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How-To Make GF French Bread, Step x Step

How-To Make GF French Bread, Step x Step

Gluten Free French Bread

Gather up your wares. We’re havin’ gluten-free French Bread. And it’s not going to cost a bundle. ‘Cause we’re gonna make it ourselves. We’ll go nice & slow. And nobody falls off the wagon. Everybody in!

C’mon! Have a little faith.

You gotta have faith. Here’s the secret: you have to trust yourself.

That’s it! That’s the secret! Double pinky swear. You gotta trust yourself. You gotta believe that you can do it. You gotta know that the amount of water you use is going to vary from kitchen to kitchen, and from baking session to baking session. It depends upon so many factors — what the temperature is in your kitchen, the humidity level in your kitchen, the type of all-purpose GF flour you’re using, the alignment of the stars, the color of your panties.

But none of that matters.

All that matters is that you add water s  l  o  w  l  y. Remember – although you can always add more water, you can’t take any away. And you don’t want to get into a whole game of chicken with more-flour-more-water-more-flour-more-water. Your other-ingredient proportions [mostly yeast & sugar] will be all outta wack. Trust me. Trust the process.

Mostly, trust me. Just until you’re all growns up & ready to kick me to the curb. I’ve done this. Many, many times. And I’ve done it wrong so many times that they named a bench after me in Wrongville. And then they bronzed it.

Look, if you’re not ready for this, it’s okay. Make some yeast-free Quick {Sandwich} Bread and chillax. Worry not, my friend. We’ll still be here when you’re ready.

For the still willing, please review your ingredients: all-purpose gluten-free flour (plus xanthan gum, but I use Better Batter, and that’s already mixed in there), cream of tartar, sugar, kosher salt, yeast (quick rise/instant/breadmachine yeast if you have it – no big deal if you don’t), 2 egg whites, and warm water.

Not too many ingredients.
Gluten Free French Bread

Now, we dump the flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer, and mix well with a whisk. Then add the egg whites and mix slowly for a little bit. Smooth sailing so far.

Then …
Gluten Free French Bread
Got it? A little nip. A little tuck. A little sneaky peek. No biggie, right?

Nah. You don’t have it yet. But you will, boyo. You will.

Just like you see above, with the mixer [fitted with the paddle attachment] turning slowly, you’ll begin to pour the warm water into the well-mixed dry ingredients, nice & s l o w. The dough should be shaggy, which just means that it should be kinda irregular. Think clumpy and pointy all over. Compare my shaggy dough picture to your dough.

**I’ll wait for you**

If you think maybe it needs a bit more water, but you’re not sure, STOP. In this particular example, ended up with 1/2 cup warm water still in the measuring cup (I started with 1 2/3 cup – don’t make me do the math). Does it hold together, more or less, at least in clumps? Scrape it together with a spatula (see the picture), dump it out onto a silpat or some parchment paper (no flour!), and knead it a bit with your hands. It will be a bit tacky. See how little bits of it sticks to my hand?

Then divide the dough into 2 equal parts, and roll into a cylinder with the palm and heel of your hands. Just do it! The dough will be irregular, still, and have hairline cracks in it. We’re going to remedy that. Just take that leftover warm water, and dip your hands into it. Get ’em nice and wet. Now rub the entire surface of the dough you just rolled into a cylinder (top, sides, ends, bottom – the full monty) until it’s all shiny & smooth. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Now just place the two loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet, a few inches apart, cover with plastic wrap and place in a moist, draft-free area to rise until nearly doubled in volume[for tips on getting your GF bread to rise, check out “arise fair gluten-free bread”]. Then, dip your hands again in water, rub the risen dough very gently to smooth out the surface again [if you’re not gentle, you could deflate the dough], slash the dough with a sharp knife on the diagonal every 2 inches along the length of each loaf, bake for 15 minutes, rub with butter, then bake until crispy and golden brown.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Remember. Water is the secret. G  o    s  l  o  w  l  y.

And trust. Trust is the secret.

But don’t tell secrets. It hurts people’s feelings.

Here’s the printable version. I love you. Go forth & bake bread.

Then make some GF Bruschetta. Or a Philly Cheese Steak. Maybe a meatball hero? You ARE a meatball HERO!

Or maybe just enjoy some slices of french bread layered with big juicy late summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. And a nice glass of wine. You’ve earned it.

How-To Make GF French Bread, Step x Step
Recipe Type: Bread
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6 to 8
Gluten-free French Bread
  • 3 cups (420g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rapid rise/instant/bread machine yeast (or active dry, if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 2 extra-large egg whites
  • 1 2/3 cup warm water, about 100 degrees
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix well with a whisk. Fit the paddle attachment to your stand mixer, then add the egg whites, and mix slowly to combine. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the water in a very slow but steady stream. Once the dough begins to come together, STOP adding water. You will have used up at least 1 cup of water, and up to 2/3 cup more (rarely the full 1 2/3 cup).
  3. Scrape the dough together with a spatula, and dump it out onto a slick (but unfloured) surface, like a silpat, pastry board, or piece of parchment paper. Knead the dough briefly to gather it together. It will be tacky, and will leave a bit of residue on your hand. Divide the dough into two equal parts. With the palms and heels of both hands, roll one piece of dough into a cylinder, back and forth, back and forth. It will have cracks in it. Now, dip your hands in the leftover warm water, and rub the dough vigorously all over to smooth out the cracks. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
  4. Place the two pieces of dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, moist, draft-free area for about 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled in volume.
  5. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Once the dough has risen, dip your hands back into the remaining water, and rub smooth the surfaces of each loaf, this time gently to avoid deflating the loaves.
  7. Place the loaves in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Rub the unsalted butter evenly over every available surface of both loaves of bread, and return to the oven to finish baking – until golden brown (about another 10 to 15 minutes).
  8. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing, or the bread could deflate. We’d be hugging and you’d get my shirt all boogery. Ew. But I would do it for you. I would.

Don’t even try to use a bean flour blend to do this. Don’t even.
Pamela’s baking mix and Pamela’s bread mix are NOT meant to be all-purpose gluten-free flours. They are baking mixes, and will not work in any of my recipes that call for an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
If you run into trouble in this recipe, post an S.O.S. comment. I’ll get back to you speedy quick. Promise.
You can DO this! Let’s hug.



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