Gluten Free Artisan Bread
Bread is a bit of a sore point with a lot of people who can’t have gluten. Gluten is the protein in bread that makes the dough all stretchy and elastic. It gives bread that lovely, light, slightly chewy texture. It makes the bread soft and pliable, so you can fold a piece of bread in half and it doesn’t break and crumble. (Didn’t you love eating folded-over sandwiches as a kid? I did.) But it’s also the thing that causes bloating and discomfort in a lot of people, and does such terrible things to coeliacs!
When we went gluten free, the most difficult thing for us was not having bread. I mean, have you ever tried the gluten free bread from the shop? Yeah, not so exciting. And it’s expensive. And it’s totally useless for sandwiches or for wrapping around a sausage.
I did end up making my own gluten free bread with Cyndi O’Meara’s recipe (originally from the Changing Habits Changing Lives cookbook), which is much nicer than the shop bought bread, and cheaper, and you can grind up the grains in your Thermomix. I still had to force my son to eat it though – he wanted his spelt bread back.
Then recently I bought the cookbook ‘Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ and I learnt to make gluten free artisan bread. Wow. It turned out better than any gluten free bread I’d tasted before. I mean, look at this – it even bends without breaking!!
You can wrap it around a sausage, or make sandwiches with it, and it won’t disintegrate into crumbs! And believe it or not, this photo was taken when the bread was a day old!!! (Sorry about all the exclamation marks, but I just can’t help being excited about this bread!)
When my first loaf came out of the oven, it suddenly seemed like half the neighbourhood were in my kitchen, all wanting a slice of bread… Even when I told them it was gluten free it didn’t scare them off – they loved it! (So, yeah, that first loaf didn’t last long.)
The crust on this bread is thick and crusty and chewy, which I love, and the flavour is slightly sourdough-ish, which I also love, and it turns out looking very rustic, which I love as well… So as you can see, I’m pretty pleased with this bread! (Those of you who are followers of my Quirky Cooking Facebook Page are probably tired of hearing about this bread, but I thought I should share it with the non-facebookers out there.)
The addition of sorghum flour gives it a better texture, and bit of fibre. If you like, you could add more texture with the addition of some seeds – linseeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds – they’d all be great in this bread.
My inspiration for this recipe is here: Recipe for Gluten Free Crusty Boule (I’ve tweaked it to use ingredients I prefer, and added a Thermomix method.) Before you start, watch this video of me making it, as it will really help you to get the right texture if you need to tweak flours, etc.
This recipe makes four small 500g loaves, or two regular sized loaves in bread tins. The dough can stay in the fridge for up to a week and you can bake another loaf when you need it. So easy!
Texture of dough
Note: This is the updated version of the recipe – I used to use xanthan gum but have since changed over to psyllium husk milled into a powder instead. You will find the original recipe in my Quirky Cooking cookbook.
Gluten Free Artisan Bread
2 Tablespoons instant yeast (or 2 tsp fresh yeast)
670g lukewarm water
4 Tablespoons psyllium husk
300g brown rice (or use brown rice flour)
220g millet flour, or can use sorghum, amaranth, teff, quinoa, or tigernut flour
380g tapioca starch (or arrowroot)
1 Tablespoon fine sea salt/Himalayan salt (adjust to taste)
4 large eggs
65g olive oil
sesame seeds (opt, for top of bread)
** If you haven’t made this bread before, I recommend watching this video first!
- Place yeast into a bowl and pour over water. Cover and leave to sit while continuing with recipe.
- Place psyllium husk into Thermomix or blender and mill 1 min/speed 9 or until very fine. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
- Mill brown rice in the Thermomix in two batches 1 min/speed 9 per batch (or use pre-ground rice flour). Mill other grains if needed for second flour (sorghum/millet/etc), removing to mixing bowl as you go.
- Place flours and psyllium husk powder back into Thermomix bowl with tapioca starch and salt, and mix 10 sec/speed 5 until well combined (or combine by hand). Tip dry mixture back into mixing bowl.
- Place yeast in water, eggs, olive oil, and honey into Thermomix and mix 15 sec/speed 4 until combined (or mix in a separate bowl with a wire whisk).
- Pour liquid mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry mixture and combine with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. There is no need to knead! Dough will be like a wet, sticky, scone dough, not like a regular bread dough. Within about 5-10 minutes the psyllium husk powder will soak up the liquid and dough will become firmer. If it’s still very wet after this time, you may need to add a little more psyillium husk powder. If it becomes dry, you’ll need to add a bit more water. See the video above for desired texture.
- Cover bowl with a tea towel and allow dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and dough is full of air bubbles, approximately 2 hours or so. You can use it immediately after this initial rise, but the flavour is nicer if you refrigerate it in a lidded container overnight first. You can use the dough over the next 7 days, although bear in mind, the flavour gets stronger each day.
- When you’re ready to make bread, wet your hands, and take out a quarter of the dough for a round, rustic loaf, or half the dough for a loaf baked in a loaf tin. For a rustic, round loaf: shape into a ball, gently pressing into shape and smoothing with a little water, then place onto a lined baking tray. To bake in a loaf tin: use half the dough per tin, shape into loaves and place into lined tins. Smooth with wet hands, forming a dome on the top of the dough and not flattening it across the tin. Return any unused dough to container in fridge.
- Wet your hands and pat the top of the loaf to moisten, then sprinkle over some sesame seeds (if desired). Slash the tops with 1/2 cm deep parrallel cuts, using a very sharp knife, or a serrated bread knife. (This isn’t just for looks, it seems to bake better inside if you do this.)
- Allow the loaf to rest, covered with a tea towel. It will need to rest for about an hour and a half, or even 2 hours. (If it hasn’t been refrigerated and you’re using it straight away, it will only need about 40 minutes to rest.) It will rise a little in this time, but it won’t quite double in size like regular bread dough does.
- Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F), with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. (If you don’t have a baking stone, a Dutch oven/cast-iron pan/heavy pizza tray will do.) Place an empty grill tray or baking pan on the rack underneath.
- Once oven is ready, open oven door and quickly slide the loaf tin or tray directly onto the hot stone, or place round loaf on baking paper into hot Dutch oven/cast iron pan/heavy tray. Quickly pour a cup of hot tap water into the hot grill tray or baking pan underneath bread, and immediately shut the oven door.
- Bake for about 40 minutes for a small loaf, to 1 hour or so for a loaf in a bread tin. Bread should be golden brown all over once done (turn out of tin to check), and bottom of loaf should sound hollow when knocked on with knuckles.
- Allow bread to cool on a rack before slicing. Once sliced, loaves can be frozen, or you can leave bread out on benchtop in airtight container/bag for up to 2 days.