Your Gluten Free Bread Baking Questions Answered

I’ve made a recent discovery. All-day morning sickness is not conducive to cooking or writing a cooking blog! I’m feeling slightly better now that I’m in my 12th  week, so hopefully there will be some new recipes to share with you soon. In the meantime, I’m catching up with responding to your comments and emails and working on a few other blog-related projects.

There were a lot of bread related questions in the comments and emails from the past month, so I’ve posted them below along with my responses.  For the rest of you who are patiently waiting on me, I’m going to take another stab at my backlog on Wednesday night , so look for an email or comment from me then.

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

The picture above is my newest gluten free triumph . . . tall bread! This is my regular gluten free bread with one change – I beat the dough with my handmixer for several minutes.  This extra “kneading” helped the xanthan gum to develop, which allowed the bread to get REALLY TALL.

I was completely jumping around the kitchen with joy when I got home and saw this bread!  I couldn’t find my tape measure, but this loaf was almost double the size of my normal loaf.  I never got this result when I used the paddle with my bread machine, so if you want to try to replicate this you’ll need to mix up your dough in a bowl before adding it the machine (and baking at your usual setting).

P.S. If you have any questions about a gluten free pregnancy, post them in the comments. Gluten Free Mommy is expecting too and we might get together to co-write a series if there is enough interest.

Questions about Bread Making:

1. I just bought a bread machine, and was impressed that it has a gluten free setting on it. It makes 1.5 and 2 pound loaves. Can you tell me what size is your loaf? I’m thinking it’s a 1.5 after reading the blog; but not sure.

I think that it’s a 1.5 lb loaf too, but I’ve never actually measured it.

2. The bread machine directions says I have to put in the wet ingredients, then the dry, then a small hole for the yeast. That’s not how your gluten free bread recipe goes. Since I’ve never used a bread machine before this one, I’m not sure if I will hurt the machine by not using the paddle and just putting it all in.

Either method should be fine. The reason that I mix the dough in a bowl and then bake the bread without the bread machine paddle, is that I’ve lost the paddle. After years of baking without a paddle, my machine is not showing any ill effects. However, I used to follow the normal bread and you should be able to do that with my recipe without any problems.

3. Can I just substitute your gluten free flour mix for a regular cookie / cake / muffin recipe that calls for all purpose flour? What about the xanthan gum, when do I need to put that in my cake? cookies? muffins?

When I’m converting a recipe that calls for all purpose wheat flour, I try my flour mix as a 1:1 substitution in my first trial. Based on the results I might later add more or less corn starch, but the 1:1 substitution usually works really well. For cakes, I like a flour mixture of equaly parts of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour. Again, I use this as a 1:1 substitution for the wheat flour in cake recipes.

As for the xanthan gum, start by adding 1/2 tsp.xanthan gum per cup of flour mix to the dry ingredients. If your baked goods turn out crumbly, then add more xanthan gum. My experience with cookies is that the extent to which the butter and sugar are creamed has a much greater effect on the finished product than the amount of xanthan gum.

All that being said, my recipe is “all-purpose” in the sense that it can be used for a variety of gluten free recipes. It is not “all-purpose” like all-purpose wheat flour that already has leavening agents mixed in.  If you use my mix you will need to add baking powder, baking soda, or yeast to your recipe.

4. Is tapioca flour the same as tapioca starch? And what is tapioca starch flour?

Tapioca flour, tapioca starch, and tapioca starch flour are all the same thing. They are a great substitute for corn starch if you have corn issues.

5. I have a vita mix blender that I used to grind up wheat kernels into flour. So, my question is can I grind up brown rice to make brown rice flour? White rice to make rice flour? Tapioca to make tapioca flour / starch?

I’ve never tried making my own rice flours, but I’ve heard of people who do. I don’t think there is any harm in trying, but be sure to wash the blender well if you’ve used it for wheat flour as well.

6. I found your website this morning and was wondering if you have any recipes for wraps and sandwich breads that are bean free AND yeast free.  I am normally unable to digest beans well but during my pregnancy I have been unable to eat yeast as well.

Has anyone had any success with a bread recipe that is gluten free, dairy free and yeast free.  Yep I’m serious!.  I realize that these are all major players for successful bread but I am allergic to them all?

I get this question about yeast free bread a lot, but the only yeast free bread that I have heard of is the Simple Bread recipe at Elana’s Pantry.  The recipe is also, dairy, soy, and corn free. The only flour in the recipe is almond flour so it should work unless you also have a nut or egg allergy. I haven’t tried this recipe, so I can’t vouch for it; but you’re probably willing to try anything at this point.

Another strategy might be to take your favorite recipe and start substituting baking power and baking soda for the yeast.  This will take some willingness on your part to do some experiments, but may be worth the try if almond flour is prohibitively expensive.

7. Can you replace Apple Cider Vinegar with Rice Vinegar and not ruin the taste or performance of your gluten free bread /a>?

Amazingly enough, I don’t think that I’ve ever been out of apple cider vinegar when I needed to make bread, so I’ve never been forced to find a substitute. I just went to my pantry and did a sniff test on apple cider vinegar, white distilled vinegar and rice vinegar. Of the three the apple cider was the sweetest, with the rice vinegar coming in second. The rice vinegar that I use has added salt and sugar as it is supposed to be used to flavor sushi rice. I think that it would make a reasonable substitute especially if you add a bit of sugar to the recipe.  If your rice vinegar does not already have added sugar, then I would add even more. It might make sense to add the sugar to the vinegar until you get a noticeably sweet smell, and then add that to the dough.

8. I have a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I’ve found a good substitution for the all-purpose portion, but can’t seem to figure out what a good substitution for the whole wheat flour might be. I’ve heard substituting buckwheat flour or teff (one-to-one for the whole wheat) doesn’t work well, but don’t know what combination of flours/starches/gums would be best.

I’d suggest substituting 1/8th of the total flour in the recipe with buckwheat flour and using your all-purpose substitute for the remainder. Depending on whether you are using light, medium, or dark roast buckwheat this may or may not get the taste to where you would like it to be. But it should give you a good start.  You can probably get away with using buckwheat for 25% of the flour, if you need to work up to that.

9. Your gluten free flour calls for brown rice flour. Do you think it would be an error to substitute this with rice flour (that isn’t brown)? I am aware that brown rice noodles, for example, have a different texture than ordinary rice noodles, so I imagine there will be some difference. I have found a supplier of rice flour, but not brown rice flour?

The white rice flour should not make a tremendous difference. I’ve replaced part of the brown rice flour with white rice flour before and didn’t notice any difference.  That being said, Bob’s Red Mill is a great source for brown rice flour. I buy it in the 25 lb. bag, but you can also order individual bags or cases or 4.

If you have any additional bread or baking questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. And if know the answers to someone else’s questions, my feelings will not be hurt if you leave the answer in the comments section too =)

Comments

  1. I am saddened to learn that someone suffering from morning sickness doesn’t go around with a tape measure stuck to their forehead! How remiss.

    I would add that you can [just about] blizz anything in the magimix [cuisinart?] to get a rough equivalent to the ‘flour’ substitute of your choice.

    very best wishes

  2. Debra Odekirk says:

    I took the Really Good Sandwich Bread and cut a slice and wrapped it with plastic wrap and put it in a sandwich size closed baggie and put it in the freezer. After two weeks it was still moist.
    I took another slice and preped it the same way and put it in the freezer for 4 weeks and it was rather dry.
    I made one loaf and have had it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap and then put in a ziploc bag and it kept well for 2 weeks.
    When I slice it after refrigeration, I put the slice in the micro wave for about 1 minute on med. low to moisten and then spread it with margarine. This is the way my daughter eats it. She eats it as a side dish and not interested in sandwiches. She has Down Syndrome and Celiac Diseas diagnosed in 1999 and really likes this bread and the pancakes from the GF Soybean mix on this site. Debra

  3. I have celiac and am also expecting (20 weeks). I would love any gluten-free pregnancy tips and tricks you and GF Mommy can come up with. I think it would be helpful to have tips all the way into toddlerhood (i.e. GF breastfeeding, when to introduce gluten to the child’s diet etc.). I love the social network of the blogs – I find it so comforting and helpful!!

  4. Hi! We’re trying to get pregnant and I’m celiac. I would love anything you and Gluten-Free Mommy could post about food, morning sickness, etc. I’m taking the Rainbow brand prenatal vitamins and love them (they don’t make me throw up like the Women’s One a Day). Any tips about getting good nutrition and coping would be awesome. Take care of yourself!

  5. What a great resource this page is for gluten free bread bakers! I’d like to ask if you think adding rice bran to white rice flour would make an acceptable alternative to brown rice flour? And if so, what proportion would be good?

  6. I do not have a bread machine and I am new to the gluten free world. I need to make a white bread so one day I can eat a sandwhich. I would like a recipe, but need to know why you need xanthum gum, what purpose does it do? If I only have a problem with wheat, can I use something else for the gum?

  7. @Janice: I think adding rice bran is a great idea. I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t see any reason that it wouldn’t work. It may add even more fiber than brown rice flour would have =)

  8. @Rita: The xanthan gum provides the elasticity that is missing without gluten. It gives the bread the structure that it needs to rise and also helps hold everything together. Gluten free baked goods without xanthan tend to be very crumbly! Good luck on the bread making… if you find a recipe that you like it won’t be long before you’re turning up your nose at wheat bread sandwiches =)

  9. I tried this recipe last night for the first time, including the bit about beating it for a few minutes, dumped the wad of dough in my machine (no paddle), set it for 80 minutes and went to bed.

    I recall smelling that wonderful aroma as it was baking later in the night, but when I got up this morning, the bread was the exact same height it was the night before, basically a thick, heavy perfectly toasted 2-pound biscuit.

    Everything went fine making the recipe – foamy yeast, frothy eggs, doughy texture of the mass. Any ideas what went wrong?

  10. Is there another less expensive ingredient the same as xanthan gum that I can get?

  11. It works! It works! I was thrilled too when I got my latest bread loaf out of the machine. I stuck the dough (with flax “eggs”) in my kitchenaid with the whisk attachment. I beat it for several minutes before putting in the breadmaker. The finished bread came out like no GF bread we’ve ever made–tall, light, with tiny evenly spaced holes. It even sliced like regular bread and held together better in sandwiches. The kids loved it. Your blog has just been indispensible to us. Thanks for this latest tip!

  12. Oh about xanthan gum…I sometimes use half xanthan, half guar gum in this recipe. The results are always good and a lot cheaper.

  13. Mary Frances–I am flagging this for a later, in-depth read. So ready for the weather to cool of so I can start baking fall treats! Thanks for answering all these questions!!!

    xoxo-
    Anna

  14. @Shawn: woohoo!

  15. @Rita: I believe that guar gum is similar, but it’s still relatively expensive and I don’t often see recipes that use it. I typically order my xanthan gum directly from Bob’s Red Mill whenever I order the 25lb bag of brown rice flour. Even with shipping the price is lower than what I would pay in a store.

  16. @Nathan: I’ve never had good results when I leave the bread in overnight. Try taking it out as soon as it’s done, even if you have to set an alarm.

  17. I’m pregnant (6w4d) and I would love any gluten-free pregnancy tips you have to share. I haven’t been “officially” diagnosed with Celiac because I don’t want my insurance premiums to go up. But as soon as I went gluten free about 4 months ago I had immediate relief from a variety of issues. I just discovered this blog and I’m excited to try some of the recipes.

  18. @Cara: Congratulations on the babe! Gluten Free Mommy is on a posting hiatus until she gets over the morning-sickness (and I have kinda been too) but maybe we’ll be able to put something together in the coming months.

  19. What causes gluten free bread to have a hugh hole in the centre of the loaf. The bread seems to rise ok and the first couple of slices are fine but then you hit this cave about 1.5 inches high going all the way to the last couple of slices at the other end

    We are using Beth Hagman’s 4 flour recipe with a Black and Decker
    machine.

    Thanks,

    Leo

  20. @Leo: The cave is probably being caused by the blade mixer. Try mixing the dough in a bowl first, and then baking in the bread machine without the blade.

  21. Hi, I’ve just found your site and got all inspired about making my own GF bread again :-) Enjoyed loaf no.2 today for lunch (no.1 was a little soggy (still tasty!) so adjusted wet/dry ratio). Thank you for your tips and experiments. I remember my GF pregnancy with ‘morning’ (all day) sickness all through. I hope by now it has passed for you.

    Kathy & Cara, I’m still B/feeding, still GF. I waited till my son was about 12 mths before trying him on bread and other starches. He’s all good, is fine with wheat bread and eats GF with me too.

    Re guar gum – its what I use, as here its 1/3 the price of xanthan gum. Seems to work just fine! My understanding is that the two gums are pretty much interchangeable. FWIW I saw something on another site that said guar gum gives a slightly more tender result.

    • I am past the morning sickness. Today is the first day of the 3rd trimester, and I’m feeling quite large, uncomfortable and tired. But I’m enjoying feeling the baby moving around like crazy =)

      I need to try the guar gum. I’ve never seen it in stores here, but Amazon’s price looks pretty good.

  22. Thanks for the recipe. Spouse is relatively graciously enduring the gf diet I’m making him try but he misses quick quesadillas for snacks.

    A local midwife swore that morning sickness is caused by the baby’s brain developing and needing extra protein, ergo, you got a smart baby in there! I can assert that extra red meat, p butter, and salmon worked great for me. Had very few problems as long as I kept tanked up. Even a glass of milk helped

  23. I am searching for information on making gluten free, soy free cinnamon rolls. My bread machine is a very old model and seems to be not right at all, so I’d like to make the rolls without a bread machine.

  24. Baking Bread WITHOUT a Bread Machine?

    I didn’t see this question answered anywhere but I may have missed it?

    Do your recipes work with hand mixing or with motorized mixer with batter blade? I don’t have room for another piece of cooking equipment!

  25. My normal recipe is a kneadless dough, but I’m definitely willing to use one that can be done with a mixer if my bread machine doesn’t work.

  26. Jan Niemann says:

    I found a tortilla recipe that turned out beautifully, however it made me very sick immediately. It calls for bean flour and I believe that was the problem, however when I tried to substitute something else, it didn’t work at all. Can anyone give me some help? I have many many restrictions. It calls for rice flour, tapioca and potato starches too. I’m ok with them.

  27. I am trying the sandwich bread recipe and wiuld like to bake it in my bread machine. It is recommended to bake it for 80 minutes. My machine does not have an 80 min. setting. How do you recommend baking this? Should I use the rise settings at all? Thanks Jan

  28. Sandra Flewelling says:

    I have been trying to make gluten free bread in the oven and in the bread machine , it rises, falls as soon as I take it out of the oven and is doughy. It does not cook no matter how long I leave it in the oven. I haved used perfect flour blend from f Namaste foods and also the ingredients they ask for in Scott Adams recipes. When you use the perfect flour blend do you add extra exathan gum if it is already in it? When I make the bread I used the same equal amounts of flour. I also don’t have a bread machine that makes gluten free bread, do I just leave the paddles out when I make the
    bread. The minutes for bakeing the bread are all pre set. Also do you use the same amount of flour that is in the regular recipes in the bread machine book? I have had so many flops and it is so ixpensive. I would love to be able to make a sandwich bread.

  29. Hi! I a, knew to this whole gluten free thing and love to bake. I was wondering if you can make gluten free bread in a regular machine. I tried it using brown rice flour as a substitute for bread flour and it turned out all nasty and wet. Do I need to add other types of flour?

  30. @Sheena: you do need a mix of flours to recreate all of the properties of wheat flour. There is a link in the 3rd paragraph of this post to my favorite recipe which uses brown rice flour, cornstarch, soy flour, and masa harina. There is also a flour mix post on the site that talks about different substitutions.

    One other point: gluten free bread can be made in a bread machine, but it won’t technically be “gluten free” if you’ve baked wheat bread in the machine before.

  31. I grind my own rice flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, and garbanzo flours in my wheat grinder. It has saved me a ton of money on the expensive flours!!

    I also love this flour recipe (link below) for muffins, quickbreads, and cakes it seems to work the best in sweet baking.
    http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreecookingbasics/r/gfflourlavornia.htm

  32. what if i dont have apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar and only distilled whie vinegar (which i think is gross)? what can i use with my gluten free bread mix? need your help asap!

  33. I am so happy you are on here! I am wondering if anyone else notices the strange taste in many gluten-free baking products? I originally found it in Glutino bread and then in Mariposa products, and most recently in plain-old rice bread and the brownie mix I buy at Trader Joes. To me it’s an awful taste and smell and I have wasted plenty of food and money because it’s intolerable to me, and I cannot figure out what it is, even sitting with recipes side by side. It’s not acidic, more just, very very unnatural. Any ideas? Am I just crazy? (probably).

  34. I am having the same trouble as Sandra Flewelling. The bread rises good, and bakes up good, and then when taken out of the oven, it falls in the middle. I did have one loaf that rose almost 3 times it’s size, but it was a giant cavern on the inside. Mostly, it falls and shrinks. What can I do?

  35. Lawanda Davis says:

    I use my Vitamixer to grind up my rice into flours and it works perfectly. But I never thought about grinding up the tapioca. I must try that now.

  36. Lawanda Davis says:

    Have you come up with a really good chocolate cake recipe? Or maybe you could suggest adjustments to the red velvet cake recipe you have?

  37. Carla Harden says:

    Hello,
    Does anyone have a recipe for sandwhich bread that does NOT call of eggs or yeast? I am allergic to those also or is there something I could use as a substitute for those things?

  38. See notes from Bonnie (12/19/09) and my notes from 5/4/10.

    I’ve found that flax seed for eggs and coconut flour works the best. Coconut seemed to add moisture but I over cooked and the crust was tough. Max. 60 min covered, 10 min. uncovered. I also added extra water while mixing because it seemed dry. (1 tbsp?)

    I used 1 cup brown and white rice, 1 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup bean and coconut flours. (total 4 cups)
    1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp agave, xanthan gum and rice vinegar.

    Dry ingredients:
    1 1/2 cups potato starch flour
    1 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup rice bran
    1/2 cup almond flour
    1/2 cup tapioca starch
    1 teaspoon salt (My friend Christine suggested more salt – you decide.)
    2 tablespoons baking powder (I use this gluten-free/corn-free brand.
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    2 teaspoons guar gum (If you can tolerate xanthan gum, Carol Fenster has concluded the perfect combination is equal parts of xanthan and guar gum.)

    Wet ingredients:
    2 cups water
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    Extra water as needed

    Toppings:
    Sesame Seeds

    Directions:
    - Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    - Stir flours, starch, salt, gum, baking soda, and baking powder until well combined.
    - Whisk together oil, 2 cups water, molasses, and apple cidar vinegar in a small bowl.
    - Add wet ingredients to dry and stir together just until thoroughly mixed, not too much.
    - Pour mix into oiled bread pan. Sprinkle top of loaf with seeds, and lightly spray with oil.
    - Cover bread pan with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes. Remove foil, and bake another 10 minutes, or until top is brown. Test loaf with a skewer or knife to make sure it’s done.
    - Cool in pan briefly, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. For best results, store in the refrigerator and slice off pieces as you need it. After two days I like to slice up the bread, slip it into plastic freezer bag, and store in the freezer to use as needed.

  39. I have baked a similar bread, but find that although the crust is lovely and crisp, the texture of the bread when cut is sometimes still too wet. How do I solve this?
    Great website – I am a huge fan!!!!!!!!!!

  40. When using a breaad mix and oven baking my bread loaves have a hole about 1/2 inch deep in the center of the loaf. What am I doing to cause the loaf not to raise when baking and to have this dip in the center?

  41. Is there something you can substitute for the soy flour in the gluten free flour mix used in your really, really good bread recipe? We can’t do soy, have recently gone gluten free, and are looking for recipes to ease the transition for younger family members.

    Thanks!

  42. @Donna — I had the same problem with bread falling in center. I have since reduced my amount of water by 3 Tbsp and have had better success with a rounded-top on my bread loaves!

    @Jean — try sorghum flour in place of soy

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