The World’s Best Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread Recipe!
I know what you’re thinking: “I miss proper bread!”
Bread is the number one item on most coeliac’s list of things they most miss. A soft, high-rising slice of sandwich bread that doesn’t crumble into oblivion, needn’t be stored in the freezer, and can be eaten without resuscitation by toaster!
In the years I’ve run The Gluten Free Lifesaver, the most frequently asked question I receive over and over again is for a good -no great, bread recipe. I have held back a bit, knowing how incredibly important this is, until I managed to finally succeed in making a loaf fo bread that without a doubt is the best I have come across. And this is it -this is the one!
store-bought bread comes at a price
We all know that buying gluten-free bread comes at a price. A hot-to-the-touch, ouchey kinda price, that makes you wanna yell “why can’t someone just subsidise that damn thing!”
In England where I live, one can pop to the shop and buy a fresh (not vacuum-packed) loaf of gluten-free bread, which, at times, fills me with a warm and fuzzy joy. I’ve only before had that same pleasure in New Zealand (go figure!). Every other country I’ve lived (including Australia, USA and Norway), most store-bought gluten-free breads require a little more ceremony before it starts resembling a regular loaf, but here, I can enjoy bread that looks normal. In fact, it doesn’t crumble, it doesn’t taste like cardboard, and, like its vacuum-packed counterpart, it stays fresh for a looong time. Great news, right!
Shelf-life or shelf-death?
-Hang on a minute. Why is that? Why does store-bought gluten-free bread stay all bouncy and perky longer than an average teenager? Is it because of all that gluten-free goodness? -All the wonderful healthy ingredients keeping mould at bay? No, it’s because it contains more junk than you can shake a stick at, that’s why. So, when I say gluten-free store-bought bread comes at a price, I’m talking about more than that crazy, hold-on-to-your-hat, three-times-the-price-and-half-the-size kinda price. I’m talking about the kinda price you pay with both your wallet AND your health.
Not to be silly; “regular” gluten bread is no better of course. Preservatives are not exactly a gluten-free phenomenon to say the least. In fact, “regular” bread is for the most part even worse, with all the extra gluten added, bleached grains, colourings and double-strength yeast to boot. -Which is why I’m all for baking your own! Gluten or no gluten; home-baked bread is the only way to save both your wallet AND your body.
I want my gluten-free bread to taste “normal!
Knowing these things, why does that soft and fluffy store-bought English gluten-free bread make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Because it tastes nice! It brings back memories of gluten-filled meals with crunchy crusts and soft slices.. in other words; normality. And I think that it is absolutely fantastic that those options are out there now. We need some normality. We need bread that is just as tasty and full of junk as the bread we used to eat before coeliac disease, and I’m not telling you not to the enjoy easy convenience and simple pleasures of normality. -We deserve some of that. Heck, we’ve earned it! -But.. just as we can’t binge on cake, neither should we eat a whole lot of store-bought bread if we can help it. It’s not doing our gut any favors. Besides, what beats fresh-from-the-oven home-baked deliciousness anyway!
Which is why we need a fantastic blow-me-away kinda home-baked bread experience! One that satisfies the same senses, but leaves out the punishment. And for that we need a better-than-great recipe!
Are you sick of messing up your home baked breads?
I’m willing to bet that at this point, your internal voice is saying something like “that’s all well and good, but I honestly can’t take another flat loaf or I’ll go mad”. Not to worry, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that eager anticipation mixed with hope, after spending what seemed like hours fighting a sticky paste made from flours we’ve never before heard of. -The excitement as we see it rise in the oven and fill the house with tempting aromas.. only to have our hopes deflated as we cut into a greyish brick with absolutely no crust, other than a solid inch of dehydrated dough which only value can be as a chew toy for the house pet.
Oh, the waste of time and hard-earned cash.
Light and soft gluten-free bread that doesn’t crumble!
What you need is the right recipe. That’s really all you need!
This recipe is the best one I have done so far, and it is a joy every time I take a loaf out of the oven. My husband loves it too, and one loaf hardly lasts a day. It requires a bit of precision, but certainly no more than “regular” gluten bread. If you’re used to making your bread solely from ready-mixes, then baking your own from scratch might take a little getting used to -but the satisfaction as you bite into a warm piece of perfect homemade toast, fresh out of the oven, makes it all worth while and then some!
Tip: If you do like ready-mixes, my best tip is to pre-make a big batch of the flour mix, and use it just like you would a store-bought one!
You can easily freeze the loaves, or even the dough, but it tastes really nice fresh. This recipe produces a beautifully “fluffy” bread full of little air bubbles, which give a tall and light result. It doesn’t need toasting when it’s fresh, and it doesn’t dissolve into the much-loathed gluten-free disintegrating mess we all know so well. You’re gonna love it!
God is in the details
Note: before I start rattling off cups and centigrades, I really need to stress that baking is chemistry, and never was that statement more painstakingly true than when applied to gluten-free baking. -You really do need to pay attention to the details of the recipe, perhaps skimming through it and getting things ready, before you get started. No Roadrunner approach, in other words. Take your time, and put some love into it. It isn’t hard, but it is precision work.
Tip: Bake several loaves at once, -or even rolls, and freeze individually or sliced. That way you don’t have to repeat the process very often!
Note: I have incorporated two alternatives for the dry ingredients. This is because not everything is available everywhere. You can choose what works best for you, just make sure you don’t accidentally add both at once! -A good example of mistakes that can be avoided by taking the time to read the recipe up front.
- 240 ml warm milk (40 degrees celsius/104 Fahrenheit) The temperature is important for the yeast to activate; too cold and nothing happens, too hot and the yeast dies. If you can’t have dairy; soy milk or rice milk will do. Avoid lactose-free milk or goat’s milk for this purpose.
- 2 tbsp dry yeast (I keep mine in the fridge rather than the cupboard to preserve the quality).
- 2 tbsp sugar
-You might not like sugar, but the yeast does. In fact, yeast needs sugar to activate, so don’t leave it out. Especially if you’re not using dairy, as the yeast feeds on the lactose (dairy sugar) in the milk.
Dry ingredients -option 1:
- 600 ml of The Gluten Free Lifesaver’s All-Purpose flour mix
- 60 ml almond meal
- 2,5 tsp xantan gum OR 1 tsp vegan gelatine powder
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
Dry ingredients -option 2:
- 420 ml white gluten-free flour mix which contains gluten-free wheat starch (if you don’t want to use wheat starch -I don’t blame you, use my gluten-free flour mix)
- 180 ml brown/fibre flour mix without wheat starch, which contains rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, buckwheat and beet fibre.
- 60 ml almond meal
- 60 ml dry milk powder
- 2,5 ts xantan gum OR 1 tsp vegan gelatine
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 large organic eggs from pastured hens -at room temperature
- 80 ml warm water (40 c/140 f)
- Preheat your oven to 220 c/428 f (200 c/390 f for fan forced)
- Grease and line a large bread pan; remember that the bread needs space to rise without spilling over the edge. A slimmer, taller pan will give you a taller loaf.
- Activating the yeast: Mix the sugar and dry yeast in a bowl, and gently mix in the warm water/milk. Leave the bowl in a warm (not hot!) location, until it has risen to about double or triple its original size. Note: If your yeast mixture doesn’t “grow”, you’ve either used too cold or too hot liquids, or your yeast is “dead”. Start over, because it is imperative that your yeast if full of bubbles!
- Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a whisk to blend well.
- Pour the wet ingredients (hold back the yeast mixture!) into another bowl, and run your mixer on low speed.
- Once mixed, add the activated yeast, and mix very carefully not to “flatten” it and destroy the precious bubbles.
7. Turn down your mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients about 100 ml at a time. Once it’s all in, turn your mixer up to medium speed. Mix for 1 minute and one minute only!
8. Turn your mixer off and let the dough rest for a minute.
9. Once it has rested, pour it into your bread pan.
10. Cover the bread pan with cling film or a warm, wet towel. A great tip is to put the bowl into a larger one, and cover the larger one instead. This way you don’t risk your bread rising up into the towel and getting disturbed by you tearing it off. Place the bowl in a warm (not hot) spot. I often fill my sink with hot water, place a rack over top and place my bowl on it.
11. Once the dough has doubled in size (about 40 minutes), place it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or till the bread has a golden crust and a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the pan.
12. When you remove the loaf from the oven you need to let it cool down a bit before you cut into it.
Tip: I like to put a bowl of water in the bottom of the oven, which creates a nice, humid climate for your loaf.
You can store the loaf in a sealed plastic container, or freeze it once it has cooled down completely. I recommend slicing it before you freeze it; it’s very practical for quick defrosts.
I hope you’ll enjoy this wonderful gluten-free bread recipe, and that you fall in love with your own achievements on the home baking arena! It is very satisfying to master your very own bread recipe!
If you have any questions about the recipe I’d be happy to answer them! Just leave a comment below the post.
I am very eager to develop this recipe further, and would love to hear from those of you who have adapted it into other things, like rolls or cinnabuns for example!