Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crusty Gluten-Free French Bread

This is the promised bread recipe I made with my Red Lentil Soup the other day. I was inspired by Shauna at the Gluten-Free Girl blog, and her crusty boule bread recipe. I made a few adjustments to some of the ingredients. It was really easy, just took a few hours to make because of the yeast rising process. I have not made a yeast bread in a very long time. It was actually quite fun and reminded me of making yeasted home grown pizza dough as a kid. Oh those were the days...

I think a good bread recipe like this is one to have up your gluten-free-sleeve. It sometimes seems impossible to find a good soup or salad bread from a store for the gluten-free. I have had no luck where I live at least, so I am led to experiment and make a loaf of my own. I was pleasantly surprised how this loaf turned out and decided that it wasn't all that bad to be gluten-free :) I know, I sometimes have to convince myself of that in certain food situations. I have been doing this diet for almost 4 years now and it seems very natural, until I find myself at a traditional Italian restaurant or pizza parlor and I am reminded of my restricted diet. If you are like me, you settle for making the gourmet gluten-free Italian meal at home or in some cases find a gluten-free restaurant that has a fabulous menu that you can splurge on only for special occasions. And that is why this bread is so important. You can make it for a very fair price and share it with any Italian meal, soup or stew and you will not be disappointed or wishing for the real thing. OK, I can't promise you won't be wishing for the real thing, but it is a darn good substitute. And, who doesn't like the smell of home baked bread in their kitchen?!
I sliced the pieces pretty thick here, but you can really probably get a good 20 pieces out of this loaf. I also wrapped up the loaf in some parchment and rosemary as it was cooling to add a little aroma and flavor to the crust. It turned out beautifully! I shared this loaf also with friends along with my red lentil soup and it was tasted and enjoyed (which made me feel even more normal).
Crusty French Recipe
1 1/3 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 packet of active dry yeast

3 TB of honey
3 TB of olive oil
2 whipped eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
3/4 cup of sorghum flour
1 1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1 TB of xanthan gum
1 1/2 ts of sea salt

In a large glass measuring container or bowl, pour the warm water (use a water/meat thermometer to test the warm water at 110- 115 for perfect water temp for dissolving yeast). So you measure and test the water and then pour the yeast packet and mix with a spoon and let sit and dissolve for around 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together will with a whisk. Then in a smaller bowl mix all the other wet ingredients minus the water and yeast and have that ready for mixing. After 5 minutes, dig a hole in your dry mixtures and pour in the water and yeast, then pour in the other wet ingredients and mix well with a spatula. Mix until all the parts are together but be careful to not over mix and make the batter tougher than it needs to be. Use tapioca flour if you need a little more flour on top to mix with your hands. Roll/spoon into a ball in the bowl and drip a little more olive oil around the base.

Then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit and rise for 2 hours in a warm place. A good warm place may be sitting on the stove top if you have the oven on, or wherever it is warmest in your kitchen. Let rise for 2 hours so that it is doubled in size. Then pull out of bowl, dust with more tapioca flour or oil and roll into ONE oblong loaf on a large baking sheet, dusted with flour if you prefer. Once you have a nice tight bread roll, then you can use a serrated knife and cut a design on the top. Then cover with the clean kitchen towel again and let rise for another 45 minutes on the stove.

After rising again, put in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Bake until the crust is a golden brown and the loaf makes a hollow sons when you tap it with a knife. Pull from the oven and let rest and cool for at least 3 minutes before cutting into it. Serve fresh with some olive oil and herbs, or as your favorite dipping utensil.
Like I said, I made this to pair with a hearty lentil soup and even after sharing with friends had leftovers for the next two days. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the coming of fall in these cooler parts and I have to say... it feels nice to have a slice of dipping bread with soup. Almost surreal.

Hope you have a happy weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Much love to you!




  1. I feel the same way with my gluten-free diet - it seems natural until I try to eat out! This looks so crusty and delicious! I bet it was wonderful with that soup.

  2. Stephanie!

    You are so gifted in the kitchen! Thank you for sharing your recipes and stories with us all. I still make your roasted cauliflower. So delicious!

  3. This looks like an amazing bread recipe! I was wondering how you think that this would hold up as the base for a stuffing recipe??

  4. SLColeman- I have not tried this bread for stuffing, but it is crusty and it seems like it would hold up well. It's worth a try! If you make some, let me know how it turns out for you. Much love, Stephanie

  5. Oh! I just made this bread again tonight and was wondering the same thing! I am not as awesome as you in the kitchen, and I am definitely not skilled at stuffing, but I am wondering if after you make it, season it how you would like and toast it like making croutons, and then use it for stuffing??

  6. Joelle (and others)- Yes, I would make the loaf of bread let it cool for a few hours and then cut it up in cubes and toast it in the oven on lower heat ( like you are making croutons) and then after drying out for a few hours I would take the crouton, bread cubes and mix that with the herbs and whatever else, along with the broth/stock and then bake in the oven again to make your stuffing. I hope it would turn out with this bread. I will have to try it sometime and see what I think.

  7. OK...I tried it. A very small batch so I was winging the measurements on seasonings. I was a little worried mine was too yeasty to do this, but I think with more seasonings it would mask it = ) It definitely holds up. I toasted them and then let them dry out over night. In fact, I should have added more broth or crushed up the cubes a bit to get it a little more mushy. I think I'm gonna go for making a whole batch of stuffing. It's almost torture to go through the effort to make such yummy bread and then turn around and cut it up and toast it!! UGH...I would much rather dip it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

  8. Joelle- Thanks for the info and update on your stuffing! I bet it tastes great, and truly truly homemade stuffing with all the work you are putting in. Hope you have a wonderful Thankgiving. Much love!

  9. I made this today, though with an egg-substitute, and it turned out fantastic! Love the crust! The middle was a bit moist...not sure if I could have let it cooled longer (that seemed to help). I also had to turn the bread over to cook the bottom (again, maybe the egg change had some effect). But just wanted to say thanks for posting!! We are thinking of trying to turn it into a pizza crust (since it is so crunchy)... have you tried this? If I do I will report how it comes out.

  10. Vanessa, I have not tried this as a pizza crust, but think it would work wonderfully. Let me know if you try it and how it goes. I bet the egg-sub made a difference....what kind of egg sub did you use? So glad that you liked it and will have to try it again without egg and see what I think. :) Much love!

  11. Hi Stephanie, So I used Ener G Egg Replacer. Today I attempted a pizza. First off, I ran out of tapioca starch so had to sub in some potato starch. Also, I made more of a crust and added toppings on the side at the table. The "crust" was supper crunchy (which we liked). I tried to put sauce on one piece, with a cheese, and heated it in the got a bit soggy. We will probably do this again and just add the toppings at the table again. So not really pizza, but close. Also I turned the crust over after about 20-30 minutes and cooked another 10. I did the first rise in a bowl, the second in the pizza pan.

  12. Hmmm...I was wondering about egg replacers and pizza too! Thanks Vanessa. I may have to try something too.