Let's be honest: We all have tried - and failed - baking our own gluten free bread. So why is it so hard to create such a simple thing? Fresh baked bread is such a lovely, comforting staple and yet, when you have to eat gluten free it becomes difficult to find a bread that not only tastes good but stays soft and yum for more than 30 minutes...
So lets see why it is so tricky and how we can fix this problem:
Gluten Free Bread needs more fluids
This is the most important fact that is often ignored when it comes to homemade gluten free bread. The dough is sticky, just about runny and not easy to handle? That is exactly how you want it! Gluten Free flour consist of mainly starches and flour milled from not very absorbent grains/seeds. It takes far longer for gluten free flour to absorb the moisture you add to the mix so don't be tempted to add more flour once you have mixed the dough. Instead - give it time. A gluten free bread dough needs between 2 and 12 hours to fully absorb the moisture. if you don't do it before baking, the flour will still absorb the moisture once baked and will this way very quickly dry our your loaf.
Don't overmix your mix!
As you don't need to activate any gluten in a gluten free bread mix, don't be tempted to mix your dough longer than really necessary. A gluten free bread mix takes no more than 5 minutes to mix and can be whisked together with a fork or a whisk. Gluten free bread can be made successfully in bread makers.
Always use gums as binders!
To successfully bake gluten free bread you need to add binders ( such as Xanthan or guar gum or other binding agents). The gums are an important ingredient to keep your loaf together and give it structure. They trap the gas from the yeast inside the loaf, helping to give it structure and strength. Options to use are: Xanthan gum, guar gum, flaxseeds, chia seeds and psyllium husks powder. Psyllium husks work especially well for bread as they also add fibre. As all these binders are hydrocolloid agents, which means they attract water and need to be added to the dough as the dough otherwise would be too wet and runny.
A quick guide:
1 tsp gum = 2 tsp psyllium husk powder = 2 tsp ground flaxseed/ chia seeds
Use 'Eggy' Bread recipes!
Especially when you start off in the beginning, having a recipe that uses egg can be such a life saver! Eggs add protein and moisture to the mix and assist with the structure and texture of the bread. Eggy bread recipes are easy to work with and are most likely to give you a successful outcome.
Add Sparkling water!
If you can, use carbonated water for your bread mix. This will add more air, making the final loaf nice and light. If you like adding more taste, use gluten free beer!
And most of all! Have fun!
It will take time to find that one recipe that works for you! But once you found it, you will be able to enjoy fantastic homemade bread without that gluten free taste as it is easy to mask this with the help of adding seeds, honey, beer or any other flavoursome ingredient to create that perfect loaf!