Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread Recipe

One of the recipes I love to teach in my gluten-free baking classes is focaccia. An Italian flat bread thats made with gluten-free flours, yeast, eggs, olive oil, and herbs. The taste and texture of a thick focaccia bread is different than any other bread you will try. It's chewy, yet crunchy, and incredibly full of flavor.

Rich olives and sundried tomatoes, dried oregano and basil, fresh garlic... personally I'd rather eat a thick slice of toasty focaccia with a hearty homemade soup, than a piece of pizza! This recipes make two round 8" loaves or "cakes" of focaccia. You can easily freeze one loaf for later if it's too much. For those of you who need a lower carbohydrate/ "paleo-ish" version of focaccia, I plan on posting one next week, so stay tuned!

This gluten-free recipe makes a very thick, sturdy dough that can be a bit hard to handle when just stirring by hand. So if you have a heavy-duty stand mixer, it's the perfect appliance to mix this dough. Whether you're using a little elbow grease, or you'd using the stand mixer, try out this recipe and have it simply with a fresh salad and a homemade soup. It makes a delicious and fun gluten-free meal to share with your family!

I learned how to make this fantastic gluten-free dough while visiting the Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse in Morrisville, NC. Lee Tobin, the bakehouse team leader and head baker, shared his techniques and his recipe with our local gluten-free support group while we toured the facility. This incredibly chewy and crunchy bread would also make an outstanding deep dish pizza crust!

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread 
free of gluten, dairy, and soy
recipe adapted by carrie forbes of gingerlemongirl.com
printer-friendly recipe

Yields: 12-16 slices of focaccia 

Dry Ingredients 
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 cups arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup blanched almond flour or non-fat dry milk powder (if you can tolerate dairy - we use the blanched almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons Saf Instant-Yeast, Red Star Rapid Rise or “Bread Machine” Yeast, or Fleischmann’s “Bread Machine” Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups water heated to 110 degrees
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 egg whites, brought to room temperature
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Fresh herbs, finely chopped (such as rosemary, oregano, or thyme)
  • Olive oil for spreading dough
  • Optional toppings: chopped and seeded kalamata olives and roma tomatoes
  • Line a 9x14” baking dish with parchment paper and grease parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil.  In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, arrowroot starch or tapioca starch, almond flour or non-fat dry milk powder, xanthan gum, and salt. 
  •  In another bowl whisk together heated water, olive oil, egg whites. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir together thoroughly into a stiff dough. Continue to mix as much as you can (it is a VERY stiff dough!) for an additional 3-4 minutes. 
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil and then evenly spread dough over the entire baking dish. Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 35 minutes. 
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gently poke the dough all over with your fingers so small wells appear over the dough. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle on the minced garlic and any of the additional toppings you would like. 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until focaccia is golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice into squares and serve.

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