Saturday, 30 January 2016

Gluten Free Brown Bread - from your bread maker. A Revolutionary Loaf!

This is a sandwich......... Not any old sandwich. No. This sandwich is special..... Not for what it contains, but because it has been made with my amazing newly-developed gluten free brown bread, made with a combination of flours, including oat, brown rice and brown teff....... in the bread maker!!....... 'Gluten free? Are you kidding me?' ......... I kid you not!

Do you see any crumbling? Do you see any cracks? Is it falling apart? Does it look dry, tasteless and lacking nutrition? Uh Uh! This sandwich, my lovely readers, is a revelation.....

If you thought we gluten-avoiders were left out in the cold as far as a decent sandwich goes, then think again. Months in the making and tested over and over again, the loaf that made this sandwich is the result of an extreme determination...... no, make that 'obsession'....... to create a bread-maker brown bread that not only has a perfect texture, but also a great flavour, fantastic nutritional content and holds together to make a robust sandwich that you can pick up and bite without the need for a bib.

You would not believe how excited I was when I sliced my first 'good' prototype...... It was more than I could do not to leap around the room, dash for my lap top and announce to the whole world what I had achieved. I managed to restrain myself....... just. I knew I needed to test, test and test again to be absolutely sure it wasn't a fluke and that I had really achieved the coeliac's (bread-deprived) utopia.....

We have now eaten twenty-plus of these loaves and they have been consistently amazing. You can safely cut really thin slices (yes..... I said thin) without it falling apart and it even stays fresh (wrapped in cling film) for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. The other day, I caught my husband making a sandwich for my daughter's packed lunch...... The man on the moon would have seen my smile as I heard Mr GF mumble 'wow... look at that bread!'

Flavour-wise, this loaf tastes a little like my memories of Irish 'wheaten' loaf, but with a slightly more moist crumb. It gives an almost 'wholemeal' experience...... the colour from the teff and the texture that comes from the oat flour tell you this bread is healthy bread. Yet it also has a hint of soda bread on account of a weeny addition of bicarbonate of soda which provides extra airiness to the bake.

Best of all, Miss GF loves it...... really loves it. And I can be happy that rather than eating the nutritionally-empty white rice-based commercial loaves, she is getting some fantastic nutrition from the ingredients in the bread and not just the filling it surrounds.

So how have I done it? I think probably by a little judgement and a lot of luck........

You may recall that I went on a gluten free bread course at Braxted Park with Adriana Rabinovich back in October last year. One of the tricks she showed us to provide structure to her bread recipes, was to add a little gelatine to the mix (or vege-gel for vegetarian bakes). Not so much that it was detectable, but just enough to help it hold together. All the breads she demonstrated however were hand-baked, but it got me thinking whether the technique might work with the bread-maker....... Creativity took hold and I set to work formulating, tweaking, re-formulating, testing......... Boy there were some gross loaves in that lot!

I will be honest...... I don't actually like the idea of putting gelatine in a staple food, so I have worked this recipe to be perfect whether you choose gelatine or vege-gel...... The texture and taste are equally amazing, so I for one will be using the vegetarian option!

Anyway....... somewhere along the line of testing and tweaking, I got a bread that tasted great and held together fine, but the overall texture was...... well..... just too 'gluten free'. If you've ever made gluten free bread in a bread-maker, you will probably know what I mean by that comment..... It lacked the desired 'breadiness' which is a 'given' if you eat gluten.......I wanted my new bread-maker loaf to be softer, fluffier, squidgier......

My bread-developing journey has been an exciting one since going gluten free and I have some great bread recipes that I have posted on this blog..... Don't get me wrong..... I love every one of them....... and each is an important evolutionary step towards gluten free yeasted enlightenment. I am particularly proud of my Perfectly Fluffy Oat Bread, which has been a great staple in our house. It is however hand baked and I don't have the time to make it frequently enough alongside long working days, to accommodate the family's bread-eating needs. So the necessity of getting a bread-maker recipe right became compulsive......

The eureka moment was a decision to add a tiny bit of bicarb to see what would happen. The difference it made to the texture was unexpectedly wondrous....... my brown bread-maker bread was born........ soft and moist, it is the best sandwich bread I have made.

I have tested it on a number of gluten eaters as well as avoiders and have already had lots of requests for the recipe......  it must be good! A couple of them have even told me I should hold the recipe, as it might be worth a bob or two...... But I don't do this for the money and if somewhere out there, someone benefits from my efforts and gets to enjoy bread again, then I am a happy bunny!

As far as bread-makers go, I use a Panasonic SD 2501 which has a gluten free setting (set to medium crust, which takes 1 hour and 50 minutes for the full baking cycle and only rises once). I have never used any other bread-maker, so am unable to say which would be the best setting on other machines, but I am sure that a quick read of the manual may help determine the route to take. I always remove the loaf from the machine as soon as it is baked and leave it upright to cool completely on a wire rack (uncovered). Unlike many gluten free breads, this is one which is amazing to eat fresh and warm!

Don't be put off by the list of ingredients....... I tend to keep a designated airtight container and when I have a spare moment, I weigh out the dry ingredients and set aside so that they are ready without the need for further preparation when I want to make the loaf.  It is worth making sure that the dry ingredients are really thoroughly mixed and broken down for the most even textured bake. All the flours are found in my local health food shop, so hopefully they will be easy for you to source too.

You will also see that I have been fairly specific about the temperature of the water that is added to the pan.  Having had a few 'fails' in loaves previously where I have either under or over judged the liquid temperature when measured by hand, I have become increasingly pedantic about accuracy, to be sure that the yeast is quickly and effectively activated for the best dough rise. It is really worth investing in a reliable food thermometer to help you with this. Having been sent a Thermapen 4 to review before Christmas, I can thoroughly recommend it as a fantastic tool (you can see my review here). You may also note that I have weighed the water, again for accuracy.

I'm not sure I have much more to add...... I just hope that this recipe brings those of you who try it as much bready joy as we have had...... Let me know if you try it!

I'm sharing this incredible loaf with the following :

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello

Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Gluten Free Brown Bread (from the bread maker)

Ingredients (all spoons are levelled)

100g brown rice flour
40g brown teff flour
160g GF oat flour (easy to make as in this post)
50g potato starch flour
60g tapioca starch flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4½g vege-gel powder - I used Dr Oetker (or 8g gelatine powder)
3 tablespoons milk powder

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon runny honey
370g (by weight) hand-warm water at 46 C/115 F

1½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

14g active dry yeast (for bread machines) - I used Allinson's Easy Bake Yeast


  1. Weigh and whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, bicarbonate of soda, gelatine/vege-gel and milk powder, making sure the ingredients are fully and evenly combined and all lumps are broken down.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, honey and warm water until fully combined, frothy and airy. Pour into the bread pan.
  3. Add the lemon juice and oil to the bread pan.
  4. Next add the dry ingredients to the pan so that they evenly cover the liquid. 
  5. Finally add the yeast, sprinkling on top of the flour.
  6. Set your bread maker to gluten free setting (I set mine to GF medium brown crust, which takes 1 hour and 50 minutes for a full bake cycle). Leave to bake!
  7. When the bread is baked, remove immediately from the pan onto a wire rack (place upright) and leave to cool (uncovered). 
  8. Best eaten completely cool or slightly warm. Will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days!
 Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Wow that looks truly spectacular! I love the airy, springy-ness look of the slices. I wonder if ground chia seeds would work as a gelatine replacement too. Does it have to be done in a bread maker or do you think it would work by hand too?

    1. Thanks Katie. Good to hear from you. I hope you are well!
      Ground chia seeds would definitely be worth a try.
      Although I made this for the bread maker, I have no doubt that it will work in the oven.... I will be trying it very soon, as an exact recipe and just giving it rise time! x

  2. I love this post so much. You should be so proud and you really should try and get this recipe (and post) off to someone like The Guardian or Observer. The loaf looks amazing. (That sandwich looks damn fine too) well done!

    1. Thanks Dom. That's really kind of you.... I am very proud of this loaf and know that it will continue to be eaten a lot in our house!
      I hadn't even considered that I could share it with anyone like the Guardian/Observer and not sure I would know how to do that! If you have any wisdom on process, I would gratefully receive it! xx

  3. Hey Kate well done you!!!! This looks fabulous! I've read about gelatin in bread and often add bicarbonate of soda but I need to get on and try the is so good for you too if you get the grass fed stuff not the horrid stuff in the shops! There is too much yeast in it for me to eat but I may have to try it for the rest of the family...although I'm not sure I'd resist it!!!! Well done xx

    1. Thanks Vicki. I am thrilled with this one! I would love to know how you find it and also what the family think, should you give it a try xx

  4. Looks great. I too am interested in whether this could be made by hand?

    1. Thanks DC. Although I set out to make a bread-maker loaf, I am fairly sure that it will work in the oven..... It would need to be given standard rise time, but I think the ingredients would work as they stand...
      I think I will probably give it a go myself in the next few days to check it out, as I have now been asked a few times! x

  5. looks amazing - I have seen not only the substandard gf loaves but also the despair in those who are celiac - and I tend to make lots of white loaves because it is hard to get wholemeal loaves right even with regular wheat flour so this looks a triumph to me

    1. Thanks Johanna. It certainly feels like a triumph..... Lunch just got better!
      The commercial GF loaves (even the reasonable ones) are generally dry and chalky, so the possibility of a quick to make bread maker loaf of this quality is incredibly exciting in our house!!

  6. It looks like a perfect (and very tasty) loaf - hurrah!

  7. I could not agree more with you, this loaf looks fantastic! It is amazing that you managed to achieve this in your own kitchen. I do make bread from time to time but it is nowhere near as soft and perfect as yours. Beautiful beautiful, really well done!

    1. Thanks Alida. I am really very excited by this loaf...... My sandwich-eating days have returned and lunch is revolutionised! x

  8. I was really excited at this blog post and the bread looks amazing, but then I got down to the actual recipe - and it has milk powder in it.......Since I am gluten AND dairy free, I can't use the milk powder and wondered what you thought about any possible replacements you might be aware of, or the effects on the bread of just leaving it out? I am not an experienced bread maker and so I don't really know what the milk powder is there to do - but I am very fed up of the awful bread that the supermarkets offer, so I applaud your patience in developing this loaf - well done!

    1. Hi Morgan. No worries. if you can't eat something there is always a way round it with a substitute.
      Having done a few checks on straight alternatives, there are a few alternative milk powders on the market - an almond milk powder (which sounds particularly good and I think would substitute really well (in fact I think I may get some myself to try!) and also soya milk drink powder. The ones that look worth a try are made by a company called Ecomil and I found on the Goodness Direct on-line store. The almond milk powder is also on the Healthy Supplies website. They are not cheap, but I think if bread is a staple, then it may be worth going for it. Any other alternative non-dairy milk powder should substitute well, although the rice milk powders seem to be hit and miss on reviews and lack nutritional content.
      I would also consider just trying to substitute with some ground almonds (at the same volume), assuming you can eat nuts..... it's worth a try if you don't want to shell-out for the milk powder.
      Let me know if you give it a try! I really hope it works for you..... the supermarket bread is pretty appalling on the whole.
      On the back of comments I have received, I am testing the recipe as it stands by hand-baking so keep an eye out to see how it goes (I have one proving as I type!).
      I will also give some dairy-free alternatives a try so that I can ensure my advice is sound.

    2. Wow - thanks for all that. I will look for the almond milk powder as I try to avoid soya. Might be a while, but I will give it a go - thank you for all your help x

    3. Wow - thanks for all that. I will look for the almond milk powder as I try to avoid soya. Might be a while, but I will give it a go - thank you for all your help x

    4. You're welcome Morgan. I have now posted a hand-baked version too!

  9. I was really excited at this blog post and the bread looks amazing, but then I got down to the actual recipe - and it has milk powder in it.......Since I am gluten AND dairy free, I can't use the milk powder and wondered what you thought about any possible replacements you might be aware of, or the effects on the bread of just leaving it out? I am not an experienced bread maker and so I don't really know what the milk powder is there to do - but I am very fed up of the awful bread that the supermarkets offer, so I applaud your patience in developing this loaf - well done!

  10. I love how passionate you are and I'm so pleased all your hard work has produced these amazing results - well done!

    1. Awwww thanks Kat. Am I that obvious?!
      I think of all GF baking, bread is the mountain we strive to get a good result on (and is the nemesis of so many GF bakers), because it forms the basis of so much that we eat (and frankly a good sandwich makes lunch so much easier!)

  11. A big thank you for this recipe. I made the loaf yesterday and it's taste and texture are so good. It did, however, sink big time. This will not deter me from trying again. I don't think I made any errors in weighing and measuring, but it is possible! 2 things I have wondered about - my Panasonic SD257 has a 2hr gf programme and the eggs I use are free range, locally produced larger than average and of mixed size, so although I tried to select ones that came within the weight range quoted for UK large, I think I might have had too much fluid, may I ask about the eggs you use please as I think I might have to be mindful of this. Regards Ali.

    1. Mmmmm..... scratches head! I use free range eggs - always 'large' (but not extra large). I get them from my childminder's parents who have a free range farm. I have just weighed a box each egg at a time and (with shells on) they are each weighing in at between 62 and 70g.
      The 2 hour GF programme sounds like it should be fine (mine is just 10 mins short of that). I always put the ingredients in and set to go straight away with no timer-delay (as seems to be advised by manufacturers re GF bread).
      It may be that the extra 10 mins has added rise time for your machine (my machine says it has a rise time of 40 to 45 mins)? If this is the case, you may want to reduce the yeast quantity slightly if you have the same problem again. You are probably safe to drop to about 10g and see how that changes things?
      Otherwise, it may well be a liquid issue. Weigh the liquid really carefully and be sure it is warm. If you have a look in the machine while it is mixing, it will look smooth and thick, but not lumpy.
      Let me know how you get on and if none of that helps, I will think again!! It's strange, because this recipe hasn't failed me yet..... so please do keep in touch with the results!
      Best wishes

    2. Kate, thank you for your detailed reply. The 4 eggs that are in the egg tray weigh 69,70,74 and 81gms. I will try the next loaf exactly as recipe, but perhaps weighing the eggs and selecting the ones that are lighter, and being very careful with the liquid measurement and see what happens. If need be, on a subsequent batch I will reduce the yeast as you suggest. I certainly don't count this as a failure as the bread is still to die for, I am over the moon to have eaten a home made damson jam sandwich yesterday and a yummy fried egg open sandwich today. The first time that I have eaten anything but toasted GF bread for ages (that being the only way it has been palatable for me).

      I hope that you or anyone else reading this don't think that this is a complaint, it certainly is not, just an observation on my first attempt LOL. I have been munching my way through a batch of yummy walnut & vanilla shortbread biscuits (no pistachios), in the freezer are the most divine cheese scones (my personal weakness) and cranberry scones (no blueberries), I really cannot thank you enough for sharing your recipes. I will keep you posted! Best wishes Ali.

    3. Thanks Alison. No worries..... It certainly wasn't taken as a complaint on my part. Bread machines can vary greatly and with GF bread, the slightest difference in wetness etc can make a big difference. It is important for me to know what works when other people make the recipes as it helps me to learn to and to advise on detail when I post!
      I know exactly what you mean about the need for GF bread to be eaten as 'toast'..... We were thrilled to have a normal sandwich too!
      So pleased you are enjoying the recipes..... Keep in touch! x

  12. I am glad I came across your post. I have tried so many different flours and recipes, but the end result always seems too heavy. It never tastes like normal bread. I am hoping I will have more luck with your recipe :-)

    1. Thank you Natalie. I make this bread regularly. I hope it works for you too..... It's also really easy to make by hand if you don't have a bread maker. Let me know if you have any problems (or just how you find it)! x

  13. Some consumers may head straight for the well-known brands and old-fashioned bread makers through word of mouth but that does not mean they are necessarily the best.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
    I made this for my GF sister, who was delighted to be able to eat a "normal" looking and delicious sandwich once more. The only downside was the loaf was gone in no time.
    If I pretty much doubled the ingredients, would this still work, or is this the largest size that will work in a bread machine? (Panasonic 2500).

    1. HI John..... Sorry I have only just seen this comment which must have got lost in my in-box. I too have a panasonic (2501) but am not sure it would fit a double-size loaf? The honest answer is, I have no idea! You could make a big batch of flour mix (ensure it is well-blended by shaking vigorously in an airtight container) and weigh out what you need for each loaf to save time?
      Thanks for the great feedback though. It is SO reassuring when other people enjoy a recipe too! xx

  15. I made this for the first time today, it is totally yummy, looking forward to being able to eat sandwiches once more. Thank you.

    1. Update, my hubby has been smiling as I ate scrambled eggs on toast and kept commenting on how amazing it is to eat toast that crunches again.

    2. Hi Alison. SO pleased it was a good loaf. It does make the most delicious toast for sure. x

  16. Hi Kate. I am so excited that I have discovered your recipe. I have been searching for a GF bread recipe that uses Teff flour for ages and coincidently we've just purchased a Panasonic SD2501 so my stars have finally aligned. I will definitely be baking this today. Thank you.

    1. Thank you. I am so pleased you have discovered the recipe! I hope that it is working for you. If there are any problems, let me know. Either way, it would be great to hear how you have found it.
      I am planning to publish an amazing new brown wholegrain recipe very soon (which also uses Teff amongst other flours). Although at the moment it is a hand made bread (although pretty quick and straight forward), I plan to run some bread-maker tests on it too, to see how it stands up! x


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