The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten-Free Farmhouse Bread

CAphyl's picture

Gluten-Free Farmhouse Bread

I am always looking for good gluten-free recipes, and I came across this one online by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition.  I did make a number of modifications to the recipe after the first time I made it, which I have listed below.  It is a very dense, heavy bread and uses ground chia seeds and psyllium husk as the gluten-like substances.

The loaf looked very good going into the oven (left) and came out well fully baked.  I found that it may take a little longer to bake than the recipe to be fully done.

The crumb is dense and heavy, but the taste of the bread is quite tasty and tangy.

Wet Ingredients:

2 ½ cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)

1 tablespoon agave nectar (you can use maple syrup as a substitute)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup ground chia seeds

1/4 cup whole psyllium husks

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup teff flour

1-1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free baking flour (like Bob’s Red Mill—reserve some flour for kneading)

½ cup brown rice flour

1 cup gluten-free oat flour

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

¼ cup flax seeds


Olive oil spray (or olive oil)

Toasted sesame seeds

Toasted sunflower seeds

Place the warm water in a bowl or 4-cup liquid glass measure. Add the yeast and agave nectar, whisk together. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast. The mixture should get foamy or bubbly.

While the yeast is activating, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

After the yeast is activated whisk in the olive oil, ground chia seeds (it's best to grind them yourself), and psyllium husks into the water-yeast mixture. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes (not any longer) to let the chia and psyllium release their gelatinous substances. Whisk again.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a large wooden spoon until thick. Then knead the dough on a floured wooden board to fully incorporate the flour. Add more teff and all-purpose flours, a little at a time, until the dough holds together and isn’t too sticky (about ¼ to ½ cup total). Don’t add too much flour, otherwise the dough will become very dense; it should still be slightly sticky. Form dough into a ball, place back into the large bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm spot to rise until it is doubled in size, about one hour.

After the dough has risen, place a pizza stone in your oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven (the one beneath the pizza stone).

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured wooden board.  Stretch and fold the dough and then form into a round ball. Place on a square of parchment paper and score the dough with a shallow “tic-tac-toe” pattern on the top. Spray (or drizzle) with olive oil and sprinkle the seeds on top. Let rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place while the oven and stone are preheating.

Carefully lift the parchment paper with the risen loaf and place it onto the stone in the oven. Bake for about 40-45 minutes; if bottom is soft, bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 30 to 60 minutes before cutting into it. The bread will be very gummy hot out of the oven.




dabrownman's picture

and since it is tasty-  it is a success.  Gluten free is tough to get right on the inside.  The crumb will take you longer to get right but I'm sure you will figure it out soon enough.  It is so much easier to do GF with muffins and such using baking  powder and soda.  Maybe a soda bread using GF grains will work too?

Happy Baking

CAphyl's picture

It is really hard, but I think the changes I made to the first time I baked it made it better.  I will keep trying.  I have had great luck with the sweet breads...made an excellent GF cranberry, nut, orange loaf that we love....Thanks!  Phyllis

clazar123's picture

Well that's interesting-the whole post disappeared!

clazar123's picture

And they were such good ideas! Let me see if I can re-do.

I have dabbled in GF and have used psyllium and flax but have never used chia

Psylium/chia/flax-I have found that using more than 2-3 tbsp. per 3 c flour can make the crumb very dense and too moist. Any mix is fine but try reducing a bit. It creates a nice gel/starch that can trap the gas bubbles but too much and it stays too wet.

Oat flour-this will always make a very dense crumb. It is very good for you but I prefer to use either flaked or steel cut oats that are soaked so they act like a deliberate texture.

Hydration-GF flours are very thirsty by themselves so you really can't use standard hydration formulas for GF. And then there is the tremendous thirst of the psyllium/chia/flax. I wonder if you increased the liquid in this recipe if it would loosen the dough for a better expansion?

Sticky-GF dough is very reminiscent of rye dough texture-very sticky! Don't be tempted to add extra flour,as you noted and use damp hands to handle it.

Kneading/punching down- I have found that GF doughs do great with a single rise right in the pan/shape they are made in-no punching down. They tend to have a lighter texture.It works esp well if the dough has a rest or autolyse built in. In many ways, GF bread is a much easier product to make.

Kneading can be used to develop the starch and stirring/kneading before the salt is added is helpful to that end.But don't forget to add it!  I have!  Most of my successes have been in more of the batter-type doughs but I have found that using all the liquid and most of the flour and really mixing well enhances the hydration and starchy formation of the dough.  

Flax seeds-People don't really digest whole flax seeds well enough to get their wonderful benefit. I usually add coarsely ground flax seed but they hold the moisture just like chia and psyllium so take note of the total amounts on these three seeds.A little is good and more is not.

So lets press the SAVE again and see if it holds onto it this time.

CAphyl's picture

clazar123:  I did receive your first thoughts via an email!  You make very good points.  I actually reduced the chia/psy husk from the original recipe for just the reason you cite:  it gets really gummy.  I plan to eliminate one of them next time and grind up the flax seeds.  I also agree with you on the kneading...that was called for in the original reicpe, and the dough seemed so nice before time, I will eliminate that step.  I actually substituted the oat flour as I had it on hand.  You make good suggestions there for other ways to use oats. I made more of a "white bread" gluten-free loaf, and I really didn't like the consistency.  I used the end of it to make bread crumbs!

I agree on the batter-type doughs.  They really work a lot better than the bread doughs.  I've had great luck with a number of sweet breads and will continue to experiment there.  Thanks again for offering your excellent suggestions (twice!)  Best,  Phyllis

clazar123's picture

I don't even know how to email from this site! LOL! I wonder how that happened? Glad to be of service. Keep posting! Wheat is a great grain but I really like to see how other grains can be used. GF can be delicious!

CAphyl's picture

clazar123:  If you want to get emails, check the box at the bottom to be notified of all comments, and you can receive an email if your email is in your profile.  I like it as I can see comments on my iphone when I am traveling and away from my computer.  Thanks again for your comments.  Best,  Phyllis