The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Non-wheat flour bread recipes

drtuck318's picture

Non-wheat flour bread recipes

My  wife has wheat, soy, corn, and nut allergies. Her last bite of bread was about 2 1/2 years ago. She tried the packaged rice and brown rice flour breads, however, the xanthum gum produced allergic reactions.

About four months ago, I took an artisan breadbaking class. On the last day of the class, the instructor gave me a barley bread recipe he found on the Internet but had not tried. I have tried it unsuccessfully twice. 

Does anyone have tried and true recipe for a non-wheat, non-soy, non-corn flour bread or roll?

Thank you. 

Eli's picture

Jane posted this one for my request but I haven't had time to do anything. Maybe it is something you can use for your wife?

If you do make it please share your results. I have no experience with these types of breads.


shakleford's picture

What sort of bread are you looking for?  Baking with nontraditional grains is something of a special interest for me, but trying to approximate normal wheat bread is not a priority for me since I can always make a normal wheat bread if that's what I want.

If you are looking for something that is as close to traditional bread as possible, your best bet may be to search some of the websites for those with Celiac disease or gluten allergies.  Many of these recipes will likely use xanthan gum, but you can substitute guar gum or a starch (eg, arrowroot or tapioca powder).  I've only experimented with these ingredients a bit, so I can't give you very specific recommendations, but those more familiar with allergies like your wife's should be able to.

If you don't mind making a bread that is much denser and crumblier than wheat bread, then you can use whatever other grains your wife enjoys and is not allergic to - millet, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, etc.  I don't have many specific recipes for these grains, as I usually just use a wheat bread recipe and adjust the amount of water and sweetener as necessary.

Finally, when you say that you've tried the barley bread recipe you have without success, what do you mean?  Perhaps that recipe is fixable - although if you are measuring success by how close the loaf is to a wheat bread, your results may remain disappointing.

drtuck318's picture

I am not that concerned that it be close to traditional bread. I tried a couple of rice flour recipes in the past. (That was before I took my breadmaking class.) They were crumbly, but worse than that, the inside was like uncooked flour.

The buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa flour recipes that I found usually require a mixture of wheat flour. Thanks for the tip on about using arrowroot or tapioca powder instead of xanthan gum. (My wife also reacts to guar gum. When I tried breadmachine recipes two years ago, I used gelatin powder.)

As for the lack of success with the barley bread recipe: the first time I made it, after I let it rise, the dough was too elastic to shape into loaves. The second time that I made it, I added probably an additional 1 1/2 - 2 cups of flour to get it to a consistency that allowed me to knead it. (I think the recipe's one cup of water against 2 1/3 cups of flour was too much.) I don't know if it was the additional flour and/or the fact that I did not permit it to cool (it was late at night when I finished) before putting it in the refrigerator. The next morning, it was flat and the inside looked and tasted like unbaked flour.

shakleford's picture

Most of the recipes for buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa etc. have them mixed with wheat because that's the only way that you'll get significant rise or a texture remotely like traditional bread.  In addition, many people don't like strong flavor of these grains when used alone, especially buckwheat.  If those reasons don't impact you, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with using 100% non-wheat grains - I do it on a regular basis.  The main changes I usually have to make are adjusting the amount of water (usually downward) and sometimes sweetener (usually upward).  I do this by feel, so I unfortunately don't have specific recipes I can give you, but I haven't had any dismal failures.

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by the inside of your barley bread looking and tasting like unbaked flour.  Any nonwheat bread is going to have a very dense crumb; my results often seem more like giant, thick crackers than they do loaves of bread.  You will also need to bake at a fairly low temperature (I'd generally recommend 300 or 325), as it will take a long time for such a dense loaf to cook through.  If you have a probe thermometer, cook until the internal temperature is around 200 - 205.

Audrey Joy's picture
Audrey Joy

Try this one I found in my search.  New to me yet, but looks good.

susanfnp's picture

Hi drtuck, sorry I don't have a recipe for you but you may want to check out this forum. The Daring Bakers are an online baking group and many members have food allergies; they have a public forum where you might pose your request (although the private forum is more active, so consider becoming a member):


fastfox's picture


Barley has to be mixed with wheat in order to get a risen bread.  Otherwise it will be flat which is great if your making pitas.  but if your wife has wheat allergies she probably shouldn't eat barley either.  Even though barley doesn't rise, it does have a different type of gluten.  Some folks with wheat allergies can eat it, but others can't.  Consider some of the other alternatives suggested.

drtuck318's picture

Thanks, but I was assured that barley is wheat-free. She doesn't have a problem with gluten, as far as we know. I checked some of the other sites that were recommended. Some of the recipes require cornstarch -- another no-no.

ejm's picture

This thread entitled "gluten free Hamelman" has some information about wheat-free baking.

Barley is disallowed for anyone with an allergy to gluten; I gather that your wife's allergy has nothing to do with gluten, but looking at gluten-free recipes might be the answer - they never use wheat flour..

I have made one kind of gluten-free bread using rice flour, potato starch flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum for my dad, who is celiac. My mom says that guar gum works as well as xanthan gum.  As xanthan gum cannot be used in your household, you might try mixing  in some arrowroot and/or guar gum to your flour mixture.

For tried and true wheatfree recipes,  take a look at

Janedo's picture

Is your wife allergic to spelt? If she isn't allergic to gluten, spelt is the perfect replacement for wheat.

In France we have a flour called Petit Epeautre (Triticum Monococcum) which contains very very little gluten and many intolerant people can eat it. It isn't the same as Grand Epeautre (Triticum Spelta) which is Spelt. 

The bread I make for my friend is pretty strong in flavor because it has buckwheat in it but that can be varied. Rice flour is boring, but brown rice flour is very good. You can even get it ground but not as ground as flour. Well, here you can. Notsure over there. It makes very nice bread and pastries. Buckwheat soaks up the water much more than white grain flours so be careful with proportions.

The dough for gluten free bread must be mixed like cake batter. It is therefore thick, but stirrable. I don't put anything sweet in but you can add 1 tsp sugar or honey. Seeds like flax, sunflower, poppy, sesame add texture and taste.You can add 1 tsp of agar-agar in place of xanthane gum. You can put in a Tbsp of olive oil as well.

The bread should be made in a bread pan and just left to rise. A couple hours for yeast and as long as 7 for the natural buckwheat sourdough. Then it is baked. I manage to get a nice crunchy crust and a fairly light interior. Nothing like a real bread, but pretty darn close.

I did a lot of searching on French sites and American and really had a hard time finding information. I don't think your goal should be to make a real bread, white, crusty, etc. But you can make a nice bread good for cheeses, sauces, etc. That gal I make it for is more than happy and she has a French palate. 

I don't even follow a recipe anymore because I find that if the desired consistency is obtained, the bread will rise and bake up very well, so play around with different flours and additions.


lennoxa's picture

I work for a gluten free bakers and we use a lot of different flours for breads and cakes. The best selling is flax with tapioca flour and millet flour mix for bread. It leaves it nice and light and looks like wholemeal. An egg is also often added to hold it together as it rises. Remember that you can't se electric mixers as it exhausts the starch. A quick mix by hand and stand well back. Overmixing makes everything dry and crumbly and stops the mixture reacting properly.

We ran experiments for around 6 months testing all the different flours from across the world and it was very interesting. We had to test water absorbancy, heat effects and how well they mixed with other flours. Best chemistry lesson I ever had. The worst one was potatoe starch which made everything heavy although it is used in lots of gluten free flours.

Good luck - Angela

G-man's picture

Hi Angela,

My mother-in-law found out not so long ago that she is gluten intolerant. As a baker, I want to be able to give her the best breads I can despite this major hurdle. The problem I have is that every recipe I find for gluten-free bread involves about twenty different types of flour. I love my mother-in-law dearly, but I can't really justify buying that much flour when I see her two or three times a year.

Do you mind sharing your formula for bread using tapioca and millet flours?

BMD's picture

In my quest of learning, I did my own version of 'food science' in testing all the flours out there and did that ever help.  I'm also experienced in how most all healthy sweeteners interact, along with the oils . . . it can be a cluster, can it not. :)  Have you found if arrowroot or tapioca is better for leavening and texturizing in breads?  I'm a creator as I work with so many people who can't have the 'rice' flours or the grain flours.  Obviously the ones I'm using are heavier.  I am going to go ahead an try exchanging out the potato starch I have in my recipe, but if you have any opinions, I'd be grateful.


twich's picture

There is a mix brand called Chebe that has some excellent bread.  It's a little different, but taste so good and is based on the Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe.  It's base is tapioca flour.  I will be trying some other recipes I found on line.  Even regular bread lovers have enjoyed it very much.

Regicollis's picture

Is your wife allergic to rye? Try baking a rye bread for her. Unlike barley which has always been poor people's diet rye has traditionally been used for bread. If you didn't grow up eating it it can seem a bit strange eating this dense, black/brown slightly sour loaf but it tastes really great.

mtve's picture

you might wanna test this recipe which uses only barley flour, the recipe is for a lot of breads! remember that barley breads shelf life is less than wheat bread so you might wanna make less bread each time, maybe one tenth of this recipe work for you two, I hope you enjoy it.

Barley flour 6 kg

water 6 kg

yeast 50 gr

Baking Powder 3 teaspoons

oil 3-4 tablespoons

you can add things like sesame dill ... for better taste

first make the pan or the tray a little oily not to let the dough stick on it. then mix the flour with other ingredients, after that add water and make the dough (you can add milk instead of 10 or 20 percent of the water if you like). after making the dough let it rest for about an hour then bake it! that easy! I tested it and it was as good as it gets for a soft barley bread.

clazar123's picture

I am on the alternative flours path myself. I have a friend that was just diagnosed as celiac (gluten allergic) and so it gave me an excuse to explore this new path. I will share a few main ideas and thoughts but you do have some clarification and research.

Look in the "Baking for special needs" forum here and also search "gluten free". I don't know exactly what your wife's allergies and reactions are but start with "gluten free" categories and narrow down the other grains from there.

These are 2 good websites to start from and there are many more.

Spelt is a form of wheat and may not be a good choice if she is allergic to wheat. Other grains that she can have (barley,buckwheat,oats,etc) may be raised in fields or by processors that also process wheat. That is why some people need to buy grains or flour form sources guaranteed wheat free. Cross contamination becomes problematic for highly allergic people.

COnsult with a dietician very familiar with food allergies-this is a very specialized topic. Your doctor or allergist should be able to help and insurance may cover.

Delicious food can be made with alternative flours! The trick is finding the combination that works for you. GlutenFree Girl has the best site for explaining how all the ingredients behave and how to mix up your own "AP" flour. GlutenFree on a Shoestring has great graphics for different flour mixes. Wade through some of this and find a good combo. Off the shelf gluten free flours are available with all different kinds of ingredients. The world has been cooking and baking with non-wheat for centuries but wheat is easier for a baker to deal with as everything (starch and protein) are all in one grain.

Make recipes with forgiving textures-wraps,pancakes,muffins and batter type breads.

And lastly,regarding the gum: Use psyllium husks (bought in healthfood store-same ingredient as in some fiber meds), ground flax seed and/or chia seed. No gum.

I could go on but absorb this first.