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Ame_Evil's avatar

How do you make gluten-free bread?

Asked by Ame_Evil (3041points) January 1st, 2010

My mum cannot eat food containing gluten. She has been trying to make gluten-free bread but the attempts made were not successful. She has tried doing it in a bread-maker with an online recipe (I don’t know which), but the dough failed to rise that much.

So do you know any tricks to getting the dough to rise? I also assume using a bread-maker for this task is a bad idea, or does it matter?

Any recipes will be helpful (if you KNOW they work).


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8 Answers

laureth's avatar

Gluten is the protein that allows bread to rise. It’s rubbery and stretchy, and works like a balloon when filled with CO2 from the yeast action. As such, gluten-free breads will of necessity be sort of dense. You’re right, that a bread machine probably won’t work very well – because the whole purpose of kneading is to develop the gluten in a loaf, and the wait period is to allow it to rise. These become quite moot with a gluten-free loaf.

It’s much easier to make “quick breads” (ones that rely on baking powder to leaven it) that are gluten free. They’ll be denser, of course, but if you can substitute something like rice flour, you can still come up with an edible product.

gfsourdoughbaker's avatar

Hello Ame Evil, I have developed gluten free bread recipes for myself using old fashioned sourdough techniques which strongly helps the rising. Because I have multiple food allergies they are also free of dairy, eggs, soy, yeast, baking sodas/powder, xanthan/guar gums and sweeteners. They are tasty, have great texture and a long shelf life, 5–10 days! It took me one year to get successful bread. You can see my starter and first successful loaf recipe on my blog, and purchase my Ebook, The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking at Good Luck and not to worry, your mum will happily be able to eat good bread again.

sdeutsch's avatar

I just got the Culinary Institute of America’s Gluten-Free Baking book for Christmas – I’ve only tried one recipe so far, but I’m already really impressed. I made a loaf of french bread the other day that was fluffier, chewier and crustier than I’ve had in over a year (since I started eating GF). I’d definitely recommend the book to your mom – it’s fabulous.

I also agree with @laureth – quick breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, etc. are much easier to make GF, especially when they have something other than flour as their main ingredient (bananas, pumpkin, etc.). That means the bread will retain its normal texture and feel without relying on the flour for substance, which is the main problem with GF baking.

Good luck to your mom, and tell her not to give up – once you find a good recipe, it’s SO rewarding to be able to eat bread again!

laureth's avatar

@gfsourdoughbaker – I am very, very curious. How do you make yeast-free sourdough bread? I went to your blog and see that you have a starter culture that you feed flour and water, and which bubbles. If that is not yeast that you’re feeding, what is it?

I don’t know if a starter that uses ambient yeast from your neighborhood can really be considered “yeast free.”

gfsourdoughbaker's avatar

Yes, I use a fermented drink, water kefir, to boost the activity of the flour and water to prevent overfermentation (which I initially experienced) and spoilage. There is a naturally growing yeast in this fermented drink and it helps to develop the naturally growing yeast in the starter which is thought to be captured from the air. There is also thought to be some naturally occurring yeast on the flour that also becomes part of the starter. Many people sensitive to commercial yeast can eat sourdough breads without any reactions. Some highly sensitive people, however, may still have some trouble with the natural yeast.

Historically, natural yeast sourdough breads were consumed by humans for thousands of years until just recently, the last 100 or so, years. The yeast “predigests” the sugars and starches in the bread making it easy for humans to digest. Since the advent of commercial yeast which speeds up the rise time, there is no time for the predigestion to happen so our bodies have to work harder to digest the bread. This can lead to many other digestive and immune system issues food sensitivities.

To answer your question if a starter using ambient yeast can be considered yeast free, I think no, but it is a highly digestible form of yeast that usually does not trouble the person who eats it. I consider my breads “commercial yeast free”.

Thanks for asking! Sharon

laureth's avatar

I always wondered how a person could know, though, how the ambient yeast that gets in there is not a strain that is commercially available.

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