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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