Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

[pinit] It might be weird if I told you that I happen to not only love grilled cheese on the perfect slices of gluten free bread (doesn’t everyone?), but that I love cold, leftover grilled cheese even more. You know how the bread gets a little stale, but it’s somehow still crisp on the outside? So I won’t tell you that. I’m not some weirdo. But if you love grilled cheese and haven’t yet tried the famous Ina Garten grilled cheese croutons, maybe it’s because you’re gluten free and you thought it just, well, it wouldn’t be the same. Pish posh!

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

I tried a few different types of gluten free bread before I settled on using the Gluten Free English Muffin Bread from Bakes Bread for the grilled cheese croutons that I’d been staring at all over the Internet forever.

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

The English Muffin Bread was my favorite since it’s strong enough to be manhandled in a cast iron skillet (butter, press, flip, press, cut, dunk in soup!), but still just the right balance of moist and tender. The Soft White Sandwich Bread from the book was a close second. It’s really just a matter of taste, though.

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s not like I think you don’t know how to make grilled cheese, by the way. My goal in this is really just to prove to you (show, don’t tell, right?) that, if they can make it with gluten, we can make it without. Full stop.

Gluten Free Bread: Grilled Cheese Croutons

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is such a classic combination, and has long been one of my favorites. But these croutons are also fabulous served on top of a big ol’ salad, too. You can serve yours warm. I just might like to wait until mine are cool but still somehow magically crisp. Grilled cheese is a wonder!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 to 6 servings


3 cups (420 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour, plus more for sprinkling*

1 2/3 teaspoons (5 g) instant yeast

1 tablespoon (12 g) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) kosher salt

1 2/3 cups hot milk (110°F)

Coarsely ground gluten free cornmeal, for sprinkling

4 one half-inch thick slices English Muffin Bread

2 tablespoons unsalted (or salted) butter, at room temperature

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (or another semi-hard cheese), grated

Tomato soup, for serving

Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour

100 grams (about 11 1/2 tablespoons) all-purpose gluten-free flour (71%)**

25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

**For the all-purpose gluten-free flour in Gluten-Free Bread Flour, use either this copycat recipe for Better Batter gluten free flour, or Better Batter Gluten Free Flour itself. For more complete instructions, please see this post on Gluten Free English Muffin Bread.


  • To make the bread, in the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour, yeast, and sugar, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Add the milk and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is smooth. It will be very wet. Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free location to rise until nearly doubled in size (about 40 minutes).

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Once the dough has doubled, stir it down to deflate it a bit. Scrape the dough into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top with a wet spatula, and sprinkle the top with flour to create a cloak. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free location to rise until the dough is about 1/2 inch above the sides of the pan (about 1 hour). Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf pan and slash down the center of the loaf at a 45 degree angle and about 1/4 inch deep with a sharp knife or lame. Sprinkle the top of the loaf lightly with cornmeal, and place it in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the loaf is lightly golden brown, registers 185°F in the center on an instant-read thermometer, and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom (about 35 minutes).

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. This bread in particular must be completely cool before slicing as it is very tender.

  • To make the grilled cheese croutons, heat a large, heavy-bottom (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Brush one side of each of the slices of bread generously with butter. Invert two of the slices and divide the cheese between the two slices, piling the cheese it toward the center of each slice. Cover the two slices with the other two, butter-side up. Place both sandwiches in the hot skillet and press down with another skillet, panini press or heavy plate to compress. Cook until evenly browned and crisp on the underside (about 2 minutes). Flip the sandwiches, and compress again and cook until evenly browned and crisp on the other side (another 1 to 2 minutes). Remove from the skillet, allow to rest until the cheese has set, slice into 1-inch cubes and serve nestled in piping hot tomato soup.

  • Bread recipe from the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013.

    Grilled cheese crouton recipe adapted from Ina Garten via Damn Delicious, which you chose on my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest Board!



P.S. See you on Facebook from 8:30 pm EST to 9:15 pm EST tonight for another LIVE Q&A about Gluten Free Bread and Baking! Get your copy of Bakes Bread + your questions ready!

Comments are closed.

  • February 21, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    […] Gluten Free Grilled Cheese Croutons by Gluten Free On A Showstring […]

  • […] Grilled cheese croutons. […]

  • February 13, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Oh my. My sister and I finally caved and bought a loaf of GF bread (Udi’s Millet & Chia, on sale)—for the first time; we usually just go without bread because we’ve also been so slow to dip our toes into the GF baking waters—and made grilled cheeses tonight. I love the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo, though we had ours with green salads tonight. I’m definitely going to lobby for croutons & soup next!

    • February 14, 2014 at 8:51 AM

      Oh no, Molly, I hate “just go without”! I’m glad you started out with some Udi’s bread, and maybe you’ll try your collective hands at making your own way-better gluten free bread soon? ;)

      • February 14, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        In fact, we have your book and have been salivating over everything, so definitely soon! We think of it as a weekend project, since that’s when we have the most time to cook, but we keep forgetting to plan ahead. Soon, soon, soon, because I honestly want to try every recipe in the book!

  • Swarna
    February 13, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Wow I m drooling Nicole! I bought all your books, latest one being the bread book. I have all ready except the stand mixer. I want to prepare the olive garden bread sticks and english muffin bread using elbow grease, what do you think? Is it even worth a try?
    Thanks for all the wondertul recipes!
    — Swarna

    • February 14, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Hi, Swarna, I’m afraid you won’t be able to get the smooth texture without using dough hooks of some kind. I talk about options in the book!

  • Donia Robinson
    February 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    I was just thinking to myself yesterday that if I HAD to pick an absolute favorite food, it would be grilled cheese. I’m a whole-grain kind of gal, but grilled cheese is the best on a straight-up white bread. And I agree, I like it warm or cold. But you have to be a bit more sloppy with the cheese so that some of it hits the pans and gets all crispy! Dairy-free cheese, sadly, just isn’t at all the same. So I haven’t had a grilled cheese sandwich in ages. :(

    • Jennifer S.
      February 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Donia – you and my daughter are on the same team. she loves that fried cheese too!

      • Donia Robinson
        February 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Your daughter clearly has terrific taste.

  • Mare Masterson
    February 13, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I have yet to use my GF English Muffin bread for a Grilled Cheese. I love tuna on it! We are hitting high temps this weekend (90ish), so soup is not an option right now…just too warm.

    • Jennifer S.
      February 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      oh mare, my heart goes out to you! ;P

      • Donia Robinson
        February 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Yeah, too warm for soup. What a pity. We all feel very bad about that. ;)

  • Monika Bradley
    February 13, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Help! Do you have any dairy free option for the whey protein isolate in your flour mix?

    • Mare Masterson
      February 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Monika, she discusses the dairy free options in the book. Not sure of the page numbers (thinking pages 8-9).

      • Donia Robinson
        February 13, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        It’s pages 10-11. I have it bookmarked!

  • Carole
    February 13, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    It’s perfect weather for tomato soup with the grilled cheese croutons. Our drive is a sheet of ice and I’ve been baking a lot. Just finished the strawberry poundcake muffins, That’s one of the many recipes you are famous for in our house. The texture of those muffins is to die for. Do you have others like those? Have done them with raspberries also.

  • Anneke
    February 13, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Huh. Never would have thought of that. This is why I need you, forever!

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      I’m not going anywhere, Anneke. :)

  • Jennifer S.
    February 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    100% lovely. The English muffin bread is pretty awesome. I’m going to make the soft white today and another of the ricotta because man I loved that stuff!

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Sounds like a day well-spent, Jennifer!

      • Jennifer S.
        February 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        so I think I may have done something wrong because my ricotta just exploded in my fridge. It did not do that before – I think maybe too much yeast. my scale was being goofy.
        Good news is that while I was at it, I mixed up some pizza dough too. I just can’t leave one bucket empty when I start mixing!

      • February 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        It does sound like too much yeast, Jennifer! Or maybe too much water (but it would have to be by a mile). Yikes!

      • Jennifer S.
        February 14, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        yea – it was a little scary. Like a little bomb in my fridge – shook the whole thing too. Nothing like some bread excitement!!! :)

  • dot
    February 13, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Wow, how amazing would these be in a school lunch box! I keep seeing the recipe for your english muffin bread and thinking “I must make that” I think it’s time to drag out the stand mixer. BTW i”m also planning to make your red velvet cupcakes for Valentines Day but I may try a cream cheese truffle center! Thanks for all your hard work!

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      My kids can attest … that it’s pretty amazing, Dot. :)
      A cream cheese truffle center in the red velvet cupcakes sounds awesome!

      • Jennifer S.
        February 13, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        holy crap yes – it does. what is a cream cheese truffle?

      • dot
        February 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        I’m going to try mixing cream cheese with powdered sugar and lemon juice or vanilla roll it into a ball and add it to the batter. I’ll let you know if it works tommorrow!

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