One of the hardest things to replicate with gluten-free products is the stretchy, chewy texture of bread. I have experimented with many different methods of recreating the feel without the gluten protein (some of which went straight into the trash), but after all of the trial-and-error I think I have finally figured it out! Ground flax seed.
When mixed with hot water, ground flax seed forms a gelatinous slurry, and is often used as an egg substitute in vegan baking. I’ve been trying to incorporate flax seed into my diet for a variety of reason (click here for more about the health benefits of flax) by throwing a few tablespoons into my baked goods, so I thought, why not try a flax seed slurry instead?
Recipe update 8/25/13: I’ve tried this recipe with both coarsely ground brown flax seed and finely ground golden flax seed, and the golden is a winner hands down. That said, use whatever you have on hand.
Presto. This added just the right chewiness to the gluten-free bread recipe I’ve been working on. This is certainly the closest I have come to the thick, chewy, gluten-free bread, of blessed memory.
I prefer to bake my gluten-free bread as rolls using a muffin tin because I can freeze them individually, and I find that gluten-free baked goods often end up doughy in the middle as the outside bakes much more quickly. If you do try this as a loaf, let me know how it turns out!
Note: If you prefer not to buy the individual gluten-free flours listed below, you can use a gluten-free flour blend but it will not necessarily have the same texture or results as using individual flours. If your flour blend already contains xanthan gum, omit from the recipe.
1 1/8 cups warm water
1 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 Tbsp ground flax seed (preferably finely ground golden)
4 Tbsp hot water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Grease a 12 muffin tin.
- In a small bowl, combine warm water, honey, and yeast. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes.
- In another small bowl, mix together ground flax seed and hot water. It will thicken and form a slurry. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixer, beat the eggs on high for 5 minutes. Add oil and honey beat for another 2 minutes. Add flax seed slurry.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: sorghum flour, tapioca starch, millet flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Add proofed yeast and egg mixture and stir until combined; it will be the consistency of a thick drop-biscuit batter.
- Divide the dough evenly between the muffin cups (I used my large cookie scoop). Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes (if it’s chilly in your kitchen, you can either 1: turn the oven on to the lowest setting and place the muffin tin about 6 inches from the oven vent, or 2: set your oven to preheat to 300 degrees but turn off after about 30 seconds, then set the muffin tin in the oven to rise).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it! And if you did your rise in the oven, no need to remove the tin while it pre-heats). Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the tops are very firm.
- Remove rolls to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months (wrap individually for best results in the freezer).