Bread is a diet staple for many. So when you find out you can no longer have it due to a diagnosis of coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity – it can become a little tricky.
After I tried out all the gluten-free bread brands – trying desperately to find one that doesn’t always fall apart or taste like cardboard – I found a few that I would buy if I really needed some bread. But I’m not a great fan of the extortionate prices, the teeny tiny size of the loaves and, most importantly, the taste.
I’ve made bread before I was diagnosed, and even with the elasticity of the gluten my bread still turned out underwhelming! So I thought, what chance do I have to make a truly edible gluten-free version?
Firstly, there are so many gluten-free bread mixes you can try out and some of them are actually alright. Many are trial and error – like any gluten-free cooking, but hopefully, you’ll find one you like that’s super straightforward to make and tastes great.
I make my bread using Doves White Bread Flour – they have an easy-to-follow recipe on the side of the packet, so if you’re still trying to find a white bread recipe, I would suggest trying that one!
I also use the Lékué Silicone Bread Maker from Lakeland (It’s only £20.) You mix all your ingredients in the bread maker, you prove it in the bread maker and you bake it in the oven in the bread maker, too. It’s not your stereotypical physical bread maker. You can check out this bread maker here – it’s honestly the only way I’ve made bread that’s fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Here are my top three tips:
Be patient, practice makes perfect
It’s hard to stay patient and optimistic when every loaf of bread you make is either still raw in the middle, or falls apart when you try and cut into it. But believe me, practice seriously makes perfect when making gluten-free bread.
I might be alone in this but I love walking down the bread aisle in the supermarket because it smells so nice. I know, what I’m am doing torturing myself like that? But, with the way I’ve made my bread with the help of the Doves Farm recipe and the bread maker – your house is filled with this deliciously familiar smell. So keep going – you’re not far from having that perfect bacon sandwich – or whatever you’re craving.
Baking paper is your best friend
When you see that a recipe requires rolling dough of any kind, you have a good laugh. It sticks to your rolling pin, it falls apart with ANY movement whatsoever, so yeah, good one. Baking paper is the best invention for rolling out any dough. The bread recipe I use by the way has no rolling or kneading whatsoever, so this is more a tip for working with dough in general. When I made my gluten-free gingerbread, the baking paper saved my little fragile Christmas tree cookies!
Put one sheet of baking paper down, flour the surface, place your dough down and then put another sheet of baking paper on top. This is the best baking advice I can give you. Not only does your rolling pin stay clean, you don’t lose your head over broken dough because it doesn’t break! Try it, I promise you’ll start to love baking again.
It’s always best to work up to the harder bread baking recipes. I’ve made this mistake so many times. I’ve seen something fancy in a magazine and I’ve thought ‘I can totally do that!’ Not only did it turn out I couldn’t, it made me sad and angry. So, next time the Great British Bake Off is on TV, and you see all these fantastic bread creations, go to the channel 4 website and print them off/bookmark them. So that when you’ve passed the basic white bread baking stage, you can have a crack at them.
If you do rush into the complicated bread recipes, it can honestly put you off baking forever, so definitely start simple.
Got any questions about gluten-free baking? Get in touch and I’ll share more advice! nell[at]glutenousminimus.co.uk.