Tender, high-rising, GLUTEN-FREE sandwich bread? Here’s how.

Baking gluten-free? This one’s for you.

NOT baking gluten-free? This one might still be for you.

The number of people choosing to eliminate gluten from their diet has been growing quickly for the past several years. Which means even if you, or your child, or your significant other, mom, or best friend aren’t testing life without gluten, it’s a good bet you know someone who is.

And what’s the #1 baked treat gluten-free dieters miss? Birthday cake? Pie? Brownies?

Well, our strictly anecdotal research shows that the top “must have” for those on a gluten-free diet is good bread.

Think grilled cheese. A PB & J sandwich. French toast. Croutons in salad, stuffing with chicken…

Bread may be the staff of life for most of us, but for gluten-free folks, bread is something to avoid. Unfortunately for those eating GF, there’s probably nothing so packed with gluten as a slice of bread. Gluten is what allows bread to rise; remove it, and you have a hard-packed puddle of soggy dough.

So what’s a gluten-free-diet sandwich-lover to do?

Bake high-rising, light-and-tender bread – without gluten.

img_8472.JPG

That’s right. WITHOUT gluten.

And what’s the secret to gluten-free sandwich bread? Read on…

img_8566.JPG

Many gluten-free recipes use a blend of gluten-free flours. Our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour includes ingredients (stabilized brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch) that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods.

Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.

img_8431.JPG

The following make-at-home brown rice flour blend works nearly as well; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.

Stir together the following gluten-free ingredients:

6 cups (32 ounces) stabilized brown rice flour
2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch
1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca starch (or tapioca flour; same thing)

Store airtight at room temperature.

Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it’ll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

img_8498.JPG

Xanthan gum is another ingredient critical to gluten-free baking. It’s the “glue” that helps hold everything together, in the absence of gluten.

Before we start, I want to stress an important point: for best results, use an electric stand mixer or electric hand mixer to prepare this batter.

Can you stir it together by hand? Sure. But we don’t recommend it; your bread won’t look anything like the loaves in these pictures.

If you plan on doing much gluten-free baking, take the advice of every veteran gluten-free baker out there: start saving for an electric stand mixer, if you don’t already own one. It’s critical to success with GF yeast bread, pizza, muffins, and cake.

img_8432.JPG

Place the following in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer:

3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour or brown rice flour blend (13 1/2 ounces); see formula above
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum

img_8435.JPG

Using an electric mixer (hand mixer, or stand), gradually beat in 1 cup warm milk.

img_8437.JPG

The mixture will be crumbly at first, but once all the milk is added, it’ll come together.

img_8438.JPG

Add 4 tablespoons soft butter.

img_8439.JPG

Beat until thoroughly blended.

Next you’re going to add 3 large eggs, one at a time. Beat the mixture till each egg is thoroughly integrated before adding the next one.

img_8463.JPG

Once you’ve added all the eggs, beat the mixture at high speed for 3 minutes. This adds air to the thick batter, which helps take the place of the missing gluten as far as structure is concerned.

At the end of 3 minutes, the batter will look like thick, heavy buttercream icing: smooth and silky. It won’t look at all like a typical yeast dough: smooth, elastic, kneadable.

The dough will also be very sticky, and feel a bit gritty if you rub some between your fingers. Have you ever repaired a wall with spackling paste? Same texture. It helps to keep a wet kitchen towel handy, to keep your hands clean as you work.

img_8443.JPG

Leave the batter right in the mixing bowl. Or if you need your bowl for another purpose, scrape the sticky batter into a large measuring cup, or another bowl.

Cover the bowl or cup, and let the thick batter rise for 1 hour.

img_8444.JPG

I often raise yeast dough in a measuring cup; it helps me track how much it’s risen. This batter won’t double in size, but it’ll definitely puff up.

img_8446.JPG

Gently stir the batter down.

img_8447.JPG

Scrape it into a lightly greased 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pan.

img_8448.JPG

Use your wet fingers, or a wet spatula or bowl scraper, to smooth the top, eliminating any “wrinkles.” The smoother your loaf is before you put it into the oven, the smoother it’ll be once it’s baked.

img_8449.JPG

This is pretty smooth.

img_8450.JPG

Cover the pan; a clear shower cap works well here. Let the dough rise…

img_8451.JPG

…till it barely crowns over the rim of the pan.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

See the divot on the front of the loaf? That’s from me brushing it with the edge of the shower cap when I was pulling it off. The dough is very delicate; try not to touch it.

img_8452.JPG

Bake the bread for 38 to 42 minutes…

img_8453.JPG

…until golden brown.

img_8456.JPG

Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

img_8458.JPG

Run a stick of butter over the top crust, if you like. It’ll help keep the crust soft, and add flavor.

img_8466.JPG

Slice when cool. Imagine a ham and cheese sandwich. Or cinnamon toast.

img_8473.JPG

Ready for some variations? Cheese bread is easy. Stir 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese into the risen batter.

img_6554.JPG

I’ve chosen a very spicy cheese, Cabot Hot Habanero.  It’s too hot for me to eat out of hand, but in baking its flavor shines through, lending just the right amount of heat.

Don’t like heat? Choose a milder pepper cheese, like Pepper Jack. Or a good sharp cheddar.

img_8491.JPG

Here’s a discovery I made while testing the recipes for this blog. Our 9” pain de mie pan is the ideal shape and size for gluten-free breads. Its straight, high sides lend a lot of support to the rising dough. The result? A very nicely shaped loaf.

Though the lid on this pan isn’t critical, it does protect the dough as it rises.

If you don’t have a 9” pain de mie pan, use a standard (8 1/2” x 4 1/2”) loaf pan.

img_8492.JPG

Let the dough rise, covered, till it’s within about an inch of the rim of the 9” pain de mie pan. This should take about 45 to 60 minutes.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Slide the lid of the pan closed, and bake the bread for 50 minutes. When you slide the lid open, the loaf should be golden brown.

img_8527.JPG

Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and cool on a rack.

You can also choose to bake the bread with the lid off; bake the same amount of time, but tent with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes, to prevent over-browning.

And, to use a regular 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pan, bake the bread for about 40 to 45 minutes, till golden brown.

img_8505.JPG

Slice when cool. Now, is that one nice-looking gluten-free bread, or what?!

img_8474.JPG

Next up: gluten-free cinnamon-raisin swirl bread.

Stir 1 cup golden raisins into the risen batter.

img_8475.JPG

Like this. You don’t have to beat the raisins in; a spoon will do the trick just as easily as your mixer’s beater blade.

img_8476.JPG

Scrape the batter into a lightly greased 9” pain de mie pan, or 9” x 5” loaf pan.

Sprinkle the top with 3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar. If you’re making your own, combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

img_8479.JPG

Use a spoon to swirl the cinnamon-sugar into the batter, as though you were making a marble cake. (And if you’ve never made a marble cake, now you know how!)

img_8517.JPG

Smooth the top with a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper.

img_8518.JPG

Let the dough rise, covered…

img_8521.JPG

…for about 60 minutes, till it comes to about 1″ below the rim of the pain de mie pan, or to just below the rim of the 9” x 5” pan.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

img_8523.JPG

Bake the bread (covered, or uncovered) for 50 minutes. If it’s uncovered, tent gently with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

img_8537.JPG

Slice when cool, revealing subtle swirls of cinnamon and raisins within.

I hear French toast calling my name…

img_8570.JPG

Finally, when the bread is getting stale, go with it. Cut it in thin slices; place the slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil.

Bake in a 350°F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, till golden and crisp. Store airtight when cool. Crunchy and delicious with drinks, with dips and spreads… and irresistible just as is.

Oh, one last note: Can you bake this bread in a bread machine? One of our GF experts, Andrea, tried it in our Zo X20. Here’s her report:

“I used the quick wheat cycle. It wasn’t as good as making it in a mixer. The top was flat, and sunk a bit.  Also, I needed to scrape the edges of the pan after 5 to 10 minutes of mixing.”

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread.

Baking gluten-free is a new experience for us here at King Arthur Flour. We’re making progress, and still have a lot to learn. We look forward to gradually increasing our knowledge of this technically challenging style of baking, and sharing what we learn with you along the way.

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Helen Smith

    I’ve used a thermometer in the past with my yeast breads – is this a possibility with the gluten free bread?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Helen, absolutely! Most gluten-free breads are finished when they reach 210°F. You’ll notice that this is a bit hotter than most yeast breads, but since gluten-free dough tends to be very wet, it’s important to bake to a higher temperature to ensure that there aren’t any soggy sections left in the loaf. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

    2. Stephanie Mullany

      Thank you for this recipe! I have Celiac D. And have been GF x past 7 years, and this is the first time I have enjoyed bread. I deeply appreciate the recipe.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Lin! At the bottom of the recipe page, there are tips from our baker’s for making this recipe egg-free as well as in the bread machine. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  2. Jenny

    Is it possible to use a plant based mill instead of the dairy milk in this recipe? I can”t have dairy either, but this bread looks like what I have been dreaming of!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely! Your favorite unsweetened and unflavored plant milk will work beautifully here, Jenny. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  3. MK OHaver

    The large loaf pans is too much for me. Can I freeze the dough in smaller portions or bake in smaller pans and freeze?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi MK! Because of its delicate structure, gluten-free baked goods break down in the freezer after a week or so. Because of this, and the fact that activated yeast dies in the freezer, the best solution would be to fully bake the loaf and cut it in half or make two smaller loaves. Once fully baked and cooled, wrap the leftovers in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze it for a week or so, a month at maximum. Know that the longer it’s frozen, the more delicate and dry the bread will be once thawed on the counter. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Carolyn! You’re welcome to try baking this loaf after only one rise. Our concern is that there will be so much energy left in the yeast that it could potentially rise like crazy in the oven and then collapse. If you’re down for some experimentation though, go for it! You’ll never know until you try. Annabelle@KAF

  4. Sylvia

    Why doesn’t the Measure for Measure flour work for the bread recipe?
    I think I might try it since Maria had good results but just wondering if
    she used xanthan gum. I would think she didn’t.

    This recipe sounds delicious!!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sylvia! Measure for Measure will give you one good rise, but after that, it simply doesn’t have the strength to rise again and hold that rise. It’ll work in something that only really needs one rise and then will stay on the flat side after that, like pizza crust. Happy GF baking! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Maria A.

    This bread recipe is Delicious! I have been struggling to buy good tasting gluten free bread! It’s soo small and not very much like bread. I’ve tried another recipe also and it was terrible! I made the recipe you provided with the King Arthur measure for measure. This really is bread! Thank You!!! Also, the only milk I had on hand was sweetened vanilla almond milk. It really helped to make this already delicious gluten free bread a great experience! My family is Italian and bread is everything. 😊

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Maria! We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed the Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread recipe! We’re also a little surprised to hear about your results, as we’ve found that the Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour doesn’t work well with yeasted baked goods. Our preferred flour blend with this recipe is our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. We’re so happy that you enjoyed the recipe and your resulting bread though. Happy GF baking! Morgan@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Marlene! You sure can make this gluten-free bread with an egg replacer. We recommend using flax in place of the eggs — to replace the 3 eggs called for, use 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) flax meal (the more finely ground the better), blended with 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to thicken before beating into the butter in the bowl. Happy GF baking! Morgan@KAF

  6. Jeena

    Is there a nutritional breakdown for this bread? Both ways, if possible: plain, and as cinnamon/raisin? Thank you very much. This is my very favorite gf bread, but I’ve started a lower carb diet, and hate to give away all my KA and other gf flours, so figure one slice at a time just can’t be all that bad!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jeena, the nutritional information is always in the “At A Glance” box on the right-hand side of the recipe page. We don’t have nutritional information available for all the variations, but it should be pretty simple for you to calculate once you know how much of the various ingredients you plan to add. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *