Finally….Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck!

gluten free bread

I made a bold statement on Facebook and Instagram on Saturday morning. I said that I was going to make a GOOD gluten-free bread if it killed me! That tells you how DESPERATE I had become to find an answer to this dilemma in our family.

It may not seem like a big thing to those of you who don’t have to face this issue, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one….it IS a big deal. When everyone else is having french toast for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and cheeseburgers for dinner and you’re NOT because it’s not even WORTH it when the bread you have to eat is so awful….it is a big deal.

It all came to a head for me last week when we decided at the last minute to have “breakfast for dinner” and I had no gluten-free bread in the house for my son Kell who has celiacs disease. I had forgotten to pick some up at the bakery in town (which is really the only halfway decent source I’d found up to that point) and every single mix I’d ever tried to bake at home had been an utter failure. I felt like crying.

I made up my mind right then that I would figure out how to make a GOOD gluten-free bread…yes, even if it killed me. :-)  Which luckily it didn’t!

gluten free bread

Saturday morning, armed with every gluten-free type flour I could get my hands on, and a handful of recipes I had spent HOURS researching online, I set out on my quest!

The stars must have been aligned in my favor that day…because the recipe that I came up with turned out far better than I ever dreamed it would! No exaggeration.

I won’t bore you (or me) with a lengthy explanation of why gluten-free baking is so different from traditional baking and what all the different flours are for and what they do and don’t do. There are OODLES of websites that go into that in detail. Just Bing it or Google it and you’ll be overwhelmed, as I was. Which is why for the LONGEST time I stubbornly refused to “get into” the gluten-free baking thing. It was just too complicated. But I finally was forced to swallow my pride. Relying solely on pre-mixed, pre-packaged or pre-made GF bread products all left me disappointed.

So the first step was to find a gluten-free flour blend to use in my gluten-free bread. Like I said, there are so many different flour types out there, it’s enough to make you want to go screaming into the night!

GF flours

Rice flour, teff flour, soy flour, corn flour, potato flour, quinoa flour, tapioca flour, almond flour, coconut flour, bean flour….ahhhhhhhh….see what I mean!?!?  How is anyone without a degree in the culinary arts supposed to figure this out? The only answer I have to that is to find someone whose opinion you trust and see what they have to say about it. Not an easy task when you don’t know anyone.

Hopefully over the last couple of years I haven’t led you too far astray in any of the ideas I’ve posted here and you will give me the benefit of the doubt on this one. I am not a gluten-free expert by ANY stretch of the imagination! But I am stating with 100% sincerity that this is the best GF bread that I personally have ever had.  Will it be the LAST I will ever try? Certainly not. I’m sure there are even BETTER options out there…and I mean to find them all.

So enough blathering by me…let’s get on with this shall we?  I can’t wait to hear what you think when and if you try it yourself.

gluten free bread recipe

Like I said, I started out my quest armed with a handful of recipes. One was called Championship Sandwich Bread from LivingWithout.com. There is no information on WHY it’s a “championship” bread…but it still sounded promising to me…and I was grasping at straws at this point anyway! Plus it was pretty straightforward, and on my first foray into this world of gluten-free bread making, I wanted to start with a simple loaf of bread. The “artisan” stuff could wait.

Reading through all the comments on this recipe and many others, I picked up some tips that were invaluable and I incorporated them into my final recipe. It’s like I always say….all “my” best ideas on this blog come from YOU, the readers! :-)

First things first….the gluten-free Flour Blend. This is adapted from the same website, LivingWithout.com

gluten free bread

Brown Rice Flour Blend

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

1⅓ cups brown rice flour
1⅓ cups tapioca flour/starch
1⅓ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon potato flour

(I couldn’t find potato flour in the store so I just blended some potato flakes up in my Blendtec and that worked just fine!)

gluten free bread

These are the instant mashed potato flakes I used after pulsing in my Blendtec blender about 5 or 6 times.

gluten free bread

Mix all ingredients together.

OK, NOW, we’re ready to make the gluten-free Bread Recipe.

Jillee’s Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck

 

Ingredients

 

4 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend (see above recipe)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup powdered milk
3 large eggs at room temperature
¼ cup butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ cup honey
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast (not INSTANT dry yeast)
2 cups warm water

 

 

A couple of notes about replacements:  If you are allergic to eggs you can replace the 3 eggs with: 9 Tbsp. water and 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed, or follow the instructions on the egg replacement powder.You can also make this bread using water instead of milk or a plain gluten free non-dairy milk.

Directions:

Spray cooking spray into two 8-inch bread pans.

gluten free bread

Add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm water and stir until mixed. Set this aside to activate while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

 

gluten free bread

Mix the flour blend, xanthum gum, gluten-free egg replacer, salt, and powdered milk together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.

 

gluten free bread

Put eggs, butter, vinegar, and honey in the bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix together for about 30 seconds. The butter will be chunky, that’s OK.

Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer. Mix just until blended, and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix for another 30 seconds, until blended.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water and yeast mixture, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 4 minutes.

 

gluten free bread

After the 4 minutes your bread dough should resemble thick cake batter.

 

gluten free bread

Spoon the dough into your greased bread pans. Dip your fingers in water to smooth the top of the dough, if desired. Set aside in a warm place to rise for approximately about 50 to 60 minutes. While dough rises, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

gluten free bread

When the dough has risen to about an inch above the top of the pans, place the pans in your preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread’s internal temperature reaches 200 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. (This is very helpful! It’s hard to tell when gluten-free bread is done. But if you don’t have an instant read thermometer you’re going to have to use your best guess based on your particular oven.)

 

gluten free bread

Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then remove loaves from pans and place on a rack to cool. (As you can see, I brushed the top of mine with butter when they came out of the oven.)

 

gluten free bread The anticipation at this point in the bread-making process was killing me! So far everything had gone SO well, but I was deathly afraid once I cut into this bread it was going to be the same bitter disappointment I’d felt so many times before. But I was still hopeful!

After allowing it to cool COMPLETELY (this is important! Don’t rush it and cut into it while it’s still warm or you will flatten it.) I very, VERY carefully started cutting it into slices. This is ALSO very important…let your bread knife do the cutting for you! You provide the “sawing” action, but let the knife blade do the work. Don’t press down, just keep “sawing” across the top until you get all the way to the bottom of the loaf and hit the cutting board. The bread slices will keep their shape much better this way!

 

gluten free bread

Looks good enough to eat doesn’t it!? :-)  Don’t believe me? Well, there’s little more I can do to convince you than what I have said here in this post…the rest is up to you to try it yourself and decide.

 

gluten free bread

But I did put the bread through some very important “bread tests” that are demonstrated in this photo. The bread passed with flying colors! No other gluten-free bread that I have eaten to date has EVER been able to do any of those bread calisthenics! :-)

Oh wait, there was one more test….EATING IT of course! I immediately slathered a piece with butter and ate it. Once again, I almost started crying. But this time it was tears of joy instead of tears of frustration. It tasted like BREAD. Honest-to-goodness…bread.

Then I gave a piece to Kell, the REAL test, and he agreed. After that I tracked down everyone in the house that had a mouth and made them try it! (I let my grandpuppy Milo off the hook.) Everyone was in 100% agreement that if they didn’t KNOW it was gluten-free, they would not have been able to tell. V I C T O R Y!!

gluten free bread

Last night was the final test….cheeseburgers for dinner. I can’t even recall the last time Kell has had a cheeseburger on bread of any kind. This was a pretty special burger.  :-)

Please let me know if you try this recipe and how it worked out for you! I am so excited to be able to share it and hope that everyone has the same success with it that I did!

 

 

 


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Comments

  1. Trixie F says

    Awesome, Jillee! I knew you could do it the whole time. Congratulations and thank you :)

    • Joanne says

      Tried recipe exactly as written, 1 pack yeast in 2 cups water did not do much action(and yes yeast is fresh) dough is wetter than in your pics as well……has been rising for 2+ hours and just starting to raise a little. Have another batch on and have doubled the yeast….looked great this time although dough is still wetter than the pics show. Both smell like rising bread so I am hopeful the first batch will just take awhile to rise. Just covered second try and will see how it works. Will let you know

      • Katie says

        You do have to add sugar to the yeast (I believe it’s a teaspoon and the directions are on the jar) which isn’t in the original recipe.

        I also found with this recipe and my kitchen aid it helps A LOT to alternate adding the dry ingredients with the yeast water (to the honey mix already in there). I get less clumping and mess that way. Great texture and rise in my less wide bread pans.

        Hope this helps!

      • Carrie says

        Sugar helps the proofing process, and it sounds like your yeast just didn’t proof. When I’m making bread, I put my warm water (app. 110 degrees F) in a pyrex container with the yeast and sugar, I cover loosely with cling wrap, and stick it in my microwave. (Do not turn on the microwave.) Just let it sit for five minutes. If there is not a good coating of froth on the top after five minutes, it’s not going to yield a good rise. Good luck!

      • Kay says

        I also had a problem with the rise before I decided to try adding sugar. Also, my house is pretty cold right now, so I put a heat mat under the pans and that helped a lot

    • Chris says

      YOU NAILED IT!! I could tell right away this recipe was different. The batter was so fluffy. I’ve tried so many gluten free bread recipe’s. This is fabulous. I’m so proud of you. Thanks, Chris

    • Cheryl says

      Are you sure 2 cups of water it’s real runny. Tried again using 1 1/8 cup it’s soupy looks nothing like your pic’s.

    • Amanda says

      This bread is fantastic! I used 2 packets of yeast and substituted powdered buttermilk for the powdered milk. So yummy! This means the world to our gluten free table! Thank you!

    • Amanda says

      This bread is simply fantastic! I am on my 4th time making it for my celiac son and our family! Just had my best trial yet! One change that gave a better crust was to use smaller pans…this bread needs to rise just over the top for a good crust like the one pictured. Here are my changes that worked deliciously: reduce water to 1.5 cup with 2 packets yeast and honey to proof, added 1/2 cup warm milk, switched dried milk to dried buttermilk, increased xanthan gum to 1.5 tbs, reduced cornstarch to 1 cup, added 1/3 cup kings flour whole grain gf blend, grease pans w/olive oil. Heavenly.

  2. Heather says

    The bread looks really yummy. I am curious as to why eggs and egg replacer. Would love to give the bread a try but my gluten sensitive child is also allergic to dairy. Not sure how to replace the milk powder. Congrats on the bread.

    • says

      If you are allergic to eggs you can replace the 3 eggs with: 9 Tbsp. water and 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed, or follow the instructions on the egg replacement powder.

      You can also make this bread using water instead of milk or a plain gluten free non-dairy milk.

      Hope this helps. :-)

      • Karen in AZ says

        Thank you for the tips! I was so excited to see the recipe title and was bummed when I saw the eggs adn powdered milk…. I’m glad I cruised on down through the comments to see this!

        (Yes, it’s not just gluten I can’t have, but eggs, dairy from a cow and peanuts – and other legumes shaped the same as a peanut such as kidney beans, pinto beans, northern beans, etc. It does complicate things even more. :( )

        I may just back my own bread now….

      • Carrie says

        Karen, me too! My family autoimmune disease of choice is Celiac. Whoopee! But I’m also allergic to eggs and dairy. I can, however, do yogurt. I’m wondering what watered down yogurt would do? I might want to give that a try and let you know.

      • Ivey says

        We used goat powdered milk and it worked great for those that also can’t have cows milk. We don’t do eggs either we tried one batch with flax and other all egg replacer and the egg replacer worked better.

      • Heather says

        If I used a liquid non dairy milk, do you think I should decrease the water?

        We can have eggs, just curious if the egg replacer is necessary in addition to the eggs? Thanks, I am going to give this a try!

      • Sarina says

        Egg replacer is just baking powder so just put in 1 tsp of baking powder instead of egg replacer.

      • Brian says

        Actually…
        Ingredients: Potato Starch,Tapioca Flour, Leavening (Calcium Lactate, Calcium Carbonate, Cream of Tartar), Cellulose Gum, Modified Cellulose.

      • Steve says

        Yes, Egg replacer is baking powder with miscellaneous thickeners and ingredients to keep it free flowing. It’s an ideal replacement for real eggs in recipes if you have an allergy as it adds a little bit of “glue” if you will to hold things together like a real egg would do.

        This recipe already has a thickener in the form of xanthan gum, baking powder alone can be easily and successively substituted for extra leavening alone.

        Also note that not all baking powders are gluten free, some may use wheat based starches to absorb moisture instead of corn or potato starches that are gluten free.

      • Susan says

        I don’t understand how you replace a liquid, say almond milk for the dry powdered milk. Won’t this change the consistency of the bread?

      • Betty Hunt says

        Seems to me that you would replace the water and dry milk with the non dairy milk.

      • Tracy says

        Looks good but i second the question – why the eggs AND the egg replacer? You never answered that question. And what could you substitute for the egg replacer? (not the eggs – i’m fine with eggs). I’d rather not go out and find another odd ingredient.

      • Rachel says

        Egg replacer is basically a mixture of a bunch of starches so it just adds more structure to the bread

      • Karen says

        I used real milk instead of powdered, but overlooked one small detail. I didn’t cut back on the amount of water I used for the yeast activation. As a result, the batter came out too watery, and the bread never rose as high as it might have. The bread was dense, but still tasty. I plan to try this again very soon.

      • kschatz says

        I think the point is not the cost but the consistency and taste. Almost ALL GF bread is dry, crumbly, and resembles sandpaper more than bread. If this works out for me I will sell my firstborn to afford it ;-)

      • scootermom says

        Yes its cheaper, if you keep making the bread. GF bread is about $5.00 for a very small loaf with small slices and it is tasteless and dry. Love the homemade on this page as well as the livingwithout.com’s

      • Nancy says

        If I sub the dairy as mentioned what is the measurement? You have 1/2 cup dry milk so is it still half cup liquid non daisy milk? Or do I decrease/increase? Thanks I’m desperately trying to find a bread that has a similar consistency to regular bread. My teenage son needs to go gluten free and lives on pb&j but every gfree bread I try he hates! So he goes back to regular even though it’s causing him problems. Every bread weave tried is dense and not soft. Thanks for the help

      • says

        Replace the powdered milk with REAL milk or water? Did one batch WITH the water(1/2 c)….didn’t bake long enough. Made one batch withOUT the water……was better, but am still unclear……the secret seems to be the instant thermometer…..the last(best batch so far) was 210 degrees but still fell a bit and had gummy clumps in it….the taste and texture are worth it though….am not giving up, but need some help….:)

      • Amanda says

        Helen, I think the gummy texture could be due to not mixing long enough. You literally need to beat the tar out of the dough! I turn my stand mixer on high and let it fly for 4solid minutes…texture becomes smooth and perfect. Also might test your oven temp. I use an internal thermometer too, and it comes out perfect at 200 Fahrenheit…

      • Sammy says

        I have read through the comments and maybe I missed it but alot of people including myself are wondering exactly how you go about using liquid milk or other instead of powdered milk. What do we need to change?

      • Joy says

        LOVE the tital of your post. So nice when people are real. So much fluff and pomp on the net!I’m so greatful for your post.
        My husband and 8yr old seem to be wheat intolerant, and I’ve been overwhelmed how to even begin and knew my husband would d defenetly not go for a change if the bead SUCKED!! Which I was expecting it to, as my friends who cook wheat free, have let me tast their bread and they were no t great.

        This is giving me the courage to TRY!

        Can you please tell me, if I take away the MILK POWDER & replace with LIQUID…will the bread be too WET ??????

        Thank you !

      • Kelly V says

        If you replace the powder milk with a dairy free milk, you would just use 1/2 cup of the dairy free milk, and then only use 1 1/2 cups of the water.

    • Aisha says

      You can buy Rice Milk Powder via Amazon that is vegan so completely safe for dairy sensitive kiddos! Just thought I would let you know!

    • Cheryl says

      You can replace the milk powder with tapioca starch and it works great. I have a kiddo that has to avoid corn and you can’t get a corn free non-dairy milk powder. Tapioca starch has worked great for me for the past year or so. Good luck!

    • Angie says

      Heather, I am also allergic to dairy. At our local health food store I am able to buy dairy free powdered milk. It has worked wonderful for me. The name of it is DariFree. Hope that helps you.

  3. Janette W says

    Thank you so much for your hard work, Jill! I will be making this myself this week! There are several in my family that need Gluten-Free alternatives, so this bread will be wonderful!
    My oldest daughter-in-law is on a completely GF diet and if this works as well as I’m sure it will, I will fill Mason Jars full of the dry ingreidents, ship them to her, and all she has to do is add the wet ingredients and follow the recipie! I’m very hopeful…thanks again.
    A faithful follower :-)
    Janette

  4. Michelle says

    Wow, so glad it worked out! Kell is one blessed kid to have you for his mom! You always go the extra mile to make “normal” food for him and I think it’s great! Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with this issue. Seems like so much work but I understand why you would do it for someone you LOVE. You’re awesome!

    • says

      Thank you Michelle. Yes, the power of a Mother’s Love is nothing to sneeze at. lol. It basically saved my life at one point. :-)

      • Kristin says

        I am in the process of letting this bread rise. Question: how do you get the cornmeal to blend into the batter? In my loaves, the batter has he cornmeal still mixed in, but not dissolved into the batter. I am expecting a cornmeal loaf. LOL I also wondered about the milk. I used liquid rice milk, but I didn’t reduce the water. My loaves are pretty thick, so I’m not worried about thinness. My son, who is named Kelan, doesn’t have celiac, but he does have milk protein allergy and FPIES. I think this recipe will help him, especially since I used Earth Balance spread for butter and rice milk for milk. I’m excited to see how it turns out! :)

  5. Amanda says

    I agree with Heather. I need a non-dairy alternative as well. Would Earth Balance spread work in place of the butter and powdered non-dairy milk work in place of milk? I noticed that the Living Without recipe allows for this. Thank you for all of your hard work!

  6. Cathy S in PA says

    Looks fantastic!!! Can’t wait to make some myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Gluten-free for over 7 years!!

  7. Martha says

    Well guess what I am making this week? I have been GF since 07 when I was diagnosed with celiacs. I also have been disappointed with the GF mixes and the high cost of ready made breads out there. Have tried many recipes and have decided that I do not need bread. I have made your recipe for microwave bread and I use it to make cheeseburgers and my favorite grilled ham and cheese. But round French toast just looks weird. Thank you Jillee I love all of your posts.

    • Paige says

      Hi, I was just wondering what substitutions you made in this recipe for the microwave bread, also what were the setting u set your microwave at and for how long? I would like to give it a try.
      I would really appreciate your help.

    • says

      I think it should be fine in a bread machine Sue, but it’s very easy without one as well. Easier than regular bread actually! It takes less time, there is no kneading, and there’s no second rise.

      • Brenda says

        Suggest putting in half the recipe if you have a 2 lb. Loaf bread machine. I tried it and it went over the sides., LOL! What a mess. Should have listened to my instincts! Baked in oven in two pans. Cooling now.

  8. Priscilla says

    I, too, have been searching for the perfect GF bread. I’ve tried tons of recipes, but none come close to looking like the pictures above. I’ll give this one a try and if it turns out as well, I might try jazzing up the fiber a bit. Thanks so much.

  9. says

    Hi Jillee,
    Very impressed with all your helpful posts…less so with the terminology in today’s title. I think I’m in the majority with the former and probably the minority with the latter. : ( Keep all the help coming!
    Carol

    • says

      Thanks Carol. I apologize if you were offended by the title of this post. (I guarantee you my Mom is not going to be happy with me!)
      I debated with myself for quite awhile before publishing it that way…but overall decided it was a very honest reflection of how strongly I feel about this subject!
      Thank you for sharing your opinion in a courteous fashion. It’s greatly appreciated. :-)

      • Lisa G says

        Yep, sometimes you just gotta be real. GF bread really does suck most of the time. I cant wait to try this recipe (giddy about it, really). Thanks for all your hard work.

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