Gluten-free, Recipes

Gluten-free Yeast Bread

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There is no scent more homey and comforting than a baking loaf of bread. When I gave up wheat, I missed yeast bread so much, it was almost painful. For a year or so, I baked almond flour bread, which is quite tasty, but doesn’t have the flavor or consistency of a good loaf of yeasty wheat bread. It’s more like a dessertish quick bread. Nor does it work quite as well for sandwiches or toast. So I set out in search of a recipe for a gluten-free bread that would taste and perform like a yeasty wheat bread. And I found it.

My thanks to Josie Hyde, who posted the recipe I started with on the Bob’s Red Mill website. I’ve tweaked it in a couple of ways, added salt (bread needs salt), adjusted the yeast, used a different sugar and slightly less of it, and come up with a variation for Cinnamon Raisin Bread that I absolutely love. I’ve been promising this recipe for a year or more, and I’m finally getting around to posting it.

Just one last thing before the recipe. While this bread tastes delicious and very much like a yeasty wheat loaf, it isn’t as smooth and pretty as a wheat loaf. You’ll see in the pictures. It’s hard to get a smooth top on this very sticky dough. But if it tastes good and performs well in all the different applications for bread, what does a wart or two on top really matter?

Gluten-free Yeast Bread

  • 3-1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour** (See notes)
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (necessary to stabilize the dough)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar (brown, white, or other—I use coconut palm sugar and love it!)
  • 2 ¼ teaspsoons instant yeast*** (See notes)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil**** (See notes)
  • 1-1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons warm water***** (See notes)
Step 1: Grease a 9×5 bread pan* (see notes). Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hooks. (You really do need to use a stand mixer for this sticky dough. It climbs the beaters of a hand mixer something awful!)

Step 2: In a measuring cup, beat the water, oil, and eggs together with a fork.

Step 3: Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4: Beat for 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently, or until all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth batter. Do not overmix.

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Step 5: Scrape batter into greased bread pan and smooth out top with wet spatula or wet hand. Cover with greased/oiled plastic wrap. Place in warm spot to rise.

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Step 6: Let rise about 30-45 minutes, or until the batter is just slightly above the rim of the pan. The bread will continue to rise in the oven.

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Step 7: Bake in a 375°F pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 190-200°F). Top will be quite brown.

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Step 8: Remove from pan immediately; cool thoroughly on a rack.

Cut when thoroughly cold. Makes 12-15 slices. Wrap well and store in fridge, or slice and freeze in a freezer bag (I put waxed paper between layers in the bag to keep the slices from sticking together) for longer keeping.

Notes:

*Greasing the pan has been a source of frustration for me. I don’t want to use vegetable shortening, but I have, and it does work. I’ve used coconut oil, and the bread sticks to the pan. I’ve started greasing the pan with butter, and it works. Grease the piece of plastic wrap to cover the loaf at the same time you grease the pan. Less mess.

**I buy the bean-based baking flour at Winco. It is not marked Bob’s Red Mill, but I have used the bagged Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, and it is exactly the same as what I get at Winco for much less moolah. This is my workhorse gluten-free flour. I use it for pancakes, biscuits, pie dough, and bread.   Ingredients: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, fava bean flour. Nutritional information for the bulk flour at http://wincofoods.com/bulk-bin/2105. Compare to Bob’s Red Mill GF AP Baking Flour at http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html.

***If you don’t have instant yeast, you can use 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast, and the dough might need to rise a little longer. Don’t use bread yeast. Bread yeast is formulated for more than one rising.

****The original recipe called for vegetable oil.   I don’t use vegetable oil because it is actually soybean and other oils I don’t care to use. I’m trying to use healthier oils, so I have been using grapeseed oil and sunflower oil in my breads. Both are virtually flavorless but high in healthy fats. I would also use olive oil, but not extra-virgin because it is so strongly flavored. Use whatever oil you prefer.

*****I wanted to see how the bread would work without powdered milk, so I tried warmed milk instead of water and omitted the powdered milk. I ended up with a slightly denser loaf. It’s do-able, if you don’t want to buy powdered milk. I get powdered milk in bulk at Winco, which is also where I buy xanthan gum.

What I love about this bread is that it works for sandwiches and toast. It is delicious warm, too (but the raw dough doesn’t taste good, so don’t let that scare you). I usually cut off and freeze the heels until I have enough to dry out and make bread crumbs, and then I have gluten-free bread crumbs for breading whatever I want to bread. I also make croutons for salads and soups out of the heels by tossing the cubed bread in a little melted butter or olive oil or a combination of the two, garlic salt and pepper, and crushed herbs, then toasting them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until browned. They keep indefinitely in a sealed bag. I don’t eat bread every single day, so I slice my loaf when it is cool and keep it in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When I want a sandwich, I have bread that only takes a few minutes to thaw. And for breakfast, plain bread toasted with low sugar, old-fashioned blackberry jelly.

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Or how about cinnamon raisin bread toast?  Love, love, love!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Make loaf as above, using brown sugar. To dry ingredients add 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon. To batter, add 1 cup of raisins and just mix in. Don’t overmix! Bake, cool, and slice as above. I keep a Ziploc bag of sliced cinnamon raisin bread in the freezer for breakfast toast. Oh, I love this! I missed it so much the first couple of years after giving up wheat bread. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have taken a photo of my Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I was probably too busy gobbling it up!  Next time I bake a loaf, I will take a pic and add it to this post.

I don’t miss wheat bread at all any more.   I hope you won’t either.

I’m working on a gluten-free sourdough bread recipe. When I find a method that really works, I’ll be sharing that one as well. Right now, I’m experimenting, and I can tell you that making a sourdough starter with kombucha was an epic fail! More later. 😉

 

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