Yeah, I know. Bread is what we all miss the most.
Unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest to make.
I’m not calling myself the expert. But here’s my humble opinion on making gluten-free bread rise.
Must Haves: Some of the things that I’ve found make a difference between dry, crumbly bread and soft, fluffy bread.
1. Xanthan gum. It’s a must have in a lot of gluten-free baked goods, but I think it does the most for breads. Xanthan gum can mean the difference between a pile of crumbles and a sandwich that actually holds itself together (for once). A teeny bit of xanthan gum can go a long way: You only need about a teaspoon for most recipes. For breads, you’ll usually have to use around two teaspoons.
What exactly xanthan gum does: It holds things together and can act as a substitute for gluten. Gluten causes bread to rise because it traps the yeast bubbles and allows them to grow. Xanthan gum can substitute for gluten by doing the same thing.
Possible substitutes for xanthan gum: Guar gum and flaxseed. I have tried neither of these methods, but from what I’ve heard/read, they do help hold things together. However, numerous people say that they don’t work quite as well as xanthan gum does.
2. Yeast. Well, obviously. If you’re going to make a yeast bread, you need yeast. Yeast acts by producing carbon dioxide (the bubbles). It is necessary to rise yeast with sugar because the sugar “feeds” the yeast (yes, yeast is alive), allowing it to produce the carbon dioxide. You rise bread in a warm atmosphere because the heat puts the yeast in a highly excited state, which allows it to produce carbon dioxide very quickly. When you turn the oven to full heat and begin to cook the bread, the bread stops rising because the high temperature stops the carbon dioxide. Towards the end of the baking process you might even see the bread fall just a bit. Butter and salt make it more difficult for the yeast to produce carbon dioxide, which is why you don’t usually put butter in a yeast bread, and you add very little salt.
The average amount of yeast that a bread recipe making one loaf asks for is between one and two tablespoons. Too much yeast will give the bread a strange, sour “beer” flavor. Too little will not produce enough carbon dioxide for the bread to rise as well as it could.
3. A balance between starches and ‘gritty’ flours like rice flour or oat flour. Rice flour, the most commonly used of gf flours, is a fairly heavy flour and, by itself, is not a good option for bread. Starches, however, when used with rice flour, make for a nice balanced mix. Too much starch would cause the bread to be very dry, with a rather “brick-like” consistency. I usually use a 1:3 ratio for starch and rice flour. For more on this subject, here’s my full article on gluten free flours and how to use them.
Common Delusions about Gluten Free Bread: Making gluten-free bread is different than making gluten bread. Face it.
1. “Bread dough should be kneaded.”
Hey, I’ve tried. I tried for years. But eventually I had to realize: Gluten bread, yes, should be kneaded. Gluten-free bread, no. I’m a complete believer in moving the dough around to activate the yeast, but I quit kneading my bread long, long ago. Why? Because I realized that the following buy ambien cheapest delusion about bread (gluten free bread, anyway) was incorrect.
2. “Bread dough should be dry enough to knead.”
Gluten bread dough, yes. You see people on TV twirling pizzas around through the air all the time (I always thought it would feel so awesome to casually be tossing your pizza dough in the air, didn’t you?). But gluten-free bread just doesn’t have it. Despite xanthan gum, it doesn’t have the gluten to hold it together. As I said above, I’ve tried for years to make dry-enough-to-knead bread work. I finally realized that a moist bread dough works wonders. Gluten-free flours are heavy and dense. If you add enough gluten-free flours to make a dry bread dough, you are going to have too much heaviness and denseness. The bread won’t rise. Instead, I tried making bread dough that looks like the below picture.
That bread dough isn’t kneadable, but you can see little bubbles. That’s what I like to see. Can’t you just picture that bread rising?
Now, as I said above, I completely approve of moving the dough around to activate the yeast. Note the picture. See the electric mixer?
What I do: After I add the liquid to the dry ingredients, I blend for about a minute, allow to set a minute, blend a minute, etc. I do that process about four times. After that the yeast should be pretty well activated.
Okay, you’re probably wondering at this point: This dough is pretty moist, so how is it going to be possible to make things like cinnamon raisin breads, rolls, and beautiful little doughnuts?
Good question. My method: After the fourth mix-one-minute-rest-one-minute process, I add more flour and starch. Not too much. About ½ a cup for every five cups of dough. I blend the new flour and starch in until just combined, with a little bit still tossing around unblended. After that I roll out my cinnamon raisin bread dough or my doughnuts. I try to knead/roll/mess with the dough as little as possible during this time because I have already done the kneading, and if I work with the dough too much it will ruin all the nice rise that I’ve worked so hard to achieve. I got those air bubbles, and I am keeping them.
Some Tips ‘To Go’:
1. Bread-makers. They are so cool. Why are they cool? Because they do the whole stinking “knead” process for you! They act like an electric mixer, except they keep at it for an hour and a half to get you the maximum rise. My advice is that you try one. I’d still be using one if mine hadn’t broken.
2. My favorite yeast bread recipes:
Yeasty Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Gluten Free Multigrain Rolls/Bread
Gluten-Free Easy Bread Maker Bread
3. Storing bread: Unfortunately, gluten-free bread just doesn’t stay soft and moist very long. But I’ve found that the best way to keep it is by storing it in an airtight plastic container. It’ll keep pretty well for several days. To freeze, slide the uncut loaf into a food and bread bag, wrap tightly, and put it away until you are ready to thaw it out.
So, I think all that information about covers it. If you’ve got any questions and such, post ‘em below. I’ll do my very best to answer them, but as I said, I’m not the expert. These are just a few things that have helped me out, and, hopefully, will help you out too.
Here’s a full length image for pinterest!
Do these breads store well in the freezer?
I’ve tried several storage methods on my breads. They are best fresh (obviously) but can be stored. For short term, it seemed like an airtight plastic container worked best. For long term, they freeze reasonably well. For freezing, slice the bread as soon as it’s cool and put the sliced bread into a plastic freezer bag. Make sure the bag is closed and airtight, then freeze.
Bernie Lach says
What is a good bread machine and how long should a bread knead. My bread rises very little. I even put as much as 3 tablespoons, no luck. I tried using Pamela’s bread mix still no luck. I used to by my flour at a Asian store, tapioca, pot. Starch, rice flour. Are these flours considered gluten free at that store. .? Thank you
First off, I’ve only had experience with two different bread machines, and neither machine had a GF setting. I’d always just put them on the three-hour cycle: 1 hour kneading, 1 hour rising, and 1 hour baking. I have tried using a shorter method but this didn’t work. In the bread machine, the long kneading seemed to be very important to good results, so set it on the long-knead cycle. If you’re bread machine doesn’t have a long knead, you might want to try a different machine.
Another possible problem with your bread machine is that it does two rises–lets the dough rise some, then kneads again, then lets it rise again. If the machine has a gluten free cycle this won’t happen, but if not read your owners manual and see if there’s a setting that doesn’t do two rises. If your machine has a custom cycle you can tailor it to fit your needs.
So, right off the bat I can’t recommend a bread machine that I’m certain will work. Just look for one that has a custom cycle, a gluten-free cycle, or an option that avoids two rises and has a long knead time.
Some other things you might try:
1. Warm your ingredients up ahead of time.
2. Gently stir the ingredients together once you’ve put them into the bread machine. Otherwise some of the flour might get left out on the edges.
3. Does it seem like your bread machine is having a hard time kneading and the dough is too thick? You might want to add a little extra liquid. The dough should resemble a thick muffin batter.
4. I have a recipe customized to work well when made in a bread maker: http://www.imglutenfree.com/gluten-free-bread-maker-bread/
As for your last question, the key to buying flours that are definitely gluten free is to just check the label. It should say “certified gluten-free” on it somewhere.
Anyway, sorry this reply went a little long! I should probably just turn this into a full post. 🙂 Thanks for your comment and hopefully this helped!
Debbie Magnin says
The breadman has a gf setting and works wonders I absolutely love mine.
Any substitute for yeast? I am trying to use rice paste and flour to make bread without wheat gluten and yeast ( dry or instant.
You can’t really substitute for yeast, but you can make a non-yeast bread recipe. I have a recipe for Apple Quick Bread (http://www.imglutenfree.com/apple-quick-bread/) and Banana Bread (http://www.imglutenfree.com/banana-bread/). You could also try making some tasty muffins: http://www.imglutenfree.com/breads-biscuits-and-muffins/
roberta kritzia says
I have been making Panettone bread for several years now. This time I tried my recipe with Bobs Red Mill all purpose baking flour and it flopped. It came out looking like an almost braided cookie. It absolutely would not allow me to kneed it and it did not rise up at all. The kitchen smelled great while it was baking, but when I tasted a slice it did not taste good. Maybe it was the garbanza flour in the flour mixture of gluten free ingredients?
Could have been the garbonzo bean flour, Roberta (I personally don’t use the bob’s red mill mix just because of the bean flour). Also, if you’re making it gluten-free, kneading the dough only makes the resulting bread tougher. The difficulty with gluten-free baking is to find the perfect dough balance: Wet enough to work well and rise, yet dry enough that it won’t spread out.
Hi, I’m wanting to make gluten free bread in my bread maker & have all the ingredients except Tandaco Yeast. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere, do you know of an easily available substitute for this? Thanks.
I’m not sure what Tandaco yeast is. If you’re referring to a particular brand, which brand of yeast you use doesn’t matter, just so long as its the type the recipe calls for. In my recipe I pretty much always use regular active dry yeast of any brand (available at any grocery store). That seems to work fine in a bread maker.
Your explanations give me hope at last to make some form of traditional, Latvian Piragi (a sort of yeast ravioli filled with fried bacon and onions ) which my family have been missing sorely. Thank you very much for your hints and descriptions of method.
You’re welcome, Sarma! I hope your Latvian Piragi turns out well. It sounds delicous. 🙂
Colleen Panetta says
I learned so much from this article… THANK YOU!!!
Andrew Hahn says
I admire your effort in putting this together, but This is not gluten free. If you use Yeast as an ingredient, it automatically makes this product not gluten free. Yeast is a part of the wheat family. Feeding this to someone with Celiac’s disease would put them in the hospital. My mother-in-law is a very extremely case of having Celiac’s Disease, she can’t have sugar, gluten, or anything of the sort that is even remotely related to the wheat family, Yeast included. I have compiled pages of research on this subject, and studies multiple chemical compounds to back up my research. I’m on the search for a Truely gluten free recipe, but nothing has been found as yet. My search continues. Thank you for your attempt at this, but anything using cane sugar, yeast, or many of others things, are not truely gluten free.
Thanks a lot for your feedback. I’ve never heard before that yeast contains gluten…In fact, Fleishmans yeast, the brand I use, is labeled “gluten-free” on the package. Perhaps you’re thinking of Brewer’s yeast? From what I understand, Brewer’s yeast is sometimes derived from beer, which is usually made from gluten. I’ve also heard that many people eating gluten-free also have other food sensitivities besides gluten that prevent them from eating yeast. Could this be the case with your mother-in-law?
If what you say about yeast containing gluten is true, then what about sourdough starters made from just gluten-free flours and water? In this case, the “yeast” bacteria would be derived from the air and so would probably not be the same thing as yeast, so long as the air didn’t contain gluten flour dust or anything. One of the guys who worked on our ranch actually made a sourdough starter out of the bacteria on the bark of a wild aspen tree (he was pretty hardcore)!
Anyway, thanks for your comment! I hope that despite your mother-in-law’s allergies, you can find something delicious that she’ll enjoy! Little indulgences are pretty important. 🙂
Yeast is a microorganism, saccharomyces cerevesiae. It is not in the wheat family and does not contain gluten. Brewer’s yeast is yeast left over from making beer, and it could potentially contain gluten from the grains used in the beer. Baking yeast does not contain gluten because it is never in contact with gluten containing foods during the manufacturing process. See the following explanation of how baking yeast is made:
Thanks. I have been trying to eat GRAIN FREE.
This includes anything that is of the grass families inclunding sugarcane.
I have always had a slight reaction to Gluten free breads made with yeast.
I now suspect that sugar may have been added.
I shall diligently experiment with your recipes.
Thank you very much.
Yeast is not part of the wheat family, it is an entirely different and unrelated organism. It is, however, often derived from cultures that contain gluten. It can be grown on GF cultures, though. Some people have issues with yeast itself, but it’s separate from Celiac.
Yeast is actually a fungi. It is produced through spores. It is gluten free and can be eaten by those with Celiac. I am very sensitive and I can eat yeast just fine as long as I get the gluten free yeast.
if u want a substitute for “storebought” yeast, you can put a starter together and grow the yeast yourself. i recomend looking for a “friendship bread starter” recipe that uses milk or sugar to get things started quickly. to use a sourdough in a recipe not intented for sourdough you need to use half the flour as starter, and drop the amount of fluids to match the starter as well.
Hi Jenny! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been experimenting with sourdough lately and LOVE it. It tastes so amazing. 🙂 Never tried using milk to get the starter going quickly, though. Sounds like a great idea!
Thanks for the tips! I have been struggling with gluten free donuts recently. I see you mentioned donuts above – what recipe would you recommend? Thanks hannah
Hi Hannah! I actually have a yeast doughnut recipe that I think tastes like the real thing: http://www.imglutenfree.com/gluten-free-doughnuts/. If you wanted a baked doughnut recipe, I definitely recommend this one from gluten-free-goddess: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2010/12/gluten-free-donuts.html. All her recipes are just divine!
I have been baking bread since 1972 and now am having to go gluten free. Thank you so much for the “lessons.” I do not (and will not have) a standing mixer. Will a hand mixer do?
I sprout, dry and grind my own flours and make a mix from the recipe of a GF person (farmer) in my farm co-op. I see my problem now is trying to knead the wrong way as my outcomes are tasty but far too dense.
One more question, does a bread recipe need baking powder along with the yeast?
Thank you for your time.
Pat Levee says
So happy I read your blog about using yeast in gluten-free recipes. I am going to try to make a braided challah for Jewish Holidays coming up. I learned a lot. Although I do not have celiac disease, I am extremely sensitive to gluten and have been GF since 2010. It has helped with joint pain and muscle aches. Thanks again!
I’m glad I could help. I get the same reaction to gluten–joint pain (and headaches. Lots of headaches). I hope your bread turns out well!
Hi Linnaea, thank you so much for all your advice. My husband found you on the internet and here we are trying once again to make a soft gluten free bread. We use the Pillsbury Gluten Free flour and I will try this one more time with your advice. We found by several experiments that we can reduce the flour down by at least 1.5 cups. I have been doing many things wrong and so here is hoping. We do have a good bread maker with gluten free settings. I have been kneading the mix far too long. Well I know we will be back for more advice.
Thank you for your help, Joseph and Patricia
retired mimi says
I am allergic to wheat, corn, milk, soy, oats, coconut, candida yeast and oats. I have a bread machine. My gluten free flours won’t rise. I am not allergic to gluten. If I add gluten to my wheat free flours will that help my bread to rise?
I’m really not sure about adding gluten, since (obviously) I don’t cook with gluten! 🙂 However, I think I have a recipe that may work for you: http://www.imglutenfree.com/gluten-free-multigrain-rollsbread/. Instead of corn flour, use rice flour, and instead of the cornstarch called for, be sure to use potato starch or tapioca starch (or a combination of both). Just skip the milk powder altogether (I’ve tried skipping it before and it works fine, though the bread does lose some richness). I think the bread would still turn out delicious and fluffy with these substitutions! If you don’t have flaxseed or teff flour, you can replace those with rice flour as well. I just like to add different flours in order to give the bread a more “whole grain” flavor, but you don’t actually need to use those flours.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful to you! Thanks for your comment.
Judy Mason says
I recently purchased a bag of Coconut Flour from Sam’s and of course added it to my GF mix for the hope that it would help with higher raise. It didn’t but it added a wonderful, moist, resilience to the finished product that made much better, less crumbly toast. I will try again to mix even less >
Appreciate your Blog.
Thanks for your comment, Judy! I haven’t tried coconut flour all that much and it’s interesting to know that it can help with moisture and “hold” in a bread. Now I really want to go test it out. 🙂
I did this recipe today: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/gluten-free-bread/
I had a nice dough ball before adding the oil (as it said), but after mixing in the oil, my dough ball just went into a sticky mess! Did I do something wrong? Thank you!
Since I’ve never made this recipe, I can’t say for sure what went wrong. It sounds, however, as if adding the oil tipped the dry/wet balance and made it just a tad too wet to handle well. I have found that GF dough by nature needs to be a bit wetter than gluten dough, so it is a bit harder to handle…but it shouldn’t be impossible!
One of the best articles I’ve read on GF Breads! I’m kinda new the the whole GF thing and I believe in learning from the mistakes of others! I live in a very rural area and the closest natural foods store is over 2.5 hours away, so when I buy ingredients (usually on the internet) I want to be reasonably sure they are going to work. I’ve saved you to my bookmarks and will be visiting often!
Haha yes I’ve definitely made plenty of mistakes in my bread-making, Lollie! 🙂 I know what you mean about living pretty far away from everything…I’m from the middle of nowhere where the nearest grocery store is half an hour away and the nearest decent grocery store is around 3 hours out. We order a lot from Azure Standard, which has a bunch of organic and healthy foods.
Hi Linnaea, could you explain how to use sourdough starter when making gf bread? I have starter that I made using brown rice flour. Should I still use yeast? Thanks!
I’ve been experimenting with sourdough starter over the past year or so and LOVE it! Unforunately, being slightly obsessive, I still don’t think it’s quiiiite perfect enough to post the recipe. 🙂 But anyway, from what I’ve found, a good active gluten-free sourdough starter can work wonders! The recipe I’ve been using is adapted from a gluten sourdough recipe, but I made mine a bit wetter, added a bit more than the called-for sourdough starter, and of course used gluten-free flours and xanthan gum. Also added a little olive oil, which wasn’t in the original recipe. But, as for using yeast: You can do it either way. I’ve found that yeast can add an extra little kick to get the sourdough starter going, making for a shorter rise time and slightly better rise. But you CAN skip the yeast and rise for about 30 minutes longer. 🙂 Also, in terms of rise time, for me it still worked well to have two rises like in the gluten recipe (basically sourdough is the only GF bread I’ve ever done 2 rises on), but I made the first rise slightly shorter and the second slightly longer.
Yeah, anyway, sorry for that long-winded response. Sourdough is a science for sure, but I’m starting to get a little overly passionate about it. 🙂 Hope your bread turns out delicious! If you discover any great gluten-free sourdough secrets, PLEASE pass them on to me…I can’t get enough of them!
I’m on my second attempt to making these with a gluten free blend mix I’ve made myself. First time, they wouldn’t rise. So I’m trying a lighter blend and less flour and even added a little baking powders to help and it’s still not rising the dough on the first 30 minutes. I don’t know what else to do. I’m very frustrated as I would like some gluten free breadsticks that actually rise!
Oops, here’s the link: http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/garlic-parmesan-breadsticks/
Not having made this recipe myself, I’m not sure exactly what could be going wrong so don’t know how helpful I can be. Some possibilities that occur to me are:
-You might not have enough xanthan gum.
-You could try using active dry yeast and proofing the yeast, sugar and water. Then rise the dough a little longer as well.
-Rise in a warm area. It could be just me, but it seems like GF dough actually does better with a slightly shorter, warmer rise than you’d use for gluten dough. I rise my breads for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a slightly warm oven. The trick is being sure the oven isn’t so warm that it kills the yeast!
-The dough could be too dry. This might not be it since you said you used less flour, but I usually shoot to make my dough so wet that it can be difficult to handle. Worth the difficulty for the better rise!
Anyway, again, not having made this recipe before I can’t be sure what might and might not help…but hopefully this does! If you DO end up coming up with an awesome GF breadstick recipe, please share! It’s been way too long since I’ve had a breadstick. 🙂
Great blog! Thanks 🙂