The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Help with gluten free breads

Col in LA.'s picture
Col in LA.

Help with gluten free breads

To introduce things, I have been baking bread for the last 7 or 8 years, until last year. My son was diagnosed with celiac disease, so I went from wheat flour based loaves to trying gluten free flours. I've followed this site for years and gotten some really good tips (during my wheat eating days). Despite buying various baking books or  following online recipes for gluten free breads, the results have been inconsistent, but always underwhelming. Can anyone recommend any gluten free bread books, websites, or even recipes that they know actually can work? Any help, suggestions or pointers would be really appreciated!

IceDemeter's picture

While I don't have personal experience with it, I think that this recipe and blog might give you some good direction:

Considering that she bakes these for sale, and has repeat customers, I would think that the end product must be quite satisfactory.  She's not at home right now (on vacation), so might not be checking in here much for another week or two, but she is wonderfully helpful and I'm sure will be able to give you some great advice if you send her a message.

Sorry to hear about your son's diagnosis, but kudos to you for looking for the best ways to help him deal with it.  Hopefully you are able to find some workable recipes here.


BGM's picture

King Arthur Flour has a lot of Gluten Free mixes.  It might be easier to stick to their extensively tested kits.  They also have lots of well tested gluten free recipes.  I don't think you are going to be able to duplicate your standard wheat breads with gluten free recipes.

clazar123's picture

Going GF is a radical lifestyle change and like any change takes time to develop into a comfortable routine. The priority is to develop some basics that are delicious and easy and perhaps convert a few family favorites for familiarity. Most dessert items that do not have a fussy texture are easiest to convert. Most recipes for brownies, cookies, cakes, tea breads,pancakes/waffles can be converted to GF with just direct substitution or a little experimentation. Feathery bread or cakes, however, are near impossible to achieve as that characteristic actually comes from the gluten proteins in the flour. Delicious sandwich bread and tortillas/wraps are possible but their texture may be a little denser or chewier.

I attached a recipe for a good tasting white bread I used to make for a co-worker who was celiac. GF bread like the one in this recipe are actually like a batter (a thick pancake batter) that is mixed, raised in the baking pan and baked. There is no kneading/long fermentation/proofing. The whole psyllium husks (found at Whole Foods or a supplement store like GNC) help form the gummy structure that replaces the gluten strands. Ground flax, chia, xanthan gum or even guar gum can also be used. It takes very little gum to provide the structure. Too much gum and it turns the loaf......gummy. GF bread was pretty easy to make. The trick was to find ingredients that made it delicious.

Do a little research on the different flours. There are ratios of whole grain, starchy grain and flavored grains that are ideal.  It is easy enough to mix your own.  OR just find an off-the-shelf GF flour that works for you. Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day. But be aware that just like in wheat bread baking, each different GF flour can have some different characteristics to work with so if you find one you like-stick with it.

Before wheat became the starchild of baking, all these other flours were what people used to bake and cook. GF is not new-it is ancient. Wheat just made things easy because of its ability to form a protein net with gluten strands. So now you just need to learn skills that used to be commonplace. Food is tradition in our culture and it is possible to make tradition with new ingredients. My take is : Same traditions-different ingredients-all delicious!

Some websites I found helpful:

Change is always difficult but we often make change more difficult than it needs to be. There is a LOT of food out there for a gluten free diet. Experiment,search,learn and enjoy. Old dogs learn new tricks all the time! How do you think they got to be old dogs?

Bake some delicious fun!










¼   C +1 TBSP




1   CUP








¼   C




1   TSP




2   TBSP






2   C








½   C




1   ½ TSP




2   ¼ TSP




1   TBSP



Beat for 10 minutes in mixer.

Cover and sit for about 1 hour (dough rises quickly!)

Fill well greased bread pan ½ full (this made slightly more than 1 pan)

Rise to top of pan

Bake in 375 oven.

Internal temp 180-200 or test like cake.

Col in LA.'s picture
Col in LA.

Thank you all for the responses. I've tried the GF On a shoe string and really need to revisit it, rather than get frustrated!

Long_Haired_Hippie's picture

My best advice is to use a flour blend that is at least 1/3 starch tapioca, arrowroot, potato, corn, ect. It helps with texture and airiness. The starch once cooked prevents the goods from collapsing and becoming bricks when cooled. If he tolerated rice glutinous rice flour (aka sticky rice flour) has a much better texture than other rice flours and also helps prevent collapse. My favorite flours are chickpea, tapioca starch, gf oat, and coconut.

Depending on the flours you use you can alter the hydration as well. More whole grain flours generally need more water. Gluten free dough functions better as a batter than an actual dough. If you use more refined flour you can typically use the same hydration as wheat for things like cookies, muffins, biscuits and such but bread ususally needs tweaking

Col in LA.'s picture
Col in LA.

Thanks for the advice. I may need to tinker more with the flour types, as I have been able to get other baked goods (banana bread, carrot cake and brownies, I have a sweet tooth problem!) to work using either ready made GF flour mixes or America’s Test Kitchen one.


jimad's picture

Here's a recipe I created which is pretty easy to make -- but you have to follow the instructions exactly or it will (literally) implode:

Dry Ingredients (keep dry):

1 Tbs instant yeast (or one packet)

2 Tbs sugar

2 1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup sorghum flour

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp guar gum

1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup warm water, and

1/2 cup egg whites (3 egg whites or 2 eggs) -- whisk these together. (egg whites, not Egg Beaters)

1 Tbs cider vinegar -- reserve this until later!

Collect the following equipment: a 2.5 Qt clear, clean, dry, Pyrex Mixing Bowl to bake the bread directly in; a large 12”, sturdy, open, "Piano Wire" whisk used for mixing heavy batter. (Not a balloon whisk which would not be sturdy enough); an additional smaller mixing bowl to hold and mix ingredients; a larger heavy “baker’s” mixing bowl to vigorously mix the dough in; a wire colander about the size and shape of the 2.5 Qt Pyrex Mixing Bowl; and Spray Grease ("Pam".)

Please use a hand whisk, do not use a mixing machine. This bread works much better when hand whisked!

Whisk together the dry ingredients, and then sieve lightly into a large heavy (baker's) mixing bowl.

Whisk together the wet ingredients except for the vinegar.

Pour the wet ingredients directly onto the dry ingredients in the large heavy mixing bowl and whisk together immediately and vigorously all the ingredients. Stop for a second to add the vinegar then continue vigorously. You may need to choke up on the whisk to mix this sturdy dough.

Continue whisking vigorously for 100 strokes, not more, until most of the large lumps the size of grapes are reduced to only a few small lumps the size of raisins. Do not overmix or the bread will not rise as well. Dough will have the look and consistency of simple cake frosting made from powdered sugar and liquid. It will not look like nor act like bread dough made from wheat!

Generously spray grease the previously reserved 2.5 Qt clear, clean, dry Pyrex mixing bowl.

Scrap the dough into this bowl and smooth and even the shape of the top of the dough with a spatula to some degree per your artistic temperament. The top of the dough should be slightly rounded, not flat.

Generously spray grease the top of the dough.

Seal the top of this 2.5 Qt mixing bowl with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap seals flat to the top of bowl, it does not touch the dough.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack set to lower middle position.

Place the bowl in a warm location for about 45 minutes until the dough has risen almost to touch the plastic wrap. (I place my bowl above the pre-heating oven for my warm location.) It is better to bake a little too early than a little too late. If you wait too long the bread does not rise as well.

Remove and discard the plastic wrap and bake the dough directly – untouched and unmolested – in its current bowl for one hour. Do not at all attempt to work the dough or to place the dough in another container. Not at all! Just bake it directly in its current 2.5 Qt Pyrex mixing bowl!

After the hour is up immediately turn the bread out of bowl onto the countertop (it should fall out easily.)  Using oven mitts gently place bread into the wire colander.

Then turn off oven and return the bread in the wire colander to the rack in the oven, to continue to dry for at least one hour. The bread needs this to continue to dry and firm otherwise it will not be happy -- it will collapse!

Now place in the wire colander on a heat-resistant countertop to cool for another hour. Resist the temptation to taste it now -- it will taste disappointing and it will damage the loaf if you try to taste it now -- the loaf will collapse in on itself -- do not cut it!

Now place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.  Do not try it early, it will collapse! Keep the bread refrigerated – gluten free bread by far keeps best refrigerated or frozen.

Slice only as needed and toast the slices until browned. This bread tastes by far the best when toasted! This bread will take longer than wheat bread to toast.

Return the remaining loaf to its plastic bag and refrigerate until consumed.

Serve the toast with butter and enjoy!




clazar123's picture

I would love to see the finished product. That is a lot of xanthan and guar gum. Have you ever tried using psyllium,ground flax or chia seeds?

cfraenkel's picture

I was gluten free for a couple of years before the medical community decided they were wrong and the problem was that I was allergic to corn.

The Gluten Free Goddess was my lifesaver.  Lots of baking recipes, and explanations of how gluten free baking works.  Read the fine print, she will steer you in the right direction.

Good luck, (seriously gluten free was way easier than corn free is....)


bakingmama1's picture

I'm no expert and have also struggled with adjusting to GF bread making over the last year. However, after trying a few different recipes, I found a couple that I keep going back to.

I really like this recipe for sandwich bread that I make for my family. Note, it doesn't include brown rice flour. As for bread that I bake to include with dinner, I really like this GF Challah bread recipe. I've made both with very few issues and they are so yummy! I hope that helps. Best of luck!