than fiber (rice).  That helps keep it light and not turn out as a dense brick.  You might also have noticed a large amount of sugar and oil in this recipe.  I said it was gluten-free.  I did not claim this to be health food.

Step 2: Patience

Lets not kid ourselves, this is not dough by any sense of the word.  This is a batter.

Set your batter somewhere to rise (uncovered) until it doubles in volume and looks like it's starting to mean business.  Don't rush it.  Expect it to take about an hour if your average room temp is 74 F.

When it looks like it's risen. Stir it back down.  In most cases, the yeast is more active in some parts than others.  Painful as it might seem at first, you're doing this to distribute the yeast and break down the huge air bubbles that are lurking under the surface.  Don't forget your corners.  You can make a pretty pattern in it if you like.

The second rise shouldn't take too long.  15 to 20 minutes.  Don't let the batter reach the top.
The finished (and cooled) loaf will be only slightly bigger than the final rise.

This would be a good time to pre-heat your oven.

(FYI, version 1 of this I tried in a bread machine, and it rose over the sides and made a horrible mess on the heating element.  If you've gotta use a bread machine make sure it has a short rise cycle)

Step 3: Bake at 365 for 44 Minutes

Major caveat.  All ovens are different.  I've found that 365 for 44 minutes on bake (not convection bake, just old fashioned bake) is what works for MY oven.  Your results may vary.

Before baking, I drug a butter knife down the middle of the loaf to help it split and to break up any major bubbles that might have formed.  I branched off from the center diagonally a little for a nice pattern.  Find whatever gives you a sense of inner peace.  I like to cook by zen.

The bread is done when it reaches an internal temp of 208 degrees F (99 C) Just below boiling.  I wouldn't stop at 205 degrees, personally.  This might well be the trickiest part of the whole thing.  We want enough water to have been absorbed as possible without it drying out by evaporating.  Too wet, and the bottom of your bread turns to custard.  Too dry, and well....it still makes good toast.

You will notice that the finished loaf is lighter in weight than when you put it in.  That's a good sign.

If you have to use a convection oven, like if you just HAVE to, then put in a pan of water beside or underneath your loaf.

For those of you die hard bakers, you'll know that elevation and atmospheric conditions can also affect things.  I live in central Ohio (elevation 935 ft (285 m)), and the recipe was developed in the late fall.  That's all I can tell you.  Will this work in Denver?  I have no idea.  If you try this in the Mile High city, give us a shout.

Step 4: Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Seriously the most difficult part is not slicing into it right away.
Your senses are alive with the smell, you tap on the crusty exterior as it tempts you to cut just a bit off of the end.

DON'T DO IT!

Gluten free bread has to cool completely before you cut it.  It is pure torture.  You've waited probably a good two hours at this point.
Right now, it's a delicate balance of unstable semi-gelatinous goo under that tempting crust.  If you were to cut it before it properly "sets" it is likely to collapse and you'll end up with a weird custard/paste forming a 'U' shape around the bottom and sides of your crust.

After the initial cool down, loose the loaf from the sides of the pan and let it finish on a wire rack.  Go ahead and feel the marshmallow-y soft sides.

To fully cool could take 4-5 hours.  I usually leave it overnight.  On the bright side, it's a good motivator to get out of bed in the morning to see how it turned out.

Step 5: The Moment of Truth

The alarm goes off, waking you from a peaceful slumber.  You turn it off and think about going back to sleep. 
"Pillow... soft.....Oh, yeah! that really soft gluten-free bread is finally ready!"

That stupid Instructable better not have lied to me.  I hate waiting.

Grab a cutting board and a bread knife, then get ready to silently thank me.  If you are so moved, you can even log back in and leave a comment.

I recognize that most of the kinds of people on this site are not the kind to leave well enough alone.  You are the bold adventurous type.  You are gonna do things your own way.  If you get good results from it, let me know!  I know I'm not perfect, and this recipe isn't likely to be either. 

Hope this Instructable works for you.  Share and enjoy.

Step 6: Storage

Now that you've had your first slice(s), there's the little matter of storage.
In an airtight bag it will keep for about 4 days at room temperature.
I haven't personally tried freezing it yet, but it should work well.

Don't try to keep it in the refrigerator.  It gets stiff and unhappy until thoroughly reheated.
I also don't recommend pre-slicing.  I've tried it and they get stale much quicker.  Yeah, I really wanted it to work out for me, but I guess we can't have it all. :-(

Step 7: Did I Mention That This Same Base Recipe Also Makes a Killer Pizza Crust?

Because having a hundred different mixes floating around can be really maddening, it's good to be able to use them for more than one thing.  

Less mixes = more sanity

Just make the batter just a little drier (less water), pour it onto a pan and try to spread it with a spatula.  When you can't go any further with it, use really wet hands to smooth out the top and even it down.  I usually do this by the sink so I can keep rinsing.

Let it rise in the pan to shape it.  Don't worry about punching it back down.  You might want to dock it with a fork it if gets unruly, but since it's rising uncovered, it will probably be OK.

Put it in the oven around 350ish to par-bake just until it stiffens up a bit and you can spread some sauce on it.

Full details in another instructable <-----

Comments

author
freebird1980 (author)2014-01-12

This is a fantastic recipe. You have officially saved me from dull, dry, tasteless bread. I actually have an issue where Tapioca gives me migraines. Apparently tapioca and my blood type are a bad combination.... I did some research and found that you can substitute arrowroot starch for the tapioca flour at a 1:1 ration. So this is my loaf w/ 1 1/4 cup arrowroot starch instead. It's a little gooey at the bottom. I'm pretty close to sea level, so I'm thinking maybe 1 1/8 cup (9 oz) of water would make it perfect. Thank you so much for this.

IMG_20140112_091210.jpg
author

Comment of the year award. Informative and includes a picture! Nice job on the bread.

Wow, with a tapioca sensitivity, it must be even more difficult to eat GF. Glad that I could help out!

I still see that gooey bit sometimes in the middle of my loaves, but it's usually very small and doesn't bother anyone at my house.

I agree, it looks like a little less water might solve it based on the size of the bubbles. I also see weird results when I use an inferior egg white ("All Whites" I'm talking about you.) If you are using a carton of egg whites, they shouldn't pour out like water, although they won't be lumpy like the real thing. Sometimes I'll mix a real egg white in with the boxed.

Thanks for the feedback!

author
lisarene (author)2015-08-26

Just wondering, have you done any calculations on how much this recipe costs to make per loaf?

author

Well, the prices for the source ingredients vary so much that it's hard to nail down. Especially if you're buying in bulk. I think I once calculated it to be around $2.43 a loaf for the ingredients. The biggest expense is my most scarce resource: time.

author
KennyC5 (author)2015-05-21

hi what is picton ? can I have replacement ?

author
mandyee (author)KennyC52015-08-29

I think you mean pectin, which is used in jam/jelly as a thickener... not sure about a replacement, though.

author
crazy like a Fox (author)KennyC52015-05-28

I'm not sure what you mean. I've never heard of the word "picton". Did you get that from a translator?

author
JoyA1 (author)2015-02-03

I looks awesome. I'm going to try this tomorrow and I'll let you know how it turns out. I just bought a fresh Gluten free loaf from a bread store..brown rice bread...not stale..but still dense like a brick. I'm new to Gluten free. I eat only wheat bread before until I realized it was making me sick. Anyway,wish me luck.

author
erik237 (author)2013-12-24

This is IT! I have tried at least half a dozen recipes, but this is THE recipe. Tastes great and the texture is great. Well written, too. Made me smile.
Now, to buy in bulk.....

author
crazy like a Fox (author)erik2372014-01-03

Awww, you're gonna make me blush. Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

author
smirnoff04 (author)2013-12-21

I know the feeling of trying to find the "right" bread recipe... one you can come back to again and again. It's sounds like you've found it. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the detailed instructions. :)

author
aquadias (author)2013-12-17

I'm going to package the dry ingredients and send them along with a nice bread pan to my niece. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

author
craftknowitall (author)2013-12-14

Wow!

author
cfaber (author)2013-12-14

So THAT'S why my GF bread attempts turned out to have that gelatinous crescent when cut . It was way too soon. Thanks!

author
nancyCpants (author)2013-12-14

I DO have to be gluten free and the description cheered me up too. This is a hard time of year if you miss bread.

author
cheapeechick (author)2013-12-13

I don't have to be gluten free but just reading the recipe cheered me up for some reason. Funny!

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Bio: I'm a husband, father, programmer/analyst, FIRST Lego League coach, gluten-sensitive narcoleptic, art-school drop-out, and food source advocate. I live in Central Ohio with ... More »
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