My first attempt at baking gluten free bread in a machine - help needed pls!

My first attempt at baking gluten free bread in a machine - help needed pls!

I have been cooking gluten free, dairy free food for over a year now but never had the nerve to try and make my own bread. Until now. My mother in law has a bread machine and offered to lend it to me, as we have all had problems getting hold of the 'nice' Genius bread in the supermarkets of late. We consume rather a lot of GF bread, and waste a fair bit, as the loaves are often far from perfect and regularly fall apart - particulary the Warburtons version. So I decided I would see if it really is that hard to make good GF bread. Turns out - it is!

I followed the recipe on the side of the Doves Farm bread flour packet. It looked simple and I thought I did a good job. I know that getting your measurements is critical in bread making, so paid a lot more attention than normal. Slap dash is my usual style, but today I was like a junior scientist with all my measuring spoons and cups. I also read the machine instructions over a couple of times and felt relatively confident. It certainly seemed easy enough. Just measure out ingredients, put them all in the tin. Put the tin in the machine. Put the lid down and press the button.

I chose the hour long 'quick cycle' as my recipe seemed to be suitable and it didn't say on the pack how long to cook the bread for - if using a machine. I liked how quick and simple it seemed. I even decided that if I made a good job, I would continue to bake bread for my little ones as it was far simpler than driving to all of the local supermarkets searching in vain for an over priced, often nearly out of date loaf of Genius.

As you will see from the picture, the end result was far from pretty. I can also honestly say it tasted every bit as dreadful as it looked. It really lacked taste, so probably needed more salt. But I had read that too much salt can affect the end result. However, I did not deviate from the Doves Farm recipe, so unless I had an absent minded moment and read it wrong - that couldn't have been the problem.

I wondered if the cycle length was wrong. It did seem a bit short. I loved watching through the viewing window of the machine and was amazed as it worked on the dough and I saw it grow before my very eyes. It looked like the real thing. I remember from school that the resting and proving is very important and after about ten minutes of kneading the machine stopped and got warm, so I guess that was so the proving could start.

Then a short while later I noticed a nice cooking smell filling the kitchen so popped back in for another look. It looked like an overgrown scone. And that is how it remained. Even when the beeper went to signify the end of the cycle. It didn't look very brown. It looked like a massive half baked dumpling. Oh dear.

I put the oven on. I wondered if perhaps I could finish it off in a conventional oven. I knew I couldn't serve it in that state. It was obviously not cooked in the middle as there was a grey green smooth shine to the bottom 'creases' of the loaf. That puzzled me too. There was a baked-in 'kneading tool' shape. I guess that must always happen, as you cannot take the 'kneader/mixer' tool out. Does anyone know? Is that just part of the deal? You bake in a bread machine but allow for a hole in the bottom?

The bread went back into my fan assisted oven, which had been put on a low heat. I left it until I could see the outer crust browning and the green/grey areas changed to white. I took it back out, tore off a chunk - still tasteless and a very odd texture. Definitely more like an over cooked scone than anything else.

I am not really sure I can do anything with it other than whizz it up and turn it into some very useful breadcrumbs - I don't want to waste it.

Sophia was excited about making bread for the first time and was in bed before it was finished. She made me promise to let her try it for breakfast. So I have wrapped it up in foil and put it in the breadbin. It may work well sliced and toasted, perhaps with some chocolate spread or marmite on top to make it look a bit more appealing, and to 'cook' it a tiny bit longer.

If that doesn't work, I will have another try. I am tempted to bake it in the conventional oven next time. Not sure that the bread machine and I are destined to get along. The recipe and method for cooking bread in an oven looks every bit as simple as the bread machine version. If that fails then I will keep trying and looking for/asking for new recipes and methods until I get it right. I am determined to get this right and certainly not too proud to ask for a bit of help!

14 Replies

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  • High FMIC, now I love bread making and make all my own bread and use my own flour mix and do not use a bread maker.

    So one suggestion is to make the same recipe again and this time put the mix in a bread tin and let it prove in your top oven which you've gently preheated. I also do not use these quick yeasts so mix the yeast with warm water + 1 tea spoon of sugar and leave it for at least 10 mins until it goes frothy and bubbles.

    The other thing that it could be with the bread maker is the quantity you used and it might have worked if you used 1/2 the amount.

    In case you are interested marmite is made with spent brewers yeast and is not classed as gf in all countries and Lynxcat posted a blog where it was tested and found to contain around 30ppm. I also do not think that it is listed in CUK food list any more. So it depends on how sensitive Zac is.

    Please see:

    diet.com/dietblogs/read_blo...

    And I reckon you could make some bread pudding with the failed loaf.

  • Hi Jerry. Thanks for the tip. I was aware that marmite has a question mark over it. I don't think it aggravates Zac. He has it most days, but having said that his tummy is quite distended - but always has been, long before he discovered he liked marmite, which was around the time he came off dairy.

    As for the tips on bread making, I really appreciate those and will try again. Good idea on the bread pudding. I did think of it but need to see if I can find a recipe that is dairy free too. For now, just froze it and will make breadcrumbs at some point, or use it as a door stop!

  • dairy free custard from alpro should do the trick

  • Hi, my bread has always turned out like yours when I've used a breadmaker and wasn't any cheaper. I do find that making a tray bread with added onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes and cheese is really nice. As to Marmite, I eat it all the time and my DH will normally react to the slightest gluten...but..I've been sent one of those gluten tests for food so out of interest I'll test marmite. I'm planning on testing a few foods that say "may contain' but the ingredients don't indicate gluten at all. I'll let you know. Can you not get bread on prescription? The part baked rolls from juvela are gorgeous and so is their fresh bread.

  • Hi, thanks for this comment. I like the idea of additions. We just can't do cheese, but my little one does love garlic, so that is worth a go. Am afraid we don't have a prescription because his one and only blood test came back negative. We have been advised just to avoid for the next couple of years and see if he grows out of it! Don't think he will. But then again, I don't want to subject him to more tests as it made him so very ill last time.

  • I still haven't found a good bread recipe and have now given up on bread all together. So if anyone has a simple loaf with no eggs, xanthan gum or large amounts of fat would love to hear about it.

  • Hi Jillp, whenever I ate marmite I would get mouth ulcers, so I asked CUK why they did not label marmite as containing malt. Their reply was that they did not bother with foods at the lower end of codex. This was when we had 200ppm as gf.

    When the new labelling laws were announced I asked marmite if it would still be labelled as gluten free or even very low gluten after Jan 2012 when the new labelling laws came into force. They never replied and I emailed them twice over this.

    If you read how marmite is made then it's obvious there will be traces of gluten from the barley used in beer making.

    Lastly if a coeliac was happy with codex wheat with around 100ppm then marmite will not appear to be an issue.

  • I don't know that a gf loaf is appropriate for a breadmaker. The processes for developing gluten for bread (kneading, rising, etc) are specific to gluten breads. Gf flours are different. In a way, you're looking for the best way to *mimic* gluten in a bread, but this may not be a result of the same processes.

    Even when I used to bake spelt bread, it was a completely different process to regular wheat bread. The mix was loose and soupy and there was no kneading. I'm not confident my usual spelt recipe would have worked in a breadmaker either.

    For some reason google isn't cooperating with me (my computer is running slow today) but if you get a chance, find the gluten free girl (gluten free girl and the chef is the name of the blog). She and her husband have spent years perfecting gf bread and I feel her standards are quite high. She is also the person who revealed that xanthan gum was the source of many problems for me. On her suggestion I began to use psillium husk in baking instead and feel much better for it.

    She also has recipes for flour mixes and a ratio system which apparently helps give better results in baking because you can't just substitute gf flours for wheat flour gram for gram.

    I haven't yet tried her bread recipes but they're on my list of things to do.

    Her blog is laden with info and it can feel a little difficult to take it all in, so be prepared to take time to digest it all.

    I used to make a spelt sourdough with my own starter, no measuring; I'd just throw in half the starter, salt, a little oil, enough water and flour to make up the right texture and let it sit until I was ready to put it in the oven. I was so proud of it. I'm overwhelmed thinking I'll have to start from scratch now, so I'm leaving bread for a later experiment.

    Good luck!

  • alas i haven't found any decent gf bread recipes yet.... most of the reasons seems to be that theres no second proving as you have with gluten flour. so the bread seems to be very heavy, as in ideal for a door stop.

    so if anybody on here has a foolproof recipe for bread plz plz post it,

    janie :)

  • i read somewhere that you don'nt knead a gluten free loaf at all, its meant to be a quite sticky loaf have'nt tried it myself yet though, baked normal bread all the time, got rid of my breadmaker as was never as good as making it by hand

  • Here's the bread that I make. And gluten free bread doesn't rise again if knocked back and to avoid too many air bubbles causing holes in the bread it's best not to using baking powder just let the yeast make it rise and then pop it in the oven.

    I make all my own bread and here's the recipes and pictures:

    withoutgluten.co.uk/recipes...

    And here's some pictures showing the cut loaf and the breads structure:

    withoutgluten.co.uk/recipes...

    And this bread was made mostly with ground rice. I hope this helps those of you who find gf bread making a black art.

  • Some bread making machines have a GF program on them. If they don't you can get in touch with the manufacturer and they will send you loads of recipes and info for making GF bread in their machine. You still get the hole from the paddle though.

  • I do have some experience with Dove´s Farm Bread Mixes, let me try and help you.

    Being out of the UK and with amazon.co.uk offering those flour mixes makes these by far the most affordable bread mixes I could find.

    I am able to achieve an acceptable bread with either the brown and white bread mix, the white being of a "cakey" type but still with decent taste and the brown being more dense and filling but very good taste especially fresh out of the oven/breadmaker.

    First thing I would point out is the program you used, it´s way too short...I have tried it also and always an epic fail. I always use a normal program, it´s 3 hours but I know what the outcome will be. My breadmaker doesn´t have any in between programs, either fast 1h or normal 3h, I would bet something around 2 hours would be ideal.

    Second I would check the method used. With the breadmaker I always use the following approach, picked up from someone´s blog or manufacturer: liquids first, then solids and in the end sprinkle the yeast on top. I use this with every recipe and also mix the liquids before adding to the pan.

    Third, what yeast are you using and how? This sometimes is a problem area because there´s a different way to use each(I use Dry and Quick yeast the same way, sprinkling over the other ingredients and the Fresh I mis with flour before adding to the pan, for example).

    I have tried in the oven and it is easy to make but a lot more stuff to do and clean up later so I use the breadmaker for everyday bread and it sure has become a very helpful tool: 5 minutes preparing everything, 3 hours later it is done and only a pan and a bowl to clean works very nice for me.

  • So, having read all these comments, I'm still not sure whether it's a good idea to buy a bread maker! I'm not a baker generally but having received six packets of flour on prescription I feel I need to make the effort.

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