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  • Krishna O

It's the hardest diet change you will face

Updated: May 26, 2020

One of the hardest diet changes I think when you become Coeliac or gluten Intolerant is bread.. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than a freshly baked bread from your favourite Bakery. Its soft, wholesome and last for days! Unfortunately, a lot of gluten free bread is very average tasting, dry, small and expensive! Then there is the packet mixes, some are good and some are just not even worth buying. But more on those later we will be doing a review on packet Bread Mixes later.

If you are open to making your own bread the try this recipe below. This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. Did I mention it’s vegan too – no eggs or dairy products needed!

This recipe is prepared pretty much like regular bread: you can knead it, it goes through a couple of rounds of rising and you can shape it whichever way you want.

However, there are a few differences between regular and gluten free bread in terms of the ingredients and the method of preparation that make this recipe work – below is a step by step guide.

If you have tried making your own bread before with limited success there is a few things you’ll LOVE about this gluten free bread recipe

1. The soft, chewy interior - The bread has a gorgeous open crumb and just enough chew to it, like any proper bread should.

2. The crisp, caramelised crust. The crust cracks and crackles as you cut it.

3. The flavour. If you want to compare this gluten free bread to a loaf of regular bread, it’s more on the whole wheat side of the flavour spectrum. Its taste is wholesome and slightly more complex than that of your average loaf of white bread, thanks to the addition of buckwheat flour. At the same time, it doesn’t have the overpowering, slightly acidic flavour of lets say, rye bread. It’s a nice everyday sort of loaf, and it’s amazing with some butter and jam, spread with a dip, or dip in a beautiful olive oil with Balsamic vinegar. If it lasts into day two, its perfect for toast or toasted cheese sandwich.

4. In addition to gluten free, it’s also vegan. There’s no eggs and no dairy products in this recipe

5. Easily adaptable depending on the ingredients you have on hand. If you don’t have potato starch then cornflour is a great substitution.

6. Most of all it's easy to make.

Before we get to the mechanics of making this bread – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

The Ingredients

Active dried yeast

Sugar (to kick-start the yeast action)

Warm water

Psyllium husk - which acts as a gluten substitute (more on that below)

Potato starch (not to be confused with potato flour – these are two completely different things!)

Brown rice flour (needs to be very finely milled, also called “superfine”)

Buckwheat flour

Salt (adds flavour)

Apple cider vinegar -gives the yeast an extra boost of activity by creating a slightly acidic environment

What is Psyllium husk and what is its role in gluten free bread?

This is probably the only unfamiliar ingredient in the list above – but one that is absolutely crucial if you want to bake proper gluten free bread.

When it’s mixed with water, psyllium husk forms a gel – and this is what acts as the gluten substitute, both in the dough and in the baked loaf.

Mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough

First, mix the yeast and sugar with some warm water to activate the yeast. After 5 – 10 minutes, it will become bubbly and frothy, which means that the yeast is active.

Next , prepare the psyllium gel by mixing the psyllium husk with some water. The gel will begin to form within seconds.

Next: Add the potato starch, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and salt to a bowl, and mix thoroughly to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture, the psyllium gel, and the apple cider vinegar.

Now, we come to the mixing and kneading stage – there’s really no right or wrong way to knead gluten free bread, as you don’t have to go though the stretching motions you’d typically used to build up the elasticity in a gluten-containing wheat bread. I use my stand mixer and a dough hook but if you don’t have one of those just use your hands.

Once the wet and the dry ingredients are combined, After a few minutes you’ll notice the dough coming away from the sides and it will be easy to form it into a rough ball.

While it won’t have the same super-stretchy elasticity of a gluten-containing wheat dough, there’s enough elasticity there that you can stretch portions of it without them breaking off.

Before the proofing stage, shape the dough into a ball. This is best done on a lightly oiled surface with lightly oiled hands. You can see the step-by-step photos of how to shape the dough below: lightly flatten the dough into a disc, then take individual portions along the edge and fold them back, rotating the dough as you go.

Once you complete one 360 degree rotation of the dough, you should be left with a ball of dough. Flip it seam side down and rotate in place to seal the seams.

1st stage

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. It will approximately double in volume.

Shaping the dough

Once doubled in volume, the dough can be shaped. Do this on a lightly floured surface (I like to use brown rice flour for dusting the work surface.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use the heel of your hand to essentially knead the dough into shape – fold section of the dough back onto themselves, rotating the dough as you go. It’s very likely that the dough won’t be super smooth after the first 360 degrees rotation – just continue kneading until you’re happy with how it looks.

Then, flip it seam side down onto a part of the work surface that isn’t covered in flour and rotate in place to seal the seams.

2nd Stage

Transfer the shaped dough into a lightly floured 7 inch bowl or round proofing basket, seam side up. Pinch the seams together to close and seal if necessary.

Cover with a damp tea towel and proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until approximately doubled in volume.

Once that is done You should start pre-heating the oven to (225 ºC) about 30 – 45 minutes before you plan to bake the bread.

I prefer to use a cast Dutch oven for this stage. It’s important to pre-heat the Dutch oven it’s scorching hot and ready for the perfectly proofed bread.

Baking The Gluten Free Bread

Once proofed and doubled in volume, turn the bread out onto a piece of baking/greaseproof paper,score the dough with a sharp knife,transfer the dough into the hot dutch oven, add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/greaseproof paper and the dutch oven, put the lid on and place in the oven.

Bake the dough with lid on at 225 ºC for 30 minutes, then remove the lid reduce the oven temperature to 215 ºC and bake for a further 40 mins.

***If the top of the loaf starts browning too quickly, you can cover it with a sheet of aluminium foil, shiny side up.

Once the cooking process is done allow the loaf to cool…Okay, here I’m supposed to tell you that it’s incredibly important that the gluten free bread is completely cool before you cut into it. And… it is. Cooling sets the crumb and ensures it’s not sticky or gummy. But, I’m a terribly impatient, because it smells and looks so good! I tend to run out of patience when it reaches the lukewarm stage. It’s still okay. But don’t go cutting into the loaf while it’s hot or super warm, but if it feels only slightly lukewarm to the touch and you REALLY want to go for it… slice away.

Possible ingredient substitutions

Although all the ingredients in the recipe should be easily accessible either in pantry or at your local store, there is still some substitutions you can make.

***All substitutions should be made by weight and not by volume.

Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the water that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar: You can use other types of vinegar, although I recommend sticking to apple cider vinegar if at all possible.

Psyllium husk: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE IT WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only 75% of the weight listed in the recipe.

Potato starch: You can use corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot starch instead.

Brown rice flour: You can use millet flour or White Rice Flour instead.

Buckwheat flour: You can use white teff flour, sorghum flour or oat flour instead.

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