Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

For those on a gluten free diet, finding good bread is an ongoing mission. The full line of overpriced and terrible prepackaged breads at the grocery store will turn any casual baker into a committed one. As I embarked on my journey into gluten free baking, I found it quite easy, forgiving and way yummier than store bought gluten free products. Having had to go gluten free for myself and dairy free when I was nursing my daughter, I came to realize that not being able to eat certain foods, not only leads to feeling better (when you abstain from those foods, of course), but also increases variety, creativity and enjoyment in cooking. Dietary limitations can inspire so much more nutritional diversity and creativity in the meal planning and cooking process when you approach it from a curious and healthful perspective. You find yourself discovering new recipes and new foods to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
 
The bread in this recipe is perfect for breakfast toast or sandwiches. When I started gluten free bread making I followed a lot of recipes that used dairy and eggs. I didn’t think my family needed to add any more dairy and eggs to our diet so in the interest of both health and frugalness, I set out to create gluten free bread with just good flour, water, yeast and a bit of salt and sugar. I confess that this recipe does use xanthan gum and guar gum as binders. This is what takes the place of the gluten in gluten free bread. Any other ingredients listed on your store bought gluten free bread is not needed. I have even heard that some people are making good gluten free bread without binders at all and I did try it a couple of times. It tasted great but it sunk during baking and didn’t hold together (definitely not sandwich bread). A binder free loaf will be the next bread recipe that I post, I promise! But for now there are only so many sunken loaves of bread that I can tolerate in a week. So until I’m feeling adventurous again, I’ll stick to this recipe.
 
The single most important thing you must understand about making gluten free bread is that the dough and the process is more like making a quick bread or cake batter. This is very important. If you’ve made regular bread before and are looking for that kneaded formed yet soft consistency you will end up with very dry bread. So trust me... the gluten free bread dough should be like a thick cake batter. No kneading, no multiple risings, not much like making a yeasted wheat bread at all. In fact it is really quick, easy and tasty. The key here is really in the amount of liquid that you use. Recipes for baking are not an exact science, especially when you use volume measurements and not weight. But even so, the age and dryness of the flour will determine EXACTLY how much liquid you need. It may take a few loaves to know you need to add a tablespoon or two of more liquid to the batter so the bread is not dry. Once you get the hang of this though you can make modifications to the recipes, such as adding cinnamon and raisins. But for now just follow the recipe and see what happens.
 
When I make this bread, I use a KitchenAid stand mixer with the standard beater attachment. If you plan to make gluten free baked goods regularly I cannot stress the importance of getting a stand mixer. It will be the most used appliance in your kitchen. The stand mixers allow for longer and more powerful mixing than you could do by hand or even with an electric hand mixer. This powerful mixing not only creates speed and ease in the process but also adds more air and loft to your batters and results in a lighter, better rising finished product. I would probably not even attempt this recipe without my trusty KitchenAid.
 
Part of what we’ve come to savor in gluten bread is well... the gluten! However, you will be surprised just how good gluten free bread can be, when you bake it at home. If you need to eat gluten free due to an allergy or intolerance you’ll find yourself wanting to hide a loaf of this bread in the freezer so that all those that don’t really “need” to eat gluten free will stop munching on your bread! Like all gluten free baked goods, this bread is best eaten fresh. If you don’t plan on eating two loaves in one day (and I hope you won’t) then just fully cool the bread, slice it, place it in a ziploc bag and freeze it immediately. Then you can remove slices as needed, pop them in your toaster and viola--fresh gluten free bread.
 
Let me know how your bread turns out by leaving a comment below. If you have any questions, I promise to answer them. Good luck and enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 cups millet flour

1 cup sorghum flour


1/2 cup white rice flour

1 1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour

2 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp guar gum

1 Tbsp salt

4 tsp olive oil


4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 

1/8 cup sugar

3 3/8 cup warm water (not hot)
 
Instructions:
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Add the first 8 ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix on low speed in a stand mixer (with the standard beater attachment) until the ingredients are uniform.
  2. In a 4 quart sauce pan add the water and gently warm on the stove top until the water is about the temperate of you skin or slightly warmer (90-100 F). Add the sugar and stir or whisk to dissolve. Then add dry yeast and stir until all the yeast is dispersed in the water. Allow the yeast sugar mixture to sit until the yeast begins growing. This is call proofing the yeast. The water will get really cloudy and you may even see the yeast just “explode” in the water.
  3. While you wait for the yeast to proof, butter two 9-inch bread pans. You can use coconut oil if you are dairy free, but butter makes for the easiest removal of the bread from the bread pans once it's done.
  4. When the yeast is proofed, add the yeasty sugar water to the dry ingredients and mix on high speed for 5 minutes. Divide the batter evenly into each buttered loaf pan, cover loosely by creating a dome of aluminum foil over each pan and allow the batter to rise until is reaches just below the edge of the loaf pans. This could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes or more depending on your climate and the temperature of your kitchen. The warmer the temperature the faster the bread will rise. So for example, if it is by your preheating oven, in say the summer time, its best to keep a close eye on this process. If the bread rises too much it will collapse either during the rising process or while it is baking in the oven. If the former happens, you can just remove the batter from the pans, remixed and re-add to clean buttered loaf pans. If it happens while baking there is nothing that can be done--just continue baking and enjoy the yummy but not so pretty and not so well held together result.
  5. Once the bread has risen, remove the aluminum foil, place pans on a center rack in pre-heated oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Then cover again with the aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and remove the bread loaves from their pans and allow to cool on cooling racks.
  7. Slice and enjoy fresh! Freeze any left over slices so that you can just remove individual slices from the freezer and toast as needed. Aside from fresh out of the oven, freezing and then toasting is the best way to store and eat gluten free bread. Let me know how yours turns out!
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