Saturday, November 19, 2011

How to Make Really Good Gluten Free Stuffing

I've had a few questions through the past week on how to make really good gluten free stuffing/dressing. I can understand your frustration. You see, one of the hardest parts of being gluten free is finding good bread. We want bread for sandwiches, we want bread for rolls, we want bread for pizza crust. And we all have our own preferences for what deems a gluten free bread good or bad.

The fun part about gluten free stuffing? You don't need the expensive good bread. Udi's & Rudi's breads are awesome in their own right as sandwich bread. Use them for sandwiches, personal pizzas, etc... but in my opinion, they are actually too light & soft to make a good stuffing bread. Most regular recipes for stuffing call for day-old bread for a reason... you need REALLY dry AND dense bread that doesn't soak up tons of moisture.

A good stuffing/dressing has a crunchy top, but holds just enough moisture underneath to make the stuffing soft, but not soggy. Lighter, softer gluten free breads make for a very soggy stuffing. You don't want the bread to soak up TOO much liquid... just enough!

To do this, you can either make a homemade gluten free bread -- often homemade gluten free bread makes AWESOME stuffing because it's more dense than store-bought bread... or you can buy Food For Life Brown Rice Bread. Many folks don't like the Food for Life brand for sandwiches (with good reason -- it's not a very flexible or soft gluten free bread) -- but it makes a killer holiday stuffing!

If you don't have a good source for buying Food for Life Brown Rice Bread, here's a gluten free bread recipe that you can use JUST for stuffing or even french toast. It makes a dense, easy-to-dry-out bread that is PERFECT for stuffing recipes and bread pudding. It also happens to be a dairy free, soy free, and vegan loaf of gluten free bread... so if you actually like the texture, help yourself and go make a sandwich!

And remember this dense bread has a LOT of calories and simple carbohydrates... so only make it on special occasions... like ya know... Thanksgiving!

Gluten Free Stuffing & French Toast Bread
Created by Carrie Forbes of
Free of gluten, dairy/casein, soy, white sugar, and eggs
Printer-friendly recipe

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons millet flour or sorghum flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (around 110 degrees F -- no hotter or you'll kill the yeast)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons concentrated fruit juice or honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. In a glass measuring cup mix together warm water, yeast, and honey. Allow the warm water mixture to proof (meaning set it aside to bubble a bit). Once the mixture has become slightly bubbly with a yeasty aroma add the olive oil and mix into the dry ingredients. The bread batter will be very thick -- much thicker than regular gluten free bread batter. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray or a piece of parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly into the loaf pan with a spatula that has been spritzed with non-stick cooking spray or water to get a smooth top. Cover the loaf pan with piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise on the counter until almost double in size. The loaf is a dense loaf and may not completely double in size. If you'd like a loaf with higher sides for a sandwich bread use a smaller loaf  pan such as this one. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until loaf is golden brown on top and you can lightly tap on the top center of the bread. Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Sliced gluten free bread will be VERY dense, almost gummy, call it a brick if you'd like, but either way -- this is what you want!

To prepare bread for stuffing: 
Slice bread into 12-14 slices and then cut into 1" cubes. Place cubes on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer if necessary -- all depends on your oven) until cubes are VERY dry, golden brown, and have shrunk in size significantly. Check on the cubes every 10 minutes after baking for 30 minutes to make sure they are drying out but not burning. Use the following recipe to make gluten free dressing/stuffing.

Delicious Gluten-Free Dressing/Stuffing
Created by Carrie Forbes of
Recipe Originally Shared on a Simple & Easy Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu
Free of gluten, soy, eggs, and options for dairy free
Printer-friendly recipe

6-8 cups toasted, cubed, and very dry gluten free bread
1-2 TBSP. poultry seasoning
1 cup celery, sliced and finely diced
1 cup onion, finely diced
1-2 cups gluten free chicken broth
¼ - ½ cup butter -OR- melted coconut oil (omit if using sausage)
1-2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. pepper
Optional: 1 lb. gluten free mild sausage

Place toasted, cubed GF bread in a LARGE bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a large pan on the stovetop. When warm and sizzling, add onions and celery. Saute until onions are translucent. Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Combine with onions and celery. Pour onion and butter mixture over bread cubes in bowl. If using sausage, add to the large pan, break up into small pieces and brown until completely cooked through. Pour browned sausage into stuffing mixture Stir together thoroughly. Slowly add 1 cup of chicken broth to bread cube mixture. If you like a more moist dressing add additional chicken broth until desired consistency. Pour dressing into an oven safe casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

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