Gluten Free Brown Bread

Gluten Free Brown Bread

Hearty and “wheaty” tasting, this gluten free brown bread recipe is sure to be a family favorite. Learn how to make gluten free bread the easy way!

Hearty and "wheat-y" tasting, this gluten free brown bread recipe is sure to be a family favorite. It couldn't be easier, and you don't need a bread machine!

A good, hearty gluten free bread with a thick but soft crust is way harder to find than it should be. By the way, who are these children who don’t eat crusts?

I’m pretty sure that my kid would eat your kid’s crusts. Especially if they came from this bread. Hearty and “wheat-y” with just the right amount of molasses and whole grain teff, this wheat free, gluten free bread is sure to be a fast favorite.

Slice of gluten free brown bread leaning against rest of loaf

Batter-Style Gluten Free Breads

When my son first started eating gluten free in 2004, we mail-ordered gluten free bread from Canada. That wasn’t because it was so good we couldn’t help ourselves. It was just all there was. I didn’t know how to make gluten free bread.

Five years later, in 2009, I stumbled upon a recipe that was known as “Tom’s Bread” on the Internet. I think I first found it in an online chat room, although I simply can’t recall where that would have been. That was back in the days when the “gluten free listserv” was the best (and nearly only) source of gluten free product information out there.

Tom’s Bread is a batter-style bread that I believe Tom himself maintains was the product of divine intervention. It relies heavily on garbanzo bean flour, a flour I now find truly repulsive unless it’s in, say, hummus. But it also was prescient in its use of equal amounts of cornstarch and tapioca flour.

Raw gluten free brown bread dough in pullman pan

And Tom’s bread was a batter-style gluten free bread. A couple years later, I would go on to develop the recipe for Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread that was published in my first cookbook.

It relies upon a rice flour blend (no bean flour!), but it’s also a batter-style gluten free bread. That recipe, from the second edition of my very first cookbook is still a family favorite.

Whole gluten free brown bread baked in a pullman pan

These bread doughs are made in a mixer and resemble cookie dough. The dough is very, very wet, and can’t be shaped in the way conventional bread doughs are shaped.  Until I wrote my third cookbook, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, batter-style yeast bread was the only sort of gluten free bread recipe I had ever heard of.

Even though I am still asked about my favorite bread machine from time to time, I continue to insist that bread machines are a waste of money. They vary a ton from brand to brand, and one recipe will work well in one machine and not in another. Plus, the machines are crazy expensive and make an odd-shaped loaf.

Hearty and "wheat-y" tasting, this gluten free brown bread recipe is sure to be a family favorite. It couldn't be easier, and you don't need a bread machine!

How to make gluten free bread

If you’re new to making gluten free bread, or to making bread in general, it’s best to begin with a batter-style bread like this wheat free but wheaty-tasting brown bread.

Batter-style gluten free bread recipes have only one rise, and they tend to rise quickly because the dough is super wet. High hydration means that yeast grows readily.

In fact, most recipes for gluten free bread that you’ll find elsewhere on the Internet (and in cookbooks that aren’t, well, mine), are in this style. I hadn’t made one of these recipes in years—and then I started working on the second edition of my very first cookbook.

They don’t have the yeasty taste that you get from a slow refrigerator rise, and they don’t have the same chew. But they make a lovely sandwich. And they’re a great starting place if you’re hesitant to make yeast bread (gluten free or otherwise).

This recipe even has some real depth of flavor because of the addition of oat flour, whole grain teff and molasses. If you’re looking for some tips and tricks on baking gluten free bread, have a look at my Top Ten Secrets To Baking The Best Gluten Free Bread.

Hearty and "wheat-y" tasting, this gluten free brown bread recipe is sure to be a family favorite. It couldn't be easier, and you don't need a bread machine!

Ingredients and Substitutions

Except where I’ve specifically indicated that I’ve tried the substitution, these pearls are just my best-educated guesses about how to satisfy other dietary needs beyond just being gluten free. My recipes are only reliably gluten free, by design, and not free of everything. So take this information in the spirit in which it’s offered—and do your own experimentation!


It’s easy to make this recipe dairy free. Just replace the butter in the recipe with either butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening or Earth Balance buttery sticks. And use any unflavored, unsweetened nondairy milk (as long as it isn’t nonfat). Done!


There are two egg whites in this recipe, but I’ve also successfully made it with one whole egg. That leads me to believe that you could make it with one “chia egg” instead. A chia egg is 1 tablespoon chia flour mixed with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allowed to sit until it gels.


You can replace the oat flour in this recipe with quinoa flakes or cream of buckwheat. And I now have a full discussion of replacing oats in gluten free baking. Oat-free bakers rejoice! 🎉

Whole Grain Teff

This recipe calls for whole grain teff, not teff flour. I have wondered whether it would work with teff flour, though. And whether whole grain teff could be replaced with, say, chia seeds. I bet it could!


Hand taking a slice of gluten free brown bread

Hearty and "wheat-y" tasting, this gluten free brown bread recipe is sure to be a family favorite. It couldn't be easier, and you don't need a bread machine!Gluten free brown bread made in a Pullman pan pictured whole and sliced

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 loaf of bread


2 1/2 cups (350g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3 tablespoons (38g) whole grain teff, whole or ground into a flour

1/2 cup + 1  tablespoon (68 g) certified gluten free oat flour (I just grind old fashioned gluten free rolled oats into a powder)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (9 g) instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) kosher salt

5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon (21 g) unsulphured molasses

2 egg whites (50 g), at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) warm milk, about 95°F


  • Grease and line a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan or a 1 1/2-pound Pullman loaf pan and set it aside.

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, xanthan gum, teff, oat flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar and yeast. Whisk with a separate handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt and whisk again to combine.

  • Add the butter, vinegar, molasses, egg whites and milk, and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the dough starts to come together, then mix on high for about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Cover the dough with oiled with plastic wrap or the top of the Pullman pan, and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise until the dough is about 150% of its original volume. When the dough is nearly finished rising, preheat your oven to 375°F.

  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven. If using a Pullman pan, keep the cover in place. If using a standard loaf pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf is firm enough to take out of the pan. If using a Pullman pan, bake for 40 minutes before removing the pan cover. In both cases, remove the bread from the loaf pan and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Return the bread on the pan to the oven, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe tweaked only slightly, most photos new, video new, text mostly new.


Comments are closed.

  • Maria
    September 22, 2017 at 11:47 PM

    Hi I’m abit confused my naturopath has told me that oats contain gluten but your calling them gluten free rolled oats?? So do oats contain gluten or not? Thankyou

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 24, 2017 at 8:04 AM

      Hi, Maria, certified gluten free oats are gluten free. I have a whole post on whether oats are gluten free. Please see that!

  • Agneta Almendares
    September 19, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    Hi Nicole! I bought your book Gluten free on a shoestring bakes bread. I made the sourdough starter and then mother but I accidentally used pectin with dextrose in it! Have I completely ruined the mother and the soft sourdough pretzels that are currently rising ? 😔 I really hope not.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 19, 2017 at 3:54 PM

      I’m afraid I’m not terribly optimistic, Agneta, since anything other than pure powdered pectin introduces a ton of other ingredients into the mixture. If your wild yeast starter grew, though, hopefully you can get away with it but I would definitely get the proper ingredients for the future!

  • Christina Kruk
    September 18, 2017 at 4:20 PM

    I cant wait to try this out. I love playing with recipies and trying new things.
    Im pretty new to all this GF stuff and am just feeling my way thru
    I think Id like to try making these in a large muffing tin, too, at some point for use as a hamburger bun. My family loves hamburgers and I am far to ‘thrifty’ to pay $1.00 + each for them! I may have to play around with it a bit and I have one of those tins that makes muffing tops so I may try that first.

  • Dorothy
    September 17, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    My stand mixer does not have a paddle attachment, nor is one available for my model (Sunbeam). Would this recipe work using regular beaters?

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

      That’s always a tough one, Dorothy. I’m reluctant to say to use the beaters, as they’ll add a lot more air to the dough/batter. Maybe just try making it by hand, and mixing it very, very well (and quickly)?

  • Lois
    September 17, 2017 at 1:22 PM

    Could flax( ground or unground) be used in place of whole grain teff.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

      I really don’t recommend using flax, Lois, as it has a very, very strong taste that would easily overwhelm. That’s the same reason I don’t recommend it as an egg substitute.

  • Vanessa
    September 17, 2017 at 1:13 PM

    Hi Nicole
    Thank you for your amazing recipes and for working our amazing gf recipes and food. I am from South Sfrica. We do not get refs here, can you suggest a substitute please? I will have to use a bread machine as I do not have an oven. Hope the it comes out just as well.
    Much appreciation

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 6:08 PM

      I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean by “refs,” Vanessa, but I’ve provided a ton of ingredient and substitution information in the post itself—including my perspective on bread machines. That’s all the advice I have!

  • Simon
    September 17, 2017 at 10:57 AM

    Hi Nicole,
    Where can I get ‘better batter’ and ‘teff’ from in the UK? I’ve never heard of it but guess it must be readily available somewhere,
    Thanks Simon

    • Simon
      September 20, 2017 at 4:29 AM

      Hi Nicole, are you able to help with my previous questions?, thanks Simon

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 20, 2017 at 6:56 PM

      Teff is a whole grain. Just do a quick google search and you’ll find out all about it! Better Batter is a flour blend available in the U.S. that I highly recommend, but please click through to the flour page that is linked to in the recipe, Simon, and you’ll find everything you need to know about how to build your own flour blend that is just like Better Batter—or one of my other favorite blends.

  • Caroline Good
    September 17, 2017 at 9:59 AM

    I’m excited to try this, and I was also chuckling at your “beginnings” because they were exactly ours: daughter diagnosed in 2003, desperate to find anything that resembled bread, scouring the “listserv” for the Tom’s recipe….it’s like you were living with us! ;-) Thanks for making being GF look simple these days — we know it wasn’t always that way! Wishing you continued success!

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 6:07 PM

      Oh my gosh, Caroline, you remember Tom’s bread?! I was so excited about that, and I’m afraid now it would turn my stomach. :(

  • JudyJudy Douma
    September 17, 2017 at 9:50 AM

    Could I substitute coconut milk or rice milk? I can’t have cow or goat milk.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 6:06 PM

      Please see the post, Judy! I review substitutions there.

  • Desley
    September 16, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    I made this bread to day I followed your recipe as stated and waited til it had gone cold to slice .I have to say it’s the best brown bread that’s gluten free that I have ever made it’s really delicious ,I am sure I will be making it again . I didn’t have oat flour just oats so I used my food processor to bring it down .Thank you for the recipe

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 17, 2017 at 5:57 AM

      I never buy oat flour, Desley! I’m too cheap for that. I always spin oats in the food processor. :) So glad you loved the bread!

  • Millie
    September 14, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    I followed the recipe to the letter, weighing everything and your recipe for Better Batter flour. It raised and baked beautifully. Fell almost immediately when I put it on the cooling rack. It tasted so good! I just wished I could get GF bread to stop falling when it comes out of the oven. It tastes so much better than anything I’ve bought.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 14, 2017 at 4:33 PM

      That’s usually due to a too-hot oven, Millie. The outside rises and bakes very quickly before the inside has a chance to provide enough support. So when it comes out of the oven, it falls as it cools. You need an oven thermometer!

  • Debbie Krueger
    September 14, 2017 at 1:00 AM

    I made it today and it turned out great. The loaf looks and tastes wonderful. And so EASY! I used teff flour because that’s what I had on hand.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 14, 2017 at 6:36 AM

      Hi, Debbie,
      I had a feeling ground teff would work, too. Thanks for letting us know! And I’m so glad it worked out so well. 🙂

  • MaryR
    September 13, 2017 at 9:16 PM

    Could I use an equal amount of teff flour in place of whole teff?

  • Elle
    September 13, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    Is there a substitute for the oat flour? Thanks.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 13, 2017 at 8:02 PM

      Please see the section on ingredients and substitutions in the post, Elle!

  • Deb
    September 13, 2017 at 12:31 PM

    Could I make this is in a bread machine?

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 13, 2017 at 1:35 PM

      As I state in the post, Deb, I don’t recommend use of a bread machine. They all work quite differently, from brand to brand, and they make an odd-shaped loaf.

  • Barbara
    September 13, 2017 at 12:26 PM

    Will this recipe work in bread machine on the gf setting?

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 13, 2017 at 1:35 PM

      As I state in the post, Barbara, I don’t recommend use of a bread machine. They all work quite differently, from brand to brand, and they make an odd-shaped loaf.

  • Lene
    February 8, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    What is it about the KAF GF flour blend that makes it inappropriate for bread recipes? That’s the blend I have on hand, and I normally have good luck when using it for things, but don’t want to use it on this bread recipe if it doesn’t work well for bread. I’m pretty new to GF, so I don’t know enough to weigh why Better Batter would work well for bread but the KAF stuff wouldn’t. Help?

    • February 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Hi, Lene,
      I’m not entirely sure about all the science behind it, but it won’t work for GF yeast bread, I’m afraid. If you’d like to know more, try contacting Better Batter directly at contact@betterbatter.org.
      xoxo Nicole

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