Everyone should learn how to make bread even if you live above a Boulangerie. When I made my first loaf at age 24 I had the same sense of freedom and achievement as when I pass the driving test at 17. I was so proud of myself. I thought If I could make bread I could make anything.
The process itself of turning four basic ingredients; flour, yeast or sourdough starter, salt and water into the most desirable food isn’t only liberating, it’s humbling and meditative. When I don’t know what to do with myself, I bake bread. It requires time to proof, bake and cool down but not attention or hard labor. The gluten-free version is slightly more effortful but definitely not hard.
Nothing can go wrong with the dough if the instant dry yeast is alive and kicking . The nice thing about bread dough is that it’s not sensitive like pie-crust dough. The more you touch it and punch it the better.
3 things about dry active yeast
- Always look at the expiration date! If they expire in 2-3 months, they might be weak and tired, and your dough won’t have enough air, which means that your bread will be dense.
- From my experience, most of the yeast that is sold in ” title=”big blocks of vacuum packed yeast”>big blocks of vacuum packed yeast, and is more expensive.
That’s why I only buy the large packages. You have to put the yeast in a jar immediately after you open the package and store it in the fridge. It lasts for a year or more.
Before you start you should know that the dough needs at least 1 – 2 hours to proof, 45 – 60 minutes to bake and minimum 1 hour to cool down. But it’s beyond worth it. I adapted the recipe from Aran Goyoaga’s magnificent cookbook Cannelle et Vanille. It’s packed with excellent gluten-free recipes. I highly recommended.
Yeasted Gluten-Free Bread
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin oil olive oil for greasing
- ¼ cup superfine brown rice flour plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1½ cups warm filtered water
- 2 teaspoons psyllium husk powder
- ½ cups sorghum flour
- ½ cup tapioca starch
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Handful walnuts - chopped roughly
- 1 egg - beaten – optional
- 2 tablespoons everything mix or sesame seeds or poppy seeds or both.
- Line a loaf pan with baking paper or brush a loaf pan with olive oil and dust the inside with brown rice flour.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the yeast, molasses and water. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes. Whisk in the psyllium husk powder and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it becomes like a gel.
- Add the flours, salt and vinegar and mix until you form a dough. Dust the counter or surface with the rice flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes. If the dough is too dry add water, if it’s too moist add some buckwheat flour. Flatten the dough slightly and scatter the walnuts over it, then fold it a few times. Shape it into a log about 9 inch (23cm) long. Gently transfer the log to the loaf pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside to proof at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled its size.
- Preheat the oven to 420°F/210°C. Put the loaf pan into a Dutch oven and cover (another option is to cover the loaf pan with a baking tray). Bake for 30 minutes then remove the bread from the oven (keep the oven on) and brush the bread with the egg. Sprinkle with everything mix and put it back in the oven covered. Bake for 30 minutes. If you decide not to top it, just bake it covered for 1 hour.
- Let the bread cool down on a cooling rack for a minimum 2 hours before you slice it. It needs to set and dry a bit, otherwise it would get gummy. (Google: -When you cut into hot bread, you cause the steam to escape at a much faster rate than if you had left the loaf to emit steam slowly, at its natural pace. – Many bakers find that flavor develops as the bread cools)