Monday, August 17, 2015

Baking Center Experiment #3 - Gluten Free Sandwich Loaf

Well over a dozen days without gluten, dairy (except for yogurt), caffeine, seeds and nuts (except for almond flour and peanut butter), alcohol, red meat and all the foods eliminated a couple of years ago due to need to reduce oxalate intake...and yes, there are still plenty of things to eat...and I am feeling much better, with more energy and the 'plumbing' is working close to normal. To this point I have used a purchased GF sandwich loaf when I wanted a slice of bread, but it is pretty much like cardboard in texture. I went online and did some research and combined a few recipes trying to create one that has elasticity as well as a nice crumb and crust. Hoping that it tastes good, too.

I thought a bit about what makes artisan bread taste so good and one thing is the flavor you can get if you let the dough or a poolish or starter sit for a day or two in the fridge, so I decided to ignore the recipes I had seen that did it all on one day, to allow for that. I used a cup of water and put that in a small bowl along with the yeast. Once it had proved, I stirred in a cup of a brown rice flour mixture that was similar to ones I had seen online. It sat on the counter for about an hour and I could see that it was active, so I punched it down a bit and covered it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for a little over 24 hours. Once it came back to room temperature I continued on with my recipe, adding another cup of water and the starter after I had mixed some honey, eggs, butter and vinegar together. After the starter had incorporated, I put in the rest of the flour mixture which I had enriched with xanthan gum for stability and an egg replacer for elasticity. I beat the batter even though there isn't really gluten to develop, but a lot of recipes seem to do that.

I put all the batter into one big bread pan so that the slices would be big enough for sandwiches. It did dip in the middle as it cooled after baking as it seems these GF breads often do, but not a lot and the slices are nice and large and the crust is great! Once the loaf had risen and was ready to bake I sprinkled a little GF flour mixture at random on the top for an artisan look.

I had a half slice plain once it had cooled off and was happy with the texture and mostly happy with the flavor, but there was a sort of metallic aftertaste that I don't care for. More experiments may be needed to figure out how to get rid of that. It wasn't too noticeable the next day, so maybe I can keep using this recipe as is. It makes great toast, too. Overall it is a much nicer bread than the stuff from the grocery store. Future loaves will probably include GF oats, mashed real potatoes, potato water, and buckwheat and/or spelt flour for more flavor.

By the way, the bread wasn't ready until quite late because Sweetie, Pi and I went to the beach for lunch and the afternoon because it was so beautiful and we wanted some fun time together. A happy day was enjoyed by all. I'm glad we went because it turned hot a couple of days later and smoky and very hot (100+) over the weekend and today. Glad it is supposed to cool off tonight and be only in the mid-80s tomorrow.

GF Sandwich Bread

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
3 tablespoons potato flour (not potato starch)
2 /14 teaspoons (1 package) dry yeast
1 cup warm water (tepid)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon egg replacer
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup honey
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup non-dairy butter (like Earth Balance), room temperature
1 cup warm water (tepid)

In a large bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. Remove 1 cup of this mixture and set the rest aside, covered with plastic wrap.

In a small bowl mix together the warm water and dry yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to prove the will be foamy if yeast is viable. Stir in the cup of flour mixture. Spray one side of a piece of plastic wrap with spray oil (pan spray) and place oil side down over the bowl of dough. Let sit on counter 1 hour, then place in refrigerator (punching down a little first if dough has risen a lot) until the next day. This give the dough additional flavor over bread made the same day as it is started.

The next day let the bowl of dough come to room temperature. While it is doing that, mix the xanthan gum and egg replacer , salt and powdered milk into the flour mixture. Set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl whisk together the honey and vinegar. Beat in the eggs and then the soft butter with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds. If the butter looks a little chunky, that's O.K. Add the warm water and beat 15 seconds. Add the room temperature dough and beat 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Scrape down bowl, let rest 30 seconds and blend on medium-high for 4 minutes. Dough should look like thick cake batter.

While dough does final mixing, grease a bread pan. After the 4 minutes are up, spoon the dough into the prepared pan. With a wet finger smooth the top. Set in a warm draft free place to rise for 50-60 minutes and while that is happening, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

When the dough is about 1 inch over the top of the pan, bake on the middle rack of preheated oven for 45-55 minutes to an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. An instant read thermometer really helps here.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Once totally cool, slice with a saw motion, back and forth but with no downward pressure with a serrated knife.

Makes one full size loaf or two smaller loaves. (Smaller loaves may need less baking time.)


  1. Your gluten free loaf looks really good. I haven't ventured too much in this arena so it's good to see how others are paving the way. I like the way you incorporated artisan techniques in your method.

  2. Thanks Cathy! I still need to figure out how to keep the middle from sinking...maybe a smaller pan...but overall I'm happy with the bread. Hoping to keep baking with the Babes, just changing the recipe some. Couldn't figure out how to do it with the rye eight bread, but maybe with time I will be able to. It's and adventure!

  3. Oh it looks great! For a taller loaf, put a foil collar on a smaller loaf pan. That trick worked for a cinnamon raisin swirl loaf for me. It tends to be the tapioca starch that has the metallic flavor depending on brand. You might consider using part arrowroot or potato starch for that large amount to avoid that flavor issue. I think your crumb looks awesome for gluten free. :)

  4. Thanks for the tips! I will try the foil collar and substituting some potato starch for the tapioca starch. I think the 'butter' I've been using has some metallic taste, too, so I am trying others. Quite a journey. Thanks also for the nice comment on the crumb. I was amazed that non-gluten dough could have such a nice crumb. Maybe the overnight stay in the fridge helped with that, too. :)

  5. That looks great, an impressive shape, looks like 'real' bread. I found the best way to make GF bread is to use buckwheat flour, ground gluten free oats made into flour and then add a little chia seeds. It adds moistness and elasticity. Supermarket GF bread is often awful. Some wraps and bagels are better these days if you can find them.
    Good luck - will be interested to see how your other bakes turn out.

  6. WHOA. That is THE most beautiful GF loaf I have EVER seen, hands down.
    KAF has a high-sided pan which allegedly helps to fix the "dip" issue ( I haven't gotten one yet, but I've got my eye on it.

    Interesting that the metallic flavor is common - the NYT had a piece on GF foods that talked about the metallic flavor coming from the bean flours in GF flour mixes - apparently Bob's Red Mill is quite the culprit on this. ( However, since you made your own you're I'm perplexed as well... try baking in a glass dish for awhile to see if isn't something reacting? And I do agree to switching the butter; I've tasted cake frosting made dairy free with various substitute butters and some odd flavors have cropped up (though that might have just been because of an odd baker...) Smart Balance is what we use instead of Earth Balance for a non-dairy butter sub - and it has a nice, buttery flavor and works in baking just fine for me, but then, I can hardly call myself to the expert level of you and D...

    We thought of you guys during the big heat up there with that awful smoke - so glad that's cooled/calmed and we can all breathe again. Bring on the rain!