Baking, Gluten Free TM_BK_GFBREAD_FI_001

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread lays out author Nicole Hunn’s tried-and-true methods for serious gluten-free bread, from sourdough to bagels to pumpernickel. In this excerpt, you’ll find sandwich breads, hoagie rolls, and a foolproof flour mixture. The book is available now on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Gluten-free bread dough of yore (and by “yore,” I mean just yesterday) was always heavy and slick with moisture, and almost always enriched with some combination of eggs, fats, sugars, butter, and yogurt. There really wasn’t any sort of gluten-free bread that rightly could be described as “lean,” meaning bread without most of those enrichments. The extra moisture was required because many of the gluten-free flours absorbed extra moisture, and the ever-present enrichments added structure, mouthfeel, taste, and, in some cases, more moisture. If you have ever heard gluten-free bread dough described as being similar to cookie dough, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Can I get an Amen?

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Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread by Nicole Hunn from Da Capo Press.
Available now on Amazon.

The cookie dough reference, an apt one, is not only based on the moisture of the raw dough. It is also based on the texture and lack of cohesion in the dough, as it broke apart from itself in shards, much as you would expect from, well, cookie dough. In conventional, gluten-containing bread baking, a recipe might instruct us to pull off a piece of dough for shaping, and we expect the dough to resist being separated from itself, at least a bit. It is the elasticity in the well-developed gluten strands in the dough (and then in the bread itself) that is responsible for this resistance. It makes shaping the dough in any manner of ways possible. This is not to say that it is impossible to shape gluten-free “cookie dough” bread dough. It most certainly is possible, with either well-floured or wet hands and the aid of such tools as a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop for portioning dough. I’ve done it many times myself, and I bet you have, too.

But now is the time for us to move forward, in the direction of the tried-and-true methods and principles developed in the realm of conventional gluten-containing bread baking. By incorporating Gluten-Free Bread Flour in the recipes, according to the simple, plain-spoken techniques expressed in the recipe instructions, we begin to reclaim the romance of baking bread. The dough may not feel exactly like conventional bread dough (it is, indeed, its own breed of dough), but it will exhibit many of its most important characteristics.

You will be able to shape a round of gluten-free bread dough and have the top maintain its smoothness and shape as the dough rises (instead of dimpling, as we have come to expect from gluten-free “cookie dough” bread dough). If you consider Gluten-Free Bread Flour to be a single ingredient, as I hope you will come to think of it, you will be able to create lean bread with only a few ingredients. Rather than enrichments, such as butter and eggs, being the source of flavor, the yeast development that happens during a long, slow rise in the refrigerator will provide all the flavor, just as it does in conventional gluten-containing lean bread. I began to realize that it had been years since I had tasted the full flavor of yeast bread in all the corners of my mouth. Years since I had experienced the blistered crust and chewy center of a real bagel. Years since I had had real, wild yeast sourdough in all its flavor complexity. It’s good to be back, and even better to take you with me!

Gluten-Free Bread Flour

Ingredients

100 grams (about 11½ tablespoons) all-purpose gluten-free flour (71%)
25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)
15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour

Oatmeal Bread

TM_BK_GFBREAD_AP_001Be prepared. This hearty oatmeal loaf is going to become a fast favorite. Soft but not delicate, this tender and moist bread might just be the one your family, like mine, begs you to make again and again. Well, my family begs me to make it. They don’t know you (although I’m sure if they did, they’d be quite fond of you).

Ingredients

3 cups (420 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour, plus more for sprinkling
40 grams (about ⅔ cup) nonfat dry milk, ground finely in a blender or
food processor
2½ tablespoons (19 g) certified gluten-free oat flour
2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast
1½ teaspoons (9 g) kosher salt
1 cup (100 g) certified gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups plus 3 tablespoons water, at room temperature

Instructions

In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour, dry milk, oat flour, and yeast, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Add the rolled oats and stir to combine. Add the honey, butter, and water, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until the dry ingredients are absorbed into the wet. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth except for the oats. It will still be quite sticky but should not be shaggy. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, spray the top of the dough with cooking oil spray, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 5 days.

On baking day, grease an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan and set it aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smoother.

To shape the dough, pat the dough into a rectangle about 7 inches long by 5 inches wide on a well-floured surface. Fold both 7-inch sides of the dough about 2 inches in toward the center, and then roll up the dough from on 5-inch side toward the other until the dough is completely coiled. Roll the dough gently back and forth on the lightly floured surface, to seal the edges. Carefully lift the shaped dough into the prepared loaf pan, seam side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a thin layer of flour to form a cloak that the dough will rise into. Cover the loaf pan with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free location until nearly doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Once the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the top of the loaf lightly with flour once more. Slash down the center of the loaf at a 45-degree angle and about ¼ inch deep, using a lame or very sharp knife. Place the pan in the center of a cold oven, and turn the heat to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes before removing the loaf from the loaf pan, placing it on a rimmed baking sheet, and placing it back in the oven. Continue to bake until the loaf is golden brown, sounds hollow when thumped on the underside, and the internal temperature reaches about 185°F on an instant-read thermometer (about 10 minutes more).

Remove from the oven and place the loaf on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 1 loaf

Hoagie Rolls

TM_BK_GFBREAD_AP_002This is a very important roll… with a very uncertain name. Hoagies, grinders, subs, heros. They’re all roughly the same, when it comes to sandwich making. When I say “hoagie roll,” I mean a soft tubular roll with a light crust on the outside. A roll by any other name would be as versatile. Would it not?

Ingredients

Starter
1¼ cups (175 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour
1 tablespoon (12 g) sugar
1⅔ teaspoons (5 g) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (about 95°F)
Dough
3½ cups (490 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour, plus more for sprinkling
1½ teaspoons (18 g) kosher salt
1½ teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
Starter

Instructions

To make the starter, place all the starter ingredients in a medium-size bowl, and whisk until well combined. The mixture will be thick and shapeless. Cover and set the bowl aside in a warm, draft-free location to rise until doubled (about 40 minutes).

Once the starter has finished rising, make the dough. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the honey, butter, yogurt, egg, and risen starter to the bowl, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky, but should be smooth and stretchy. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 5 days.

On baking day, line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smoother. With a floured bench scraper, divide the dough in half, and then each resulting portion in half again and again until you have eight pieces of equal size. Shape each piece of dough into a hoagie roll, one at a time.

To shape each piece of dough, pat the dough into a rectangle about ½ inch thick on a well-floured surface. The rectangle should be about 5 inches long. Fold the rectangle along the length from bottom and top, each fold halfway up the width of the rectangle. Fold the new smaller rectangle in half, each side just folded over another. Roll the dough back and forth on the lightly floured surface to seal the edges and to elongate it slightly until the dough is about 7 inches long.

Place the first shaped roll on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, and place the rolls 3 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dust the rolls with flour, then cover the baking sheet with oiled plastic wrap and set it aside to rise for about 45 minutes or until the rolls are just a bit more than 150 percent of their original size (do not overproof). Dust with flour again, slash down the center of each roll at a 45-degree angle, just less than ¼ inch deep. Place in a cold oven, turn on the oven to 350°F, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown all over and the internal temperature reaches 185°F on an instant-read thermometer. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 8 rolls

Chocolate Bread

TM_BK_GFBREAD_AP_003Chocolate bread sounds like a dessert. I know. But I promise you this bread is only very mildly sweet with exactly the right amount of rich, chocolate flavor. It almost tastes like pumpernickel. That is, until you have had the “Pumpernickel” Bread, and you remember what pumpernickel bread really tastes like. It is then, if not before, that you know the beauty that is this sweet and savory, cocoa-flavored bread. It is as well suited to a savory sandwich as it is to a Sunday morning, with a generous schmear of cream cheese.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
3½ cups (490 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup (100 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast
6 tablespoons (30 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1½ cups warm milk (about 95°F) (not nonfat)

Instructions

In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and chocolate. Microwave on high at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate and butter are smooth and shiny. Set the bowl aside to cool briefly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, sugar, yeast, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cream of tartar, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Add the melted chocolate mixture, oil, vanilla, and milk to the flour mixture, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Once the dough has come together, raise the mixer speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky but should be smooth and stretchy. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 5 days.

On baking day, grease an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan and set it aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smoother.

To shape the dough, pat the dough into a rectangle about 7 inches long by 5 inches wide on a well-floured surface. Fold both 7-inch sides of the dough about 2 inches in toward the center, and then roll up the dough from on 5-inch side toward the other until the dough is completely coiled. Roll the dough gently back and forth on the lightly floured surface, to seal the edges. Carefully lift the shaped dough into the prepared loaf pan, seam side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a thin layer of flour to form a cloak that the dough will rise into. Cover the loaf pan with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free location until nearly doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Once the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the top of the loaf lightly with flour once more. Slash down the center of the loaf at a 45-degree angle and about ¼ inch deep, using a lame or very sharp knife. Place the pan in the center of a cold oven, and turn the heat to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes before removing the loaf from the loaf pan, placing it on a rimmed baking sheet, and placing it back in the oven. Continue to bake until the loaf is dark brown, sounds hollow when thumped on the underside, and the internal temperature reaches about 195°F on an instant-read thermometer (about 15 minutes more). The crust will be dark and will soften as the bread cools.

Remove from the oven and place the loaf on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 1 loaf

Photos by Stephen Scott Gross

Comments

  1. robin says:

    looking for a gluten free bread recipe for my bread maker. Any suggestions?

  2. The oatmeal bread sounds wonderful! I would love to try it but my son is allergic to whey as well. Is there something that I can substitute for the unflavored whey protein without ruining the loaf? (he’s allergic to wheat in all forms, corn, milk, eggs, and whey) Thank you sooo much for sharing this info! Bread is still our biggest missing piece.

  3. Yead says:

    Nice food. I like this food. Great food.

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