Baking Gluten Free Bread from Soft Yeast Dough

It is well known and documented, that good quality gluten free wholegrain bread is hard to bake as a full size loaf, without using several rising agents and complicated and lengthy procedure of dough preparation. I saw my task to develop the recipe for wholegrain gluten free yeast bread, with a simple ingredient list, including only flours, yeast and oil; easy, reliable and simple process of dough preparation, with minimum handling, and an easy bake process in variety of baking pans. I managed to tick all the boxes and recipe below is the result.

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This bread recipe has 3 main advantages, compared to many other gluten free quality bread recipes.

  1. Gluten free flour mix includes millet, rice, buckwheat and tapioca flours with the addition of flaxseeds, which gives this bread good balance of whole grains and healthy fats.
  2. Ingredient list has a bare minimum of essentials for the gluten free yeast bread, with no extras, and includes only yeast, sugar, salt, oil/butter and xanthan gum.
  3. After the dough is mixed, it is handled only once, when it is transferred into a baking pan, where it rises and further baking takes place.

The recipe is flexible in duration of proofing period. I like to use room temperature water to make the dough, and let the rising to take place at room temperature, too. I find that yeast works a touch better at lower temperatures for a longer period of time. But it is possible to reduce the time for the dough to rise, by using warm water and placing the dough to proof in warmer place.

The list of ingredients is very similar to the one I used for bread rolls. The only difference is the use of buckwheat flour to replace quinoa flour.

Ingredients: bakes 1 flat bread or 2 medium baguettes

  • 100g millet flour
  • 100g tapioca flour
  • 50g fine rice flour
  • 50g buckwheat flour
  • 2og flaxseed meal
  • 2 tea spoons of sea salt (10g)
  • 2 table spoons of sugar (20g)
  • 2 tea spoons xanthan gum (8g)
  • 1 table spoon butter/oil (I used Lurpak butter soft), and grapeseed  oil to grease low casserole pan and baking paper for baguette tray
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast 7g
  • 285ml water, room temperature
  • sesame seeds or any other seeds, optional

Preparation:

  • dissolve sugar in water (room temperature)
  • add yeast, stir and wait for yeast to “dissolve”
  • sift the flours and mix all dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk
  • add liquids to dry mix and combine them together (I prefer to use my hands, but it can be done with a wooden spoon, or a dough hook)
  • if using butter as the source of fat, mix it in as the last component
  • mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined and the dough is homogenous
  • another option is to mix yeast together with dry ingredients and only add water with oil/butter when mixing the dough
  • the dough will be soft, very soft and sticky
  • cover the bowl with a towel and let it stand for 15-20min
  • generously grease low casserole dish (I use ceramic non-stick Baccarat Bio+ line pan, 21cm diameter on the bottom, 24cm on top )
  • drop the dough from the bowl into low casserole dish, use silicone spatula, dipped in water, to scoop all the dough and spread it in the pan

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  • if baking bread in baguette pan, oil sheets of baking paper, shape the dough to fit the baguette pan on baking paper
  • smooth the surface of the dough with wet spatula

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  • place the dough into baguette pan
  • make diagonal incisions with a sharp knife

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  • cover the dough with wet towel and let it rise until nearly double in size, it takes approximately 3 hours at room temperature

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  • I like to apply the mix of white and black sesame seeds on top of my flat bread before it goes into the oven

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  • bake in preheated to 180C fan-forced oven for one hour (time of baking may vary depending on individual oven)
  • after 25 min, when the crust becomes hard, brush with egg wash to give bread nice colour
  • put the pan back into the oven and finish baking

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  • I also like to use butter on top of already baked bread, before letting it rest on a wire rack, covered with tea towel

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My great-aunt did that for all her savoury bakes. It really makes a difference to the texture of the crust, and I believe improves the texture of the bread altogether, allowing it to remain soft even the next day. This bread was the first one which did not need to be toasted to enjoy.

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To get the best out of this bread, be patient, and let it cool down before slicing. I try to put the most of the sliced bread on a wire rack to freeze. Packed in a air tight container frozen bread stays fresh for a long time. It defrosts beautifully in a toaster.

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To maximise the slice size from baguettes I cut them on diagonal. These slices can be frozen as well.

Photos, presented in this post, show 2 separate bakes for the flat bread. For the second bake, I doubled the portion of the dough, but did not divide it in 2 equal parts for baking. I used the larger portion of the dough to bake flat bread and made 2 baguettes, smaller in size than usual. I wanted to see, how the thickness (or height) of the dough will influence the baking process. The conclusion was obvious – larger portion of the dough will not give the same quality of the bake. Never double the portion of ingredients in gluten free bread baking to make bread loaf twice as large. It will not work. The smaller the loaf, the better texture bread you will get.

So far, the best gluten free bread  I ever had, was Chia bread from Well and Good bread mix. I can honestly say, that the  bread I baked from this recipe, either in baguette shape, or as a flat round loaf, was equal, if not better. This bread tastes delicious and does not go stale the next day, which is unusual for any gluten free bread. I accept that the shape of bread slices is not a standard one and is not very handy for sandwiches, but I can live with that. As far as I can judge by the images of gluten free bread, one of the main problems is to have an even texture through the whole bread, with the same size air pockets on the top and in the bottom. Gluten free bread can have denser and soggy texture in the bottom, compared to the top. For this flat bread bake, as well as for baguettes, bread texture was the same through the whole loaf.

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As a final remark, I want to add, that Baccarat new line of their Bio+ ceramic non-stick cookware never ceases to impress me. I bought their small sauce pan to make lemon curd, was extremely happy with it, bought deep casserole pan, became even happier, and could not resist to buy a smaller, low casserole pan as a treat. I had it in mind for smaller cooking portions, but use it all the time now for everything. Baking bread in it, was another function it did splendidly. I can’t vouch for any other cookware, and can only guess, that any cast iron cookware will do the same job well.

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