My first attempt at making Gluten-free bread (and how I ended up with English muffins & flatbread)

 

So if you read my last post about how we’re doing with the food allergies, then you’ll know that I’m trying to work out how we can go soy, dairy, gluten, and egg free (or at least reduce those last three). So today I made my first attempt at making gluten free bread. I naively didn’t research it online first and decided to gamely try my Linseed Bread recipe with the gluten free flour I’d picked up cheaply at an overflow store.

At the end of the first rise it was a completely different texture to my normal dough and really sticky (like thick icing). I realized that part of the problem was that the flour mix was intended for muffin making, not bread, and might not be strong enough. The tapioca / maize / rice flour mix had some thickeners added but I wasn’t sure if those included things like xanthan gum that might be able to hold the bubbles the yeast was trying to make. I gamely threw in some more gluten free flour and went on to the second mix & rise.

I did decide, while eyeing the mix nervously, that putting it in my bread mould might be a little hopeful. Instead I out it into a silicon muffin tray and spread the leftover mix thinly on a silicon flan dish. They did indeed rise again and I put them in the oven hoping for the best.

These cooked much more quickly than my bread does (in about 20 minutes) and came out with kind of a thin crunchy meringue type top. The flatbread was very thin and tasty with just butter (well actually rice bran spread); I think it might dry further over the next day or two and become more of a cracker. The muffins actually had a good texture inside and came out like English muffins (so bread-like rather than sweet muffins).

So not a total loss, yay!

How to make Multi-seed bread (Toddler friendly)

Often Multi-grain bread recipes will include things like whole linseed, sunflowers, pumpkin seeds, and these can be a bit rough on a young toddler’s gut. This is especially apparent when they get old enough to inform you ‘Poo! Seeds!’; they can obviously feel it. So, the seeds I’ve used for this bake are gentler and smaller passing through; the wonderful thing about home-made bread is that you can adapt it to suit. I also really like making Ancient Grains bread which is very light and fluffy!

Ingredients

  • 325ml water
  • 2T + 2 tsp oil (I use rice bran)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2T sugar
  • 3c 2T flour
  • 2T milk powder
    • Baby formula also works.
  • 9-12T seeds (I used 3T ground linseed, 3T poppy, 3T sesame).

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.

How to make Linseed Bread

To make a 750g loaf. This was delicious with home made peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 290ml water
  • 2T oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T sugar
  • 3c bread flour
  • 2 1/2T ground linseed/flaxseed
  • 2T milk powder
    • Baby formula also works!
  • 3 tsp bread improver yeast

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes; you may want to lower the oven tray when you turn the temperature down. I also recommend removing the loaf from the bread tin for the last 5-10 mins of cooking to allow even browning along the base.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.

Note: This will not turn out the same if you simply cook it in the breadmaker (it will be okay but not amazing) because the bread is contained by the size of the breadmaker and you can’t vary temperature and distance from heat.

Tip: A longer rising time will result in fluffier bread. I have sometimes done 4 knockdowns (two lengthy and two short) and 4 rising times meaning that the bread with 4-8 hours of ‘proofing’ before baking. Gluten based bread loves getting knocked around; all that kneading and rising helps to elasticate the dough and allows the gluten + yeast to work together to create tiny air bubbles.

If you’re interested in the chemistry of breadmaking check out this great post from Serious Eats.

Did you know? A commercial bakery will go from start to bag in 3 hours or less when making bread; traditional methods (and sourdoughs) take 18-25 hours. One theory behind rising numbers of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is our move away to industrialized baking; a longer rising time results in decreased gluten proteins as they break down and change. It’s something to think about if you’re considering decreasing gluten in your diet.

How to make Milk Bread

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Milk bread

To make a 750g loaf. This was a sweeter denser bread that toasted well. It was delicious with butter & jam, and also with vegemite & avocado.

Ingredients

  • 310ml milk (full cream or standard not trim)
  • 3 tsp oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T sugar
  • 3c bread flour
  • 3 tsp bread improver yeast

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.