Friday, April 4, 2008

Crusty Millet Flat Bread (Gluten Free)

Freshly baked Millet Flat Bread
It always makes my day when cooking experiments turn out even better than you thought they would! With the help of Natalie at Gluten Free a Go Go, I've been trying to use less xanthan gum in my baking. I've been trying to incorporate other alternative gluten free baking ingredients for structure and texture, such as ground chia seeds, whey protein powder, and psyllium powder. It's fun to experiment, even when things do not go as planned. I've been able to eliminate xanthan gum in cookies, bars, muffins, and quick breads successfully, but yeast bread has been a different story. I've learned a lot.

Millet Flat Bread slices for sandwiches... see those beautiful air pockets!!
And I've learned that with yeast breads in particular (at least in my baking experience), xanthan gum is needed for creating the structure and texture you need for rising.

The interesting thing with this recipe is that it makes a wonderfully light flat bread with very little NO xanthan gum.

A grilled turkey and monteray jack cheese sandwich using millet flat bread and spinach walnut pesto.

This recipe creates a thin batter, rather than a dough, that you will pour into a jelly roll pan, let rise in a warmed oven for 40 minutes, and then bake. The resulting bread is very light, yet crusty on the outside, with big air pockets on the inside. It looks very similar to a wheat bread bun served at deli restaurants such as Schlotzsky's. The bread can be cut into 8-10 slices for sandwiches (it is excellent grilled as a panini!), or you can use the bread as a base for pizza, or even a sandwich wrap.

Pizza made using millet flat bread as the base.

Gluten Free Millet Flat Bread
free of gluten, soy, and can be made dairy/casein free
created by carrie forbes
printer-friendly recipe

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour -or- arrowroot starch
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. chia seed meal -or- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tsp. whey protein powder -or- blanched almond flour for dairy free/casein free
1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 cup warm water

For yeast proofing:
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup warm water

In a small bowl mix yeast, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water together. Set aside. Mixture should become bubbly and creamy in appearance. In your mixer bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. In a medium sized bowl mix together all wet ingredients. Add proofed yeast to wet ingredients. Using your whisk attachment, set your mixer on medium speed and slowly pour in wet ingredients. Beat for 3-5 minutes until mixture is fully incorporated. Batter will be rather thin and pour-able (very different from the thick batter of a yeasted gluten free sandwich bread dough). Heat oven to 200 degrees and cut off immediately. Completely line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Pour batter onto parchment paper and evenly spread over whole pan. Let rise in warmed oven for 40-50 minutes until bread is puffed up and risen. Remove risen bread from oven. (During this time you may have small pockets of air to rise and then deflate in your batter -- don't worry, it will rise again during baking!) Heat oven to 425 degrees. Once oven is preheated, place pan of risen batter back into oven. Bake 11-15 minutes until bread is crispy and lightly browned on top -- see top picture! Let bread cool for 15-30 minutes before using for sandwiches or pizza.(The top may crack as it's cooling, that is just fine!)

Sandwiches: Once cooled, cut bread into rectangular slices, makes 8-10 slices depending on the size desired.

Pizza: Bake bread as directed. Immediately add pizza toppings to crust and place back in hot oven for additional 5-8 minutes until your toppings and cheese are melted and warmed through. Let cool slightly before serving.

Carrie's Recipe Notes:

  •  If you do not have access to ground chia seeds for this recipe, simply add 1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum as opposed to 1/4 tsp. It will work just as well! You can purchase chia seed meal from your local Whole Foods store, or from Native Seeds.


For more information on using alternative gluten free baking ingredients such as chia seed meal and psyllium powder, visit Gluten Free A Go Go's Ship's Galley for a whole digest of ingredients! For binders and thickeners, such as chia seed meal click here.

For another gluten free flat bread, try Kate's Sandwich Wrap Bread!

Have a great weekend!!

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  1. Carrie, I'm curious why you're trying to cut down on the use of xanthan gum. I'm wondering if it's just for fun, to see what else works- or if xanthan gum is bad for you (kind of like how I used shortening all the time growing up but now it turns out that all that trans-fat is bad). I'll be curious to hear your response, because I use a lot of xanthan gum! The only way I've ever used chia is using the seeds to make juice- but in bread sounds interesting; I'll have to give it a try!

  2. Hi Kristina -- Good question... one I should have answered in the post! I'm glad you asked. I use a LOT of xanthan gum too, and that is one reason I'm trying to cut back on it. Another reason, is that I just don't think it is necessarily needed in many gluten free baked goods (for example: cookies, muffins, some cakes, quick breads, etc...) And chia seeds and psyllium powder seem more "natural" to me than the xanthan gum. I don't know that there is any evidence stating that it's necessarily bad for you, and it's found in many other grocery store items like salad dressing, ice-cream, etc.. but I feel like I'm eating a lot of it and for my body personally, I don't know that it's especially healthy for me. So I think that's why I didn't address it in the post itself, because there really isn't any certainty behind my reasoning that it's not a healthy thing, I just think I'm consuming too much of it (and it's fun to experiment with other ingredients too!)

    I hope that somewhat answer your question! Sorry I didn't have a more exciting answer! ;-)

    You should definitely try using the chia seed meal though (just grind it in your blender) it works wonderfully as a binder in muffins and quick breads, and it worked wonders with this flat bread!

    Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  3. This looks delish - especially as a pizza crust!

  4. This looks like something I'd really love to try sometime!

    I totally admire you for adapting so many recipes to be gluten-free. I don't eat gluten-free, but I do eat vegetarian, and I find it so hard to get motivated to make a variety of recipes...I always make the same ol' things!

  5. This bread looks really good ith a lovely texture! I'm not certain I will be able to get all the ingredients here, but will certainly give it a try if I can!

  6. This looks great!! Yum!! I will have to try it.

    I have yet to find a place to buy millet flour, I think I will have to crack and order some online.


  7. I have noticed that xantham gum is in everything too. I will have to do more research on that. The bread looks so wonderful but I can't do the eggs. :(

  8. Hi Carrie,

    This post is particularly vauable to me! I've had reactions to nearly every gum binder I have tried. I don't know why. So I've been using gelatin in everything. Some results are not great.

    I have an expensive pile of cast-off gums. This new lifestyle has put a strain on my budget. Baking failures are doubly frustrating.

    I'm going to experiment with okra as a binder this summer, when I have some in the garden. I plan to dry some and grind it. But I've read that vinegar eliminates okra's gelling properties. And vinegar is in most GF recipes for baked goods. Do you know if I can eliminate the vinegar? I'm sure it is important, but I don't know what it does.

    Your flat bread is beautiful! I'll definitely try this recipe!


  9. Kay -- I'm so glad this post was helpful to you! My friend Natalie at Gluten Free A Go Go (see her website in the list of food blogs on the right) also has reactions to most gum binders and she doesn't use them at all! I'm still using a LITTLE bit of xanthan gum in my baking, but I'm truly trying to eliminate it.

    YOU CAN leave out the vinegar in most GF baked goods recipes. Vinegar is added as a dough enhancer, but because the amount used is SO small, I really think you could get away with leaving out the vinegar altogether. You could use a substitute like apple juice, which has similar properties to vinegar, but is not nearly as acidic and strong.

    I would love to see some of your recipes using okra once you've grown some this summer!

    I think you would REALLY like the chia seed meal, because it gels beautifully... I really think people could use it as an egg replacer as well!

    Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  10. We tried this bread today and it was delicious!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. The texture in the bread has me awestruck and ambitious to try, especially in cutting back on xanthan gum. Sometimes I find it leaves a bitter taste in some GF prodcuts if there is no other prevailing flavor.

    I was wondering, however if you can use a different flour as opposed to millet and get the same results? Such as teff or soy for example?

  12. Carrie,

    We're allergic to dairy and almonds (among other things). Could rice protein be substituted for the whey protein? Or would sunflower meal work better?

    Also, cider vinegar is out for us. Would there be a major change if we used distilled white vinegar.


  13. Manda -- You could certainly use a different gluten free soy. I think teff or soy would give an interesting flavor to this bread! I'm allergic to soy and wheat, so I leave both out in my cooking!

    Elizabeth -- YES, you can use rice protein instead of the whey protein (or just leave it out!), and actually you can leave out the vinegar altogether! Looking back on this bread now, the cider vinegar can actually counter-act the gelling properties of the chia seed meal, so feel free just to leave it out altogether! I'd love to know how it works out for you!

  14. Hi Carrie - I was browsing through your site and found this post. And so glad I did. I've been wanting to eliminate or cut down on the amount of xanthan gum I use in baking but haven't known how to do so. I would love to give it a try and you've inspired me. I am driving to North Carolina this weekend to visit my sisters (one of whom is Celiac). She and I are cooking GF for the rest of the family who have agreed to eat GF for the week. I'm definitely going to try this bread. Thanks for the inspiration!


  15. Carrie - this looks great. I am driving to your state this weekend to visit my sisters. One of them is Celiac and she and I are going to cook GF for the rest of the family who've agreed to eat GF for the week. I'll definitely be making this bread. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Carrie - I just came across this recipe and I have to say it is wonderful. I also have a few tips for those of you who can't use vinegar, use an equal amount of lemon juice (I actually used twice)the amount. Vitamin C powder is also useful as a tenderizer. Since I am dairy free I used Maca powder which is high in protein and has that same little bit of sweetness that the whey adds. One other thing, the recipe doesn't actually list xanthan gum so I didn't use it and there was no problem at all. This is the first gluten free bread recipe I've tried in the last year whose flavor did not disgust me in some way. Wonderful. I'm thinking about baking the next batch in muffin top pans for hamburger buns. Thanks again.

  17. Hello and thank you for sharing your recipe's. I just made this millet flat bread and was wonder how pourable the batter is supposed to be. My batter was scoopable like very thick biscuit dough, is that right? All though it tastes delicious the top is all bumpy because it was so thick.

  18. Hi Carrie, was there another version that did include xanthan? I miss Schlotzsky's so much! I'm moving to Durham (from Canada) later this year and see that there is are franchises in Morrisville and Cary - I'll have to ask if they will dress the sandwich if I bring my own has been over a dozen years and I can still taste the Fresh Veggie...ummmm

  19. Mare - You can make this easily by leaving out the chia seed meal and using 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum instead! It will work just fine, although it will not be a "pourable" batter, you'll just need to spread it with a spatula in the pan! Yum!! I hope your trip back to NC goes smoothly!! Welcome!

  20. Thanks so much Carrie! I have ingredients to use up so I'll wait until after the move to buy and try chia!

    And thanks for the welcome!!

  21. Hi Carrie ,I was just making dry ingredints and have quastion: is there any x.gum in the recipe?

  22. hi carrie i'm needing to make some kind of gluten free bread where ingredients are scarce and so is $$. I do not have rice protein, or whey powder what can i use for extra protein? a tablespoon of milk?

  23. can this bread be made in a cooking stone w/low sides and without the parchment paper?

  24. It rose a little bit but was flat when the 40 minutes were up. Kind of looks like the dough started to cook. Was I supposed to leave the oven door open while it rose? Just warming to 425 to finish it!

  25. Just love this this recipe! I've made it several times and used it for pizza crust, veggie sandwich. But this last time I wanted to try it yeast free, I used 1 tea baking soda plus 1 tea lemon juice to replace the 2 tea of yeast called for in the recipe. It turned out great! maybe not quite as soft and fluffy but it was still delicious. Thanks so much Carrie.

  26. YOU need to know this is the BEST recipe....I am not gf at all, but we are living in Papua New Guinea, and I wanted to make some gf flat bread for friends working here too who ARE!! I subbed brown rice flour (milled at home) for the millet flour, subbed 1/2 tsp gum stuff for the chia seeds,and left out the whey powder...and it was STILL yummy and brilliant. The second time I made it I cooked it in a bigger wider non stick pan and it came out thinner, perfect for sandwiches or a pizza crust!! THANKYOU for giving me an easy recipe to make for gf friends out in the jungle!