baking with gluten-free flour
In efforts to making my house Passover friendly, i.e. wheat-free, I have been replacing wheat flour with a variety of gluten-free flour substitutes such as buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour, and tapioca flour. Although I’ve thankfully have not been dealt with celiac disease, I am always looking for opportunities to make detoxing more convenient for me. I have managed to sustain without gluten for 2 weeks. Having never tasted gluten-free bread before, I had my reservations of baking a couple of loaves but I wasn’t about to go running out to buy more bread after an intensive thorough housecleaning.
I am still a bit experienced when it comes to baking with gluten-free flour but it hasn’t daunted me enough to discourage me from trying. While baking bread is my specialty, I always welcome gluten-free alternatives. Learning how to use gluten-free flour for baking bread was educational and loads of fun. Mastery is generally commensurate with practice fueled by relentless determination. I suppose my perseverance has no limitation for better or for worse. Quitting was never an option for me. Part of overcoming an unprecedented challenge is embracing it wholeheartedly. Fortunately, my uncontrollable desire to experiment was never an issue to me and the risks were usually worth taking. Without sounding presumptuous, the gluten-free treats and bread I have baked were overall satisfactory. Even if you don’t bake gluten-free bread that often, it’s a useful baking skill to have.
Wheat flour contains gluten which is a protein that binds and strengthens dough in baking. Consequently, when baking with gluten-free/wheat-free flours you may need to source alternative binding agents. Xanthan gum is often used along with gluten-free flour, especially for baking bread, rolls, etc. Wheat free recipes using gluten-free flour substitutes usually have been carefully formulated to produce the best possible result whilst factoring the problems associated with lack of wheat gluten, therefore substitution can be a risky experiment. If you use wheat/gluten-free substitution, then be aware that the end results may be a complete fiasco. Therefore, I don’t recommend that you do it for the first time if cooking for an important occasion. Test your creation on family members, especially those suffering from celiac disease before sharing it with others. I use quinoa flour, rice flour, and buckwheat flour as opposed to a gluten-free bread mix to have control over the quality and quantity of the bread. You can use other gluten-free flour of your choice if you don’t like the ingredients I provide for you in this recipe. You can find most of these ingredients at your local healthfood store.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 cup of quinoa flour
- 1 cup of brown rice flour
- 1 cup of buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup of topacia flour
- 1/2 cup of corn/potato starch
- 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
- 1 tablespoon of yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey + 1/3 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 1/4 milk of your choice (in lieu of eggs)
Place yeast, sugar, and salt in warm water. Set aside till it starts to bubble and foam. In a bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients and whisk to thoroughly combine. Blend the sugar, oil, milk and vinegar in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Then add the yeast mixture. Kneed till elastic. Divide dough into four parts and make small loaves. Place each loaf in a small loaf pan. Allow dough to rise in an undrafted area for 45 minutes to an hour or until double in size. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Yields 4 small loaves