Over time, I have found there are so many excellent ways to navigate easily around gluten and not feel deprived. Through trial and error, I have found worthy substitutes for items such as bread crumbs or panko, pasta, couscous, and more. My gluten-free baking mix has been a savior when needing to prepare muffins, quick breads and cookies without wheat flour. (One reader told me her mother won a recipe contest using that mix! Yay!!) There are a few items, however, that are really hard to replicate in a gluten-free way. Basic bread is one of them.
Recently, I renewed my efforts to produce a truly tasty loaf of bread with a texture that wasn’t mushy or “styrofoamy” like so many store-bought options. I was so happy when this came out of the oven the first time. I presented some to my gluten-free dad who gave it a double thumbs up. A few taste testers who do not typically eat gluten free also approved. The texture is somewhat denser that a store-bought loaf of whole wheat bread, although in a way I enjoy. I also like that this loaf uses the ingredients I always have on hand for my all purpose gluten-free flour blend. Though this is a yeast bread, it is an easy yeast bread. There is only one rise, and it is short.
Once the basic ingredients are purchased, they will provide for countless loaves. Ultimately, there is good savings when one considers the typical price of a gluten free loaf of bread. (The kind my dad likes costs $8.00.) My dad requested I make a cinnamon raisin version of this bread next. And I am tempted to purchase a muffin top tin. I think this dough would make delicious hamburger rolls!
With crusty edges, soft insides, and an appealing taste, this loaf is hands-down the best gluten-free bread that has come out of my kitchen. I think it tastes better the second day, once fully cooled. I prefer to slice somewhat thinly, toast, and then spread with almond butter and honey for an tasty twist on the classic pb&j…but it is delicious un-toasted, too.
The trickiest part is determining whether the loaf is cooked all the way through as the outside will become crusty even while the inside is still uncooked. In my oven, draping with foil after 30 minutes and then baking for 15 minutes more yields a perfectly cooked loaf. The first time I experimented with this bread, however, I cut into the bottom and peaked, only to see raw batter. I stuck the loaf back in the pan immediately and kept cooking. It turned out fine. So, if it takes a try to get the time right, no worries. I think you will be glad when you get it down!
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, optional
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Olive oil for brushing
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, add the flours, xanthan gum, salt, and flax, if using. Blend on low just enough to mix well.
- In a small bowl, stir together the honey and warm water, and then add the yeast.
- When the mixture becomes foamy, blend into the dry ingredients.
- Add the olive oil, eggs, and vinegar. Beat on medium-high to high speed for 3 minutes.
- Turn the mixture into a greased, 9×5 loaf pan, and spread evenly. The dough will be sticky. Brush or spray the top lightly with olive oil.
- Cover the dough and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 20 to 25 minutes. I wait until the dough has reached or slightly exceeded the top of the loaf pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester poked into the center comes out clean. After approximately 30 minutes, drape lightly with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
- Remove from pan and to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, wrap the loaf in plastic or place in a zipper top bag and store in the refrigerator. The bread will last for over a week.
You may also form loaves for French bread by transferring the dough onto greased and cornmeal-dusted cookie sheets, forming two long French-loaf shapes. You could also use special French-bread pans. Slash diagonally every few inches and brush with olive oil. Baking time will be less than for one large loaf pan but will depend on the exact size of the loaf you form.
Click here for the recipe for my all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, perfect for muffins, quick breads, cookies and cakes.