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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, that was the only sort of gluten free bread recipe I had ever heard of.
Even though I am still asked about it from time to time, I maintain 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.
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 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.
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!
Dairy-Free: 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!
Egg-Free: 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.
Oat-Free: 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!