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10 Lessons From Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread

10 Lessons From Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread

Introducing Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! 10 Bread Lessons

Introducing the Gluten Free Bread Revolution!

My next cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, is coming this November. It’s going to change things a lot. It’s going to raise the bar. It’s going to knock your gluten-free socks off! Everything I have done in the kitchen since I started baking gluten-free nearly 10 years ago has been leading up to this book, this bread, these methods. My heart is racing thinking about getting it out into the world. There will be a whole lotta hoopla over the next few months designed to get you as excited as I am about this book. Plus, scroll down for the 10 Lessons About Gluten-Free Bread That I Can Share Right Now. And be sure to leave a Comment Below asking your questions about the book (what recipes are in there? what equipment will I need? what is a pure levain sourdough and how is it made? They’re all fair questions, and I will do my best to answer).

First off. You should totally pre-order Bakes Bread. Why? Here are 5 Good Reasons:

1. You’ll get it as soon as it’s ready to ship—often even before it says “In Stock” on amazon. You’ll probably even get it considerably before the “on-sale” date of November 26, which is a date 2 weeks after my publisher ships the books from its warehouse. It is designed by the industry to give retailers time to unpack the boxes and get the books on the shelves. Online retailers like amazon need less time for all that jazz, so they ship faster.

2. Book retailers won’t run out of stock! Healthy pre-order sales ensure that no one runs out of stock after publication. Tell my publisher that you’re excited for the book! Then they won’t be caught out—and neither will you. This is one of the only ways to influence stock. I have way, way less control than most readers assume (read: I have, like, no control).

3. Pay less for the book. I’m sure you’ve noticed that amazon.com discounts book prices. The promotion that they do of particular books and the prices they charge for them are based in part on sales. More sales = heavier discounting. And when you pre-order on amazon, you get a lowest-price guarantee. Do your part to lower the price for everyone! I’ll be pre-ordering to do my part! (really)

4. Win free stuff … from me directly! Over the next few months, there will contests and giveaways here on the blog. Pre-order now and you’ll be eligible to win all kinds of cool free gluten free bread stuff later. Everything from signed copies of the book from me to you all the way up to a grand prize of a baker’s dozen worth of my favorite cooking essentials and kitchen tools (details in the coming weeks).

5. It’s that good. At the risk of sounding immodest (sorry!), this is my best book so far. Check out the sneak peek of the book right here on the blog, and see for yourself why you want this cookbook the minute it comes out (click on the link above, the link in the sidebar, or the picture just below to see the whole .pdf document). There are TONS of process photos and plenty of beauty shots of everything from Olive Garden-style breadsticks to monkey bread to pure sourdough No Rye Rye Bread (see that round on the cover? That’s what that is):

BLAD-snapshot

Now, on to the super useful gluten-free bread knowledge I’m gonna lay on you right now:

10 Lessons I Learned About Gluten Free Bread

Right after we wrapped the photo shoot for the new book, baking my way through a total of 75 pounds of gluten free flour in 4 weeks’ time, I sat down and wrote this list. While I can’t show you everything in the book just yet (although there will, of course, be a preview recipe or two on the blog closer to the big day), I can tell you these 10 things that I think you should know right now about gluten free bread right now. You should be able to incorporate these tips into your mindset and into your bread-baking now, and even more so once you have this cookbook in your hands.

1. Start wet. Then add flour on the outside to make it dry. That way you can manipulate the dough without getting that dreaded tight crumb in your finished bread. Just be sure you use a light touch when handling the dough. And with my new methods & recipes for baking gluten-free bread that you will learn all about in the new book, there will be no weepy, sad mounds of gluten-free bread dough that simply don’t resemble bread dough as anyone before has ever known it. See? I told you that everything was going to change.

2. Cold (refrigerator) bulk fermentation is the way to go. Especially when you’re working with a gluten free bread that doesn’t have too many enrichments (like eggs and butter), a long, slow rise in the refrigerator will not only make your life easier (no waiting around for the dough to achieve its first rise!), but it will make the bread more flavorful (from slow yeast development) and easier to handle. Yeast is still active at refrigerator temperatures. It’s just slower. And as the dough rises in the refrigerator, it absorbs more and more of the moisture in the dough. So the bread dough (and ultimately the bread) is still moist, but it doesn’t feel as much like it as you handle it.

3. Don’t expect more of your gluten free bread than you would of conventional bread. Just like in conventional bread baking, if you try to cram too much nutrition into your gluten free bread, it’s harder to have a successful recipe. So if you’re tempted to swap out flours, expect that it will throw things off and that the dough will be more difficult to handle. I have plenty of recipes for hearty gluten free bread in the new book. But none of them is 100% whole grain, and that’s a good thing. It’s your bread, not your vegetables.

4. It’s different, but not that different. With my new method and recipes, gluten free bread dough can get so so soclose to conventional bread dough. So close. But it will still be a bit different. That difference doesn’t have to be bad. Baking gluten free bread should still be pleasurable. And it will be. Just you wait.

5. Flours matter a lot. Gluten free flour blends that are super high in starch absorb tons more moisture and struggle to brown in the oven. They make for a dough that is relatively easy to handle, but the bread itself will disappoint you. Or it should. If it doesn’t disappoint you, then you’re expecting too little from gluten free bread.

6. Baking bread is super environmentally sensitive. The same recipe that I’ve tested upwards of 50 times will work one way in the cold, dry winter and another way in the warm, steamy summertime. In every recipe, I begin with a stable amount of liquid, and then add flour for balance. It is easier to tighten up a dough than to loosen it. Fact.

7. A stand mixer really helps, but there are options. It isn’t impossible without one, but it sure makes things easier. And, since the recipes in the new book are intended to make bread that is smooth and taut on top (look at the book cover!), you need a mixer to knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. But good news! I did some research, and there’s hope yet if you don’t have and don’t plan to get a stand mixer. The KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer with the dough hooks attached can get the job done. Woohoo!

8. We can have it all. Everything from focaccia bread with big, yeasty holes that’s crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside to bagels that hold their shape, yeasted donuts that rise straight up instead of out and pure levain sourdough bread that rises high as the sky, all without any commercial yeast. We can have it ALL (well, as soon as the book comes out we can have it all).

9. Dairy-free is, indeed, harder than gluten-free. But there are work-arounds. Milk protein behaves most similarly to gluten (a protein) in baking. Soy has a similar structure, but behaves very, very differently in baking. Don’t worry, though. I’ve got tricks up my sleeve for my dairy-free friends.

10. This book really needed to be written. I don’t mean that I was the only one in the world who could write it. Far from it. I’m honored to be able to do it, but mostly someone just needed to put in the work and get it done. A really really good book of artisan gluten free bread recipes was seriously lacking in the marketplace. And once I committed to writing it, there was no room for excuses. Nothing less than ah-mazing was acceptable. I have never worked so hard in my entire life, but it has never been so, so worth it.

Now it’s your turn. What are your questions about the new book? Is there a particular recipe you hope to see? Wondering what equipment you’ll need? Want to know what a pure sourdough really is, and whether you’ll be able to have it?Ask away! I will do my best to answer…

Love,
Me

P.S. If you’ve haven’t pre-ordered Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread yet, what are you waiting for?! Time’s ticking!

Like this recipe?

Comments are closed.

  • Carol Kempen Tuttoilmondo
    March 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Can I use a Cuisinart Food Processor to mix the dough? I do not have a stand mixer. Thanks.

    • March 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      I’m afraid not. I discuss in the book using a 5-speed KitchenAid hand mixer with the dough hooks, though.

  • Trish
    February 25, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Nicole, I just got a Cuisinart stand mixer which came with a spiral bread hook, a flat mixing paddle and a whisk. Which one should I mix my GF bread dough?

    • February 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      The bread hook, Trish!

  • Sasha
    February 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Nicole, On Sunday morning, I made real, doughy, yeasty cinnamon rolls for the first time in years. I have Challah dough in the fridge now (rising for the last several days) and tonight, I will roll and shape actual bread dough and I will tell the bread the shape I want it to take, as opposed to it laughing at me and choosing a form of its own. I cannot believe you found the answer to mimicking gluten protein with the whey isolate. Your book hasn’t left my coffee table since I bought it. I make notes in the margins, and make small tweaks for my oven,and it’s covered in flour. I am so wonderfully impressed, and cannot thank you enough for all of the hard work you put into this. What a joy. There will be bread!

    • February 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      Sasha, that is music to my ears (eyes?)! These recipes, this book, has been a very, very long time coming for me. Anything less than true, authentic yeast bread was not an option! I’m so glad that you are really giving that cookbook a workout, and grateful that you told me about it. :-*

  • Mary
    February 19, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I have tried 3 batches of your wonderbread;). I feel like I am doing everything correctly but getting poor results. This last batch today I let rise 4 hours until I saw no more progress in a specially heated room. I just comes out so dense. My yeast is fresh. I do notice when I get dough from fridge it is very cold and doesn’t fold well could my fridge be too cold and I know I’m not overworking it for sure maybe under working it? It’s 36 degrees.

    • February 26, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      Mary, I recommend that you read the Bread FAQs page. I think your answer is probably in there!

  • Diane Buege Buendia
    January 17, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    I recently got your bread book (after reading about it in a gf magazine) & I am soooo excited!! I was a big baker prior to learning I had to be gf (& my son also), I do make home made gf bread on a very regular basis, but none of it is satisfactory IMO. I have my first loaf slow rising in the fridge now. My son & husband are dairy free, so I’m using the pea protein. Do I still fold it over & then shape it as directed in the recipe when I’m doing it dairy free??

    • January 17, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      Hi, Diane, Please see this newer post on the blog. Read the earliest comments on the post (at the bottom of the comments). I discuss the dairy free dough there. It isn’t the same, I’m afraid. You’ll need to shape it with wet hands, but the results will be similar!

      • Diane Buege Buendia
        January 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Thank you for responding so quickly! I clicked on the link you provided but I can’t find info about what to do after the first rise in the refrigerator when it’s dairy free.

  • Diane Buege Buendia
    January 17, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    I recently got your bread book (after reading about it in a gf magazine) & I am soooo excited!! I was a big baker prior to learning I had to be gf (& my son also), I do make home made gf bread on a very regular basis, but none of it is satisfactory IMO. I have my first loaf slow rising in the fridge now. My son & husband are dairy free, so I’m using the pea protein. Do I still fold it over & then shape it as directed in the recipe when I’m doing it dairy free??

    • January 17, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Hi, Diane, Please see this newer post on the blog. Read the earliest comments on the post (at the bottom of the comments). I discuss the dairy free dough there. It isn’t the same, I’m afraid. You’ll need to shape it with wet hands, but the results will be similar!

      • Diane Buege Buendia
        January 17, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        Thank you for responding so quickly! I clicked on the link you provided but I can’t find info about what to do after the first rise in the refrigerator when it’s dairy free.

      • Diane Buege Buendia
        January 17, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        Oh now I found it! Thanks again!!

  • Megan
    January 6, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    I mean crisp on outside but gooey/uncooked dough on inside.

  • Megan
    January 6, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    I made your GF poptarts and after baking they remained gooey (almost uncooked-dough) on inside, but crisp on inside. Is there a special type of jam I’m supposed to use? I used an organic seedless jelly.

  • Angie Hepp
    December 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Hello Nicole! I ordered your book last week and finally received the last of the ingredients. I made up the dough for the focaccia and it is in the frig now. However, the dough is really more like pancake batter. Should I add more flour now, or wait until it has been in the frig for a few days? I know there is NO way I would be able to shape the dough at this point. And when I add flour, should I use the all purpose blend, or the bread flour blend, since it is SO wet?

    Thanks, and I’m looking forward to trying the other recipes!!

    • December 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Hi, Angie,
      First, if you read through the whole recipe for either type of focaccia in the book, it says that “The dough will be very wet and may be difficult to handle.” Please also refer to page 23, which states that, even with this new way of making gluten free bread, “wet dough is not a thing of the past, entirely. … For example, the Herb Focaccia … has 80 percent hydration, which is what is responsible for the beautiful, large holes in its crumb.”
      Second, please be sure that you measured your ingredients properly by weight, and that you mixed the dough with the dough hook until “a trail of dough from the hook to the bowl [is] intact for at least the count of five.” Otherwise, you have not worked the dough enough with the mixer hook. All authentic gluten-containing focaccia dough has a very high hydration, so it is a very, very wet dough. It is not, however, pourable like pancake batter.
      Nicole

      • Angie Hepp
        December 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        Thank you! I did read all of the above, so I was aware that it would be wet and difficult to handle, but I felt like my dough was WAY too wet, even for GF dough. I did measure all my ingredients by weight, and did not make any substitutions. I mixed it for about 5 minutes, as stated in the recipe, so I will just mix it some more and maybe add a bit more flour on baking day. *fingers crossed!* :)

        • December 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM

          It is not wet because it’s gluten free dough, Angie. It is wet because real focaccia is a very, very high hydration dough (80% hydration – 100% hydration would be as much water as flour). Follow the directions on baking day and sprinkle flour liberally, but resist the urge to add more with your mixer. And the olive oil you use to shape it will assist you in spreading it on a baking pan. Basically, the wetter you can keep it, the bigger the holes will be when you finally bake it. You will not be kneading this by hand in a traditional sense – only scrape and fold, and not a ton of that, even. Have fun!

        • Angie Hepp
          December 6, 2013 at 11:25 PM

          Great explanation, thanks! Hopefully this will help anyone else who has the same question. And good news…I just checked on the dough in the frig – it has firmed up and has already risen and mounded up some in the bowl. I touched it and it feels firmer, too! Yay! Now if I can just hold out long enough until baking day! I’ll try to resist the urge to bake it too soon. I’m striving for closer to 5 days…

  • Dawn Rennick
    December 4, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    As of today, there is no Nook version…:(

    • December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Hi, Dawn, there will be! It just isn’t up for pre-order just yet. But it will 100% for sure be available (in fact I’m reviewing the digital version of the book today!) and should be by publication date (12/10).

  • STEPHANIE CALDWELL
    November 22, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Thank you somuch for spending the time to put this book together! We just learned about a month ago that our 2 1/2 year old is gluten-intolerant… so I’ve been spending all of my free time (after working a full day outside the home) scouring the internet trying to learn about GF baking… I just pre-ordered your book on amazon and I can’t wait for it to come in the mail!!!

    I do have a question though, when my dough rises beautifully and bakes nicely, but then falls when I take it out of the oven, what am I doing wrong? Granted, this wasn’t your recipe (as I just found your blog this week) but I’m curious “in theory” what you opinion would be?

    Thank you so much!!

    • December 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Generally, Stephanie, bread that rises well and then sinks (and I talk about this in the Troubleshooting section of the new bread book) is due to a too-hot oven. It bakes the outside of the bread too quickly, long before the inside has the structure necessary to support the rise. As it cools, the hot air seeps out and the bread falls.

  • Louise
    November 17, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Hi – I really want your book! We have just been told our son can’t eat almond or coconut flours (any salicylates), and most gf books are full of them at the moment, does yours have a good selection without these things?
    Also, are there a few I can use in a bread maker? Our kids are always hungry and I can’t keep up!
    Thanks,
    Louise

    • December 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Hi, Louise, there is no almond or coconut flour at all in this cookbook. This is not a bread machine book, though. I do not use or recommend use of a bread machine. I find that they differ considerably from brand to brand, making universal instructions a near-impossibility, and make an odd-shaped loaf.

    • December 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Hi, Louise, there is no almond or coconut flour at all in this cookbook. This is not a bread machine book, though. I do not use or recommend use of a bread machine. I find that they differ considerably from brand to brand, making universal instructions a near-impossibility, and make an odd-shaped loaf.

  • Susan
    November 15, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Hi Nicole, Thanks for all your good work in the kitchen, on line and in print. Are there recipes in your new book that do not contain potato starch and/or potato flour? For your recipes that do contain potato starch and/or potato flour, have you tested or can you recommend substitutes? Thanks!

    • Susan
      November 16, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      PS In most other GF/dairy-free recipes, I have excellent success substituting tapioca starch or arrowroot powder for potato starch (depending on the balance of other ingredients), but I’m stumped when it comes to potato flour.

  • Josie
    November 3, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    Will there be any bread recipes in your book that don’t contain xanthum gum & yeast. And can I sub coconut milk for milk?

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