The Gluten-Free Girl's Crusty Bread Recipe

The Gluten-Free Girl's Crusty Bread Recipe
Staff Writer
Gluten-free Crusty Bread
Lara Ferroni

Gluten-free Crusty Bread

Gluten-free bread is the great quest of those who cannot eat the protein. It can be done, but here’s the key: don’t expect gluten-free bread to be the familiar gluten bread. Without gluten, bread is always going to be a bit less pliable, a little drier, and more of an unexpected texture than you wish. But once you get past the stubborn notion that everything should be the way it always was, you can have bread again.

There is gluten-free bread that you buy from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, just to make a quick piece of toast. It’s more like a soggy bagel texture, but it does the job fine. And then there’s bread that even someone who can eat gluten can enjoy. That’s this bread.

Adapted from the "Gluten-free Girl and the Chef" by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern. 

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups (227 grams/8 ounces) potato starch
  • 1¼ cups (100 grams/3.5 ounces) almond flour
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams/3 ounces) oat flour (make sure it’s certified gluten-free)
  • ½ cup (85 grams/3 ounces) millet flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/6 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil for oiling bowl

Directions

Put the potato starch, almond flour, oat flour, and millet flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whirl them up together for a moment. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, sift the flours together into a large bowl.) Add the yeast, xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt. Stir to combine.

Pour the warm water, eggs, canola oil, and honey into the dry ingredients. Mix with the paddle attachment (of with a large spoon if you are mixing by hand) for a few moments until the dough has fully come together. It will be soft. It will sort of slump off the paddle. Don’t worry. That’s the right texture.

Put the dough into a large, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth, then set in a warm place in the kitchen. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. The risen dough will have a texture closer to traditional bread dough than the unrisen dough had.

At the end of the rising time, turn the oven to 500 degrees. Or, put a cast-iron Dutch oven into the hot oven to come to heat. Cut the dough in half and form two small boules (rustic-looking oval loaves). Make three 1/4-inch deep cuts with a serrated knife on the top of the dough.

If you have a pizza stone, put the loaves directly onto the pizza stone. When the Dutch oven has been heating for 30 minutes, take it out of the oven, carefully. Put a piece of parchment paper, wider than the Dutch oven, over the edges. Flour your hands to coax the bread dough into a coherent mass. Plop it onto the parchment paper, which will settle down into the Dutch oven. Tuck the edges of the paper into the pot, cover, and slip it back into the hot oven. Bake for at least 30 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread is brown and has a good thump to it. The internal temperature should be at least 180 degrees, and the thermometer should come out of the bread dry.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing it up.

Note: Here are some variations to try.

Make this once with this combination of flours before you begin changing in other flours. Some you might like: amaranth, quinoa, or flaxseed meal. However, if you change the flours too much, you will change the composition of the bread so go easy. Substitute flours by weight, rather than volume.

You can also use this recipe to make a loaf of sandwich bread. Put the dough into a greased loaf pan before you let it rise for the last hour. Bake at 375 degrees, with an egg wash on top of the loaf, for 45 minutes or so, or until the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees and the thermometer comes out dry.

You can make rosemary bread by chopping a sprig of rosemary fine and throwing it into the dough during the first rise. The same is true for any flavor you want to try. Top the bread with a glug of olive oil and a few pinches of finishing sea salt for another taste.

Bread Shopping Tip

Be sure to purchase the correct flour a recipe calls for – flours differ in gluten or protein content, making each suited for specific tasks.

Bread Cooking Tip

Insert a toothpick into the center of cakes, bar cookies, and quick breads to test for doneness – it should come out clean or only have a few crumbs clinging to it.