The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten Free Fruit & Nut loaf

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Gluten Free Fruit & Nut loaf

I don't bake a lot of gluten free bread, but I've got a couple of regular GF customers that I bake for weekly. Usually I bake a nice Olive bread and GF "Not Rye" (sort of a deli rye style). I use recipes from Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (Healthy Bread in 5M and Gluten Free Bread in 5M).

One of those customers asked if I ever bake a GF fruit and nut bread. I hadn't, and didn't see one in my recipe books that I liked so I set out to create a brand new GF recipe. That turned out harder than it sounds, as I don't know too much about percentages and the effect of all the ingredients of GF bread but I figured I knew enough about it now to give it a try.

After three iterations I think I've got it. Here's the winning recipe:

  • Brown rice flour - 50 g
  • Whole sorghum flour - 50 g
  • Whole Teff flour - 50 g
  • Tapioca starch - 25 g
  • Coconut flour - 25 g
  • Water - 150 g
  • Milk (I actually used home made kefir) - 50 g
  • Egg - 50 g (1 large)
  • Butter - 20 g
  • Honey - 15 g
  • Fruit (I used dried blueberries for this one) - 30 g
  • Nuts (chopped almonds) - 20 g
  • Salt - 4 g
  • Active dry yeast - 4 g (1 tsp)
  • Xanthan gum - 5 g (1.5 tsp)
  • Golden flax seeds - 10 g

I mixed the flax seeds into 50 g of the water and let it sit until the water was a bit thick (mucilaginous). This helped with the crumb and texture of the bread. I then mixed all the wet ingredients (including softened butter) and the yeast, added the fruit and nuts, and then all the blended flours and salt. I mixed it well to aerate it and let it sit, covered, for two hours. It was then smoothed carefully into a greased pan and rested for another half hour.

Given that it was an enriched bread (with kefir, butter and honey) I baked it at 350F. For the first 20 minutes it was covered with an overturned steel pan, then another 20 minutes uncovered.

I'm pretty impressed with the crumb, crust and flavour of this one. I'm not much into gluten free bread but I like to get it as close to gluten flour bread as I can, and this one is pretty close. I guess I'll add it to the baking rota! All the 'rules' are different for GF breads. The hydration is something like 125%, for example, and I had little idea how much xanthan gum to use. The soaked flax seeds and mucilaginous water made a big difference too.

I forgot to take a picture until half of it had already gone to one of the customers, but managed to get a couple quick snaps before the other half was gone. :) Note that I had to cut it in half before it was really cool (one of the customers came to pick up her other bread), so it looks a little gummy in the top photo.



clazar123's picture

A few years ago I researched a few recipes for a coworker who was newly diagnosed celiac and had to be GF. The rules are definitely different and I found that I worked better if I didn't try to make GF behave EXACTLY like wheat. So while I couldn't achieve a feathery, long stranded pull apart crumb in GF, I could develop a delicious variation that would hold together for a sandwich and chew deliciously. It has been 3-4 yrs so I would have to revisit my baking notes (if I can find them after 2 moves!)

I remember that making GF bread was very much like making a batter bread or a tea bread or even a high percentage rye-mix, pour into a pan,rise,dock, bake in a 350F oven and give it plenty of time to bake off the water.

Autolysing is as important for fully hydrating the whole grain GF as with wheat and for the same reason. If you don't, the branny bits will rob moisture from the crumb and the more delicate (than gluten) gum structure from the xanthan and flax or psyllium will shatter and crumble.

I also remember that GF flours have a bland fermented taste compared to wheat and the best tasting GF loaf had a mix of flours and enrichments (butter and milk). Teff added a wonderful, slightly nutty flavor and it does come in both brown and ivory (harder to find). I have never used sorghum or coconut flour but I bet both contributed to the taste.

GF needs a structure that it gets from xanthan gum, pectin, psyllium seed, or flax. Too much and you hav3 moist, gummy bread that ages into a nasty rubber. Too little and the first slice dissolves into a puddle of crumbs.

Nice GF loaf! Good formula as a basis for many flavors.


IceDemeter's picture

I've honestly never seen a GF loaf that looked so much like normal bread --- it's one of the reasons why I've always been so grateful to not have issues with wheat or gluten!

i always knew it was challenging to come up with a workable formula, but never realized that one of the tricks is to basically make flour soup (125% hydration - yikes!).

Nice job - you should be really proud of this one!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Well, that's the thing - it doesn't end up as soup! What with the eggs, flaxseed water, and xanthan gum, it ends up somewhere between cookie dough and creamy peanut butter in texture. And just about as easy to shape into a loaf! The GF "Not Rye" bread that I make has dough kinda like a stiff-ish butter cream frosting. Try shaping that into a loaf. :) That's why you need to forget everything you know about bread dough when you're making GF 'bread' and treat it as an entirely different animal.