18 Tips for Gluten Free Bread Baking

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Making delicious gluten free yeast breads isn’t difficult, it just seems like it ought to be. In fact, in many ways gluten free bread baking is easier and quicker than it is to bake a traditional bread with gluten. Using the right recipe and the best ingredients, you don’t even need a loaf pan! Follow my gluten free bread help check list, and it will bring you delicious gluten free bread baking success!

Note: for tips on baking gluten-free bread with a breadmaker, hop to my article here.
For a review of one of my favorite bread makers, hop here.

You can even bake delicious gluten free bread from an easy MIX! Gluten Free White Bread made with my gfJules™ Whole Grain Bread Mix.

You can even bake delicious gluten free bread from an easy MIX! Gluten Free White Bread made with my gfJules™ Whole Grain Bread Mix.

1.  Don’t scoop flour! When measuring flour, don’t scoop from the bag with your measuring cup.  This can compress the flour — up to 25%!  Use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup and level off with a knife instead.

2. Weigh your ingredients. One step better is to weigh your flour. My gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour weighs 135 grams per cup. Measuring by weight will ensure that you have the correct amount of flour in any recipe.

Same gluten free bread recipe using different gluten free flours.

Same gluten free bread recipe using different gluten free flours.

Even 1/2 cup of flour can make a huge difference in the results you get with any recipe. It’s not enough to just use any gluten free flour you choose; gluten free flours aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Follow the flours recommended for each given recipe to get the results promised.

3.  Room temperature. Room temperature. Room temperature! It is particularly important for yeast recipes that you bring all of your ingredients, such as eggs, to room temperature before adding them together to make bread.  Yeast needs warmth to grow and if your ingredients are too cold, it may prevent full yeast growth. Don’t make your wet ingredients too hot though, just nice and warm, the way yeast likes it!

4.  Don’t follow directions (for wheat bread). It is essential when converting wheat-based bread recipes to gluten-free, that you not follow the directions. That’s right! Break all the wheat/gluten dough rules when baking gluten-free bread!  Any kneading beyond simply mixing the dough well, and any punching down of the gluten-free dough will punch the risen life right out of it. Those steps are designed to “exercise the gluten” and make it more elastic. We have no gluten in our recipes, so nothing to exercise, and more than that, these steps will actually cause your gluten-free recipe to fail! It is for this reason that I counsel people when first attempting to make gluten-free breads, to follow a gluten-free bread recipe or two, just to get the hang of it. If you are an accomplished bread baker, it may feel weird for you to abandon these techniques, but trust me, you must!

5.  Shape before rising. Because our gluten free breads have no rise and punch down and second rise and punch down … you’ll want to shape any breads before the rise (they’ll only rise once!). Dinner rolls should rise in the shape or tin you would like them to bake in; bread sticks should be formed before rising; cinnamon rolls should rise in their pans; challah must be braided and then allowed to rise. Don’t mess with gluten-free dough once it has risen, just bake it!

6.  High altitude can change the way yeast doughs behave. Have a look at my High Altitude GF Cooking Tips.

Use an internal thermometer to test your gluten free bread before removing from the oven or bread maker.

Use an internal thermometer to test your gluten free bread before removing from the oven or bread maker.

 

7.  Take your bread’s temperature. It is very important not to take your bread out of the oven before it is fully cooked.  If the bread has a rubbery layer at the bottom, this usually means it was not fully cooked.  The best way to tell if the bread is done is to insert an instant read thermometer all the way to the bottom of the loaf (but not touching the pan).  The temperature should be approximately 205-210º F when it is done.  Your bread should keep its shape when it is completely baked. Internal thermometers are available in my shop.

8.  Change your bread pan. Sometimes metal pans work better than glass for fully cooking a loaf of bread.  Metal pans do not have to be fancy or expensive, and you can often even find them in your local grocery store.

Different bread pan sizes, shapes and materials can affect how long and evenly the gluten free bread bakes.

Different bread pan sizes, shapes and materials can affect how long and evenly the gluten free bread bakes.

9.  Make sure your rising spot is nice and warm. A great method for letting your yeast breads rise before baking is to turn on your oven to 200º F, then turn it off when it has reached temperature.

Put your un-raised bread into the warmed oven with an oiled piece of parchment on top and a bowl of water in the oven with it, then let it rise according to directions.  Once raised, remove the parchment and bake according to directions.

Don't let your gluten free bread rise much above the top of the pan before baking.

Don’t let your gluten free bread rise much above the top of the pan before baking.

10.  Find the perfect rise time and place. The longer you can let your bread rise, the better it will taste and the less likely it will be to collapse. A good rule of thumb is to let the bread rise to the top of your pan before baking; a slower, cooler rise to that level will produce a better loaf, so make sure it isn’t rising in too warm of a spot. If you can let the gluten free bread dough rise overnight in a cool place, the slower rise will provide a stronger cell structure and more of a sourdough flavor when baked the next day.

When yeast has proofed, it has bubbled and started to smell like the familiar yeast smell we associate with baking bread.

When yeast has proofed, it has bubbled and started to smell like the familiar yeast smell we associate with baking bread.

11.  Proof your yeast right. “Proofed” yeast should look like this. If not, throw it out and start with fresh yeast.

If you’re still having issues with getting your yeast breads to rise, try “proofing” your yeast first. I prefer using “Quick Rise” or “Rapid Rise” yeast for gluten-free yeast breads. We don’t have the punch-down and second rise necessary with most gluten loaves, so it works well to activate the yeast and let it start doing its thing right away!

Place the yeast in a bowl with the liquid called for in the recipe (water, milk, etc.), but make sure it’s warm. If you can add a teaspoon of sugar, that’s helpful. Whisk it gently and let it sit for 5 minutes. If it’s starting to have that familiar yeasty smell, foam up and swell, it’s good and you can add it to your recipe; if it’s stagnating and not getting foamy or rising, throw it out.

12.  Check ingredient integrity. Yeast can go bad, as can baking soda and baking powder. Sometimes the problem is your ingredients, not you. What a relief, right?

13.  Cool bread slowly. When your bread is done cooking, turn off the oven and open the door so that the bread can cool slowly.  Taking the bread out of a hot oven and quickly transferring it to a cool counter can sometimes cause the loaf to sink in.  If it still sinks, it may have too much moisture to support itself fully.  It should still taste great, but if you have your heart set on a nice crowned loaf, next time try cutting back on the liquid a bit in that recipe or adding 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal to help support the bread’s structure and enhance its nutritional value, all in one!  Altitude and even the day’s weather can affect sometimes-picky yeast recipes.

14.  Calibrate your oven temperature. Oven temperatures are frequently off by as little as 25 degrees and it can make a big difference in something as finicky as a yeast bread. Invest in an oven thermometer and adjust your oven’s temperature so your bread will bake comfortably, at the temperature it likes.

Soft, fresh gluten free bread made with gluten free beer.

Soft, fresh gluten free bread made with gluten free beer.

 

15.  Bubbles add air (duh, right?). It’s amazing what adding bubbles can do for the lift in your bread loaf! Try the same amount of gluten-free beer, ginger ale, 7-Up, Perrier … you get the picture. Room temperature, of course, and measured appropriately (let the bubbles settle for accurate measurements). Check out this gorgeous gluten-free beer bread!

16.  Fixing that rubbery bottom. If you still wind up with a rubbery bottom on your loaf, there are a few things that could have gone wrong.

First, you might have over-beaten the dough. Unlike gluten doughs, gluten-free bread doughs should not be overworked, and doing so can sometimes make them a bit rubbery.

Second, if you are baking from scratch and adding your own xanthan or guar gum, you might have added too much.

Third, there might be too much liquid in your recipe, all settling at the bottom and not baking off, while also weighing down the dough. Fourth, the loaf might not have baked all the way. If the top is baked and getting a nice crust, but the bottom isn’t all the way done, cover the loaf with foil and keep baking!hallie loaf 1

17.  Where your loaf is baking also makes a difference. Too close to the top of the oven, and the top will bake much more quickly than the rest of the bread, causing a split in the loaf. That’s quite a chasm, all because the bread rose so high that it nearly touched the oven’s heating element (and heat rises, don’t forget!). The rack of the oven shouldn’t be so high that the crust is that close to the heating element.

Convection bake settings also help with this, as convection keeps the temperature in the whole oven more consistent. Side note: also be sure there’s not an oven rack above the one on which your bread is baking – you don’t want the bread to rise during the bake and bump into the bottom of another rack!

Gluten free artisan bread loaf baked without a bread pan!

Gluten free artisan bread loaf baked without a bread pan!

 

18.  You don’t even need a bread pan to make great gluten free bread! Try making a gluten free artisan loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or baking in a springform or tall-sided oven-safe bowl or pan. Or even use muffin cups or popover trays! Your bread will be yummy no matter how you bake it, if you use the right ingredients!

(Ok, I guess there were more than a couple things …!)

*Note: If you purchase one of these items after following my link, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use to pay for web design, hosting and services for this blog.

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171 thoughts on “18 Tips for Gluten Free Bread Baking

  1. Can I proof my gf bread dough in the refrigerator overnight? If yes, should I let it stand at room temp before baking?

  2. Does your Jules flour get old as well? I don’t bake much and have half a bag that is over a year old. Must I toss it?
    Virginia

  3. Hi Jules,

    Thanks for sharing all these info. To be honest, I am a little bit overwhelmed as my son has had some health issues and we had to change our diet radically. He is only little and still at kinder. It has been particularly challenging for him as he attends a Waldorf kinder. There’s fresh baked bread every day… i wanted to give him the experience of continuing with the bread making at home so i got some buckwheat flour and intended to bake the type of kneading rolls they do at kinder. Of course it was a recipe for disaster and our dough ended up looking like hummus! After reading your suggestions i can point many mistakes i made, but i am still hopeful: is there a recipe for GF buns that needs kneading? I would love to hear from you!
    Thanknyou in advance.
    Best wishes 🙂

  4. Hi! I really loved your post and all the information you gave us! thanks for that.
    I made the other day a gf yeast free bread with quinoa, teff, and brown rice flour, but I still need to find the way to keep it from breaking, like most gf bread does. I used eggs, but maybe I need to change the flours? My question is, what generally helps and make the bread foamy and better?

    Thanks for your help!!

    • Hi Barbara, I’m so glad you found my article helpful! Just reading the list of gluten free flours you used for your bread made me shudder a little bit, and I’m not at all surprised when you said your bread was breaking. It’s all about the flour! Please read this article on gluten free flours. I think you world will change when you change up your gluten free flours! You don’t have to suffer through dry, breaking gluten free bread — I promise!!!
      ~jules

  5. These are great suggestions!! I have a convection gas oven and all of my loaves have sunk in the top. I spritz the top of the dough before cooking so that may be a problem. But I was wondering how to adjust the temperature and baking time if cooking on convection. Recipe says to cook at 450 for 50-55 min …what adjustments to time and temp should I make?

    • I’m so glad these tips are helpful, Tabitha! Baking bread — particularly gluten free bread — is so DIFFERENT from anything else. Once you see all the mistakes that can be made and avoid those, it’s really quite easy! 🙂 I’m glad I could make all the mistakes for you, and then hopefully help you from making them all yourself! LOL! I’ve been doing this so long, I probably have made them all myself, actually! May all your gluten free bread baking be happy from here on out!
      ~jules

  6. Next bread baking day, I’m going to try plain soda water that I’ll make in my soda stream. Been baking GF for over 8 years and have had only a couple of flops. I have all the digital gadgets and have calibrated both of my ovens. The countertop model was way off.

    Always proof your yeast whether instant or rapid rise or not. It just works better. Last night I did not and my loaves look and feel like those pathetic bricks you find in the stores. I knew I was in trouble when I had zero oven spring. Checked the date on the baking powder but it may be dead anyway. It’s supposed to give the dough additional lift during baking but did not. Sooo…

    Thanks for the tips on using carbonated water and flax meal to improve the lift.

    • Glad to hear the gluten free bread baking tips were helpful, Dave. Thanks for sharing yours, too! I always love to hear what works for folks – we can always learn from each other! Happy baking!
      ~jules

  7. Hi i am new to gluten free as i have been diagnosed with celiacs recently. I normally love to bake and am trying to learn new tips to help me make tasty dishes. if you are making gluten free cinnamon rolls. As soon as you have made your dough should you roll out and fill with cinnamon and slice, then cover and let rise in the pan to not touch them again after it rose?
    Thank you so much

  8. Best tips I have seen since going gluten free in 2013.
    I use Ginger Ale and love it.
    So excited to use everyone of your tips.

  9. Thank you so much for these tips! I made a gf version of Bon Appetit’s no-knead focaccia recently, and I plan on trying it again this time with some of your tips. The first time it came out tasting amazing, but very rubbery. I think I did use too much xanthan gum, and I’m going to mix up my flours I’m using too. I think I’ll also try a longer, slower proof. Do you ever prove in the fridge, or do you leave yours out? I’m assuming this varies along with the temp in your house.

    I found this page in search of how to rise a gf bread, this was very informative. Thank you!

      • Hi sara I had my go at making gl free bread. A few hick ups with the proving issue. Bag stuck to loaf. But I must say not bad for 1st attempt. I have found your tips very helpful and will implement next time thanks sue