Gluten Free Artisan Bread
Bread is a bit of a sore point with a lot of people who can’t have gluten. Gluten is the protein in bread that makes the dough all stretchy and elastic. It gives bread that lovely, light, slightly chewy texture. It makes the bread soft and pliable, so you can fold a piece of bread in half and it doesn’t break and crumble. (Didn’t you love eating folded-over sandwiches as a kid? I did.) But it’s also the thing that causes bloating and discomfort in a lot of people, and does such terrible things to coeliacs!
When my son and I had to go totally gluten free for three months, the most difficult thing for us was not having bread. I mean, we could have gluten free bread, but have you ever tried the gluten free bread from the shop? Yeah, not so exciting. And it’s expensive. And it’s totally useless for sandwiches or for wrapping around a sausage.
I did end up making my own gluten free bread with Cyndi O’Meara’s recipe (originally from the Changing Habits Changing Lives cookbook), which is much nicer than the shop bought bread, and cheaper, and you can grind up the grains in your Thermomix. I still had to force my son to eat it though – he wanted his spelt bread back.
Then recently I bought the cookbook ‘Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ and the first recipe I tried was the gluten free artisan bread. Wow. It turned out better than any gluten free bread I’d tasted before. I mean, look at this – it even bends without breaking!!
You can wrap it around a sausage, or make sandwiches with it, and it won’t disintegrate into crumbs! And believe it or not, this photo was taken when the bread was a day old!!! (Sorry about all the exclamation marks, but I just can’t help being excited about this bread!)
When my first loaf came out of the oven, it suddenly seemed like half the neighbourhood were in my kitchen, all wanting a slice of bread… Even when I told them it was gluten free it didn’t scare them off – they loved it! (So, yeah, that first loaf didn’t last long.)
The crust on this bread is thick and crusty and chewy, which I love, and the flavour is slightly sourdough-ish, which I also love, and it turns out looking very rustic, which I love as well… So as you can see, I’m pretty pleased with this bread! (Those of you who are followers of my Quirky Cooking Facebook Page are probably tired of hearing about this bread, but I thought I should share it with the non-facebookers out there.)
The addition of sorghum flour gives it a better texture, and bit of fibre. If you like, you could add more texture with the addition of some seeds – linseeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds – they’d all be great in this bread.
So here’s the original recipe for this bread: Recipe for Gluten Free Crusty Boule (I’ve just re-written it to make it more ‘Thermomix friendly’.) Before you start, it would be best to watch the video clip by Zoe, one of the authors of the book – it’ll give you a better idea of the method than just reading the recipe.
This recipe makes four 500g loaves – the dough stays in the fridge and you just bake a loaf when you need it. So easy!
- 300g brown rice (or use brown rice flour)
- 220g sorghum flour (find in health food shops or Indian/Asian grocery stores - also called 'Jowar Atta' flour)
- 380g tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
- 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 Tablespoon fine sea salt/Himalayan salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons xanthan gum
- 4 large eggs
- 670g lukewarm water
- 65g neutral flavoured oil (eg. macadamia, grapeseed, sunflower, light olive)
- 30g honey
- Grind up brown rice in the Thermomix in two batches on speed 9 for a minute per batch.
- Add the dry ingredients (with all the rice flour) and mix in on speed 5 until well combined. Tip flour mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Weigh liquid ingredients into Thermomix and mix on speed 4 until combined.
- Pour liquid into the bowl with the flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated. There is no need to knead! Dough will be like a wet, sticky, scone dough, not like a regular bread dough.
- Cover (but not airtight) and allow dough to rest at room temperature until it rises, approximately 2 hours or so. You can use it immediately after this initial rise, but the flavour is nicer if you refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container overnight first. You can use the dough over the next 7 days, although bear in mind, the flavour gets stronger each day.
- When you're ready to cook it, wet your hands, and take out a grapefruit-sized piece of the refrigerated dough. Quickly shape it into a ball, gently pressing into shape, and smoothing with a little water if you don't want it rough and rustic.
- Allow the dough to rest, loosely covered in plastic wrap, on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal, or on baking paper on a cookie sheet if you don't have a pizza peel. It will need to rest for about an hour and a half, or even 2 hours. (If it hasn't been refrigerated and you're using it straight away, it will only need about 40 minutes to rest.) It will rise a little in this time, but it won't double like regular bread dough does.
- Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F), with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. (If you don't have a baking stone, a cast-iron pan or heavy pizza tray will do.) Place an empty grill tray or baking pan on the rack underneath.
- When the loaf is ready to bake, slash the top with 1/4-inch-deep parrallel cuts, using a very sharp knife, or a serrated bread knife. This isn't just for looks - it seems to bake better inside if you do this.
- Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone or pan. (If using baking paper, leave it under the bread). Quickly pour a cup of hot tap water into the hot grill tray or baking pan and immediately shut the oven door. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. If you used baking paper, carefully remove it two-thirds of the way through the baking time and bake the loaf directly on the hot stone, cast-iron pan, or oven rack.
- Allow bread to cool on a rack before slicing.
Note: Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time. If you like, you can make two loaves at a time, as they’re small enough to sit side by side in the oven.