Do you dream of perfect wholemeal bread that is also gluten free? I know I did! It is one of those elusive ‘desperately want’ staples that evades the gluten free and coeliac experience and leaves you longing and hoping that it will one day be achievable. Well, my lovely readers, that day has come…. Meet my best ever Gluten Free Brown Bread…. It may turn out to be the only recipe you will ever need.
Anyone who follows the Gluten Free Alchemist Instagram feed or my Face Book Page will know that I have been teasing you with this loaf for months. I make no apology for the delay in bringing it to you. I had to be really and truly happy with it before I was willing to ‘go public’… and yes… I AM a perfectionist and proud.
Don’t think you’re a baker? My Gluten Free Brown Bread recipe is easy to make and is good for you too…
Seriously, I hope this loaf will change the way you feel about gluten free bread… Real gluten free home-baked bread CAN be done…. and this is the loaf that proves it. It is simple and straightforward (once you have made it a couple of times, you get into a quick rhythm of pre-prepping the dry mix, which makes the rest child’s play) and promises not only incredible texture, but also a great nutrition boost as well.
Easy to make, this gluten free brown bread is not only wholemeal, but contains no preservatives and no gums…. It is full of goodness from the gluten free oats, flax, psyllium and other wholegrain, protein-rich flours contained within and is enriched with eggs and milk (dairy free optional) for extra nutritionally-needed protein and vitamin D.
The eggs also help provide structure. Whilst I’m sure there must be a way to replicate without egg, I do not yet know what that is…
This bread doesn’t crumble, is not dry, remains soft and lastingly fresh for days, toasts well, makes great sandwiches and tastes incredible… with (or without) any topping or filling. I do not make any of these claims lightly. This is not gluten free wholemeal bread that has been slung together hopefully…. It has been my work for many months… testing, honing, tweaking, re-testing over and over again until I can say hand on heart, I can tweak no more. This may be the best I can do (although those who know me will vouch that finding the key to making perfect gluten free bread (brown or otherwise) is an obsession of mine, that will no doubt continue into the future with ever-more variations and options).
I have always made my brown bread using 1 pound loaf tins, mainly because that’s a good size for our needs. I would recommend you do the same, because I know this works (and I have no idea why, but I have never actually tried making it as a two-pound loaf). I usually use a metal tin the shape of the one photographed above, although it works just as well in a non-holed tin. I can also vouch for the eat one now, freeze one for later approach… The loaf freezes well, although may lose a tiny bit of ‘elasticity’ once defrosted. Just make sure it is well wrapped in a sealed bag before freezing (I have just one bag that I keep using for each batch to save on plastic waste).
The recipes below include a corn and buckwheat free version as I know these ingredients can cause issues for some people. The next stage development for my gluten free wholemeal bread is to try and vary to a non-oat version for the oat-intolerant among you, but I am also testing for a bread-maker version too. If there are any other flours on the list that you cannot eat or tolerate, please please leave me a comment or send an e-mail and I will offer alternatives and substitutes.
What do other people think of my Gluten Free Wholemeal Brown Bread?
The final recipe that I share with you here, has been mixed, proved, baked and eaten every week at GFHQ for months. It consistently rises, has a consistent texture and consistently brings a smile to all our faces. Even Mr GF who is a gluten-eater when away from home (god-forbid, I would never let gluten cross the threshold here…) thinks it is amazingly good and compares with the expectations of wholemeal wheat bread (it certainly comes darn close to my recollections, both for texture and flavour).
Actually… He goes further in telling me that it is better than wheat bread. Now… I could tell myself that he is just being nice because I am married to him, but believe me when I tell you that Mr GF and indeed Miss GF are my harshest critics… These guys really don’t beat around the bush when they don’t like something I have made, or when they think it isn’t up to standard… THIS bread surpasses the grade with both of them.
Praise for my recipe doesn’t stop at home though. I have shared my wholemeal bread with friends, family and with several others when I attended a Life Reboot Camp weekend. I also gave a version of the loaf made with Fairy Flour to the Free From Fairy herself (who shared it with her sister), when I attended the Free From & Allergy Show in London. I have been both humbled and proud of the positive comments it has received.
What is the best way to get ingredients ready to make my Gluten Free Brown Bread?
You may be looking down the list of flours and thinking ‘blimy… that’s a lot of ingredients’…. and yes, you are most definitely right. Sometimes, when you are aiming for gluten free wholemeal bread perfection, you have to push the boat out and throw the entire contents of the larder at it until you find just the right combination. But actually, most of the base flours are in proportion with my tried and tested home-blended rice-free flour blend, so if you keep the blend pre-mixed and ready, adding the additional or alternative flours is no trouble at all. Alternatively, you can use pre-blended Fairy Flour (version 4 of the recipe has been tried with this blend), if you want to simplify things (you can get six 1-pound loaves with one bag of her flour plus the other ingredients used in the recipe).
If you are not sure where to find the flours needed, it’s worth checking with your local health food shop (independents are particularly willing to order in for you, if they don’t have them already), but I also often buy on-line from Healthy Supplies or Shipton Mill and some of you may still be eligible to get some individual pure flours on prescription. Sadly, we no longer can… If you are outside the UK, you probably know your flour sources better than I would, but if you are not sure, go on line and just double check the GF status of any flour you buy.
Because I use oat flour so often (making wholemeal bread at least once a week), I make sure I have a stash ready and waiting in an airtight container in the larder (I have always ground my own in the blender using gluten free oats…. it’s cheaper and more accessible). I also have a small airtight container of psyllium husk powder (available from many health food stores) which I grind at home too.
In fact, what I usually do (because I make this loaf every week), is keep a separate airtight container handy and then when I get a spare moment, I mix up all the dry ingredients for the bread recipe and set aside, prepped for my Friday night/Saturday morning bake session. This means that making gluten free wholemeal bread dough literally takes me 20 minutes and then I twiddle my thumbs or chill with a mug of coffee and a book for less than an hour more, whilst it proves and bakes… Job done! I may have it down to a fine art, but really, it is so easy once you have made it a couple of times.
I have tested the recipe for my gluten free brown bread with dozens of flour combinations to get to the recipes that I share with you here. Heads up though… occasionally when the bread cools after baking, it sucks in slightly at the sides. The ‘sucking-in’ is randomly intermittent and I have no idea why it happens. Either way, it does not affect the final texture of the bread, but the shape of each slice may not be a perfect ‘square’.
So without any more waffle… here it is. The recipe that I have wanted to share with you for so long… my Gluten Free Wholemeal Brown Bread. If you have any questions, please contact me either by e-mail or in the comments below and I will do my best to make amazing gluten free brown bread as easy and accessible for you as possible…
And please…. if you do make it, let me know how you got on. I would LOVE to hear from you!
Note added after publishing : If you don’t have any milk powder, you can use a straight sub of water quantity for milk, but it is important that you heat it to the right temperature, before adding to the mixture. The use of milk powder is because it is generally easier to get water to the correct temperature and to boil a kettle than to heat milk in a microwave or saucepan to the correct temperature (with less washing up). You can also take the dry mix self-catering, ready to whip up some bread whilst on holiday.
A number of people have now made this bread using one 2 lb tin. I understand that it has mostly worked well, although cooking time will need adjustment. Those who have used a larger tin have adjusted oven temperature and timings as follows : 20 mins at 200 C/Gas 6, then turn oven down to 180 C/Gas 4 for a further 40 minutes. If concerned that the loaf is browning to quickly, pop a piece of foil over the top towards the end.
Vicki (Free From Fairy) has also made an alternative version using milk kefir. She uses a straight sub of home-made kefir for the same volume of water (removing any additional milk powder from the recipe).
If you make any alternative versions, please let me know!
I am sharing this incredible Gluten Free Wholemeal Brown Bread Recipe with :
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