And therein lies the problem. Gluten free bread is (for the most part) dry, crumbly and notorious for disintegrating in your lap or starting a fire in your toaster! Sure, there are some good commercial alternatives out there (my daughter particularly likes Genius sliced brown bread and DS Ciabatta Rolls), but trying to find a moist, soft, fresh gluten free loaf is nigh on impossible.
A challenge? You bet! If I was going to have a great, versatile, healthy and delicious loaf of bread, I was going to have to make it myself......
After months of testing, tweaking, ripping up the recipe books and starting over again, I have finally produced a loaf I am proud of. And guess what? I can even eat it one hand-handed without needing a bib!
Oat & Rice Bread (makes 1 medium loaf in a bread maker)
This particular recipe started life in a bread-maker, but with a few further tweaks, can also be made successfully by hand (see further down for alternative). I actually think it tastes much better hand made!
You will need some oat flour. Although you can buy it, it can work out quite expensive, so I make my own using ordinary gluten free oats, which I grind down in a food processor. You can grind the amount you need for the recipe on a weight for weight basis (just grind for about 20 seconds or until you have a fine powder), but I prefer to make about a kilo at a time and keep it in an airtight container, so it's always there when I need it. Simple!
I have found that gluten free bread-making is not an exact science and the end result can be slightly affected by little changes in moisture content (eg. through size of eggs); quality of flours; type of yeast used, make of bread-maker; etc. The recipe I have given here is the most consistent one that I have achieved, so hopefully it will work as well for you. The hand-baked method has produced delicious results for me every time (so far........)
160g brown rice flour 3 large eggs
160g gluten free oat flour 360ml water
50g potato starch (flour) 4 tablespoons dried milk powder (I use semi-skimmed)
40g tapioca flour 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon xanthan gum 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon caster sugar 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon clear honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
9g easy bake dried yeast (I use Doves Quick Yeast or Allinson Easy Bake Yeast)
- Weigh and mix the flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Beat the eggs with the water and milk powder in a bowl until fully combined, light and airy. Then pour into the bread maker pan.
- Add to this mixture the lemon juice, oil and honey.
- Top with the flour mixture.
- Finally weigh and sprinkle on the yeast.
- Set the machine to Basic, Medium, Dark Crust and leave to cook.
- When cooked, remove from the bread-maker straight away to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. When cool enough to handle, remove the paddle if it has become stuck.
- Don't be tempted to eat before it is cool. Gluten free bread from the bread-maker seems to taste and feel a lot better when it has become cold.
- Eat as bread, toast or freeze for later.
Hand-Baked Method (makes about 14 mini loaf rolls)
This mixture makes the most scrumptious rolls which are fantastic either warm or cold. They are the closest I have got to 'glutenous' rolls yet in terms of texture. The loaves are pretty good too although they tend to 'sink' a little as they cool, particularly if made in a larger loaf tin. This doesn't seem to affect the flavour or texture, but smaller loaves hold their shape better.
All ingredients are as above, with one exception - Use only 8g yeast.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F / Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs with the water, milk powder and lemon juice until fully combined, light and airy.
- Add the oil, honey and dry ingredients, and preferably using a dough hook, knead the mixture for about 5 to 10 minutes until thoroughly combined and quite elastic in texture.
- Spoon and spread the mixture into small-medium loaf tins (about half full) and/or small individual loaf tins, or dollop rounded piles on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some oats on top for decoration.
- Cover with a clean damp cloth, place somewhere warm and leave to rise for 30 to 45 minutes (until almost doubled in size).
- Brush the tops with milk or beaten egg to glaze.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes (rolls), 25 to 40 mins (loaves) until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Check the colour half way through and if concerned that they might be browning too quickly, turn the oven down slightly and keep a close eye.
- When cooked, turn out straight away to a wire rack and allow to cool.