If you have had to give up gluten or even if you are just avoiding it, then one of the things that you are most likely to miss, more than anything else is bread.
It took me a little while to get used to not having bread, although, after a few months, I kind of got used to it. Eventually, due to popular request, I started playing in the kitchen to see what I might be able to come up with as an alternative to gluten-free bread.
The results have been delightful!
Shop bought gluten-free bread often comes with eggs, so it was rather exciting to try and find a way to make bread that was also exclusively animal-free, perfect for those not wishing to include eggs and dairy in their cuisine.
Things may be changing, but most GF bread also tend to contain extra additives or gums. And, well ahem, they also aren’t usually very nice! So it makes sense to make your own if possible, especially if it is easy to do.
I like making ‘flat-bread’ with this sort of method. It ensures that I get nice slices that hold together really well.
This flatbread makes an ideal accompaniment to soups and stews.
It also works nicely with sandwiches (especially open sandwiches). I might spread hummus on there and add generous helpings of green leaves on top or I might spread with almond butter and then add some raspberry jam.
It’s nice and filling too.
A bit about gluten-free flours
I am using four different flours in this recipe. It’s very handy to combine flours in gluten-free mixes as they all have different properties that are useful for the alchemy that needs to happen. You can find these in any decent health food shop.
Here is a little more info on the flours I am using in this recipe…
Rice flour is made from finely milled rice and is often the main flour used in conscious kitchen baked goods. It can also be used as a thickening agent. You can usually buy white or brown rice, but if at all possible go for the brown rice for the higher nutritional content. Brown rice can be slightly gritty at times in baking, although it seems to work really well in combination balanced with other flours.
Tapioca Flour or starch
This is one ingredient that is used in the conscious kitchen that isn’t particularly high in nutrients. The names flour and starch are actually used interchangeably and are pretty much the same thing. Its purpose is much more functional acting in combination with rice flour to produced delicious melt-in-the-mouth baked goods. It comes from the cassava plant. You can also buy ‘cassava flour’ and use it as a direct replacement for tapioca flour. The difference between cassava flour and tapioca starch is that the tapioca flour/starch is a starch extracted from the cassava root through a process of washing and pulping. The wet pulp is then squeezed to extract a starchy liquid. Once all the water evaporates from the starchy liquid, the tapioca flour remains. Whereas cassava flour is the whole root, simply peeled, dried and ground.
Tapioca flour is also a great thickening agent for sauces. Its starchiness can provide a nice crunch in biscuits and crackers.
Potato starch is actually different to potato flour. The starch grains are extracted from the potatoes. This makes it a great addition to gluten-free baking because it has a high binding strength and good swelling power to help the baking alchemy along. It has a neutral taste too and is said to help feed the good bacteria in our intestines.
Like tapioca starch, potato starch is great for bringing a delightful crispiness to biscuits.
With a distinctive ‘nutty’ taste, buckwheat (despite what its name suggests), is actually gluten-free). It is very nutritious and is best used in combination with a light starchy flour (like tapioca or potato) and another flour.
So let’s make this. Please enjoy my video first here…
- 75g ( 1/2 cup) rice flour
- 75g ( 1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
- 35g ( 1/3 cup) tapioca flour
- 35g (1/4 cup) potato starch or flour
- 1 teaspoon dried yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 200ml (0.84 cups) tepid water
- Mix all the flours together with the dried yeast and salt.
- Add the tepid water and mix in thoroughly (please see video above for visual guide for correct consistency). You are looking for a 'batter-like' consistency.
- Pour mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Cover and leave in a warm place for at least half an hour. Extra is time is fine too (I've left for up to three hours before, which just creates even more of an airy rise). Leaving it in a warm place is essential to allow the yeast to give it a bit of bread-like rise.
- Next, place in an oven (gas mark 5, 190C, 375F) for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.
- It is normal that it will look a little cracked on top when you take it out.
- Pop the tray onto a cooling rack to allow it to cool before slicing.
- If you can't wait (like me) it does slice fine when warm too, although it will slice slightly easier if you let it cool.