Baking gluten free bread has its fair share of challenges. From being too dry, or not rising, or just plain not tasting very good, it can be frustrating to get that perfect loaf.
For the next few posts, we will be talking a lot about gluten free breads and recipes. We’ll be examining some of the problems that come up when baking gluten free bread. Things like, why is this bread dry and falling apart or why are these rolls gummy - we are going to not only explain why it happens but also troubleshoot them too.
Welcome to the first post in our series, Your Gluten Free Bread Baking Problems, Answered! This first post is about the problem every gluten free baker has faced or will face at some point…
Problem: The freshly baked gluten free loaf is dry, crumbly and falls apart
Why it happens
First, the obvious answer is that it gets dry and crumbly because it doesn’t have the gluten necessary to hold it together. But there is more to it than just that. Gluten free bread gets dry and crumbly because the way that the flours, liquid and the baking process is coming together is not working in a particular recipe.
To get tender, perfectly texture gluten free breads, here are some important points to keep in mind, like with this recipe…
Use a combination of flours that will interact well together. In this article about gluten free flours, flours all function in different ways – some are very moisture rich and others act as sponges so they tend to absorb a lot of liquid. Coconut flour is a good example of a spongy flour. It soaks up liquid so the end result could be dry if too much is added to the recipe.
However, gluten free breads need a good protein flour. Protein adds structure and in a bread without gluten, it is essential. Some good protein flours are coconut flour, quinoa flour, amaranth flour, teff flour and the less common, chia flour (we’ve never used this one, but it has 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup!)
Keep in mind though, if you make substitutions for flour, you must keep a starch in the mix! There should be at least 2 different flours and a starch in a gluten free bread recipe.
If you do not use xanthan gum in your recipes, flour combinations are extremely important. More on this in the next few articles.
Resist the urge to add more flour to a gluten free bread batter because it looks too runny or soupy. In this white bread recipe, for example, the batter is extremely soupy. BUT, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Adding any more four to it would make it way too dense.
Bake the bread only until done, about 205° to 210° F. It may or may not get that golden color you’d expect from a bread. But bake it only until it registers done and then remove it from the oven. For the most accurate detection, use an instant read thermometer like this one.
And remember the term ‘over-mixing can make it tough’? Well not in this case, mix that dough well! You have to really beat bread batter – use a stand mixer and set your timer for at least 3 minutes of mixing time.
Finally, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature – temperature is really important to gluten free bread dough. Gluten free flours do not get along well with cold eggs.
Hopefully these ideas will help solve some of your dry and crumbly, gluten free baking issues. Unfortunately with any gluten free bread, they will inevitably dry out quicker than their gluten counterparts. That’s just the unavoidable part. They have less binding agents and a shorter shelf life than other breads. Storing it in the refrigerator or freezing it will help, but toasting slices or warming rolls in the oven will be your best bet at that point.
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Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Do I still need to add the extra water to the recipe or can I leave that out?
How much instant yeast do I need then, less than active dry yeast right?
I am planning to make your “Amazing gluten free bread without xantangom”.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Best regards, Liesbeth
Why doesn't gluten-free setting on breadmamer work
Thanks for asking - so it can definitely work, bread machines often produce really nice loaves of bread. I don't use a GF setting in most of my recipes just because my bread machine doesn't have it!
The settings I use in the recipes are proven winners though!
Hope that helps.
what is the purpose of carbonated water in the GF buckwheat bread recipe? Can I substitute regular water with vinegar?
So the carbonated water actually helps with the texture of the bread. It functions as a leavening agent, which contributes to the light and airiness of the bread. If you're going to sub with regular water, you'd need some baking soda in there too, to mimic the carbonation.
Hope that helps!
I would like to make gluten free dough in my Panasonic breadmaker, but I cannot find a recipe anywhere to be able to do this. I was wondering if you had a recipe to help me. I have spoken to Panasonic but they don't have one.
So I have some bread machine recipes here https://zestforbaking.com/category/gluten-free-bread-machine
Those should work in your machine - I don't use that type of machine, but they should work just wonderfully, so I'd suggest those!
I make french onion soup. Since becoming GF I find the bread, even after being toasted disintegrated into the soup so the baked cheese sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
Any recipe to share that might solve this?
Try this one https://zestforbaking.com/golden-gluten-free-french-bread-dairy-free I bet it will work nicely for you.
I actually cannot have baker's yeast or brewer's yeast, no oats, no gluten, etc. because of Candida, do you have a bread recipe that would not be dry or crumbly for Candida? Thank you.
So try this one https://zestforbaking.com/ultimate-gluten-dairy-yeast-free-white-bread that should meet your needs.
Let me know if you think of any other questions.
I’m tried to bake GF Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread). It turned out really hard like biscotti. The bread should be fluffy and soft. What can I do differently?
Oh I'm sorry to hear that - so it really depends on the recipe, but did you measure the ingredients by weight? Check for doneness with a thermometer? Did you make any substitutions in ingredients?
Those are the things I'd start with.
Thank you for any suggestions with Pan de Muerto.
I've made the Hearty Gluten-Free Oatmeal Bread several times. I love the flavor but can't seem to get it to rise. My ingredients are all room temperature, but the dough is very heavy and sticky when I set it out to rise.
Glad you enjoy it - Thanks for asking about the rise. Let's see, so my first question would be are you measuring the flours by weight? If not, that might be the reason for the extra heaviness.
I will say that this bread does not have a tall rise. It should just hit the top of the pan.
Hope that offers some help!
When I added the gluten free flour, when you said "soupy" you were not kidding. It was water runny. I did add more flour as I can't believe it would be ok. We will see! : )
Also my starter for sourdough doubles in size, you can see air bubbles all thru it BUT with the float test, it ALWAYS sinks. Is this because it is Gluten free??
Thanks for asking - so gluten free batters are typically thinner than gluten bread dough, which recipe are you making?
And then my sourdough does the same same thing, so yes!
This is all new to me! Both my daughter and I have been recently diagnosed but not before she dropped to 94lbs ! Question…. Flour - all purpose?? For bread? Cakes? Gravies?? OR 1:1 flour? I still can’t figure out which flour for what. I am a pro at homemade pizza, not using gluten free flour. America’s Test Kitchen uses a multi ingredient flour mix. Going to try that next. Any help here? Thanks, Trisha
Thanks for asking and welcome! It's definitely a lot to take in for anyone new to GF! But it does get easier. For something like cookies or brownies, King Arthur Measure for Measure is an excellent mix. It's not advised for yeast breads though (which, to be honest, most tasty yeast breads use a combination of flours). I send a lot of good info over email if you want to join my email list. Plus you get 15 recipes too. The link is here if you're interested https://zestforbaking.com/welcome-bakers
But please feel free to ask any questions you may have, we have all been beginners at some point.
I used to be able to make great gluten-free bread. Lately, I keep getting a top-knot and holes throughout the bread. Tried putting a pan of water in the oven under the pan; it didn't help. I make sure everything's room temp. Any suggestions?
Thanks for asking - so let's see, it could be a number of things, but I always start with asking how you're measuring the ingredients (weight is very important) and then how you're testing for doneness - an instant read thermometer should register between 205-210F.
Let me know a bit more detail and I'm happy to help!
How can I use gluten free flour for perogie dough and have it not crack and fall apart .I am using cup4cup
Thank you for asking. I haven't tested this out so I can't say for certain but it sounds like adding a bit more water might help.
Let me know how it goes.