Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Delicious Homemade Gluten-Free Bread

By Sonja Stewart on 12 February 2010 (Updated 20 August 2013) 39 comments
Photo: Sonja Stewart

My family has to have bread. My husband can survive on a diet entirely of toast. But the gluten-free bread sold at stores is expensive and as heavy as a brick. My solution is to make a gluten-free bread at home that is spongy, light, delicious and very affordable.

First I substitute wheat flour with the gluten-free all-purpose flour mix.

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

(This mix can be substituted for traditional recipes, cup for cup. Just remember to add xanthan gum to your mixture. The xanthan gum works as a gluten substitute, webbing the dough together, working as a binding agent. Traditionally, it's 2 teaspoons for bread recipes, 1 for cakes and 1 ½ for cookies.)

  • 3 parts brown rice flour (or white, which has a more subtle taste).
  • 3 parts cornstarch
  • 2 parts soy flour (or sorghum if someone has a soy allergy)
  • 1 part masa flour

Homemade Gluten-Free Bread

Thanks to the gluten free cooking school for this recipe!

If you don't have a bread machine, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ c. water (hot tap water, but not too hot, or the yeast will die)
  • 2 ½ cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs (or 6 Tbsp. water and 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar

1. Mix the yeast and the sugar in a small bowl. I use a fork to blend as I pour in the water. Let this sit while you mix the other ingredients. The yeast should foam and bubble if it's doing what it's supposed to do.

2. Combine the flour, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure it's well blended. A note on the mixing, I've noticed the texture of the bread is greatly improved if you let the mixer go for a few extra minutes. The xanthan gum activates and webs out better.

3. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and vinegar until the eggs are a bit frothy.

4. The yeast should be bubbly by now, so you can add all of your wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed. You don't need to knead this dough. You'll notice with gluten-free mixes, it's more of a cake-like consistency.

5. If you have a bread machine, you can dump it in there at this point and cook on the 80 minute setting. You don't need the paddle. If you don't have a bread machine, place the bowl in a warm place with a towel over it. (I choose the inside oven with a bowl of hot water underneath it, or I place it on top of the oven while it's preheating.) Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until it doubles in size. Then place it in a loaf pan and cook until a toothpick comes out clean. (I have an oven from the 1920's, so my cooking time is a little off. It will probably take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45.)

Now you can have bread, sandwiches and (gasp) toast! I know. This gluten-free thing isn't so bad after all. This recipe is delicious, healthy and only pennies on the dollar compared to the store bought loaves. Enjoy responsibly.

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Guest's picture
Jenn

Just wanted to say thank you for this series. My family is giving a gluten/casein free diet a try in hopes that it will clear up some tummy troubles that plague my daughter. It is a huge challenge. This has been very helpful. Thanks!

Sonja Stewart's picture

You can substitute the soy flour in the blend with sorgum glour, which doesn't have casein.  I know it's a life change and can be overwhelming, but once thiings find their rhythm everything seems to get a lot easier.

I hope I can help more!

Sonja Stewart

Gluten-free as a way of life can be easy, fun and inexpensive!

Guest's picture
Guest

Sonja,
Had you thought of putting all your gluten free articles into a little e-book? You have lots of first hand experience and great ideas for this life-style. Thanks for the posts!
Robin

Guest's picture
Lauren

I would love to try this recipe in my Zojirushi bread machine, but I don't know what you mean by "80 minute setting." Should it just bake for 80 minutes? No rising time? The Gluten-Free Cooking School site is no clearer.

Sonja Stewart's picture

Here's what I do,

I set it on the lowest temp and cook it until it's done, (between 60 and 80 minutes, so, more than an hour but less than an hour and a half). 

I don't give it rising time, becuase it rises while it bakes.  Also, you don't need the mixing paddle and all the mixing time that goes along with it.

I know it's difficult because all bread machines are different and writing a recipe for a one-size-fits-all kind of deal is a bit challenging.

I hope this helps.

 

Sonja Stewart

 

Guest's picture
KathyinMD

This series has been fantastic. I learned in November that I needed to be gluten-free (plus I've been dairy-free for decades) and I am extremely annoyed about the expense of the GF flours and the sheer number of different flours that seem to be required to make anything that tastes good. Thank you so much!

Guest's picture
Sarah

Can you substitute a pre-mixed, gluten-free all purpose flour for your mix? I have the Bob's Mill gf all purpose flour.

Sonja Stewart's picture

I would say yes you can.  The main reason I don't is the cost.    I make my own blend from bulk flours and find it saves me cash.

 

 

Sonja Stewart

Gluten-free as a way of life can be easy, fun and inexpensive!

Guest's picture
Elizabeth

I know this is quite a while since you posted this article but check out the gluten free grocery on Amazon and tell me what you think of the cost versus what you pay. I recently found out I am gluten intolerant and I am frugal with my groceries. I have a "Subscribe and Save" acct with Amazon so I get my S&S items 15% off with no tax and free shipping. Compared to the grocery stores and Gluten free stores here in Chicago I feel like I am getting a great deal- is there anywhere you could recommend cheaper???
-ELizabeth

Guest's picture
Guest

What exactly is "masa flour" in this recipe?

Guest's picture
Guest

It is a kind of corn flour that appears to be common in the US but totally absent from Canada....

Could one make corn flour in the blender from corn meal and substitute that?

Guest's picture
Guest

I live in Richmond BC, Canada and you can find Masa flour at any local grocery store in the flour section. Check out Safeway - that's where I found mine.

Guest's picture
shabadeux

I'll admit I was skeptical... this just seemed so easy to make. I have a nasty cold and when I woke up today (at 3am... ugh!) all I wanted was some toast. So I made this bread. It is delicious! Thank you so much for posting a tasty, inexpensive, and easy bread recipe for those who can't eat gluten!

Guest's picture
CharlieAnn

Just starting to GF. Made the bread which taste really good, but mine didn't raise right when I made it. Any suggestions? Been making wheat bread for 40 years, but could use some help with this. Thank you. CharlieAnn

Guest's picture
Guest

Have you ever thought of making your own brown rice flour? Just wondering, that stuff is expensive!

Guest's picture
Guest

I make rice flour from (you guessed it) rice. I use a <$20 garden variety coffee grinder (the kind with a rotating steel blade) and grind about a quarter cup at a time in maybe 30 seconds.

Guest's picture
Guest

By "parts" do you mean parts by volume or parts by weight? Because with these ingredients the difference between the two can be quite substantial.

Guest's picture
sarah

Hi, what brand of masa four do you buy?

Guest's picture
Ruth

Hello, I have been trying and trying to make your bread as it looks so tasty in your picture and have not had success. It will NOT rise :( It tastes great, texture is great but I crave some raised bread. The only thing I can think of that could be causing this is I have to use a different flour blend as the flours you have listed are not all available in New Zealand. My flour blend consists of brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour. Would this be my problem?? Please help as my family is really wanting some regular bread and we are tired of eating tiny brick loaves :(

Guest's picture
Guest

There are all purpose gluten free flour blends already made.. I recommend trying that so you don't have to go and buy different blends of flours. That will probably solve your rising problem :)

Guest's picture
Rochelle

Hello! I am a "newbie" to trying to make healthy, gluten-free bread. I have a recipe for a whole grain gluten-free flour mix which I like because it doesn't contain any starches. It consists of brown rice flour, sorghum flour and millet flour. I attempted to use that flour mix in this bread recipe and the bread didn't rise but instead turned out very dense (very moist and delicious, but dense). I was wondering if you have any tips on how I could use my flour mix within this recipe or will I definitly need to use some sort of starch in my mix in order to get "fluffier" gluten-free bread?

Guest's picture
Larry Covey

Sonja, I made the Delicious Homemade Gluten free bread for the first time. I have made other GF breads before, but this one sounded very good. I mixed the flour using the ratios for your flour mix. I then put the dry ingredients into my mixer and let them mix for about 5 minutes. I made the yeast before starting the flour. I then mixed the wet ingredients. The yeast was working so I added the yeast and wet ingredients to the mixer. I let it mix for about 5 minutes and the batter was very smooth. I put the batter in the warm stove area and it doubled in size in about 40 minutes. I then put the mixture in a baking pan (it punches down when you do this, so I let it rise until about 3/4 inch from the top of the pan. I put it in the oven set at 350 degrees. I checked it at 40 minutes and it was not done. I put it back in for 10 minutes, The temperature probe read 190 degrees, but the bread had shrunk down till it was only 3 inches high. It was still doughy in the middle when I sliced it. It tasted good. What did I do wrong that it would shrink? As far as the doughy, do I need to bake it longer?

Larry

Guest's picture
Diane

Tried this recipe and was not too happy. Didn't rise as much as the photo shows and it is very spongy.

Guest's picture
Liz

By far you have the best gluten free recipe selections! I'm glad I found your site!

Guest's picture
Aletha

Sonja, I've made this bread three different times this week with the flax seed, and it just won't rise. It did better with the eggs, but I was still not totally satisfied with how fluffy it was the first time. I too, like many before me, have made the flour mix to your exact specs, I made sure the yeast was room temp and bubbling nicely before adding, and even added in two to three minutes extra mixing time to activate the xanthum gum. I have an Oster breadmaker that has the 80 minute time, and I suspect it doesn't allow for enough rise time... I will do this manually next time and just bake in the oven, and see how long it takes to rise high enough to the top. That said, it still seems to shrink down when baking and fall afterward, making a very moist, dense loaf...
I'm not sure whether it's the allowed rise time, or possibly the flax mix vs. eggs?? I'd really like to use the flax mix! Any thoughts?

Guest's picture
Aletha

OK, so final verdict: Bread made with flaxseed just will not rise to the heights of bread with eggs. (or egg replacer). I made the dough as before, with 2 tablespoons less water (to allow for humidity), 1/2 the salt (which tends to inhibit yeast growth), and I raised it manually for 1 hour, after which it plateaued on it's rise. Baked for 45 minutes, and it rose about the same as on the 80 minute cycle. Still tastes great, but if I want fluff, I gotta get the eggs, I guess!

Guest's picture
Guest

Aletha. I heard on a GF site somewhere that for fluffier bread use soda water or club soda instead of plain water.

Guest's picture
Sara

I am trying this recipe today... I have a loaf baking in the oven and it smells delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

Guest's picture
guest-donna

i want to know what the parts consist of 1 cup=1 part ? i dont want to mess up and am just starting this diet actually 2 wks now and need my bread fix..

Guest's picture
Guest

When a recipe is given in parts it doesn't matter what size cup or measure you use as long as you use that ssame measure through out. for exa,ple. You could use a soup bowl as your 1 part. then you would use 1 soup bowl of masa, 2 soup bowls of soy flour etc. Alternatively you could use teaspoons or any item as your 1 part. it just depends how much flour you want to mix up.

Guest's picture
Michelle

Love the bread! Thank you soooo much for this wonderful recipe:) I wanted to know if I can just keep it on my shelf in the pantry or do I need to refrigerate/freeze it?

Guest's picture
Christy Stone

I made this bread for my family last night!! I used your GF flour mix as well using the sorghum option instead of soy. It came out so poofy, light, and traditional tasting. I offered everyone a taste and half the loaf was gone in minutes.
This morning I was slicing some up to use as toast with breakfast. My three year old son (our inspiration for going GF/DF) came up and wanted to snitch a piece of bread. It felt so good to be able to tell him YES!! Go ahead honey, I made this for you. He lit up and scampered away munching happily.
I am making several more loaves today so that I may slice them and store in the freezer.
Happy mama = Happy home, is correct when it comes to the health of my children.
Thank you :D

Guest's picture
Emily Lewis

I am having a hard time figuring out the "parts" of your all purpose gluten free flour. Somehow, 3 parts of cornstarch seems like a lot. Could you please give me an example? Thank you in advance!

Guest's picture
April

I just found out I can't have eggs, gluten, soy, corn, or dairy. Could I substitute another gluten free mix that doesn't have any corn or soy products in it? Thanks!

Guest's picture
Guest

This week I was dignosed with celiacs, and after a few days of being distraught over the fact I couldn't find cheap real bread ever again. The hunt was on to make my own all purpose flour to use in everything.
Just made this bread for dinner to accompany a wonderful soupy chicken casserole and wow, this bread recipe was infact amazing! Except the only difference I made was using two teaspoons of Guar gum, instead of xanthan gum, worked the same I'm guessing, and the bread turned out light, fluffy, and so yum! Well worth trying! 100% love this bread! Helped that it was easy to make too!

THANKYOU, you are a true blessing for providing this recipe!

Guest's picture
Robert

I bought some gluten free rice flower at Sprouts and it already has xanthan gum premixed into it. Is this sufficient for all recipes or do I still need to follow the directions when xanthan gum is required?

Guest's picture
Jacob

I bought masa and rice flour but can't seem to find soy or sorghum flour in my town. Is their a third option that might work? Tapioca starch? Almond flour?

Guest's picture
Quinn

Thank you so much! For some reason, making bread always intimidated me, especially gluten free. I made this recipe today with gluten free flour blend that I bought from Bulk Barn.

I made a double batch, and subbed one cup of gf flour for spelt flour, and I also let the dough rise a bit more once I had it in the bread pan before sticking it in the oven.

It came out FANTASTIC! I will definitely make this recipe again, and I am looking forward to using it for sandwiches this coming summer when I can go one picnics.

I must say THANK YOU!

Guest's picture
Gina

My bread machine does not require that I do any mixing or activating of the yeast. I can just put all ingredients in and it does the work. I have done this with regular bread. Is it necessary to do the extra work with this recipe?