Monday, August 18, 2008

How to Make and Bake Gluten Free Bread

Today I'm sharing with a step-by-step guide on how to make and bake gluten free bread. I know making this bread can be extremely challenging especially for folks who have never made homemade breads before. (And trust me, even with lots of gluten free baking experience, you can STILL make bread that falls!!)

To begin gluten free bread making, I suggest using a very simple starter recipe, such as Elizabeth Barbone's Easy Gluten Free Sandwich Bread. Her great recipe has a short list of easy-to-obtain ingredients, and very easy instructions. Her recipe is the one I used for this demonstration.

Ready to bake? Let's go!

First, gather all of your ingredients.
Here, I have all my dry ingredients on the counter.

Visit this detailed post on how to correctly measure dry ingredients for baking.

Mix together all your dry ingredients (excluding the yeast), and whisk them together thoroughly. Whisking is very important, as it will thoroughly combine all of your gluten free flours, dry milk powder, salt, and xanthan gum. No one wants to take a big bite of xanthan gum in their bread!!

Next, you will need to heat up the recommended amount of water for the recipe. In Elizabeth's recipe it's 1 3/4 cups. I heat the water in a small measuring cup in the microwave for 1 minute and 10 seconds. You will need to use a candy/cooking thermometer to see that water is about 110 degrees. You don't want the water hotter than that or it will kill the yeast and not activate it.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of the warm water in a medium sized bowl. With the leftover 1/4 cup, add your yeast and mix together thoroughly. Set this aside. (This is called "proofing" the yeast, it's to make sure that your yeast is active and will rise!)

While we are waiting for the yeast to proof, let's mix together the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl of warm water. Elizabeth's recipe calls for 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil. Whisk all these ingredients together thoroughly.

Now let's check back on the yeast. It should be very bubbly and active, and as you can see in the measuring cup it's "risen" significantly.
If the yeast mixture hasn't changed at all since you mixed it, you need to start over with fresh yeast and water.

Now let's add the yeast mixture to the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk them together thoroughly!

Now it's time to create the bread dough. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of your electric -or- stand mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on medium speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix this for 5 minutes on med-high speed.

The bread dough will look like a VERY thick cake batter or cookie dough. If you are used to making wheat breads, this will NOT resemble wheat bread dough at all.

Now we need to create a warm environment for your bread to rise. Turn on your oven to 200 degrees, once it's reached 200, turn it off immediately! If your oven doesn't automatically let you know when the oven has reached 200 degrees turn it off after about 4 minutes of heating. You do NOT want the oven to continue heating while your bread is rising, you simply want to create a warm, draft-free environment.

Now let's place the dough into our loaf pan. You can use a metal loaf pan, ceramic loaf pan, or a glass loaf pan.

Just remember if you use glass, you will need to automatically lower the temp. of your oven by 25 degrees during baking (not rising), so that you won't overbake your bread.

Spray your loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour your bread dough into the pan. Using a rubber spatula shape the dough into a loaf.

Now, take a piece of plastic wrap and spray one side of it with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sprayed-side face down, LOOSELY over your loaf pan, and place the pan in the warmed oven.

Set your kitchen timer for about 50 minutes and go wash the dishes... or play with the cats...

Okay... the bread should have risen at least an inch or two above the lip of the bread pan by now, it should look something like this:

I actually let the bread rise for slightly too long. Your goal is just to let the bread rise about 1 inch above the top of your pan. It's perfectly okay to let it rise higher, but be aware that because our gluten free bread doesn't have "wheat gluten" strands to hold it up, it may deflate slightly upon cooling after baking.
Now, take the plastic wrap off the bread and heat your oven to 350 degrees.

* If you have had trouble baking in the past, you may need to buy an
oven thermometer so that you can monitor the correct temp. in your oven.

*Again, remember if you use a GLASS loaf pan, to cut the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Place your risen loaf of bread in the preheated oven and let it bake for 45-55 minutes. If after about 30 minutes your bread seems to be over-browning, you can loosely place a sheet of aluminum foil over it. Checking the bread here, it looks fine!

Now it's been 55 minutes. Pull the bread out of the oven. Now, we need to use the candy thermometer again to make sure the bread is done. Stick the thermometer somewhere in the middle of the loaf. It should read between 200 and 210 degrees. If your bread did not reach this temperature, place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.

Here's the finished loaf of bread. It did deflate slightly (see, I told you I still make mistakes!), but it's still a nicely risen loaf of bread. If you can wait (and golly it will be hard, because the aroma is heavenly!) allow your bread to cool on a cooling rack for about half on hour before slicing.

Once the bread has cooled, have at it!! If you have a bread knife, this is the best tool to slice gluten free bread.
This loaf tastes amazing and is great for sandwiches!!

As a matter of fact... I think I'll make one now! Yum!

If you have ANY questions about baking gluten free bread, please email me at gingerlemon_girl (at) yahoo (dot) com or leave me a comment below!!

Enjoy making and baking your gluten free bread!!

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  1. So beautiful!!! And a question from the lazy girl: Any way to duplicate those results in a bread machine?

    Another question: We've found that we need to keep our GF baked items in the fridge (especially in the summer) because they just don't keep as long. Do you have that too?

  2. Tenille - Great question! As far as a bread machine, I've never had much luck with them, but I think basically you would put all your wet ingredients into the base of the machine. Pour the dry ingredients on top, make a well in the center and add the yeast, then turn the machine on to a quick rise loaf. I personally don't like the results I get from a run-of-the-mill bread machine, but I think with a good machine that has a gluten free cycle it would make a great loaf!

    Tenille - On keeping the bread -> I usually keep my bread on the counter for 2-3 days and then slice it and freeze the rest. I usually do not refrigerate yeast breads because they tend to get soggy to me! Hope this helps!

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Darn... I was hoping you had a magical "Ginger Lemon Girl" recipe for bread machines :) Maybe I'll give the "old fashioned" way a try again. I just couldn't get the darn yeast to rise and grew impatient (and hungry) and gave up. Yum - your PB&J sandwich looks soooo good!

  4. Maureen - Depending on the type of yeast you use (active dry, or rapid/quick rise) it can take longer to rise! Rapid rise -or- bread machine yeast is what I generally use.

    Also when you are allowing the yeast to proof, make sure to use the water that is 110 degrees. You can also add a pinch of sugar to that mixture as well if the recipe doesn't call for it. That will also help give a push to the yeast!

    Make sure to wait a GOOD 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof before adding it to the wet mixture. I should be active and bubbly!

    I'd be willing to try out a bread machine again if I was ever able to buy a nice one with a gluten free cycle! But since that isn't in the budget right now, I'll stick to making it by hand!

    Thanks for commenting!!

  5. Hi Carrie,

    I'm glad you posted a photo of your dough in the mixer. Your dough is considerably thicker than mine. Hmmm. I might try some adjustments.

    I conducted my first okra-in-place-of-xanthan gum experiment. Results are on my blog. More experiments to come!

  6. Thank you for the complete step-by-step instructions with the pictures. That helps immensely. I've been trying bread mixes with a success rate of zero for 3 years, and I think I'll just have to bit the bullet and make one for "real!" I admit that I don't like to cook and even less now. I'm up for another try and hope that with a success I can become more motivated!

  7. Carrie,

    I have not made bread except in a bread machine. I would love to try this sometime. In the mean time is there any gluten-free bread in the stores that you have tried and would recommend?

    Very New to the gluten-free world, Beth

  8. Kay -- Thanks for your comments. IT's the xanthan gum that makes the dough thick, which I know you don't use.... I haven't been able to replicate that texture with anything else? I'm really amazed at what you did with the ocra! great job!!

    MeliNPat - I hope you'll start baking again. I LOVE baking and getting homemade results! There is just something really special about making homemade bread!! Let me know how it works for you! BTW... bread mixes never worked that well for me either! I've had much better luck using homemade gluten free bread recipes!

    Jeanine - Thanks for the compliment gal!! ;-)

    Beth - If you have a Whole Foods store, they sell several types of gluten free bread in their freezer, they make the bread in a gluten free facility near Raleigh NC, so it's fresh! That is the best store-bought gluten free bread I've ever had! Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions, please let me know!

  9. Carrie - great tutorial with excellent pictures. I've been making GF bread in my Zojirushi machine with a lot of success, though I would like to try it the old-fashioned way. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Thanks for the step by step instructions and all the pictures. Bread is something I haven't tried to make yet in my gluten-free experiments. I call them experiments because they have been hit or miss with me-mostly miss!!

  11. Hi Carrie:

    This bread looks good. I'm convinced that sourdough starters are the key to getting some flavour into gluten-free breads. I have always stirred mine with stainless forks and just covered them in waxed paper with okay results, but then I usually make lighter ones than you...I don't let them get as sour.

    Recently I have been living in an old house without an oven, so I've had to get inventive. I created a flatbread using buckwheat flour with a rice flour starter that I think is very easy and tasty. I call it the "Chapita"; it's very much a cross of chapati and pita. I've put up the recipe if you'd like to take a look.

    Nice blog by the way; I'm reading through for inspiration. Thanks! :)

  12. Yesterday I made your "My Favorite Gluten Free Sandwich Bread" recipe that I saw at

    In the five years or so of having to eat gluten-free, I must have tried 40+ different types of store-bought, mix-based and from-scratch bread recipes. Every single one, after eating a few slices, got tossed out in the trash. Either the taste or the texture, usually both, would disgust me.

    But this one I really enjoy. This is the second day of the loaf, which I stored in a paper bag on the counter to keep the crust crispy, and it still tastes great and has a very good texture. I just gave a slice to my gluten-eating wife, who is used to the fantastic artisan breads we have available in our area. She chewed for a moment and then said, "Hey, this is great!" and proceeded to devour the slice. High praise from a VERY picky eater when it comes to wheat bread.

    This is the most complicated bread recipe, in terms of ingredients, I've made. But the actual making is easy and it came out perfect. I really like the semi-whole grain taste the millet and sorghum flours give it.

    I only did a half recipe to try it out. But this is so good that I just mixed up all the dry ingredients into a mix so I can make a full batch tonight by just adding water, eggs and oil ( I have dried egg whites rather than fresh already in the mix)

    Thanks very much for posting it. I can't recommend it too highly.


  13. it is the first time i made bread and it goes well, it is delicious ,just one problem it took me 1:00 hour to be baked until it become just lightly golden not brown ,it has hard shells ,it was very crispy outside although very good inside ,do you know why this happen due to longer baking but wasn't turn to golden colour until this time ,what you think ,but it is still very great,thanks

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  15. Just found this step by step. SO helpful. Thank you!