Vegan, Wholegrain, Gluten-free Bread (rice-free, millet-free, 99+% corn free)
This is the frequent question asked of me by my 18mo daughter, Fiala, whose difficulties prompted the creation of this recipe. I don’t know why she called bread “bap” but she would live on it, if I let her. And, frankly, that’s not such a bad idea. Add some veggies, and you could probably live on it!
To say that this recipe challenged me is a wee bit of an understatement. Gluten-free? I can do that with my eyes closed, after 8+ years of cooking and baking to accommodate celiac disease. Dairy-free? A bit more difficult, but I’ve been doing that for more than three years now. But rice? Ugh. That’s a STAPLE of gluten-free diets. And corn?? That too. Many gluten-free wholegrain bread recipes also contain millet, which is a high-fiber, high-protein powerhouse, light in color, mild in flavor… but Fiala can’t handle millet, either. At all (it gives her caustic poop and eczema, if you must know). AND NO EGGS??? What’s a mom to do?
I started with this recipe from Cinnamon Quill, but I had to substitute, as her recipe includes millet, and I was unsure of Fiala being able to eat arrowroot. Try as I might, I just could NOT get the same results as she did. If you can have millet and arrowroot, you may want to try her recipe, because, frankly, hers rises better. At least, it rises better for her.
Though it took me forever to craft the recipe you see below, it was worth the EIGHTEEN trials it took to reach consistently pleasing results with the recipe. The hard-won bread is:
- exceptionally tasty.
- sturdy (and elastic) enough for sandwiches.
- nicely moist without being sodden.
- nicely textured — not too heavy, not rubbery.
- rises nicely (not magnificently, but nicely).
- slices well — thick or thin.
- has a crust that is to die for — the BEST of ANY gluten-free bread I’ve ever eaten.
- healthy! Half of the flours are wholegrain, and the only added fat is from olive oil.
The only things I’m not 100% happy with are:
- I wish it had a grand, voluminous rise. It’s just rounded.
- I wish the recipe worked with guar gum, instead of xanthan gum. Alas, it doesn’t.
The first 12 times I made the recipe, I used guar gum, and not xanthan. It just does not rise well at all with guar. I have determined that xanthan helps the bubbles hold their shape when they are formed in the dough. With guar gum, the bubbles form, then pop, and the bread collapses. However, if you are REALLY sensitive to corn, you might have to use guar. (Xanthan gum is made from a bacteria that is fed corn sugar, allowed to ferment, then the fermentation is stopped, the resulting goo is dehydrated and ground. So, being that it is partially derived from corn sugar, some who are super-sensitive to corn can’t have it.)
I haven’t figured out all the various nutritional values, but each loaf does have 26 grams of fiber.
This recipe is so ingredient-and-technique-specific, that I’m almost afraid to post it. Please believe me, I have messed with EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT to get the best results. I guess I have visions of people trying to sub ingredients, or modify a step, and then end up with 2 large loaves of inedible bread. So… modify at your own risk!! (One thing that MAY work removing is the Ener-G Egg Replacer. I tried adding that in when I was trying to make the recipe work with guar gum ILO xanthan. It did work a little better, but now that I’ve switched to xanthan, it may not be necessary.)
I know some celiacs have trouble with oat flour. If that includes you, I’M SORRY! Truly. I have made my own oat flour from both Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten-free oats, and from Cream Hill Estates. (Don’t worry if there are teensy oat bits that don’t grind up perfectly; it will still work.) However, for the last five batches or so that I have made, I have simply used Bob’s Red Mill oat flour, and while it is not certified g.f., we’re not having any trouble with it at all.
Obviously, this is a big batch — TWO 9 x 5 loaf pans. I haven’t tried to halve it yet…
Edited to add: I made this recipe right after I posted it, and… it didn’t turn out. I inspected my notes, and saw that I wrote the wrong amount of tapioca starch below, which I have corrected (on the .pdf, too). I should scan my notes on this; four pages of scribbles and calculations, things crossed-out and added… no wonder I confused myself. However, that brings something to mind: If you bake this bread and it doesn’t turn out, E-MAIL ME (or comment below). Chances are, if you experience a problem, I have, too, in my now-22 times of baking this bread, and if you’re willing, we’ll work it out together. Except for: I am at 1100′ elevation. I do not know if/how that will affect your attempts, if you are higher or lower.
- 2 Tbsp yeast (not quick/breadmaker)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 cups water, 95-105 degrees
- 2 cups sorghum flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- ½ cup quinoa flour
- 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 2 cups potato starch
- 2 cups tapioca starch
- 2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer (dry)
- 2 Tbsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
Prepare two large (9″ x 5″) loaf pans: I line them with nonstick foil, and smear on a little extra olive oil.
Combine water, yeast, and sugar, let proof for 5-10 minutes total, while you’re measuring and mixing the dry ingredients.
Combine sorghum flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, Egg Replacer, xanthan gum, and sea salt, using a whisk to mix thoroughly.
Stir the olive oil into the yeast mixture, and add to the dry ingredients. With a dough hook in a stand mixer, or a very sturdy wooden spoon and a healthy bicep, stir to combine all ingredients, about 3-5 minutes, until well-incorporated and smooth.
Scoop the dough into pans. Dough will fill pans about halfway. Then, cover your hand with a plastic baggie (or disposable glove), pour a little olive oil onto the baggie, and use it to shape the loaf into a loaf shape, tucking your fingers all around the edges of the pan, so that the loaf is rounded at the top.
While I’m mixing the dough, I put two Pyrex cups in the microwave, filled with water, to boil. (I use one 4-cupper, and one 2-cupper.) When the water has boiled, and the dough-filled pans are ready, arrange the uncovered pans and cups in the inside of the microwave, and shut the door. (This provides a warm, moist, controlled environment in which to rise.) Don’t open the door while rising!
Let rise for a total of 45 minutes. Dough will rise about 2 inches above top of pans.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 375 and bake for an additional 22-25 minutes. This should produce a well-browned, nicely-textured crust. When tapped, the loaf will sound hollow when done.
Turn out immediately onto cooling racks (or I just use a very large wooden cutting board). Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated bread knife to slice. Slices best when completely cooled.