Getting Ready for Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread!

Getting Ready for Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread!

How To Get Ready To Make The Best Gluten Free Bread Ever! [pinit] Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread is coming! I promise it. It will not be delayed again (PROMISE). I know that many of you pre-ordered (thank you thank you thank you). I know what a leap of faith that is (the Look Inside feature on amazon isn’t even live yet!). I appreciate it more than you know. More than words can say. And since this is the Internet, words and pictures are all we have to connect us. I can’t bake for you, you can’t hear my voice and we can’t hug it out (at least not yet). I don’t take any of it for granted. Please do know that. You know that, though, right?

About that delay … I think I can put your mind at ease. Although yes, the official pub date was delayed by another week (but it’s all printed and on its way to my publisher (and me!) right now), my publisher has been promised by their Amazon.com rep that Amazon will still do everything they can to ship pre-orders on November 25. That’s in 10 days! That’s a week from Monday. That’s … soon! Stay calm, Nicole. Stay calm. Oh, hey, and Mel of Kitchen Cafe fame has posted the recipe for Gluten Free Hawaiian Rolls from the book—and is running a giveaway right now! So be sure to click on the link and enter (and get that preview recipe)! (p.s. I think she kind of loved the book)

Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread - What Bread Is That? [pinit]

Since, aside from giveaways, there isn’t a whole lot I can do for you in the meantime, I want to do everything I possibly can. Many of you have written to me to ask me, what do we need to get started once the bread book comes (finally!). And when you saw Mel’s post, you saw that you needed whey protein isolate* (see “recipe” below for discussion of dairy-free alternatives) and Expandex modified tapioca starch to make the Gluten Free Bread Flour that makes such beautiful gluten free bread. I can help with that. Scroll down and you’ll find a “recipe” with the list of everything you need (with descriptions wherever necessary) to get started as soon as you get the book, including sources for those less common ingredients.

How To Get Ready To Make The Best Gluten Free Bread Ever!

Now I know I’ve said it a million times before but it bears repeating: this is NOT the same gluten free bread dough you’re used to. It’s not like cookie dough. It doesn’t pull apart in shards, and … you don’t mix it with a paddle. It’s so special that, when you shape it, you actually get surface tension on the top of, say, a loaf of bread or a roll. You don’t “pour” the “batter” into a loaf pan. You shape it. But to get that smooth and stretchy dough, you need a machine with dough hooks.

“What if I don’t have a stand mixer? They’re expensive!” I know, right?! So expensive. I have had one forever, but since I know that they’re simply out of reach for many, I tested a few of the handheld mixers with dough hook attachments. And, frankly, some of them just don’t work. But I found one that does. The KitchenAid 5-speed handheld mixer, which comes with dough hooks, does a really good job of approximating a stand mixer, at a much, much lower price. (This is Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, after all!)

“Why can’t you just give me a stand mixer?” Well, that is another possible solution, I guess, right? Next week, I will announce another giveaway that you can enter to win the 6-quart KitchenAid stand mixer of my dreams (it’s way better than the one I have! and that is not an affiliate link), sponsored by KitchenAid. And that giveaway will include lots of other amazing things, including a possible chance to win A Day of Baking … with ME! I will fly out to your house and be at your disposal for a day, but that’s all going to be announced next week!! That’s the one I’m the most excited about, of course. Before I get ahead of myself, here’s what you’ll need to hit the ground running when you pre-ordered copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread ships on November 25!:

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: Gluten Free Bread!


Gluten Free Bread Flour Ingredients (all purpose gluten free flour* + whey protein isolate** + Expandex modified tapioca starch)

An oven thermometer

A digital food scale (although approximate volume measurements are provided most everywhere in the book, except where impossible)

A liquid measuring cup and a set of measuring spoons (for liquids)

A home proofer . . . or a heating pad

A basic digital calculator

A glass jar and wooden spoon (for making a wild yeast sourdough starter and the corresponding recipes)

Mixing bowls and whisks

Bench scrapers (ideally a metal one and a more flexible plastic one)

An instant-read thermometer (for testing to see if bread is done)

Rimmed baking sheets

Unbleached parchment paper

A French rolling pin

8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans

Sharp knife or lame for slashing

Cooking oil spray (I prefer a simple olive oil spray)

A large serrated bread knife

Machine with dough hook (Stand mixer or 5-speed hand mixer with dough hooks)

Lidded plastic proofing buckets (really a “want”)

*The main all purpose gluten free flour blends I recommend is the Mock Better Batter blend here on the blog (or Better Batter itself, if you prefer). The other all purpose gluten free flour blend I recommend is the Basic Gluten Free Flour Blend, but with a bit of xanthan gum.

**Dairy-free substitutions: The two non-dairy protein powders I recommend are NOW Foods Pea Protein (just read the description to ensure that it is, in fact, a protein isolate) and Growing Naturals Rice Protein Isolate (Original Flavor), both of which are readily available online. I speak more about how to replace whey protein isolate with them on page 10 of the book.


  • *UPDATE 1/21/14*
    1. Currently, the best source in the U.S. for Expandex is Montana’s Gifts of Nature. You must order over the phone at 1 (888) 275-0003, but they are generally available to take orders 7 days a week. If you don’t get an answer, Larry said to leave a message and he will call you back.  For complete sourcing information, please see my Resources page.

    2. Readers outside the U.S.: I have arrived at a formula for using Ultratex 3 in place of Expandex. Please see #6 on this link of resources for details (including where to find Ultratex 3). Please google “Ultratex 3” in your country’s search engine and you should be able to find an online source in your country.

  • You must be sure to use whey protein isolate, which is different from simple whey, whey protein or sweet dairy whey, all of which have at least as many carbohydrates as protein. Whey protein isolate is nearly all protein. I use NOW Foods whey protein isolate, and I buy big bags of it. The source with the best price varies from time to time, but I usually order it on amazon.com. It is also often sold at health food stores and vitamin stores, as it is frequently used by bodybuilders. I … am no bodybuilder.

  • You absolutely will need a machine with dough hooks to get the smooth texture that you see on the surface of the bread in all the photos in the book—ideally a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. I have a KitchenAid and it’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done (even though it’s super old). Don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer? Well, next week you can enter to WIN the 6-quart KitchenAid stand mixer of my dreams (way better than the one I have!) here on the blog. In the meantime, and on the off-chance that you don’t win, I have had good results with a 5-speed handheld mixer with dough hook attachments. I was pleasantly surprised.

  • Proofer … or a heating pad. The initial rise in each recipe in the book takes place in (ideally) lidded proofing buckets in the refrigerator, which leads to a slow rise and great yeast flavor development. The most important feature of a good rise is a constant, even temperature, and the refrigerator absolutely provides that. The second rise, however, must be in a warm, draft-free location (also with a constant, even temperature). There are ways to accomplish that without a Brod & Taylor proofer (although it sure does make things easy and lovely). But … the wild yeast sourdough starter necessary to make the sourdough recipes in Chapter 5, cannot be made without a warmer environment. In the book, I describe how to jury-rig a heating pad for this purpose.



P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Bread Memories giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book and most of the “must have” items listed above! It ends 11:59 pm EST Wednesday November 20, 2013, so get right on it!

Comments are closed.

  • Crystal
    January 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Since Navan is still out of the Expandex, I did a little searching and found that Wheat Free Foods has it in a 5 lb bag. Per pound it’s a little cheaper than Navan…. and it’s in stock. http://www.wheatfreefood.com/item.cfm?ItemsID=38

  • China Katimir
    January 5, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Hi Nicole, first great blog! I’m new to GF baking and definitely trying to go all the way GF and I love cooking and baking. I just purchased your new cookbook on breads and I’m waiting now for the order. I was able to get two orders of Expandex from Navan and they shipped it the same day and it was here within a day or two. Now for my question. Coming with your cookbook is a Brᴓd & Taylor Folding Proofer and a couple proofing buckets. My kitchen has everything else above already. I’ve been reading quite a bit of the comments and your posts and proofing in the right temperature but I never have read anything about using the Home Proofer. Will this help to get the GF bread to rise well? It’s going to be new to me and I bought it because I wanted to really get a good yeast flavor in the bread and I know this takes some practice. So what temp should it be on for say making a Brioche. One of first things I plan on trying to make are croissants!!! I’ve been dying to do those for my son with regular flour but I wanted to do it first with GF. Thank you!

  • Margaret Schultz
    December 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    How different is “Ultratex 3” from Expandex? I ask since I ended up somehow with the Utratex when I couldn’t find the Expandex….

    • Margaret Schultz
      December 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Sorry, you already answered this in the resources section. Ignore….go about your business…

  • Michelle O
    December 12, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    Nicole~ where do you get your dough rising buckets? I can only find them on King Arthur flour dot com. I was hoping for Amazon as I have prime shipping and was hoping Santa could bring me some for Christmas :) Thanks!

    • December 13, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      Hi, Michelle, I get them on amazon.com. I buy Cambro brand. Just search for “Cambro” and be sure to buy ones that come with lids!

  • listenup
    December 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Any update on Expanded availability? I just bought the book and can’t bake anything without it…very dissapointing

  • Laura
    December 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Silly question maybe, but is the whey protein isolate unflavored? I see plenty of vanilla and chocolate, but have yet to see unflavored . I live in Ontario Canada and have an order placed for the expandex and splurged on the Brod & Taylor bread proofer (Merry Christmas to me!)
    I am anxiously waiting for the book and all the goodies I need to make some delicious breads! I CAN HARDLY WAIT!

    • December 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Hi, Laura, Not silly at all. I discuss this in the cookbook. It’s unflavored whey protein isolate. I use NOW Brand, and buy it on amazon.com. I just checked, and it is available on amazon.ca. Merry Christmas to you indeed!!

  • Erin Lowery Baerwaldt
    December 3, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    My cookbook arrived! It is BEAUTIFUL!!! Now I just need to find me some Expandex so I can make some bread. :S

    • December 7, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Thank you, Erin!

  • Julie S
    November 29, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Wow we really need a better source for Expandex! $10 shipping for a 1 pound item is absolutely unacceptable to me! I won’t pay more than USPS flat rate or 1st class mail on any food items. I just can’t justify it. These specialty food items already have an extremely high mark-up! I would love to see Amazon cary it. Amazon isn’t my favorite- I prefer eBay but at least I can get free shipping on orders filled by Amazon. An eBay store for these items would be ideal because the shipping is always clearly stated & eBay has stricter item description rules. We desperately need simplicity in getting gluten free baking staples. What would be the very best would be a Gluten Free on a Shoestring store! Nothing beats getting supplies from someone you trust to provide fair prices & shipping… Just a thought…

    • Suzanne
      November 30, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      On the upside, it’s $10 for more than one so if you know of someone else who eats gf near you, you could split the shipping. My sisters and I are all gf and we’re each getting it so we’ll split the shipping 5 ways and only pay $2 each.

      • Julie S
        December 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        Thanks! That’s good to know…

  • November 27, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Karlie and Linda, I received an email from the owner of Navan Foods (we have been in touch about Expandex) and she told me that, for my readers, she is willing to ship to Canada. The shipping costs won’t be cheap, but she said that some may consider it worth it to get the product. And I’m still working on more suppliers, too!

  • Deborah
    November 24, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Are the protein isolates gluten free? I looked at Now Foods website and the allergy declaration on the whey protein and pea protein isolates states “Not manufactured with wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nut ingredients. Produced in a GMP facility that processes other ingredients containing these allergens.” Does that mean there is a risk of cross-contamination? As someone with celiac, I would like to know for certain that it is gluten free!

  • Deborah
    November 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Are the protein isolates gluten free? I looked at Now Foods website and the allergy declaration on the whey protein and pea protein isolates states “Not manufactured with wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nut ingredients. Produced in a GMP facility that processes other ingredients containing these allergens.” Does that mean there is a risk of cross-contamination? As someone with celiac, I would like to know for certain that it is gluten free!

    • November 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Deborah, I am satisfied that NOW Foods whey protein isolate is safely gluten free, and my celiac son has been eating it for about a year and a half without incident, but you have to make that decision for yourself. If you have questions, I would recommend contacting the company directly, or looking for another brand. There are a number of them.

  • Michele Miller
    November 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I have learned to use the warming drawer that is under my oven! I set it for about 3/4 towards the high mark on my GE gas oven place the bread pan with the sprayed plastic wrap over it into the drawer for 25 minutes. Comes out perfect every time now. I also have my regular oven on at the same time warming up to the baking temp.

  • Sarah
    November 23, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    So I was going through my ingredients, making sure I was all set to make those “Olive Garden” breadsticks at Parents magazine, and I realized that I had ordered whey protein, not whey isolate. Egad. I don’t want to waste the $20 or so that I spent on this boo-boo, can I still use it in the recipes? Per scoop it has 19g of protein and 2g carbohydrates. I will be much more careful in my ordering next time, I promise.

    • November 27, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      Hi, Sarah, whey protein isolate is 90% protein. If the product you bought is about 90% protein, it should still work. Just divide 19 g protein by the total amount of grams in that serving size, and multiply by 100 for the percentage. Hope that helps!

  • Marilyn
    November 21, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    AAagh! Delayed again. I was hoping to have it when I came back after thanksgiving. Please quit teasing us! I’m still not cancelling my order.

    We’re writing about the order you placed on May 07, 2013 (Order#
    112-2896206-0140211). Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s)
    listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery
    estimate based on the new release date:

    Estimated arrival date: December 12, 2013

  • ruralroutelupiac
    November 21, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    Nicole, I doubt you’re ready for substitution type comments but since it is hard to get expandex right now just wanted to let you know I tried the Hawaiian rolls and I used Ultratex 8 in place of the expandex. I used half the amount since it’s supposed to be stronger.

    Not knowing exactly what the dough should look like makes it hard to tell if it was a good sub or not but…

    I was seriously impressed with the rolls. Soft. Perfect ‘chew’. No crumbs all over the place when I spread stuff on them. :) I did a post about them today. Now I really can’t wait to get the book.

    • November 21, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Hi, Jennifer (I looked up your blog so I could see your post about the bread, so now I know your name!), oh I’m totally ready for your comment! Thank you so much for letting me know that you tried the Hawaiian rolls recipe with Ultratex 8. I have tried Ultratex 3 (in an effort to find a replacement for Expandex, since I knew it was going to end up being in short supply), and even that is stronger than Expandex. By a fair amount, even. The problem is that I don’t know by precisely how much! I spoke to someone at the company that makes Ultratex about how it compares to Expandex. They don’t know. Both are proprietary blends. So glad you had a good experience, and I just a moment ago had an advance copy of the book delivered to my door and I will not lie: it’s beautiful! I can’t wait for you to get it. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Linda Vanderbaan
      December 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      I just orders some Ultratex 8 – thanks for the suggestion – those buns look uber awesome!

  • Gillian
    November 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Does anyone know the method of modification used to create Expandex? Trying to rid my family of as much not-so-much-food-as-a-laboratory-experiment as possible–just doing my research before jumping in headlong, but not really succeeding in finding an actual answer…thanks to anyone who can help!

    • November 20, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      It’s not genetic modification, Gillian, if that’s what concerns you. Expandex is just tapioca starch that is processed further to modify its capabilities. It is non-GMO, which is something you can’t say for many manufactured foods. Lots of foods are modified, and if you eat processed gluten free foods, you are most likely eating modified starches of one kind or another. If you are unwilling to use it and/or a small amount of xanthan gum, I probably would say it’s not a good idea to buy my bread book.

      • Gillian
        November 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        Thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to reply. I guess I was just really trying to figure out how exactly they modify it? What chemicals or processes does it go through, ya know? I admit that finding out Expandex was a crucial ingredient in the new book put a little sag in my step but….I really want a good bagel (and the one on the cover looks divine)!!!!! I have not had a lot of success thus far with almost any of my bread attempts, not totally sure why….anywho, haven’t totally made up my mind yet but I’m strongly leaning toward yes :-) Thanks again!

  • Karlie
    November 19, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Hi Nicole! I’m trying to find a way to buy expandex or another modified tapioca starch here in Canada, but nothing is showing up in my google searches :( It’s just so, so expensive to ship from the States, because it’s often $20-40 shipping and then another $20-40 customs charges. I’m hoping the new source you’re looking at has good shipping prices! I want to make bread so badly but can’t seem to find ANY Canadian retailers for expandex.

    • Karlie
      November 19, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Oh and I forgot to ask! Approximately how much is required in a standard recipe? If it’s just a bit I might be able to justify shipping charges, but if it’s a large amount I just can’t :(

      • November 19, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Hi, Karlie, most bread recipes will require at least 45 grams of Expandex (a little goes a long way). As I understand it, Expandex started out being available in Canada only. Perhaps it is sold under a different name? The other company that I am working with in the hopes of getting them to carry Expandex most definitely already sells product in Canada, so hopefully that will come through and you’ll be all set! I will continue to work on it and will keep you posted! I feel strongly that there is a viable solution. We just haven’t found it yet. ;)

        • Karlie
          November 19, 2013 at 8:40 PM

          Thanks for the reply Nicole! I’ve tried searching for sources of modified tapioca starch here but so far no cigar. I really hope that other company can do it! Unfortunately every store I looked up online that carried expandex doesn’t offer shipping to Canada at all :( I’m going to search out what gluten-free stores my city has and hope to find something that might work! If not I’ll try some recipes with extra tapioca starch in them in place of it – I promise not to blame any flops on you ;)

        • Linda Vanderbaan
          November 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM

          Hi Karlie – I got my Expandex from Navan Foods, but it doesn’t look like they carry it right now, darn!

          Actually – Expandex (annoyingly) is manufactured in Canada (http://www.casco.ca/eng/pdf/product_sheets/PRODUCT%20SALES%20SHEET%20STARCH.pdf)- just not sold here.

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