Welcome to day 3 of the #7days7breads challenge. I can’t believe how amazing yesterday’s loaf turned out and couldn’t stop stuffing my face with spelt bread. Today we are going to attempt our first gluten free loaf. Remember, I will be there every day to guide you through the recipes, share my tips and hints and at the end you can share your results on social media using #7days7breads to win amazing prizes. I am also on Facebook every day live to show you how to master each recipe and technique at home with hardly any effort. All recipes are designed to be easy to follow and at the end you can enjoy a freshly baked loaf at home.
Today’s recipe is our first attempt at making a gluten free seed loaf. The key to this gorgeous bread is patience and getting used to a slightly different consistency. The dough is almost like a cake batter and you don’t need to be scared by that. It is very normal. I use seeds to help with some texture and create a bit more depth of flavour. Gluten free bread does tend to get quite bland so we want to make sure we get as much flavour as possible in there. You could even get away with adding some molasses and non sweetened cocoa powder for a ‘rye’ feel to the bread. This gluten free seed loaf is super easy and actually only requires minimal waiting time but I do find that leaving the bread to rise naturally first does give it a better texture in the end.
What you will learn:
- How to use gluten free flour
- Consistency of gluten free bread dough
- How to make variations to a single gluten free bread recipe
Day 3: Gluten Free Flour
Baking gluten free requires a few basic steps that you need to know to become a successful gluten free baker. If you are new to gluten free baking, it is best to start with a pre-mixed flour blend that you can buy in most supermarkets. I usually go with Dove’s Farm and use the plain gluten free flour instead of gluten free bread flour mix which already contains some of the extras I’d rather add by myself. It is somewhat different to make your own gluten free loaf as opposed to glutenous bread and requires a little bit of getting used to and thinking differently. For example, and most importantly, in gluten free baking there is no gluten to be activated and therefore we need alternative options to keep our dough in shape and provide that all important structure in baking. For that I often use eggs or vinegar. Both of those elements can be found often in gluten free baking and help replace the need for that gluten network. Eggs make the dough softer and vinegar helps create a smooth batter. Now, in gluten free baking we often talk about a batter rather than a dough and it is important that you don’t get too scared by the totally different consistency that you will encounter. Similar to yesterday’s texture when we were baking with spelt flour, when you are making a gluten free bread you are looking at almost a cake batter type consistency. It should be soft and almost like thick porridge in order to work well for your loaf.
The other important element in gluten free baking is creating the elasticity that binds the dough together. Because there is no gluten to activate, we need some form of gum to mimic the elasticity that a gluten dough gets. Most commonly people use Xanthan gum. There are however alternatives which work just as well. For example, chia seeds, flax seeds or psyllium husk powder work very well to absorb moisture and create elasticity and structure in your dough. You can use them whole or mill the seeds into a powder for best results. The guide is to put 1/2-1 tsp of chia seeds, flax seeds or psyllium husk powder per 140g of plain flour.
As you progress with baking with gluten free flour you will begin to get a feel for the right consistency and the right type of flour to make a beautiful loaf but I would advise to look out for a flour blend that contains tapioca, rice, buckwheat and cornflour which is ideal for a good bread. For now, you don’t want to use your own flour blends yet because you want to have some success first and gain confidence in baking with gluten free flour before attempting the next step. Here is the guide to gluten free flour blends on my blog.
Top Tips for better results
- Use a good gluten free flour blend containing buckwheat for optimal bread results. Organic gluten free flour mixes tend to be better and it is important to not use one that already contains xanthin gum or baking powder because we want to stay in charge of the amounts ourselves.
- Gluten free bread batter tends to become better and thicken if it stands for a while. It is almost as if you are creating a ‘proving’ effect and your bread batter will absorb water and become much thicker as it stands before baking. It is an excellent way to control the final outcome.
- Keep the oven temperature lower and cook the bread for longer to avoid a hole or uneven bakes. Unlike glutenous bread which likes to be baked at a high temperature, it is important to bake gluten free bread at a slightly lower temperature for longer to prolong the time until the yeast reaches 60C at which it dies. Up until then the yeast will rise and become happier and happier in the oven so we want to preserve that with our gluten free loaf and give the yeast more time to create an even bake.
An extra task
Apart from learning how to make yeasted bread, we will also start a fresh sourdough starter at home and learn all about sourdough bread baking in the last few days of the challenge. For now I will explain to you how to make your own starter and everyday at the same time we will feed it. In my Facebook live tutorial I will explain exactly what it is all about so that you get the most out of it.
Sourdough Starter Day 3:
Overnight you can clearly see that some activity may have started taking place. Your starter should start smelling like yoghurt and mildly sour. Remove the lid from the jar and place it on top of the mixing bowl. Measure 50g light rye flour and 50g tap water. If your tap water is not suitable then use bottled water instead. Mix it with a spoon at this stage until the mixture resembles a creamy paste. Place the lid ajar and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
(This is what it should look like after you have mixed it)
Gluten Free Seed Loaf
- 150g whole milk
- 150g water
- 1 Tbsp dry active yeast (or 30g fresh yeast)
- 10g golden caster sugar
- 400g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
- 2 tsp Xanthan gum
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 large eggs
- 10g cider vinegar
- 20g olive oil
- 100g mixed seeds
- 20g chia seeds
- Place the milk, water, yeast and sugar in the mixing bowl. Warm 2 Min. / 37°C / Speed 2.
- Add the gluten free plain flour, Xanthan gum, salt, eggs, cider vinegar, olive oil, mixed seeds and chia seeds and mix 20 Sec. / Speed 5.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6 and grease and flour a Line a 2-pound loaf tin with greaseproof paper and pour the mixture into the tin. With the back of a wet spoon, smooth the top of and sprinkle with some seeds if you like. Leave to proof for 30-45 minutes uncovered so that a skin develops until the loaf is 1.5 times the original size.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until browned at the top. Remove and transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Then slice up and serve.