Gluten Free White Loaf

As a coeliac for many years I’m used to eating gluten free bread. I could not live without my morning toast, one slice slathered in marmite and the other in marmalade. I found that Tesco’s own fresh white unsliced loaf the nicest, most realistic alternative to real bread. You literally could not tell the difference, it was that good. It beats Genuis, Warburtons and any others out there by a country mile. So what do they go and do? Yep, discontinue it and replace it with a sliced version that’s too thin for toast and change the recipe. Buy online from NHS Heroes at https://www.nhsheroes.co.uk/

So what to do? I went and bought a bread maker (ordered online, obviously, seeing as I can’t get out the house!). A Panasonic one known for it’s very good reputation for churning out damn good loaves including gluten free ones. Surely it would be relatively straight forward as it does all the hard work for you. Er, no, not quite! It’s now three months later since my new bread maker entered the house, or should I say my bedroom. Yep it’s sat on my dressing table within easy reach for me to be able to bake a loaf. My bedroom looks more like a bedsit these days lol Anyway, I digress!

In the past 3mths I have tried so many different bread recipes from books that promise loaves that look, smell and taste just like wheat bread to recipes found online, all with weird and wonderful ingredients and some that were hard to track down or find substitutes for, it has been one hell of a journey just to make one loaf of bread that works well enough for me. During so much experimentation and tweaking recipes I also relied on, although that should be ‘got by on’, Orgran’s easy bake bread mix which is incredibly simple to make and always comes out well but is rather bland and uninspiring. I also did not want to rely on any particular brands bread mix in case they were discontinued.

I needed at least one good recipe that worked using generic gluten free flours and other ingredients such as margarine, eggs etc which are easy to get hold of. During this frustrating and very exhausting journey (trying to bake with chronic illnesses even if it’s just measuring and throwing some flour and a few other things in a bread machine exhausts me for the rest of the day and the day after) I found I could not stand the taste of skimmed milk powder that’s so often called for in gluten free bread recipes and also more than one whole egg otherwise the smell and taste of eggy, wet dog bread just turned my stomach so a whole lot of tweaking was required.

Today, I have just finished tweaking yet another recipe as it called for far too much water and too many eggs and ended up a very soft, stodgy wet loaf. This time however, it’s pretty much bang on, at least for me. It’s good for toast and sandwiches and you could even make soft rolls out of the dough. I may tweak it again the next time and substitute a little of the rice flour for more tapioca to make it a bit more robust so it can take beans on toast for example, this recipe makes it a little too soft for standing up to eggs or beans on toast, although I guess you could cut the water down a little more which would make it a bit sturdier.

It makes a large loaf (approx 2 pound, make sure your bread machine can handle 2 – 2 1/2 pound loaf sizes), is very soft, yet a little crusty on the outside edges. It does not sink in the middle either but may come out more flat topped than domed. It also stays soft for several days!

Recipe as follows with detailed notes for automatic bread makers.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups (320g) of White Rice Flour (If your rice flour is oriental in origin add an extra 1 tablespoon of rice flour. You may also substitute one cup for brown rice flour if you wish).
  • 1/2 cup (96g) Potato starch (not potato flour!)
  • 1/2 cup (180g) Tapicoa Flour + an extra 1 tablespoon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of Xantham Gum or Guar Gum (If you are unable to tolerate either of these, just increase the psyillium husk powder an extra teaspoon)
  • 2/3 cup non-fat (skimmed) powdered milk OR 1/2 cup of non-dairy substitute. (I use coffeemate! The original or lite version works)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon pysillium husk powder (you may leave this out if you wish but it adds a little extra fibre and helps the bread feel more like real bread)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups full to the brim (approx 375ml) of lukewarm water
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter or hard margarine.
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar.
  • 1 large egg and 2 egg whites (Or you may use an egg replacer such as Orgrans, follow the packet instructions or just add the egg replacer powder to the dry ingredients and add extra water as per the egg replacer instructions to the water already required for this recipe. You may need to cut the melted butter/marg down to 4 tablespoons though)
  • 1 1/4 Tablespoon of yeast (fast/easy/quick yeast. I use Hovis for breadmakers as it includes dough enhancers, it’s packed in a factory which also handles wheat and gluten but I’m ok with traces. If you are not, use any other easy/fast/quick yeast and add 1/4 teaspoon of vit c powder to the flour mix).

Instructions for bread machine:

  • Measure all dry ingredients (not the yeast!) and mix together so they are all incorporated.
  • Add the water to the bread pan, the cider vinegar, then the eggs , make sure the eggs have been given a quick beating with a fork first. Add the melted butter/marg.
  • Put the flour/dry ingredients mix on top of the wet ingredients in the bread pan and spread it fairly evenly over the wet ingredients, don’t know why but it just works better. Add the yeast on top of the flour mix, again sprinkle it so it’s fairly even all over.
  • Use the gluten free setting on medium crust if you have one or you can use the basic white setting on medium crust and set to a L or even XL loaf size if you have it. If you can program your machine then it will need 20 mins of mixing/kneading, 45mins rise (only needs one rise) then 55mins bake time. Make sure you scrape down the edges of the pan within the first few mins of mixing/kneading to help all the flour mix in properly. The ‘dough’ will look like and should look like a thick cake batter, smooth with swirls in the mixture as the machine mixes it. If not your measurements may be off somewhere. All dry ingredients in cup measurements I fill to the brim of the cup.

I really hope this helps someone make a good gluten free loaf. In my 3 months of trying, I never thought I would ever turn out a good enough loaf, no recipes I tried seemed to work and I almost gave up in frustration but this one does. Try it and let me know what you think!