Incredible Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule that looks, tastes and feels like ‘REAL’ bread. No egg. Easy to make dairy free and vegan. Stays fresh for 2 to 3 days.
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Published 21st July 2022
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Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule. An accidental recipe…
I can’t get enough of this Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule. It has the MOST incredible texture. It honestly has the smell, look and taste of real (dare I say ‘normal’) bread. Even better… It’s not only gluten free (and thus safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac)), but also contains no egg and is easy to make vegan too.
Amazing as it may seem however, this particular bread is somewhat accidental. It started life as a French baguette. But in searching for the ultimate gluten free and easy-to-make Vegan loaf, I figured testing it in different shapes was worth a try. I am so glad I did… Because this is Gluten Free Artisan Bread that is worth getting truly excited about.
What you’ll love about my Gluten Free Artisan Bread Recipe
So, apart from the fact that you can’t tell it’s gluten free (the BIG one!), what else will you love about my artisan bread recipe?
- Inside that perfectly chewy crust, the interior is super soft, light, and bready. The texture is open and exactly the real deal.
- It’s flexible to a number of flour subs, making it a great recipe for people who need to avoid certain ingredients.
- You can knead it AND you can shape it! Okay, so it may just be nerdy people like me that get excited about making bread that can be kneaded and shaped like wheat bread, but I think that’s exceptional.
- Its NOT sourdough. Again… I know that there has been a massive growth in the making of sourdough bread in the last couple of years, but not everyone likes it. And equally, not everyone can be bothered with nurturing a sourdough starter or dealing with constant ‘discard’. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what I mean.
- As well as being gluten free, it’s also egg free and can be made vegan too.
- It stays soft and edible for 2 to 3 days (and that’s without toasting).
- It’s easy to make. Honestly. There’s nothing complicated about making this recipe. Just follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be eating great Gluten Free Artisan Bread in no time at all.
The ingredients in my Gluten Free Artisan Bread
A good flour blend
As always, getting a great gluten free bread requires attention to the flour blend. I never say this lightly. Commercial ‘high street’ blends and ‘all-purpose’ gluten free flours simply won’t get the result that you are truly hoping for. Sure, they’ll make a loaf of bread, but the texture is (in my experience) always ‘off’ (even if it looks like a loaf of bread).
For this particular Gluten Free Artisan Bread recipe, you’ll need to make a flour blend (using gluten free single flours) with:
- Tapioca Starch
- Potato Starch
- And a combination of two of the following gluten free flours: Oat; Sorghum; Millet; Buckwheat; fine Brown Rice. It’s possible that quinoa and other similar protein-rich flours will also work, but I haven’t tested them so far… My absolute favourite combo however, is the pairing of Millet and Oat flours… If you can eat oats.
Psyllium Husk (and why it’s important when making gluten free artisan bread)
Along with a carefully balanced and formulated flour blend, psyllium husk is the gluten free magician’s best weapon against bad gluten free bread. And for this loaf it is crucial to the recipe… acting as a gluten-substitute by providing binding, structure and elasticity. But it also ensures the retention of moisture to ensure a soft and lastingly-flexible texture. There is NO substitute that I would currently recommend.
Psyllium is usually bought either as whole husks or powder. I recommend buying whole husks and then grinding them at home in a blender. The problem with commercial psyllium powder is that it can sometimes be ground very fine. And this can affect the texture of some loaves, making them denser if used in the same ratio. Nonetheless, partially grinding the husks does allow them to absorb water more effectively, to help the loaf stay moist and soft for longer.
While it may seem odd to have both psyllium husk and xanthan gum listed alongside each other in a recipe, when making gluten free artisan bread, it brings a little extra fluffiness to the texture. I personally think it makes a positive difference.
However, while psyllium husk is essential to the bread’s structure, xanthan gum is not. Thus, if you are unable to tolerate xanthan gum, it’s fine to leave it out.
Salt is not just added to bread for flavour. It is also important in supporting a controlled rise when it interacts with yeast. The amount used in the loaf is balanced for the recipe. As such it is important to use the amount stated or the end result may be impacted.
Milk Powder – either dairy OR dairy free
Milk powder is added for a couple of reasons… It supports the rise and structure of the dough and helps achieve that all-important soft and fluffy texture. But it also ensures a richer flavour and superior crust.
My Gluten Free Artisan Bread recipe has been tested both using dairy milk powder and also coconut milk powder. Both work equally well.
If you can’t find any milk powder however, you can alternatively substitute by using hand-warm milk in the recipe instead of water. It isn’t exactly comparable, but will go some way towards achieving the same effect.
Yeast (and which is the best type when making this artisan bread recipe)
My Gluten Free Artisan Bread has been tested using dried active yeast. Specifically, this is yeast which needs to be activated in warm liquid and with a little sugar before being added to the rest of the bread mix. I use Allinson’s Dried Active Yeast which is available in most good UK supermarkets.
I wouldn’t recommend substituting for instant yeast as the ratios and action for active dried yeast supports the particular crumb structure being sought. If you don’t have Allinson’s brand where you live, use a yeast with similar qualities. And ALWAYS check the ingredient label for risk from hidden gluten. Sadly, some yeast manufacturers (including major supermarkets) think it’s necessary to add wheat to the mix. 🤷
If you still want or need to use either fresh or an alternative dried yeast for making the bread, you may need to do some experimentation to get the levels and ratios right. All yeasts vary. This article on yeast substitution may help.
Maple Syrup or honey for yeast activation
Yeast needs something to feed off when it activates and grows. And while it’s fine to use a small amount of granular sugar, I always use either runny honey or Maple Syrup to support the process when making gluten free artisan bread. There are several reasons for this…
- Both are natural and unrefined.
- They each dissolve easily with the warm water during the activation stage.
- Because they are natural, they are not ‘sugary’ in flavour, and that means the bread won’t taste sweet.
- Honey in particular, is a natural preservative. As such, it supports the bread’s texture and shelf-life.
Olive oil is another fabulous addition to gluten free bread making. Not only does it help the shelf-life and moisture levels in the bread, but it enhances texture and flavour. As a kneadable dough, adding a drop of oil to my Artisan Bread recipe will also make it easier to handle and shape.
Cider vinegar (just a small drop) added to bread dough gives an extra burst to yeast growth. Its mild acidity helps break down the starch and protein, boosting a good rise and a light, moist and tender crumb. Although you can substitute with an alternative vinegar or lemon juice, I have not yet tested this recipe with alternatives.
When adding water to a bread dough mix, it is important that it is warm and specifically, ‘hand hot’. Hand hot = 38 C/100 F and up to 39.5/40 C. Too cold and the yeast won’t activate. Too hot and the yeast will be killed so that the bread can’t rise.
As such, It’s important to check the temperature carefully. I use an accurate food thermometer to test. However, it’s fine to also check by touch.
The amount of water added to my Gluten Free Artisan Bread recipe has been carefully tested for the best result. I would NOT recommend altering the ratio in the recipe and would advise weighing it by digital scale for accuracy.
When making my Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule… Follow the recipe!
I honestly can’t emphasise this enough. While bread baking of any kind can always have unexpected challenges (like this morning when I completely over-proofed a loaf in half the time as the weather was so hot), the main reason for things going wrong is because the recipe hasn’t been followed.
By ‘follow the recipe’ I mean…
- Use the ingredients as listed
- Follow the instructions for process
I know sometimes it’s all too tempting to want to make something even though you only have half the ingredients in the cupboard. But making substitutions that aren’t ‘like for like’ will lead to a loaf that disappoints.
I have decided not to go through each and every tip to make gluten free artisan bread in this post. But instead, direct you to my previous post on how to make a gluten free French Baguette, where advice is detailed and is equally relevant to the bread recipe shared here. Note: In that post, process photos are included to help you know what the dough should look like at each stage.
Equipment needed to make this Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule
Although making a Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule is not difficult, there are a few specific extra pieces of kit that are recommended for the best results…
Digital Scales with a macro and micro scale are for accurate weighing. When making bread, I always weigh in grams (including liquids such as water, milk, honey, and oil). Spoons, measuring jugs and cups are not accurate enough. The benefit of having a micro scale, is that it also ensures all-important accurate measurement of yeast and salt.
Mixer with a dough hook
The dough for my gluten free artisan bread needs plenty of mixing to get it even and well hydrated. It starts as a ‘batter’, but as the psyllium and flours hydrate fully, it becomes stiff and kneadable. Although it is possible to mix by hand, I wouldn’t recommend this, as it is really hard work and the dough is less likely to be fully blended. Either a hand mixer or stand mixer with dough hook attachments work well for the job.
Banneton basket or bowl
A Banneton Proofing Basket (7 inch) supports the shape of the boule when on its second (pre-oven) proof. To be fair, it’s a fairly robust dough in terms of holding shape, but for any boule (whether gluten free or wheat-based), a Banneton helps to get the best out of it. There is no need to use a liner for making my Artisan Boule.
If you don’t have a Banneton or can’t wait for it to arrive, the alternative is to use a similar-sized mixing bowl. Just make sure you dust the exterior of the dough with flour (I use brown rice flour) before dropping it into the bowl, to prevent sticking.
Dough scoring tool
To score and cut patterns into the surface of the dough before baking, it helps to have a Dough Scoring Tool (Lame) or a sharp knife. If you want to take the look of your Gluten Free Artisan Boules to the next level, a lame is worth the purchase.
Why is my boule darker in colour than the one in the photos?
The final colour of the boule you make (both in crust and crumb) will depend on the gluten free flours used to make it. Darker flours (such as buckwheat and sorghum in combination) will produce a darker loaf than lighter flours (such as millet and oat in combination).
Using different flour combinations will also alter the texture slightly, so I suggest experimenting a little to find your perfect boule!
Can I eat this Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule straight out of the oven?
Tricky one… We all know how tempting the smell of REAL freshly-baked bread can be. But my Gluten Free Artisan Boule definitely benefits from being allowed to cool down. This is because the gluten free crumb retains moisture that either evaporates or completes hydration as the bread cools.
If the boule is cut too early, the crumb will still be a little sticky. Not that that’s necessarily a problem if you don’t mind a slightly sticky crumb. But the loaf when properly baked and completely cool should not leave a significant sticky residue on the bread knife. It’s a good way of testing whether you have baked it for long enough. Although if unsure about the foibles of your particular oven, you can also use a food thermometer with a probe to test the internal temperature of the baking boule. It should be around 100 C (212 F) when ready.
Storing your Artisan Bread Boule
I have been really impressed with the shelf-life of my Gluten Free Artisan Boule. Although (like any home-baked bread, whether gluten free or wheat-based) it is at its freshest eaten on the day it is made, this loaf has still been good to eat without toasting 3 days in. While I suspect that will vary slightly depending on the flour combination used as well as climate, the difference should be marginal.
It is nonetheless important to store your boule in an airtight bag or wrap for best maintenance of texture and freshness. I have recently discovered BeeBee Wraps and specifically their large beeswax bread bag (which I bought when at the London Allergy and Free From Show). I can honestly say, it’s one of the best discoveries I’ve made in years. Not least because it’s a BAG and not a wrap. And that means it’s really easy to close and keep airtight!
How to use gluten free bread that has gone stale…
I challenge you not to eat this loaf before it has been allowed to go stale. However… if it does, don’t throw it away! There are so many ways to use it up…
- Turn it into standard gluten free Bread Crumbs… Perfect for Scotch Eggs and Veggie Burgers.
- Or… Use the interior crumb to make Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs for adding a crispy topping to Stuffed Peppers or Mac and Cheese.
- Toast it… It makes the most delicious toast!
- MakeBruschetta. The toppings you can add are endless and it’s perfect for parties, starters and lunch.
- Cut into pieces and turn into Croutons to sprinkle on your favourite gluten free Soup or Salad.
- Turn it into French Toast or Garlic Bread.
Ready to make a Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule?
And so… The recipe! Which you’ll find below. If you have any questions, please shout. When I make a recipe, I really want to make sure others get to enjoy it too. So if there’s anything you don’t understand, I’ll do my best to help. Either leave a comment at the bottom, email me, or contact me through social media. You’ll find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
For a quick run through of the process, I’ve made a little video as a guide (to be used in conjunction with this post…
For lots more bread recipes and inspiration, we also have a dedicated Gluten Free Bread Index. This brings all my bread recipes together in one place to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you need.
Note: This dough recipe has also been used to create an amazing French Gluten Free Baguette and also Gluten Free Petit Pain (French Style Bread Rolls). It has also been adapted to create an authentic French Artisan Gluten Free Fougasse.
Happy bread baking
A little extra gluten free bread inspiration to tempt you…
** © 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved. Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist.**
Gluten Free Artisan Boule
- small oven-proof dish
- 7 inch banneton basket (for each boule) See NOTES
- 5 g dried active yeast NOT instant yeast
- 12 g honey or maple syrup
- 80 g hand-warm water at 38 to 39.5 C
- 100 g tapioca starch
- 70 g millet flour or buckwheat or fine brown rice flour
- 75 g oat flour or sorghum flour
- 20 g potato starch
- 15 g ground psyllium husk not fine powder
- 12 g dairy milk powder or non-dairy milk powder tested with coconut milk powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum if can’t tolerate, then leave out
- 5 g fine sea salt
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 24 g olive oil
- 180 g hand warm water at 38 to 39.5 C
- In a mixing bowl, weigh the yeast, honey (or maple syrup) and 80g hand-warm water.
- Gently whisk together, to dissolve the yeast and blend.
- Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to activate and become frothy.
Mix the flour blend
- While the yeast is activating, weigh all the dry ingredients (flours, psyllium, milk powder, xanthan gum and salt) into an airtight container (or separate bowl) and mix well until fully blended.
Making and proofing the dough
- Once the yeast is activated, measure and add the cider vinegar, olive oil and remaining 180g of hand-warm water and whisk together.
- Add the dry flour mix and (preferably) using an electric whisk with a dough hook, gently beat all the ingredients together until blended. Halfway through mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are amalgamated. The dough will be wet and very sticky in appearance.
- Set the bowl aside to hydrate for about 10 to 15 minutes and then beat again with the dough hook for a further 5 minutes. The dough will now feel tough and very thick.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and set the dough (in the bowl) aside to proof in a warm place for about 40 to 50 minutes until almost doubled in size.
Preparing the Banneton
- While the dough is proofing, prepare the Banneton basket by coating the inside with a light dusting of brown rice flour. It is not necessary to use a liner.
Knocking back the dough
- Once the first proof is complete, lightly oil a work surface and hands and tip the dough out.
- ‘Knock back’ by gently kneading between lightly oiled hands, until the dough has become a thick and ‘slightly shiny’ consistency (but not too tight).
Shaping, rising and baking the boule
- Gently roll and shape the dough into a smoothish-surfaced ball.
- Sprinkle some fine brown rice flour (or buckwheat/sorghum flour) onto the work surface and carefully roll the dough-boule through the flour to coat (this is optional).
- Gently lift and transfer the dough boule into the prepared Banneton basket (smoothest side facing down).
- Set aside to rise in a warm place (for about 30 to 40 minutes) until increased in size by about two-thirds.
- Meanwhile, prepare the oven by placing a heat-proof dish at the bottom (for steam) and pre-heating to 220 C (425 F/Gas 7). Boil some water in the kettle.
- Once the dough has proofed for 30 to 40 minutes (judge on speed of rise), tip out onto a metal baking sheet.
- Use a lame or sharp knife to slash lines/a pattern across the dough surface as preferred. Leave to proof for about a further 8 to 10 minutes.
- At the same time, place 60 to 70 ml boiling water into the heat-proof dish at the base of the oven, so that it has a chance to become super-steamy before the bread goes in to bake.
- Place the bread in the oven (leaving the door open for as shorter time as possible) and bake for 20 minutes (at 220 C/425 F/Gas 7), with steam. Set a timer.
- After 20 minutes, remove the steam bowl from the base of the oven (if there is any remaining water) and turn the oven down to 190 C (375 F/Gas 5).
- Continue to bake for a further 40 minutes (approx), until the boule is crusty on the outside and light and hollow-sounding when tapped. The internal temperature of the bread should be about 100 C.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist