Gummy, undercooked, doughy – all words used to describe the same thing – gluten free bread that has this very unappealing look and taste. Welcome to the second topic in our series, Your Gluten Free Bread Problems, Answered, "Why is my gluten free bread gummy?"
The first post is here in case you missed it - ‘why is my gluten free bread so dry and crumbly?’
Gummy Bread: Key Take-Aways
Gumminess is an issue that makes gluten free breads almost impossible to eat. It can happen to any bread - sandwich bread, gluten-free sourdough bread, even in quick breads like this gluten-free banana bread recipe. It’s that terrible gummy texture that you don’t notice till you go to take a bite or tear into that roll.
Here are the biggest issues and the best way to solve them:
Types of Gluten-Free Flours Used: Different flours can produce different results, especially when substituting. Nut flours such as almond flour behaves differently than other flours like coconut flour.
Amount of Water Used: Breads with too much water can sometimes become gummy.
Substitutions: Sometimes using substitutions like flaxseed meal or chia seeds in place of eggs or substituting a flour mixture can impact the texture of the bread.
Preparation: If the ingredients are not at room temperature, or the bread dough is not mixed long enough or the batter has not been given a rest time, the end result may be a gummy texture.
Baking Temperature: The internal temperature of the gf bread should reach between 205-210F. Quick breads should be fully baked with no batter left on a toothpick.
Why is My Gluten Free Bread Gummy?
Gluten free bread, even this low carb bread, can take on a gummy taste or appearance for a number of reasons... Sometimes it happens because the blend of flours to starches is out of balance. A recipe with a higher starch content can sometimes turn into a gummy bread. Though if you're using a tried and true recipe, this is likely not the case.
Hydration levels in the bread can also be a factor. A bread with too much liquid can sometimes result in a gummy texture.
More frequently, it’s an easier problem like mixing time, baking time or cooling time. If the bread is not mixed adequately, baked long enough and to the correct temperature, or cooled properly, the results can be a gummy, almost underbaked texture.
Solution to Gummy Bread
The solution to a wonderfully textured, non-gummy bread or gluten free baked good starts with the recipe and then ends with the final product and the cooling process. So starting with the recipe…
1. Starch to Flour Ratio
The starch to flour ratio the recipe calls for can lead to gummy results. If the recipe you are following is more than 50% starches, you might have a very gummy loaf of bread (not always, but this could be the issue).
Think of it this way: the total flour / starch combination in your recipe is 100%. There should be no more than 20% - 25% of each type of starch in a recipe. So tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of brown rice flour, ½ cup of sorghum flour and ½ cup of millet flour; the starch might be something like ½ cup potato starch and ½ cup tapioca starch. (This is just an example, true recipe measurements would be by weight with a digital scale.)
2. Lighter vs. Heavier Flours
Speaking of tapioca starch… sometimes tapioca flour can produce a gummy loaf. Even if it’s within the 20% range. The reason? Lighter flours. Something as light as sorghum flour or white rice flour sometimes needs a balance with a heavier flour like millet flour to prevent the tapioca starch from making the bread gummy.
Gummy texture can also happen with the gluten-free flour blend. Certain gluten-free flours may produce a more gummy textured bread than other.
3. Hydration Levels
Hydration isn't just the water content, it also includes the wet ingredients in a recipe - the eggs (whether whole eggs or egg whites), milk, even honey or other liquid sweeteners. Too much liquid in a recipe could mean a gluten free batter that can't absorb all the excess water leading to a gummy result.
4. Measuring Gluten-free Ingredients
When measuring dry ingredients, use a digital such as this one that measures in grams. For wet ingredients, use a measuring cup.
5. Mixing the Gluten-free Batter
When you mix gluten-free batters, mix them well to create a lighter, air-pocketed batter. Gluten free bread dough is not like normal bread dough (even this chia bread that is similar to gluten bread!), it benefits from being well mixed. 3 -5 minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer is not uncommon.
6. Pan Size
The pan size also plays a part in gluten free baking. Sometimes even the slightest substitution in pan – an 8" x 4.5" for a 9" x 5" can make a world of difference. You will have a greater success with these pans or a Pullman pan. The bread has a tall rise, doesn’t fall and bakes up nice every time.
The last recommendation is probably the hardest to do...
7. Baking and Cooling Time
After the bread tests done with your instant read thermometer (between 205 - 210 F), turn off the oven, open the oven door and let it sit in there and cool for about 5 minutes before removing it to a wire rack. Allowing the bread to hang out in the oven for a bit might be just the thing to help it firm up and completely avoid a gummy texture.
After it's cooled in the oven, remove the bread from the pan and let it finish cooling on a wire rack. Let it cool completely before cutting into it. Bread hot from the oven has a tendency to be gummy, so allow it to cool at least 2-3 hours at the very minimum before slicing it. The longer you can wait, the better.
Better Bread Texture
Despite the difference in gluten free bread compared to gluten bread, gluten free bread should not be gummy or have an undercooked center. It IS possible to have a wonderful tasting loaf, it just requires some troubleshooting. In the next post, we’ll look at xanthan gum and how to go without it in gluten free breads.
Also check out the Masterclass below where we dive into this topic to prevent gummy bread for good!