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Low carb bread, need help adjusting recipe, net carbs 3g

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Low carb bread, need help adjusting recipe, net carbs 3g

Special Needs Bread- low carb recipe - needs help. 

No real bread for us because of the amount of carbs, so I gave up on sourdough bread.  I am working on a Keto bread for sandwiches and buns, but the outside crust on the buns is a little tough to bite into. The sandwich loaf is not that big of a problem since the surface crust is less, but I would like to use 1 recipe for both. I have tried many different low carb bread recipes,  and this is the closest to real bread that I have found, but I still need to adjust the recipe.

Here is MY understanding of the ingredients I am using and how they act in baking bread. (Ingredients I am currently using)

1. Vital Wheat Gluten- adds protein, strength, and structure, but very expensive if using large amounts. High protein.

2. Flaxseed Meal- thickener, makes a gel which helps with bubbles/rise, needs warm water. More carbs than fiber but close to the same amount, high protein. Mix with dry ingredients.

3. Oat Fiber- (not bran) high in fiber, binds up to 7x water, adds bulk, more carbs than fiber, but not too much, zero protein. Mix with dry ingredients.

4. Psyllium Husk Powder- less is better because it can make bread rubbery/spongy, it thickens/binds, mix with dry ingredients before adding liquids, needs about 10 minutes to absorb liquids, more carbs than fiber but they are almost the same. Zero protein.

5. Xanthan Gum- thickening/binding agent, helps elasticity,  use a very small amount, add with dry ingredients, gels in liquids, absorbs.

6. Wheat Protein Isolate- (wheat flour with starch removed), helps with rise/strength/chewiness. Has more carbs than whey protein isolate, has small amount of fiber, high protein.

7. Whey Protein Isolate- high protein, zero carbs, zero fiber. 


Cost wise and carb wise: most expensive/most carbs = vital wheat gluten. Then oat fiber and flaxseed meal. Plus the gluten has a lot of protein.


Current recipe: makes 704 g of dough (Baked= 629 g) 32g slice = 81 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.9 sat fat, 22g cholesterol, 27.4 g sodium, 5.5 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 0.6 g sugars, 8.4 g protein. Net carbs= 3 g.

Vital wheat gluten   192 g = 38.4g carbs, 0 fiber, 134.4 g protein

Flaxseed Meal (ground)   84 g  = 25.8 g carbs, 19.4 g fiber, 19.4 protein

Oat Fiber    38 g = 38 g carbs, 28,5 g fiber, 0 g protein

Erythritol   27 g   4 g carbs (4 erythritol zeroes out carbs)

Yeast   11 g   

Sea salt   1 tsp   

Xanthan Gum  1/2 tsp = 7 g carbs, 7 g fiber

Butter  30 g  

Honey  7 g   = 5.6 g carbs, 0 fiber, 0 protein (for yeast)

Warm water  250 g

2 large eggs


All ingredients at room temperature.  All dry ingredients whisked together. All liquids whisked together. Then combine the two. All ingredients at room temperature Knead 15 min with Ankarsrum dough hook. Let rise 2-3 hours at 78-80°F. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F. (Preheated oven on middle rack in a metal pan.)

My goals:

1. Lowest carb possible without being rubbery, gummy, eggy, or spongy.

2. Strong enough for a burger bun.

3. Lower the protein and calories, if possible.

4. No almond flour or cheese. 

My questions:

1. What can I do to make the buns' crust easier to bite into? They are very soft, but tough. The buns remind me of milk bread rolls...they spring back up when you squash them. A little difficult to slice because of that.

2. What would you suggest I do to use less vital wheat gluten?  That is a huge amount of gluten to use. We don't have a problem with eating gluten, but I have no idea what that amount of gluten does to our bodies. Harmful? 

2. Should I add whey protein isolate or wheat protein isolate? Whey has less carbs than wheat protein isolate, but only a small amount.

3. Should I add Psyllium husk powder? Will that make it tougher?

4. For percentages, since there is no flour, should I consider the oat fiber, Xanthan gum, flaxseed, and wheat gluten as 100% like flour. Or does baker's percentage no longer apply? 

5. What caused it to collapse after it had cooled for a half hour? 

6. Do I need to reduce the amount of butter? 

With the current recipe, it is not sticky and is easy to work with even though it is very elastic. Eventually, the dough fills the pan when rising. 

It rises well. After cooling in the pan for 10-15 minutes, I removed the bread loaf to a rack to cool. The top collapsed slightly after it had cooled for about 20 minutes. It had a nice, high dome until the collapse. The loaf is currently about 4 " tall, but it was 6 or 7" tall when it first came out of the oven. The buns collapsed slightly, but were still 1.5-2" tall, and they held up well for a burger.

Texture is good. Not eggy or spongy. I put it in a paper bag, and you can see the greasy bag from the butter and seeds. 


I tried to write all the details down, but I am sure there is something I forgot about. I would like to change one ingredient at a time until I get it right. Or as right as it can be considering it is not real bread.

Any advice on using less gluten and having less carbs? 

Thanks for your time. 


David R's picture
David R

Collapsing: Is it possible that the dough was allowed to rise for a bit too long? Most dough should be baked while it's still on its way upwards, and hasn't reached its peak yet. Leave it until just after its peak, and it tends to get flabby.

I should know - I'm past my peak and definitely flabby. ?

Danni3ll3's picture

Ha ha ha!

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Well, that cracked me up!


I will lower the rise time to see if that helps. 

clazar123's picture

I think you have a very good handle on the ingredients and how they behave. I have never used the wheat protein isolate or whey isolate but what you said about them makes sense. I have made some lower carb/keto type breads for friends. Your loaf is way beyond what I achieved and you are to be saluted for that accomplishment!

As far as the collapsing, what you are experiencing is that the structural elements (the bubble walls) of this bread are soft when warm and being held up by the hot gas inside the bubbles. As the bubbles cool,and shrink, the structural walls are wet,warm and soft and cannot support it. The same thing occurs in sponge cakes,angelfood cakes and pannetone.

The solution sounds simple-hang the bread upside down so gravity holds on the structure open until it cools and stiffens up enough to support the structure of the crumb. I have found that cooling on its side in the pan for a few minutes and then cooling on its side out of the pan for the rest of the time really helps. OR, after the loaf is de-panned, it can be skewered and hung upside down. For the rolls, you can try and poke a small skewer through the dough after it is shaped,let it rise,bake and then cool upside down by hanging the skewers over something-books stacked,chairs, bowls,etc. Google "hanging pannetone" or search here for some pics.

I know what you mean about the soft,tough crust. My first suggestion is a question-What happens to the crust if you do NOT put it into a paper bag as it cools? Would wrapping in a cotton tea towel  allow more moisture to wick away and soften but not toughen the crust? To my thinking, you want to crisp the crust without hardening and this is difficult to achieve with gums for structure. In order to be crisp, gums need to be pretty dry and achieving that without drying the whole crumb may be difficult. Baking to a slightly darker crust initially may help with this process. The darkened, more caramelized crust may be crisper.

I don't have a tried and true solution but one on my list to try in a future bake. I will try baking a few minutes outside the pan or, for rolls, to try drying them out a bit in a low, long post bake to see if I can get a more "shattery" or crisp crust. Of course, there is a risk of drying out the whole roll and dry keto is really hard!

I just had a thought when "angelfood cake" and "breadpan" intersected in my brain. Modify your bread pan by creating "legs" in each corner on the top of the pan (like angefood cake pans have). After the loaf is removed from the oven, keep it in the pan (it has to stick in the pan for this to work") and turn the whole pan upside down so it is sitting on its legs. Keep this way until pretty cool. If the outside needs to be crisped a bit, return it to the oven to dry out the crust-5-10minutes- but not long enough to heat through. You could try this by baking in a loaf-shaped oven safe paper pan and skewering it before the bake. Simply hang it when it is done baking and see what happens.

Thank you for sharing your recipe! My friends are not bakers and really enjoyed anything I made for them. My feeble attempts used almond flour,flax and psyllium with baking powder as leavener and either marmite or vegemite for yeast flavor. I was surprised at how delicious these were as flavoring agents ((but remember to not add salt!). Nutrtional yeast may work the same way. I may just have to buy some of the more expensive ingredients and try a few more things.

EDIT: I see you answered the following questions already.

Question: Is the honey in the recipe to feed the yeast? How does you figure that into the carb count? When I ask them, nutritionists are all over the place in figuring out calories/carbs on fermented foods. I go back to basic physics and believe that energy (calories) is transformed but not gone so I have been counting it at its full, prefermented value.

Honey 11g=34 cal=8g carbs

Bake more deliciousness!

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

It did stick to the pan. I had to run a knife around all sides, then pry the bottom off a little at a time. I just thought the ingredients caused it to stick. I never thought about it being like an angel food cake, but it is a very sticky dough. I think I can rig up some "legs". Great idea.

I forgot that my husband flipped the loaf right side up when he "got nosy". I am not sure how long it cooled before he flipped it, but it started off on its side. He is so excited about getting to eat bread again. He loved the texture and flavor which is like wheat bread even though he is a die hard white Italian bread fanatic...Italian grandmother had a brick bread oven in the back yard. He ate that bread all day...every day growing up. Normally hates whole wheat bread. 


Cooling: it cooled for about 5 hours on a rack before it went into a paper bag. I knew to not put it into a ziplock bag. I can try a towel next time.

I agree with the honey. I still count it as carbs even though some say I shouldn't.  Better safe than sorry with hidden carbs and keto.

The crust was so soft and tough that I could barely slice it. (At least without squashing it flat.) I can try to either bake longer or try to crisp the crust in a low temp oven before using the rolls to see if that helps. Would brushing the rolls with melted butter help? Or might egg whites make it crustier?

After making many hocky pucks and bricks, I am happy this last one turned out as well as it did. I do not know what that much gluten does to the body though, plus gluten is expensive.

I think the Vital Wheat Gluten added $2.06 to the cost, the flaxseed meal added $0.73 to the recipe, and the oat flour added $0.68. All other ingredients were under $0.30 and most were under $0.20.  Fairly cheap except for the gluten.

I guess I had better not add Psyllium Husk Powder since I am already using the Xanthan Gum. I think they do the same thing.  I think the oat fiber absorbs up to 7x its weight so that might make the loaf even dryer.

Protein powder (unflavored), oat flour, and flaxseed meal adds more carbs, but all have lits of fiber. The gluten has 0 fiber and is all carbs. 

I need to find something that has more fiber than carbs! Spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower does, but I doubt they would be good in bread. Chia seeds would be close to having the same amount of carbs. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and wheat bran have too many carbs compared to fiber.

Ground almonds and pecans might work, but they are expensive too.

At least this recipe is cheaper than buying the keto breads and buns they sell online for $7.99 plus shipping for 1 package of 8 buns.

Another loaf going in the oven today. This time, I will try cooling it on its side the entire time, wrapping it in a tea towel as it cools to absorb moisture,  adding an egg white wash, and trying to crisp the rolls in a low temp oven before using them. 

If you try the recipe and make changes, would you please let me know what changes you made that did and didn't work? 


David R's picture
David R

It's very clear that people who have disorders or conditions that cause gluten allergy or gluten sensitivity will continue to have more and more trouble as more gluten is added.

Pure gluten by itself (cooked into a solid piece and then sliced) has been a food for centuries, often used as a vegetarian substitute for sliced meat. I think because it's been used that way so commonly for so long, there's not much drive to study it - millions unharmed so far is a pretty strong recommendation, for those who are known not allergic.

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

I did not know that fact about gluten. Thanks!

clazar123's picture

It sounds like the crust is compressible (soft) but that it is tough (dare I say rubbery?) to bite through. That sounds like a function of the gluten and the gums and as far as I know the only way to crisp them up is to dry them out. I wonder if dusting the dough in the pan with oat bran would help to dry the top layer of the crust out as it bakes and make it crispier and less tough?

I wouldn't worry about the effects of VWG in concentrated doses. As DavidR said-seitan (gluten protein derived from wheat) has been used for thousands of years as a meat substitute. Unless you have a gluten allergy, no harm should come. (Pardon me while I don my flameproof armour- I'm sure that statement will get someone's flamethrower going).

I don't think you need to add psyllium-another gel- to the mix. You already have ground flax and xanthan gum. If you want even more fiber perhaps wheat bran? It should probably be soaked for a bit to soften up before baking or it will continue to absorb water from the crumb after the bake. That's when you get bread that crumbles when you take a bite. Whole wheat bread that is not properly made is notorious for this characteristic and part of the reason it is unpopular.


Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Yes, the outside is slightly rubbery. So no adding more psyllium, Xanthan gum, or more flaxseed. 

Coconut flour absorbs liquid so that might dry the bread out too much. Will need extra liquid and eggs with coconut flour. I have some wheat bran so I can try it next.


I think chia seeds absorb too and turn to gel...

I am making the next loaf without sugar or honey because I think it might work. Thanks


Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Updated recipe: #3 (recipe #2 did not rise at all.)

261 mL water @127°F

5 g coconut sugar

11 g Instant yeast

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

33 g butter, room temp

38 g oat fiber

34 g erythritol

86 g flaxseed meal

161 g vital wheat gluten

1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

6 g kosher salt

10 g wheat bran

30 g coconut flour

3.5 g Diastatic malt powder


Buns: Much softer and easier to chew!  Recipe #1 tastes better than #3 though.  


Loaf:  Recipe #1 rose about 4-5" over the top of the pan with 2 hour 30 min proof before baking. Recipe #3 rose 2" over the top with 1 hour 45 min proof before baking.

Recipe #3 collapsed as soon as I removed it from the oven.  The pan was 9.5"x5.25"x2.75". The bread came out about 8.5"x 3.75"x1.75" so it was quite a bit smaller than recipe #1.  



1. Maybe I should have turned the wheat bran to powder before using it. It is possible that the rough bran tore the gluten. All other ingredients are powdered or liquid.

2. Going from 192g vital wheat gluten to 161g could be the problem but I added wheat bran, coconut flour, and malt powder plus 11 g of water because of the coconut flour. Maybe I needed more water or eggs. Coconut flour usually does need more eggs/liquid.

3. 7g honey vs 5g coconut sugar. Maybe the honey helps it rise better. Will keep using honey.

4. Recipe #1 has 15.5g of protein after baking and recipe #3 has 12.7g of protein.

5. #1 raw dough =704g   baked=629g   proofed 2.5 - 3 hours @ 85°F.

    #3 raw dough=784g    baked = 697g   proofed 1.75 hours @ 78°F.


So, I have decided (might be wrong) to use honey not coconut sugar, let rise longer, turn wheat bran into powder, use half the Xanthan Gum like recipe #3, keep the coconut flour and malt powder, and add more liquid.


Changed 1st bread to 58g to compare nutrients.

#1 bread 58g= 148 calories. Fat 6.4g  Carbs   10.1g   Fiber 4.5g Protein 15.3g   net carbs = 5.6g

#2 bread  58g = 134 calories. Fat 6.3g  Carbs 10.7g  Fiber 5.2g Protein 12.7     net carbs = 5.5g

I didn't gain much in net carbs with recipe #3. Most of the carbs comes from the vital wheat gluten since it has no fiber at all.  I just need to figure out what to replace the gluten with so I can have better structure like loaf #1.

 Recipe #4 next week! Hamburgers tonight with almost, sort of, kind of buns!




Left is recipe #1. Right is recipe #3.

Recipe #2 is now a doorstop. 

pmccool's picture

here are some additional things to experiment with.  

First, this is essentially gluten bread with some mix-ins.  As if that weren’t enough, the recipe also has eggs and flaxseed meal and xanthan gum.  Those last three items are frequently used in gluten-free breads as binders in place of the missing gluten.  You might want to drop the gum, since it isn’t required for structure.  The eggs and flaxseed meal bring additional benefits, so I would keep those. 

Second, the bread already contains sweeteners, so the diastatic malt probably isn’t needed; it will convert starches to sugars.  And I’m not even sure that there is enough starch in the recipe for the malt to work on.  

Just a couple more ideas to play with on your quest. 


Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Thanks for the advice! I will chase those rabbits for something bread like....

I swear that I am dreaming of and smelling fresh baked that I can't have it.

It is probably just because it is banned in my diet temporarily. Makes me want it more. 



Fatadapted's picture

Hi, I've just joined this site hoping that someone would have a great recipe for a keto bread.

  Am I correct in saying that you are trying to make improvements on this recipe which was originally created by Diedre's kitchen ,with this youtube link to Ketoking's version of the same recipe.

Is this the recipe which you originally tried ? I was hoping to try this recipe myself, as it looks so promising. I'm in Australia and I too find that some of the ingredients are expensive. Have you had any further developments on your testing?

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Well, I don't know about Deidre, but I looked for her recipe.  I think the measurements are different. That may be why my recipe isn't that great.  I am just changing and mixing up different measurements. I have given up on low carb bread for now.  Hope you find one.