gluten free recipes

By Mary Frances Pickett

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.

The picture above is my newest gluten free triumph . . . tall bread! This is my regular Gluten Free Sandwich 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 Gluten Free Sandwich Bread? 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 Sandwich Bread 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 All Purpose 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 Sandwich Bread?

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 All Purpose 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 =)

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