Frugal Gluten-Free Living: French Bread in Under an Hour


It's hard to believe, but placing your dough in a cold oven and using the preheat time to allow the dough to rise makes for delicious, gluten-free, French bread in under an hour, from start to finish.

My husband and I have been on a mission to find the perfect French bread recipe ever since we discovered he was gluten-intolerant. I've been tweaking this one for awhile, but I've got it where the crust is crusty and the inside is nice and soft. I can tell when something's a hit in my house by how quickly it's gone; this recipe only lasts a couple hours. (See also: Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Homemade Gluten-Free Noodles)

Make a few loaves ahead of time and freeze the rest for mid-week sandwiches.

Gluten-Free French Bread

Makes two loaves.

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup dry milk powder or soy powder
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon room temperature butter
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg white beaten until foamy for wash (optional)
  1. Blend the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and let it sit for five minutes, or until foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, mix your flours, milk powder, xanthan gum, and salt on low speed.
  3. Add the yeast mixture. On low speed, beat in the butter, 3 egg whites, and apple cider vinegar. Then, beat on high for 2 minutes. The dough will be slightly soft.
  4. Spoon the dough onto a greased flat pan and shape into two loaves. (Here's a trick: If the dough is too sticky, try to shape it with your hands while they're wet. The water seems to make the dough more pliable. You can really smooth out the texture this way, if you want to get fancy.)
  5. Place the bread on the center rack of a cold oven. Gloss with the egg white wash if a shinier crust is desired. Set the oven to 425 degrees and let them bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the bread has browned nicely. Cover with foil if the bread browns too quickly.
  6. Remove the bread and allow to cool before slicing.

Enjoy! I dare you to not eat it all in one sitting.

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Guest's picture

The secret to a gluten like bread rise is to allow your dough to rise slowly in the fridge overnight. I am almost certain this is how UDI gets its "real bread" texture.

Sonja Stewart's picture

Thanks, Michelle. I'm going to try that. Not tonight, but probably tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Guest's picture

Is it okay to use tapioca flour in your other bread recipes you've posted on WiseBread? (instead of cornstarch, which I'm supposed to avoid)

heather (at) heatherbrandt (dot) com

Sonja Stewart's picture

Yes! Absolutely. The texture will probably remain nearly the same since tapioca flour is a starch, just like cornstarch. Also, look into potato starch and experiment with that. I've had great success when I've used tapioca flour in baking. I typically use it for more delicate textured treats, like cakes and tea cookies. It should be a great substitute.

Guest's picture

This Sounds good! I'm going to try it this weekend!

Guest's picture

Thank you Sonja!! My husband was diagnosed almost a year ago and I have been experimenting with all kinds of expensive bread and flour mixes. Your gluten free flour mix is the best thing since sliced bread!! My husband loves it and he is quite the carb shark so that is saying something. The noodles were awesome as well. Trying the tortillas later in the week. I am a full time working mom on a budget and this has really helped me tremendously! I can bake on the weekend and it is ready throughout the week. You are a gluten free saviour!!!! Thanks again!

Guest's picture

OMG! First gluten free bread I've made that taste like the "real" thing. It is very easy to make too (I am a novice cook who is capable of burning water). Thank you!

Guest's picture

Thank you! My GF BFF Loved her "Friend-iversary" gift!

Guest's picture

Hi Sonja - I'd like to try your recipe and wonder if you might have a suggestion for replacing the egg whites? I'm allergic to both wheat/gluten and eggs. I'm will to try any substitution you recommend. Thank you!

Guest's picture

Hi Sonja, Do you need to let the dough rise before you bake it? It seems odd that you wouldn't have to let it rise, so I want to be sure before I try it. Thank you.

Guest's picture

Is there any way to make this bread without the eggs? This sounds great!

Guest's picture

Have you experimented with non-chicken eggs? I spent years avoiding eggs when my homeopath suggested I try duck eggs. There is a different protein in duck and goose eggs. I was so thrilled to find I tolerate them just fine & they are delish! I found a chicken/duck farmer in my local area via craigslist that charges $6/doz in a pinch I find them at whole foods as well. Just a suggestion. Cheers!!

Guest's picture

Hi! Wondering if there's a non-dairy, soy-free substitute for the milk powder?


Guest's picture

Great recipe! I substituted potato starch for tapioca. The temperature and cook time made the bread come out sort of chewy which I don't mind but may not appeal to others. Any suggestions?