Saturday, 30 March 2013

Let's start with a loaf of bread...... Oat & Rice Bread (gluten free)

Bread. Staple of the great British work lunch....  Should make a great sandwich, the test of which is not just the taste and texture, but whether it can be eaten, held in one hand, whilst driving between meetings or using a computer, without making a mess. It would be wonderful to sit down for a nice leisurely lunch, chatting with colleagues, but this is not the reality of life today. A sandwich needs durability....... enough to withstand the stresses of a modern day lunch 'on the go'.

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 - despite its frequent 'holes'), 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.

This particular recipe started life in a bread-maker, but with a few further tweaks, can also be made successfully by hand (both methods are described in the recipe section). 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 in a good blender, 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........)

Oat & Rice Bread (makes 1 medium loaf in a bread-maker or 14 rolls by hand)


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)

Bread-Maker Method

  1. Weigh and mix the flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Add to this mixture the lemon juice, oil and honey.
  4. Top with the flour mixture.
  5. Finally weigh and sprinkle on the yeast.
  6. Set the machine to Basic, Medium, Dark Crust and leave to cook.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Eat as bread, toast or freeze for later.

Hand-Baked Method (makes about 14 mini loaf rolls)

This mixture makes lovely 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. As with most gluten free bread, the texture is a little 'spongy', although I will continue to work on bread until I get as close as I can to a glutenous texture....

 All ingredients are as above, with one exception - Use only 8g yeast. 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F / Gas 4.
  2. Weigh and mix the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs with the water, milk powder and lemon juice until fully combined, light and airy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cover with a clean damp cloth, place somewhere warm and leave to rise for 30 to 45 minutes (until almost doubled in size).
  7. Brush the tops with milk or beaten egg to glaze.
  8. 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.
  9. When cooked, turn out straight away to a wire rack and allow to cool.
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  1. Oh my goodness! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it today using the bread machine method and it baked wonderfully, the texture and flavour is divine. Oh, how I've missed bread. I've tried a few recipes in my bread machine, but always with disastrous results...not this time though, I will definitely bake this bread again!

    1. Thank you so much Donna. I am so pleased it came out well for you (and most importantly, tasted good). And thanks so much for the feedback. It's truly reassuring when someone lets you know your recipes work for them too!


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