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Jules Ciabatta Bread

Jules Ciabatta Bread

Tell me something. What do you expect from gluten-free bread baking? ‘Cause I just got schooled—and there’s no going back. Thanks, Jules Gluten Free Flour!

As soon as I started baking with Jules, I knew it was going to make some serious gluten-free bread. It was born to bake bread. And now? Now, shaped gluten-free bread is not allowed to be weepy. A loaf of bread? It has my permission to be more like batter. But if I need to shape it, I want to be able to knead it. I will now accept no less. No less!

I think the secret weapon is the Expandex. Jules has Expandex in spades. I’ve been experimenting, and so far the results are easy-to-handle whole grain bagels. If I sound like a dork because I think they’re so much fun to make, then be a pal and forget I said that.

Oh, right. If you’re new here, welcome to the Great Gluten-Free Flour Test. Click on that link. It’ll catch you right up.

Jules’ ciabatta bread dough pulls right away from the sides of the bowl, and comes together almost immediately.

Here it is right after it was turned out onto a sheet of unbleached parchment paper. No dusting with flour required. It’s moist enough to still be slightly tacky to the touch (you want that), but you do not need to flour your hands to handle it.

It rolls out really easily, and it doesn’t need a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. A dream come true.

I won’t lie to you, though. It has a bit of trouble rising. It rises, no doubt, but it takes a bit longer. I couldn’t wait too long or it would overproof.

And there’s so much starch that browning in the oven is a bit of a challenge. Almost no matter how long it is baked. But I learned so much! And I owe it all to Jules.

Don’t forget to check out my recipe for gluten-free ciabatta bread. Any high-quality gluten-free all-purpose flour will do.

Here’s the 4-1-1 on how Jules did this round:

Bread Challenge

Score (1-10)

Cup for cup replacement claim10
Cup for cup replacement result9.0
Ease of use9.0
Raw texture9.5
Cooked texture9.0
Finished appearance7.5
Finished taste9.5
Mouth feel9.0

One more flour left in the series for yeast bread, and then on to cookies for the final leg of the flour test. I have so many gluten-free cookie recipes on the site, but I’m open to suggestions. I’d like it to be somewhat challenging, to really give the flours a workout.

Any cookie requests?


P.S. Time for my public self-service announcement: A big huge ‘thank-you’ to those of you who have bought My Cookbook! If you haven’t yet picked up a copy, I really think you’ll love it. And I know I’d love your support. It helps keep things humming here on the blog.

Comments are closed.

  • Katy
    April 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Mexican Wedding cookies. I also second (third?) the request on Samoas and if we want to continue with the Girl Scouts theme – Thin Mints! It about drove me nuts this year to watch my boyfriend eat those in front of me, grrrrr… Also, gingersnaps, an oreo style, or a filled Tuile cookie (like Piroulines).

    • April 25, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      Wow, some friend (boy or otherwise!), to eat thin mints in front of you like that! I do have a recipe for Thin Mints. I keep meaning to post it, but keep getting sidetracked. I will, though, and he can eat his heart out! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lucia
    April 24, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Rugelach, please! Pretty please? I miss them so much!

  • April 24, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I think the basic butter shortbread cookie would be a great challenge for any flour!

    • April 24, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      Hi, Jeannie,
      I have a recipe for butter cookies on the blog. Better Batter did just fine. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • April 23, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    My sister said I should check out your site. I’ve been converting my dessert recipes to GF for a year now since my sister was diagnosed with a gluten allergy.
    Would love to give your Ciabatta bread a try since it is her favorite. Couldn’t find the recipe using the link in your entry :-(

    • April 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      Hi, Kimberly,
      I just checked the link for the recipe for ciabatta bread, and it works fine. Maybe try again, or just do a search in the search bar.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Karen
    April 23, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Oh, and my 2 cents… How about Samoas??? :)

    • Meridith
      April 23, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      I concur!!! Samoas pleeeeeease!

  • Karen
    April 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Thanks for all your work comparing all these commercial flours, Nicole! Had a friend suggest Jules, but it was too pricey for our home. Wondered about Tom Sawyers after a few other blog posts about it, but again it was too pricey. Have to admit to be too frugal to purchase the commercial blends so your DIY blend is very close to the blog post I found a year or so ago. It does work, but for your reference I purchase the flours at our local oriental store with the xanthan and pectin @ Wal-Mart. FYI – makes it so frugal @ around $1.15/lb in bulk, but is even good @ around $1.36 for a small batch! I’ve tried most of your recipes on the web and your cookbook with it with great success. No more bricks!! YEAH!!! :) Thanks for all the testing and recipes it does make the GF lifestyle much easier especially for us with children!!

    • April 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      Hi, Karen,
      I’m really glad you have found something that works for you. As a point of information, I don’t recommend that anyone buy flours that are not certified gluten-free, as there is significant potential for cross-contamination both in manufacturing and shipping, and even in the store if the flours are sold in large bins.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Karen
      April 25, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Thanks for the note of concern, Nicole. I completely agree that we need to do our due diligience in ensuring what we purchase is not contiminated. It was one of the first things I asked about when I found their store. Most of the time I pick up the prepackaged one pound single flours and starches which run around $1.25/lb and are very finely ground for my mock mix.

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    I haven’t tried Jules but I’ve been looking into Expandex for making bread. The thing about Jules is that it’s almost all starch. Doesn’t it have a flat taste? I have a hard time imagining that a combination of four starches and white rice flour would have any flavor.

    • April 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      Expandex is kinda funny, Gina. It doesn’t seem to a universally good thing for all breads. I’m still heavy into experimenting, but I haven’t found an ironclad rhyme or reason to it yet. I wouldn’t say that Jules really has a particularly flat taste, no, and ciabatta is a relatively simple recipe so the taste of the flour does matter. It just doesn’t brown, though, because of all that starch.
      xoxo Nicole

    • April 24, 2012 at 4:11 AM

      Nicole, thanks for reinforcing what I’m finding out about Expandex. Some people swear by it, but it hasn’t been a miracle substance for me yet. It probably depends on what it’s paired with. I’m planning on using it on a tried and true recipe to compare with previous results.

      As for cookies, I think the most challenging recipe for gluten-free, and one of my favorites, is shortbread cookies. Maybe that would be unfair, considering the cookie probably deserves a proprietary flour blend all its own, but it’s still the only cookie I crave.

  • Nat C
    April 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I was only diagnosed Coeliac about 5 weeks ago… so I’ve been gluten free for not long at all, and because of all the associated health problems I’ve been everything else free as well (no dairy is probably the worst thing ever). But! I’ve started stalking your blog, because in about a weeks time I can start to eat everything again (well, everything gluten free)!

    Anyways, my 2 cents on the cookies? I’d like to see some Snickerdoodles! Cause quite frankly, life is not worth living without them…

    (Thanks, and a question on the cookbook, is it full colour photos?)

    • April 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Hi, Nat,
      There’s already a recipe for snickerdoodles on the blog. Just search for them, or browse the cookies page, and you’ll find them.
      There is a full color photo insert in my cookbook, if that’s what you’re asking.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jessica
      April 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      I’m gluten and dairy free too, it’s not as bad/hard as you think it is. Coconut Milk (not the stuff in the cans) is a great milk substitute for coffee & cereal as well as in cooking and baking. Warmed up to 100 degrees or so it even makes for a nice cup o’ milk. So Delicious is my preferred brand, Silk is #2. Be very careful, 20 ppm is the minimum allowable amount of gluten allowed in food. 20ppm or less and a company can use the GF label. If you’re not sure about a brand or product, check their website before buying.

      Can you eat sheep or goat cheese? I’ve been able to eat those, they’re kind ooky but I’m finding some goat mozzarella and Gorgonzola that is pretty good and doesn’t have that funk of an after taste.

  • Joni G.
    April 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Oh! Pick me! Well, my recipe. I have a ‘family’ recipe for cut out sugar cookies that I would share. I have yet to get them to come out like I remember from my gluten days.

    • April 23, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      Hi, Joni,
      I have a recipe for cut-out sugar cookies in my cookbook. I was wondering which of my cookie recipes readers might like me for to use as a test subject for the Cookie Challenge portion of the Flour Test.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sherry L
    April 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Hi Nicole,

    It is so cool that you are doing this challenge! It has been fun and informative to see how the different flour blends perform! I normally use Better Batter, but I have bought Tom Sawyer twice in the past(just because it is closest in cost to BB) when BB was out of stock. So I have been especially curious about those results. As for cookie suggestions, hmmmmm, who can resist chocolate chip(I especially love your coconut choc. chip)? Biscotti are good too! Whatever you pick, make sure it freezes well:)


    • April 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Hi, Sherry,
      Tom Sawyer is definitely closest in cost to Better Batter. I haven’t yet tried it in this bread recipe, but I will very soon and will post my results this week. I honestly don’t know what to expect.
      Thanks for the cookie suggestions. :)
      xoxo Nicole

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