The BEST Homemade GF Bread
I have tried over and over again to make a decent gluten free bread at home. I usually have success with my gf sourdough recipe, but I don't always have a good sourdough starter readily available to make bread. But I think I've finally nailed down the best gf bread recipe that I will be making on a weekly basis that you don't need a starter for. It is simple and has all the amazing flavors of homemade bread without any added ingredients you get from store bought breads such as high fructose corn syrup, oils, and preservatives. This bread has the crispy caramelized crust with a soft tender center. The key to making a good gf bread though is following the ingredient list strictly, I really don't suggest substituting any of the ingredients as they all have a purpose, but I did give you a few different flours in the recipe to choose from that are interchangeable depending on what you might have access to.
The bread making process includes several steps, but I promise you they're all very simple. I'm going to start off with the list of ingredients you will need and then walk you through step by step on how to make it!
2 1/2 tsp active dried yeast (you'll need 1 full packet usually and a few extra tsp from a second packet of dry yeast)
2 TBS organic sugar
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS warm water, divided
1/4 cup psyllium husk (rough husk form)
3/4 cup + 3 TBS buckwheat flour OR sorghum flour
1/2 cup + 3 TBS potato starch OR arrowroot powder
1/2 cup + 2 TBS brown rice flour
2 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Optional: You can always add more flavor to the bread such as cinnamon & raisins or herbs.
You will also need a glass bowl, a proofing basket (or a bowl that you will do your second fermentation in to help shape the dough-this gives it the round-wide shape and/or texture), a tea towel, a cast iron skillet, regular skillet, or dutch oven combo cooker and a brownie pan/dish (this is to make you own dutch oven and steam the bread if you don't have a dutch oven combo cooker).
Step by Step Instructions:
In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup + 2 TBS of warm water. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts frothing.
In a separate bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and 1 cup of water. After about 15 – 30 seconds, a thick gel will form. This is the most important part of the gf bread, this is what mimics the chewy texture of gluten that we are missing in gf bread.
In a large mixing bowl ( I use my mix master bowl), combine together the buckwheat flour, potato starch, brown rice flour and salt, until evenly combined.
Add the yeast mixture, psyllium gel and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until smooth and it starts coming away from the bowl, about 5 – 10 minutes. You can knead by hand or using a stand mixer on low with a dough hook.
Transfer the bread to a lightly oiled surface and knead it gently, forming it into a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly oiled glass bowl, seam side down, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. I like to put my oven on 250 F and place the bowl on top of the stove to ensure it stays warm enough. This is the 1st fermentation and this is where all the yummy homemade bread flavors develop.
Once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I would use more brown rice flour), and knead it gently while forming it into a tight ball. Flip it seam side down onto a part of the work surface that isn’t covered in flour and rotate in place to seal the seams.
Place the dough into a 7 inch round proofing basket or bowl that you’ve dusted with some brown rice flour with the seams facing upwards. Cover with a damp tea towel and proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. This is the 2nd fermentation.
While the loaf is proofing, pre-heat the oven to 480 ºF with a cast iron skillet on the middle rack on the lower middle rack. Place a baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out of the bread basket onto a piece of baking parchment paper and score the top with a pattern of choice (the easiest pattern is a cross, about ¼ – ½ inch deep), using sharp knife. Take the hot cast iron skillet out of the oven and then transfer the bread along with the baking paper into it.
If using a skillet: place the skillet in the oven, pour hot water into the bottom baking tray, add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/parchment paper and the skillet), and close the oven door.
If using a Dutch oven/combo cooker: add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/parchment paper and the walls of the Dutch oven/combo cooker) and close it, then place it into the pre-heated oven.
Bake at 480 ºF with steam for 20 minutes – don’t open the Dutch oven or the oven doors during this initial period, as that would allow the steam to escape out of the oven.
After the 20 minutes, remove the bottom tray with water from the oven (for cast iron skillet) or uncover the Dutch oven/combo cooker, reduce the oven temperature to 450 ºF and bake for a further 40 - 50 minutes in a steam-free environment. The final loaf should be of a deep, dark brown color. If the loaf starts browning too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up, and continue baking until done.
Transfer the loaf onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. It is crucial to let the gf bread completely cool before cutting into it. I know it is hard to wait, but trust me on this step!!
Storage: The gluten free bread keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in a tea towel in a cool dry place for 3 – 4 days. You can also slice the bread and freeze it.