Here are my Top 10 Secrets to Baking Gluten Free Bread with yeast. There are tons of free recipes in my Gluten Free Bread Recipe Index, but the best place to start is right here, with these secrets.
Once you understand how to make gluten free bread successfully, you’ll be ready to select your first recipe and get started with confidence. If you’d like to move past batter-style gluten free bread, my gluten free bread flour blend will revolutionize your homemade bread-baking!
Secret #1: No substitutions
Try to avoid making any substitutions the first time you make a gluten free bread recipe, especially one which is unfamiliar to you. If you have chosen a recipe that you can only make with substitutions, select another recipe.
Whenever a reader tells me that they are having trouble with a recipe, my first question is always whether they have made any substitutions. Some may work, but many will not. And early failure will make it very hard to stay motivated.
The easiest gluten free bread recipe to begin with is the recipe for the Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread recipe from my first cookbook. I posted it on the blog when the second edition of the book was published.
It’s a super simple recipe, and since there’s a video above, you can even look over my shoulder as I make it first. Another batter-style gluten free bread recipe that uses ingredients you probably already have on hand is my recipe for Gluten Free Brown Bread.
Secret #2: Bake by weight.
Bake by weight, not volume. Proper proportions make the difference between success and failure. A serviceable scale is totally cheap, and easy to use. I recommend this one(affiliate link).
To use a digital scale, simply finish measuring one ingredient, and hit “tare.” It zeroes out the scale. Ready for the next ingredient, in the same bowl. Precision, easily.
In all of my recipes, 1 cup of all-purpose gluten-free flour weighs 140 grams. Don’t bother trying to see if the measuring cups you have in your kitchen match their volume to my weight measurements.
There is tremendous variation in volume-based measuring tools like cups and spoons, and user error is simply unavoidable. That’s the whole reason to use a scale.
Secret #3: Don’t double
Don’t double a recipe for gluten free yeast bread to make twice as much, if it’s made in the batter style like our recipe for Japanese Milk Bread.
However, the yeast bread recipes in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread CAN be doubled, or halved, easily. Everything is new and better! But when it comes to any gluten free bread recipes that make a batter-style bread (like this one), don’t double. The Hawaiian Rolls from GFOAS Bakes Bread? Double away. :)
Secret #4: Beat well
Gluten-free bread dough needs to be mixed vigorously. The best way to do it is with a stand mixer. Don’t have one? Do it by hand, and put some elbow grease into it. You can try using a hand mixer with dough hook attachments, but not with balloon whisk attachments.
And don’t worry about over-mixing. There’s no gluten to ‘overwork.’ If your end result has a really tight crumb and seems crumbly, it’s not that you overworked the dough. Your hydration level was likely too low.
The yeast bread recipes in the new bread book require a dough hook, just like traditional, conventional gluten-containing breads. Don’t have a stand mixer? No problem. A 5-speed handheld mixer, with dough hook attachments, will work great!
Secret #5: You need the gums
Don’t try to bake bread without any gluten substitutes, like xanthan gum. When yeast gives off carbon dioxide during the baking process, gluten acts like a cloak and suspends the bubbles.
That allows the bread to bake around the air pockets. No gluten, and no gluten-substitute? No cloak, and nothing to “hold” the rise.
Secret #6: Bake it right.
Use a simple oven thermometer to gauge your oven’s baking temperature properly. Most ovens are calibrated improperly, and off by around 50°F. Yup. That much. One of mine is typically off by about 75°F!
Don’t bother calibrating it. It will just get out of whack again. Use an oven thermometer. Easy, cheap – essential. Bake bread in a too-hot oven, the outside will bake before the inside has a chance to develop enough structure to support it, and it will cave as it cools.
Secret #7: Don’t give up.
Don’t give up if your first loaf of bread isn’t perfect. It’s a skill. It builds with experience.
And even if the loaf isn’t gorgeous, it probably still tastes great. I bet you don’t take pictures of your food like I do. So just carry on!
Secret #8: Proof is the in proofing.
Create the right environment for bread proofing. If you can swing it, consider a Brod & Taylor bread proofer. It’s amazing the even rise you can get in this little box of heaven. I got mine for free (I was a ‘tester’), but I would have bought it. No question.
If you can’t swing it, use my tried and true microwave-as-bread-proofer method. I used it for years and years, with good results.
Secret #9: Don’t freelance.
Do not “throw a bunch of flours” into a bread recipe and expect it to turn out. And use instant yeast. No need to proof it as long as it’s comfortably within its freshness date.
If the bread didn’t rise, it’s very unlikely that the problem is the yeast. Trust me.
Secret #10: Keep perspective.
If you use a prepared mix and follow the directions, but the bread doesn’t turn out—it’s not. your. fault!
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