Do you have a great, gluten-free bread recipe?
November 27, 2017 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm a decent cook and an all-right baker, would you please share with me a gluten-free bread recipe that doesn't taste like sawdust and sadness?

So my GF's parents have discovered that I can cook and that my kitchen is decent, they're both happily surprised. Her mom is potentially the most sensitive celiac I've ever met, but after seeing me rock Thanksgiving dinner out solo with multiple baked goods, she's challenged me bake her a gluten free bread that's tasty. I'm familiar with what gluten free IS, but not with implementation. Plz halp!

My background, if it helps, isn't culinary school. It's a healthy dose of time in the kitchen plus a lot of google. I HAVE made a levain in the FWSY style, but with three kids and dogs and work and volunteering, I've decided I ain't got no time for that kind of commitment.

All the normal kitchen tools are available plus a monster stand mixer and a convection oven.
posted by TomMelee to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have celiac, but I do have a monster case of fructose malabsorption, which ends me up in similar places. I've had good results with this french-style loaf as well as a lot of the recipes on this GF baking site, where I use the sandwich loaf recipe constantly, and a lightly substituted version of her flour blend, as I generally find her approach to GF flour blends useful for baking tasty things.

The two biggest things to remember about GF breads is that a) they go stale super, super quickly, so it's often best to freeze what you're not going to eat the same day (refrigeration will accelerate the process that makes things go stale), and b) especially for rice-heavy flour blends, it can be best to wait until the bread has cooled and finished setting before cutting to eat. Recipes will often (but not always!) note this.
posted by Raellwyn at 9:32 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have Celiac and although I don't have a recipe, be incredibly careful about cross-contamination. I have been made very ill by well-intentioned friends who made me GF products in their kitchens. They used wooden spoons, mixing bowls, beaters, counters, pans, etc. that ALL had flour residue on them.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 9:37 AM on November 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

The baker of gluten free on a shoe string uses added protein from milk, in the form of powdered milk for pastries or whey isolate for bread, to help create the structure in the bread. It's not exactly bread, nothing van perfectly dupe wheat gluten, but it's much improved over the gritty dense nastiness of every other trick I've tried. Look for her "better than cup4cup" flour blend recipe, which I can't link because I'm delusionally tired and am failing at internet.

It's also worth separating eggs if a recipe calls for it and beating the whites to soft peaks before folding them in after the yolks. Adds a little loft to avoid that cardboard texture!

Good luck! You'll make a few failures but it's a fun project, and you are so kind to stab at this on the behalf of someone else. Us gluten frees appreciate bakers like you :)
posted by zinful at 9:43 AM on November 27, 2017

Given that the super sensitive celiac trusts you with this, I'll skip the cross-contamination lecture.

I have celiac and while I do not have a recipe, I can recommend some flours! The grind of rice flours in particular makes a huge difference in whether something feels gritty or not. Authentic Foods Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour Superfine is what you want.

This is the best buckwheat flour I have found: Pocono Buckwheat Flour.

And this is the best teff flour: Maskal Teff Flour.

This almond flour is good: Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Meal Flour.

I use Bob's Red Mill for all the other flours.

The wild thing about baking gf bread is that there is no kneading and the "dough" is usually more like the consistency of a batter or soft serve ice cream. Good luck!
posted by purple_bird at 9:50 AM on November 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

My favorite resource that tends to tackle some of the science along with the recipes, so you learn the whys as you go, is Gluten-Free Girl. Shauna Ahern is actually celiac and pretty sensitive so these aren't line-straddling recipes and flour mix combinations, they are celiac-safe.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:14 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pão de Quejio (aka Brazilian Cheese Bread) is easy to make*, gluten-free, and objectively delicious.

It is my absolute favorite kind of GF bread, and I one that I would happily choose even if there was good wheat-based bread on the table (I am not celiac but my husband is).

*This recipe seems a little more flexible and easier to make it look like bread, but I also like making it as a thin batter that you mix in the blender and cook in a mini-muffin tin.
posted by mskyle at 10:17 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just remembered: a lot of people were really excited about the America's Test Kitchen take on gluten free stuff a few years ago. Here's a bread recipe from that.

Gluten Free Girl's recipes are usually terrible imo. They never turn out right. Her cookbook legit had a recipe that called for *1/6 of a cup* of something. Who on EARTH owns 1/6 cup measure?
posted by purple_bird at 11:18 AM on November 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

For Gluten-Free Girl, this boule is really tasty and made in a Dutch oven so it gives it a nice crust.

I agree with her recipes being hit or miss, but the ones she adapts from someone else tend to be good. If you're ever asked for a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, these ones are fantastic. I just handily won a blind taste-test chocolate chip cookie bake off with them, against gluten containing cookies.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:22 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I found the texture of this recipe the closest to the springiness of real bread.

It does sometimes go a rather strange purple colour though.
posted by kadia_a at 2:44 PM on November 27, 2017

Another person who doesn't have a specific recipe, though I did make the Brazilian Cheese Bread (blender recipe) linked above for the first time this morning and it was wonderfully simple for a GF bread. Great mouthfeel. Grease the muffin tins super well, they stick like mad.

Everything else made gluten free is easier than western style bread. GF cake is so easy to make, quick breads and many cookies are fairly easy.

The thing I wanted to add because it isn't emphasized enough is that whenever possible it is best to use recipes that have weights instead of volumetric measures. Get a scale, accurate to grams, and use it. This is true for both wheat-based and gf baking, and for gf often makes the difference between sad or expensive doorstops and edible. The recipe urbanlenny references is connected with a recipe from the X bread in 5 minutes a day people, which I think put weights in the books if not on the website.

The cup for cup, 1 for 1, and Better Batter flours are all smoother than almost anything you can blend yourself, unless you get the superfine grind rice flours. Avoid flour blends with beans. Some people taste them no matter what you do.

Start with quick breads. Get good at that first. The only good yeasted gf bread I've had is commercial (Franz bakery). Even many commercial bakeries can't do a decent yeast risen gf bread though. I just had some rolls from Great Harvest in Seattle, and they were rather puck-like. Yeast breads are hard enough to get right when made from wheat. I was good at it before I had to give up using wheat, and I still can't do a yeasted gf. Though I have to admit that I haven't tried in a long time. I may have to go get a copy of the gluten free book by the 5 minutes people and give it another try.

If you can't reproduce someone's results, it might be difference in ingredients or altitude/humidity or oven. Read the comments if you're looking at blog recipes. I can't reproduce Maria Emmerich's breads partly because she uses an electric convection oven and I have a plain gas oven. I also tend to have bad results at my house with other breads and recipes that depend on beaten egg whites.
posted by monopas at 3:28 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow thanks for all the great answers! I kind of asked this then forgot that I'd done so when I got pulled off onto another project.

I shall give all this a go post haste. I DO own a gram-accurate scale too, since I already fancy myself a hobbyist baker, so that should help.

This is a whole new rabbit hole for me to fall down, and I genuinely appreciate all of your respective insights.
posted by TomMelee at 8:11 AM on November 29, 2017

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