This gluten free artisan bread is the crusty bread you thought you’d never have again. One bite and you’ll be in absolute HEAVEN! Better still, NO ONE will know it’s gluten free!
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This bread started out as pizza. Well, pizza dough. When I created my gluten free pizza dough, the whole family absolutely loved it. And none of them are gluten free, which to me always says a lot. When you feed something gluten free to people that don’t need to eat gf and they love it, you know you’ve done it. So what else could I make out of this dough?
The most logical idea was artisan bread, mainly because it’s made with the most basic ingredients which are all in this dough. Flour, water, yeast, and salt (with a tiny amount of olive oil and honey) are transformed into something almost otherworldly. It’s crusty on the outside with a perfect chew and an open crumb. Would it work though?
The answer is a resounding YES!!!! This artisan bread was the first gluten free bread I ever created and it’s been a staple in our home since.
HOW I CAME UP WITH THIS BREAD
I wish I could say that the whole idea behind this bread was mine and solely mine, but that would be a lie. A while ago, when I was trying to make homemade gluten free bread and failing miserably, I came across the cookbook from Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois called Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Their idea for artisan bread taking only five minutes a day was absolutely revolutionary!!
I decided to use my gluten free pizza crust dough in place of their recipe for gluten free bread dough. WOW!!! The bread was GLORIOUS!! And they were so right about the 5 minutes-a-day thing. It literally takes only FIVE minutes of hands-on time!!
MAKING THE DOUGH
As I stated above, the dough for this gluten free artisan bread is the very same dough for my AMAZING gluten free pizza crust. If you haven’t tried that yet, you really don’t know what you’re missing. My whole family loves my pizzas and none of them (my family, not the pizzas!) are gluten free.
Mixing the dough is just as easy as any other dough recipe on my site. Whisk the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. You can use a handheld mixer, but it’ll take a lot longer. Add the wet ingredients and continue to mix on low until well incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and knead for a solid 5 minutes. I always set a timer and walk away.
Remove the bowl from the machine and, using a bowl scraper like this one, scrape the dough into a cohesive mass. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to proof (rise) in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
After the dough has risen, place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least several hours (3-4) and up to 10 days. The longer it sits, the more fermentation happens and the more it takes on the flavor of a sourdough bread. The extra fermentation also helps with development of the bread structure, which makes for a better loaf of bread. There is no gluten development so gluten free bread baking needs all the help it can get.
SHAPING THE BREAD
The typical shapes of loaves for our family are baguettes and boules, but be creative in your own kitchen and make any size and shape you’d like. I often find myself perusing regular (gluten-filled) bread baking blogs and cookbooks looking for different ways to shape my breads.
With floured hands, pull off a large chunk of dough (about the size of a grapefruit). Knead it on a well-floured surface until fairly smooth. Re-cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the rest back in the fridge for another day. This dough is a little stickier than some of my other doughs, but should handle just fine with the use of extra flour and a bench scraper like this one.
TO SHAPE A BAGUETTE OR BATARD (a shorter, wider loaf), begin rolling into a rope shape, tapering at the ends. Place on a piece of parchment long enough to fit the baguette (you may have to position it diagonally). I like to place mine on a pizza peel to make it easier to transfer it into the oven.
TO MAKE A BOULE, simply knead the dough as above and mold it into a large round. Again, place it on a piece of parchment and set on a pizza peel.
Cover the shaped dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area. It doesn’t need to double in size, just be visibly larger and puffed. It will rise more in the oven. This can take anywhere from a half an hour to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your space. Again, don’t be looking for it to rise to double the size. Visibly larger is all you’re going to be looking for.
HOW TO CREATE A STEAM OVEN AT HOME
Most bakeries bake their breads in steam ovens. Steam ovens release steam at the right time when breads are baked. Again, I took a page from Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Take a shallow pan, such as an old broiler pan, and put it on the bottom rack of your oven. Put a baking steel (or stone) on the middle rack and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
When the dough has fully proofed, slash it with a wet, sharp bread knife. You can be creative with your slashing as well. Slide the bread into the oven, parchment and all, onto the steel (or stone). If you don’t have a steel or stone, an overturned baking sheet will do in a pinch.
Carefully pour a cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan, which creates instant steam. Quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam in. This allows the bread to gain its initial rise (oven spring) in the oven before the crust begins to set.
If your loaf didn’t turn out quite like you thought, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Did I use Kim’s gluten free bread flour blend? If you used a different blend or altered my blend in any way, please see the disclaimer in the recipe card notes.
- Did I knead the dough long enough? You might think that over kneading will make it a tougher bread with a more dense crumb, but I’ve found this to be just the opposite with most of my gluten free bread recipes. I’m not sure the reason, but like I’ve said before, gluten free baking is a whole new beast. Some of the rules that would apply for gluten baking don’t work here.
- Did I give the loaf enough time to rise? Sometimes my house is colder and it will take a small loaf over an hour to rise. Other times 30 minutes is all it needs. If it’s been an hour and the loaf doesn’t look visibly larger, I turn the oven on the warm function and then turn it off quickly. I let the loaf rise for another 30 minutes before checking again.
- Did I cover the dough while rising? Covering the dough will prevent a skin from forming, which would inhibit oven spring (the rise of the dough once it hits the hot oven). This will cause a very dense loaf.
- Did I set a shallow pan on the lower shelf for creating steam? This step is crucial to getting the best oven spring, where the dough rises in the oven before the crust sets. If you don’t have a shallow pan, you can also throw a handful of ice cubes right onto the bottom of your oven before quickly closing the door.
- Did I allow the bread to bake long enough? I’ve found that baking time is usually considerably longer with almost all gf baking than gluten-filled counterparts. If you try to make a large boule and it takes more than an hour to bake, don’t be surprised. If your bread is getting too dark for your liking, just cover it loosely with foil while it continues to bake. Pick up the bread (with oven mitts). If it feels relatively light for its size, it’s done. If it feels heavy, it’s not. It’s just that simple!
What are you waiting for? With a little bit of time and a few tools, you could be in bread HEAVEN!!
Gluten Free Artisan Bread
- 3 cups (420 g) Kim's gluten free bread flour blend
- 1½ tsp xanthan gum (in addition to what's already in the blend)
- 1 tbsp (9 g) instant/rapid rise/fast-acting yeast (not active dry yeast)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cups (360 ml) water
- 2 tbsp (26 ml) olive oil
- 1 tbsp (21 g) honey
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add all dry ingredients and whisk using a handheld wire whisk. Combine the honey and olive oil with the water in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low, slowly add the water mixture. When fully incorporated, turn mixer up to medium high and knead for 5 minutes. Remove the dough hook and scrape the dough into a cohesive mass using a plastic dough scraper or a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm, draft-free area and allow it to rise (proof) for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
- Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, but up to 10 days.
- On baking day, remove the dough from refrigerator and dump out onto well-floured surface. Knead until fairly smooth, adding more flour as necessary. It's a somewhat sticky dough so keep a small bowl of flour on hand to sprinkle the dough and/or surface with extra flour.
- To shape into a boule, simply form into a round ball, pulling the dough up and under the ball and pinching on the bottom. Place on parchment paper. To shape into a baguette, smooth dough and begin elongating it and tapering it at the ends, adding more flour as necessary. Roll out as thick or thin as you'd like and as long as you're able to fit in your oven (make sure it will fit on your pizza steel or stone). Place it on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Place loaf or loaves, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm, draft-free area to rise until visibly larger, but not doubled in size, about 1/2 to 1 hour. Meanwhile, set up your oven for baking. Place baking steel or stone onto middle rack and shallow pan underneath. Preheat oven to 450° F.
- When dough has finished rising and is visibly larger, run a serrated knife under hot tap water and cut slits in dough swiftly but uniformly, about ½-¾ inch deep. Fill up a cup measure with really hot tap water and set aside.
- Using a pizza peel (paddle), slide loaf (or loaves) into oven onto baking steel (or stone), parchment and all. Immediately pour cup of very hot tap water into the shallow pan. Quickly shut the oven door.
- Bake for about 30 minutes for baguettes, or about 35-40 minutes for boules, or longer for larger boules (some larger boules can take up to an hour or more). If the loaves are getting too browned, you can cover them loosely with foil. The loaves will look crusty and done on the outside, but will feel light when picked up. If they feel heavy, they're not done yet. Allow to bake for another 10 minutes and then check again, picking up the loaf with two gloved hands. If still feeling heavy, allow to bake for another 5 minutes and check again.
- Remove from the oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool before cutting (or it will be gummy on the inside).
- The recipe makes about 2-3 loaves of bread, depending on how large or small you make them. You don’t have to make them all in one day. You can leave the rest of the dough in the refrigerator for another day when you want freshly baked bread.
- You can double or even triple the recipe (if you have a mixer big enough to handle the dough). A double recipe fits well in my 5-quart Kitchenaid artisan mixer.
- Extra dough may also be frozen. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and then use as normal.
- The possibilities are endless with this dough. It can be made into so many different shapes and sizes of loaves and you can shape it in about five minutes a day. You can make pizza with half of it, and bread with the other half! If you only want to make one loaf in a day, only take out the amount of dough you’ll need for that loaf (usually about a softball to grapefruit-sized amount). Again, it depends on the size and shape of loaf you’re making.
- The dough will last in the refrigerator for about 10 days, fermenting even more (like sourdough) each day. It actually gets better with age 🙂
- FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING: Per Beth, who lives in Colorado and graciously offered some high altitude baking conversions, “the crust is perfect – crisp without being like a cracker and enjoyable to bite into. The crumb was perfect, and light which is no small feat considering it is gf. I followed Kim’s recipe for the flour blend. I then adjusted the following in the recipe: Yeast: 2.5 tsp + 1/8th tsp (reduced each tsp by 1/8th tsp). Salt: 1.5 tsp (added 1/2 tsp). Water: 1.5 c. + 3 tbsp added 2 tbsp per cup). I followed the rise times and baking directions exactly. I made 2 loaves: one baguette and one boule. I baked them on my baking stone as directions state. My loaves took 2 hours to grow noticeably larger during the rise after being in the refrigerator overnight. I turned the oven on then off, then put the loaves on a wooden cutting board covered with plastic wrap and also a light cloth while rising. I have a family member who has celiacs and I am gluten and dairy intolerant. I used the pea protein, by the way.”
Did you make this recipe? Take a picture and tag @letthemeatglutenfreecake on Instagram!
Inspired by Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
This bread was originally posted on October 12, 2018 and has been updated with new images, a video, and more step-by-step in depth information.