Learn the basics to make glutenfree bread. Understand some basics in gluten-free baking so you can make delicious bread.
If you can’t eat gluten, you probably miss eating delicious bread.
Baking gluten free bread isn’t easy, and you won’t succeed the first time. But don’t be discouraged, with practice and a good recipe you’ll start baking your own bread at home.
To bake a normal gluten bread, you just need to mix flour, water, and yeast, and not much else.
To bake GLUTEN FREE bread, you need a lot more than flour, water, and yeast. You need to combine different flours, starches, and other ingredients to replace the gluten. This way you get an elastic dough that kneads well and a soft and fluffy crumb.
First of all, I’m NOT an expert on gluten-free baking. I’m constantly learning and sharing my recipes with you as I learn them.
I’ve learned a lot from Eva’s videos from @glutendence and books like “Baked to perfection” by @theloopywhisk
TIPS for making gluten free bread
Some of the basics to make gluten free bread
- Combine different types of flours starches to create a spongy, soft and airy crumb. )
- Don’t forget to add a gluten substitute like psyllium husks and xanthan gum. I know they’re hard to find and recipes only use 2 teaspoons. But trust me, with those 2 teaspoons you can knead the dough well and get an elastic and fluffy dough.
- Kneading and long fermentation
Spend a lot of time kneading the dough and give it time to rise. If your kitchen is cold, put the dough (covered) in the oven at 25-30ºC and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
Combine different flours, starches and proteins to achieve elasticity, and a fluffy and “airy crumb”.
You’ll see this in many, many gluten free recipes and I’m sure you think: why I need to mix so many different flours/starches to make bread?
You need to use different flours, starches and some binders like psyllium husk or xantam gum to get a fluffy and soft crumb. You won’t get a good crumb using only one type of flour.
Also, each flour has a different protein content and ability to absorb water. When you combine different flours/starches, you get a good result (I learned this from Katarina’s book, “Baked to Perfection, which I 100% recommend).
Check out this video recipe for gluten free bread
Basics to make glutenfree bread
The basic ingredients for making gluten-free bread are:
- GF flour (combine 2 different flours)
- GF starch (you can use 1 or 2 starches)
- Gluten substitute (ideally combine xanthan gum+psyllium husk)
Make sure flours and starches are certified glutenfree and free of impurities.
Flours most commonly used to make GLUTEN-FREE bread:
For more information on gluten-free flours, check out this post:Types of Glutenfree flours for cooking and baking
Combine different flours and starches to get a good result.
What you need to know about the different glutenfree flours
- Each flour is different and has a different protein content or percentage.
- There are flours like buckwheat flour that have a higher protein content than other flours.
- The amount of protein in flour affects its elasticity and its ability to absorb water. With some exceptions, the more protein a flour has, the more water it can absorb.
- Flours such as buckwheat, millet or teff have a higher protein content than starch.
- Commercial gluten-free flour blends usually contain a variety of flours and starches in the mix.
- They usually contain rice flour, sorghum flour, corn flour, flaxseed meal, quinoa flour … and some starches such as corn starch, potato starch or tapioca starch.
- Also, they add some binders or vegetable fibers such as psyllium, xanthan gum or guar gum. They provide elasticity and cohesion to the dough.
- The good thing about these premixes is that in a single package, you have a mixture of different flours with a balanced ratio to achieve good results. The downside is that commercial gluten-free flour blends for bread won’t work if you are intolerant to more than one grain. They’re also often very expensive.
Protein in glutenfree flours
The protein content in gluten free bread is very important. When choosing flours and starches, you must consider the protein content of the flours.
I recently discovered that Bread with a higher protein content takes longer to dry out. But why? Because flours with a high protein content tend to retain moisture.
Which flours have a higher protein content?
- The flours with the highest protein content are buckheat flour, millet flour, sorghum flour and teff flour.
- White rice flour or brown rice flour has medium protein content (compared to buckwheat flour and sorghum flour).
Flours with higher protein content tend to have higher water absorption capacity.
Basic starches to make glutenfree bread
Starches are very important in making glutenfree bread because they contribute to a very fluffy crumb, but their nutritional value is much lower than a cereal flour.
The most commonly used are: Tapioca (or cassava), corn and potato starch.
What do you need to know when using starches?
- Starches (whether potato, corn, or tapioca starch) contain less protein and can absorb less liquid than cereal flours such as buckwheat, millet, teff,…
- Starch provides a soft and fluffy crumb, but makes the bread dry faster and have less flavor.
- Starches don’t provide as much flavor as flours (such as those made from buckwheat, which has a stronger flavor).
Use flours and starches that are certified gluten-free and contamination-free!
The Gluten substitutes basics to make glutenfree bread
The “gluten substitutes” are ingredients that have a similar or somewhat similar effect to gluten protein (but are suitable for those with celiac disease).
There are ingredients that, when in contact with liquid, form a viscous mass/gel that has a binding and elastic effect. By adding these ingredients to a glutenfree dough, you can create the elasticity you need for kneading and make a good crumb.
If you want a glutenfree dough that’s fluffy and easy to work with, you’ll need to combine several gluten substitutes. It’s not enough to use only one gluten substitute, you need to combine several, for example: tapioca starch + psyllium husks + xanthan gum + rice flour.
If you want to know more about gluten substitutes have a look at my post post: Types of gluten substitutes for gluten-free baking
Yeast, salt and sugar – a must for rising bread
As with any bread recipe, you need salt for flavor, sugar to activate the yeast, and yeast to make the bread rise and double in volume.
If you don’t have yeast, you can use sourdough. However, you need to adjust the amount of water and flour in the recipe, because sourdough is a leaven that contains flour and water,
Do you know what sourdough is?
Sourdough is a natural leaven created by mixing flour and water. Usually, sourdough is made with wheat flour, but the truth is you can make it with almost any flour. You can also make it gluten-free.
Learn How to make a glutenfree sourdough starter in this post
More glutenfree bread recipes
More info and posts about glutenfree cooking and baking
- Types of gluten substitutes for gluten-free baking
- Types of Glutenfree flours for cooking and baking
- How to make a glutenfree sourdough starter