Gluten Free Bread Making Tips

Learning to make gluten free bread is a big hurdle for many people starting on the gluten free journey. Gluten free flours respond very differently to yeast compared to normal wheat flour. You really need to forget pretty much everything you’ve learned about bread making, and start again.

But, with patience, and with help from the tips below, you’ll be having toast and marmalade for breakfast again before you know it.

Here are my tips for gluten free bread making.

  • Gluten free bread is made from a mixture of flours with gums and protein added to give the dough more strength.
  • It is generally heavier and will not rise as much as traditional commercial bread. You may get a lighter loaf if you use a commercial bread mixture, but even then, the final consistency is not like wheat bread.
  • Gluten free bread has a much higher water content than traditional bread dough. If you try to make gluten free dough the same consistency as wheat dough, it will not rise unless you use raising agents such as baking powder. Even then you won’t get a light fluffy loaf.
  • Because of the higher water content, your gluten free bread will take longer to toast. Some, like this rice flour bread recipe, really struggle to toast properly. Play with the settings on your toaster to see what works best for your particular bread.
  • Because gluten free bread is not as soft and chewy as normal bread I don’t eat the ends of the loaves like I used to. I now save the crusty ends, dry them out and blitz them for breadcrumbs.
  • There are many bread mixes on the market now. Some use yeast, others use raising agents. Personally, I prefer yeast because it makes by gluten free bread seem more like bread to me than cake. I suggest you buy a couple of different mixes and see which one works for you.
  • Because there is no gluten in these breads you don’t need to knead them. Mix well, raise (if using yeast) then cook. Some recipes say to knock the dough down and raise again. This allows the yeast to mature and will lead to a better taste, but I haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of my breads when I knock the dough down versus when I just let it rise once.
  • Even with the extra proteins or gums, gluten free bread made from your own flour mixes will not last as long as normal bread. It will quickly go crumbly and fall apart. Also, because the recipes on my website contain no preservatives, they may go mouldy very quickly if you leave them on the shelf or in the fridge in a plastic bag. I make a loaf, slice it once it’s cool, then freeze so I can have a slice of bread when I want. Just make sure it’s completely cold before you cut it. Otherwise it will stick to your knife and may tear.
  • Here in Australia there is one gluten free bread mix that actually makes up to a dough rather than a batter. It’s called F G Robert’s Gluten Free Cottage Loaf I now use it almost all the time I want to make bread or rolls. It will make up proper bread rolls as well as make a great loaf of bread in the bread maker. All other commercial bread mixes I’ve used start as a batter.
  • Don’t over-rise your bread mix. It will have huge holes in it, or it will collapse when you put it in the oven. If the recipe says to double in height, then just double in height or go slightly under. If you give in to temptation to try to get a bigger loaf by letting it rise just a bit more, you will end up with a doughy lump.
  • Use a good quality bread tin. It’s worth going to a kitchen supplies shop and getting a heavy baking tin. Don’t use aluminium. A heavy tin will allow the dough to cook evenly all the way through. Aluminium (aluminum to you folk in the U.S.) will cook the outside too quickly, while the inside will still be raw. By the time the middle is cooked, the outside will be overcooked.
  • I always grease my bread tin, then coat with flour. Dust the inside surfaces with the flour, then invert the tin over the sink and whack it to knock off the excess flour. I have not yet had a loaf stick doing this.
  • If you add a tablespoon of cooking oil to your bread mix, it will help hold it together and it will be a little less crumbly.
  • To make bread rolls, use large muffin tins. The batter will rise nicely and give you a reasonable shape and size bread roll.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a bread making machine. Many now have a gluten free loaf setting. Mine is a god-send. I can throw my mix into it and wander off, knowing I’ve got a decent loaf waiting for me in a couple of hours.

Now you have my tips for making gluten free bread, head on over to my bread recipes section for a range of GF bread recipes for you to try.

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