A good loaf of yeast bread is one of the most difficult challenges of the gluten-free diet. The two biggest problems are that the loaves often sink in the middle, and they do not stay soft once they have cooled.
While I have made some decent loaves of gluten-free bread over the years, I have never made one that was all I wanted it to be: large, rounded, soft for days, and made in part from whole grain flours. That may never happen, but I haven’t given up hope.
When my oldest son went gluten-free last fall, the need for a gluten-free sandwich bread became greater. I solved the problem by using my hamburger bun recipe. I usually divide it into 10 rings, making a nice size and thickness for a sandwich. This bread does stay soft. After the bread has cooled, I place each one in a zip lock bag and then put them all inside a large freezer bag and place them in the freezer. I remove one bun the night before he needs a sandwich so it is ready in the morning. This has worked well for us, but a nice loaf of sandwich bread would be good for a change.
One thing I have found in my experimenting is that most gluten-free bread is good while it is fresh and still warm from the oven. I haven’t done this in a while, but I have often made a loaf of bread in my bread machine to have with dinner. My family loves the fresh yeasty bread. If I’m experimenting, I save a slice or two for the next day to see how soft it is. My point is that even if a loaf of bread isn’t great for making a sandwich, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making. Homemade gluten-free bread can be a real comfort and treat.
As I write this, I’m aware that I will not have a lot of time for experimental baking this month, but I’ve been looking forward to this challenge for some months. I will try my best to make at least a couple of loaves, and I hope you give it a shot too.
I only have one yeast loaf bread on my site, but there are other yeast bread recipes you could use to experiment with. If you have gluten-free cookbook you like, try a recipe from that and then try modifications. Some things you might try adding to a recipe include:
- whole grain flour
- different flours
- sweet rice flour (often produces a softer bread)
- ground flax seeds
- unflavored gelatin
- chia seeds (haven’t used these myself)
- other nuts and seeds
There are a couple of ways people have overcome the sunken loaf problem. One is to bake the bread in smaller loaf pans such as 4 x 8 inch rather than 9 x 5 inch. Another way is to place the bread on its side to cool.
I’ll you’ll join me for this challenge. If you are a blogger, you can link your bread recipe to Gluten-Free Wednesdays during the month of February and on March 2nd. Each week I will highlight challenge recipes from the previous week. If you are not a blogger, send me an email and let me know how the challenge went for you.