Multi-Grain Flat Bread: Gluten Free Bread Without Starch

If you haven’t guessed by now, most gluten free bread recipes are a bit scarce in the nutrients we’re accustomed to seeing in wheat bread. One reason is that wheat breads are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals during the manufacturing process, and the other is that gluten free breads depend heavily on starch flours to achieve a (somewhat) normal taste and texture.

For years I assumed that there was no way around this, but recent requests from readers nudged me into a series of experiments with the Flat Bread that is ubiquitous in our household. Our usual Flat Bread recipe is based on the Gluten Free Wraps that Kate posted at Gluten Free Gobsmacked. I say “based” because John recently read the recipe, which we keep posted on the refrigerator, and realized that we don’t follow the instructions at all. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while will not be surprised that I completely skip the 40 minutes rise and the 30 minute cool down.

Gluten Free Multi-Grain Flat Bread

The Wrap recipe is delicious but the brown rice flour and corn starch are not high in fiber or iron, two of the measures that I’m most concerned with. I decided to reduce the brown rice flour and completely eliminate the tapioca starch. In it’s place I added Garbanzo/Fava Flour and Teff Flour, both of which are high in fiber, protein, and iron. And while I was at it, I made the recipe yeast-free and egg-free.

The first experimental batch was amazing! The bread was more tender and fluffy than I would have ever imagined possible for a bread that has no starch, and it had a great whole-grain taste. I’ve posted the nutritional data for the Multi-Grain Flat Bread and whole-wheat bread below for comparison. The Flat Bread definitely wins out if you’re concerned with adding more fiber, calcium and iron to your diet.

Two Slices of Multi-Grain Flat Bread:
Calories 276, Calories from fat 76, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0, Sodium 294 mg, Total Carbohydrates 41g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Sugars 5g, Protein 8g. Calcium 10% RDA, Iron 17% RDA

Two Slices of commercially prepared whole wheat bread:
Calories 138, Calories from fat 8, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0, Sodium 264 mg, Total Carbohydrates 24g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 4g, Protein 8g. Calcium 3% RDA, Iron 4% RDA

(P.S. I am working on a low-fat version of the bread. I was shocked at how much more fat my recipe had! Once I lower the fat, the calories will decrease too.)

(P.P.S The recipe does make 8 slices of bread. The picture above only has six because I snagged two slices for a tomato sandwich as soon as the bread came out of the oven.)

Multi-Grain Flat Bread

(Gluten Free, Soy Free, Yeast Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. teff flour
1/2 c. garfava flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 c. water
5 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cider vinegar

Instructions:
1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Add the wet ingredients (water, oil, flax seed) to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
3. Divide the dough into two parts and place each one in the middle of an 8″ x 8″ square cake pan that has been lightly greased and floured.
4. Wet the back of a large spoon and use that to spread the dough evenly across the pan.
5. Bake the bread at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
6. Allow the bread to cool for a few minutes and then slice each pan into fourths to serve.

Comments

  1. How do you slice this bread? I am thinking from your description that it fills up two 8 x8 pans in basically the same way way a cake would. Is that right?

    Thanks,

    Amy B

  2. that looks fantastic mary frances! I love how you did that!! I can’t wait to try it! Does it store well and stay moist?

  3. Hi Amy, the bread is only about 1/4″ tall, so I just slice each pan into 4 squares and use each square as a slice.

  4. Carrie, Thanks! As for it staying moist, yes. We usually put any unused slices in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and then reheat for 10 seconds in the microwave the next day. However, I should say that often this bread does not last more than one meal because we love it so much.

  5. This truly is delicious! I appreciate you making the flat bread more wholesome. The most difficult part of the recipe was flattening it in the pan! I look forward to your future recipes.

  6. This looks awesome! I’m making a bunch of backpacking food for a trip I’m planning, so I’ll keep the high-fat version and make this it to take along. I actually want the fat in the recipe. It looks like it would travel well in a pack, too. Much better than bread. Perfect! Thanks for the recipe.
    Melissa

  7. Kathy Massoud says:

    Where can I get the teff flour and the garfava flour? I haven’t seen them at my local nature food store…….Kathy M.

  8. Hi Kathy, You can order both flours through Amazon or directly through Bob’s Red Mill. The shipping seems to be quicker through Amazon, but you usually have to buy an entire case when you order there.

  9. Kathy Massoud says:

    Thanks! Do have any suggestions about a possible alternate flour to use instead of the garfava flour? My daughter has really bad digestion problems besides gluten intolerance and I think the bean flour ground from uncooked beans is going to really bother her. Any suggestions for me to try? How about leaving it out altogether and use 1/2 brown rice and teff flour? thanks for your help!

  10. Kathy, I think that I would try sorghum flour or millet flour as a substitute for the bean flour. Both a grain based and should work well.

  11. Kathy M

    If your daughter is still having digestion problems with no gluten in her diet The Specific Carbohydrate Diet might help. Their website is http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info. It’s a very comprensive site with lots of information and recipes.

  12. I’m very intrigued by this bread. I will definitely have to adapt it to my dietary restrictions soon! thanks so much for sharing; I love the idea. Also, don’t worry so much about the fat content! It looks like almost all is coming from the flax seed, so it’s heart healthy ALAs and omega 3s. Most of us aren’t getting enough good fats anyhow. =)

  13. I can’t have vinegar. What should I substitute for that?

  14. @Cindy: You might try lemon juice.

  15. Mary,
    I can not use the standard alternative gf items: xanthan gum, and corn or potato. I need to reformulate because I also have a child who is allergic to milk , garlic and eggs. Any suggestions?
    thanks,
    Angel

  16. @Angel: You might try using guar gum instead of xanthan gum.

  17. Hello,
    My son has recently been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. And I am so glad I found this website. I would like to make this flatbread but do not have the garfava flour. Could I substitute with chick-pea flour? Also, what could I use as a substitute for flaxseed? My son is pretty allergic to all nuts and also to sesame and sunflower seeds. So I am not sure how he is going to react to flaxseeds.
    Thanks for all your efforts. I never thought I would have to relearn cooking entirely!

  18. @Praveen: The chickpea flour will be a great substitute for the garfava. If your son can have eggs then replace the flax seed with 2.5 eggs and reduce the water by 7.5 Tbsp.

  19. I just googled ‘no starch bread’ and your site came up with the Multi-Grain Flat Bread: Gluten Free Bread Without Starch recipe. I can’t eat starch, and I was wondering how you checked that the bread was ‘no starch’. As far as I know all rice products contain starch, and you list brown rice flour in the ingredients.
    Also can you tell me where I might find teff and garfava flour from and what they are derived from.
    If this is indeed a ‘no starch’ bread you are a life saver! I will try and make the bread, and then test it with Iodine for the starch content.
    Thanks.

  20. Angel,
    You can substitute plain gelatin for the xantham gum–just double what the recipe calls for. You can also use ground flax seed as an egg replacement. Place 1 tablespoon in 1/4 cup of water and let it sit for 10 minutes before using. The flax seed is packed with good fatty acids and Omega 3. :)

  21. Hi Mary Frances!

    Any substitution suggestions for the Teff flour?? My local store was out of it today…

    Thanks!

  22. Chrissy Thomas says:

    My uncle is also a diabetic and has to watch his soduim intake so how can I reduce that

    • Well, you could leave the salt out, but the bread wouldn’t taste that good. This recipe has almost the same amount of sodium as store-bought wheat bread, so if he can eat that this bread shouldn’t be a problem.

  23. Chrissy Shah says:

    I just tried out this recipe and it is beyond words yummy. Every bit as yummy as any pita bread…better than most, in fact. I am kind of disgusted by xanthan gum and avoid it as much as possible in an effort to keep my children’s food as real and whole as possible. I tried the recipe with the xanthan and without it, and no gelatin either (ref. a previous post) and the only difference is that the bread is a little more fragile without the xanthan, but not bad. It still makes a perfectly good sandwich and is amazing smeared with cilantro pesto…
    YUMMY!!!!!!! Of course, I now have terrible garlic breath but that is a small price to pay. Great recipe! Way to go!!

  24. Hi Mary Frances

    Can’t wait to try your recipe! My wife and I have decided to switch from what we considered healthy bread to your recipe in order to minimize starch intake. So my question mirrors the one posted above in #19 by Linda “I was wondering how you checked that the bread was ‘no starch’?”

    Thank you!

  25. Well, by “no starch” I meant that the recipe did not contain corn starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch as most gluten free breads do. Instead all of the flours are from whole grains (brown rice and teff) or beans (garbanzo and fava). So, the flours are providing nutrition rather than empty calories. In fact the fiber content is twice as high as commercially produced whole-wheat bread.

    My grandmother uses to use the word “starch” to refer to any high carbohydrate food. If that’s what you mean, then no bread is really going to work, since they are typically grain based. On this recipe, you could try cutting the sugar back to 1 Tbsp or less to decrease the total carbohydrates.

  26. I was looking for a flatbread to make yesterday and decided to experiment with this one since it’s yeast & egg free and so am I. I didn’t have the flours so I substituted my version your GF flour mix (3 parts brown rice, 3 parts corn starch, 2 parts soy and 1 part tapioca) and it turned out fantastic. I know subing the flour defeats the multi grain part of the recipe but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. :) Instead of dividing the dough I put it all on a large baking sheet and spread it out with parchment paper. It has a great texture, doesn’t crumble at all and made an amazing crust for our homemade pizza last night.

  27. I wonder if you could use Bette Hagman’s 4 bean flour mix with this? I’m gonna try……(am feeling lazy today)

  28. Thank you for this recipe :) I made it without the sugar, and spread it onto parchment, then cooked it on my hot pizza stone, removing the parchment half-way through. It turned out great. As a previous poster said, the hardest part is spreading it out. Here’s what I did: I wet the palm of my hand and used that to do the squashing and spreading. It worked like a gem!

  29. Hi there,

    I was wondering if you might have a suggestion for someone who can not have eggs or flax? Can I add some additional oil? Maybe olive oil?

    Thank you.

  30. Could I use quinoa flour instead of teff? That should really boost nutrition and the nutty flavor (and it’s what I happen to have on hand :)

  31. I cannot wait to make the multi-grain flat bread & am even more interested in the lower fat version when you post it.
    Thanks again!

  32. Have you tried quinoa flour? It worked great as a secondary flour. Thanks for the recipe!

  33. Love this idea. Our doctor put our son on the ADHD diet which is basically gluten free and low dairy. I have found that many “gluten free” items are full of starch and zero nutrients. Very sad. This is a great alternative.

  34. Bluesbaby55 says:

    Sorry, this recipe is NOT STARCH-FREE. Rice and favas have starch in them and are to be avoided if you are on a truly starch-free diet, for instance if you have ankylosing spondalitis. Fava beans rate very high on the GI index, much higher than most beans, though I’m not saying they aren’t good for you. Just that to call this Starch-free bread is misleading for people who have to avoid it. Rice and beans have a starch that is more slowly absorbed that that in potatoes, etc. But starch is starch.Please alter the name of this recipe after checking the facts. Sounds great for someone who is looking for a gluten-free alternative with more nutrition, though.

  35. If I am not concerned about the starch, does this recipe work with an all purpose flour like Bob’s Red Mills? If so would I use the same amount of flour (ie. 1 1/2 cups)?

  36. Hi!
    I Made this Flat bread, and it turned out GREAT!!!!!!! I uesed the bread with soup and put Butter on top and I loved it too. And I don’t really like Gavfava flour but I really like Rice flour can I ues that instead? And I did not have Flax seeds so I did not ues them! Can You make it with a different nut also do You think that You can make it sweet?

    Thank’s Balla!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] with a variety of flours from a recent trip to the bulk food store, and using the Multi-Grain Flat Bread recipe from Gluten Free Cooking School, I made an 8″ square pan of bread (that translated [...]

  2. [...] Spread on a slice of piping hot Multi-Grain Flat Bread. [...]

  3. [...] Gluten-Free Cooking School – Flatbread – I just stumbled across this recipe last night and it was such a quick and delicious treat.  Nutritious too!  There’s no yeast so you just mix it together and spread it in two pans.  Bake it with a C.  Put it in the oven for Callum and me.  No, bake it and in a matter of minutes you have yummy bread for your soup, for a trendy little sandwich, or for pizza!   I didn’t have bean flour so I used buckwheat instead.  Sooooooo easy and so good (I made this while my babes were running around the kitchen and crying for my attention – it’s that fast and that easy). [...]