Introduction: Surprisingly Soft Gluten Free Bread

About: 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 my wife and two daughters where we …

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


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.

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 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.


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 <-----

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