Gluten-Free Crusty Boule

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When Jeff and I set off to write HBin5 we knew it would include gluten-free recipes. It was the #2 request from our readers of ABin5, more of a plea than a request. The options for buying gluten-free bread are both unsatisfying and expensive, two qualities we try to avoid. We wanted to create wonderful bread that anyone, celiac or not, would want to eat. Along the way we learned a lot about baking with flours that don’t have gluten, which is what gives wheat breads their desired texture and ability to rise. It took several failed attempts, some sleepless nights and ultimately the advice of experienced gluten-free chef Shauna from Gluten Free Girl before we landed what we think is a dynamite crusty loaf, that just happens to be gluten-free.

Several readers have asked about our olive oil dough on page 238. While the Crusty Boule has a chewy and toothsome texture, the bread made with the olive oil dough has a much lighter, almost fluffy interior. Replace the neutral flavored oil in the Crusty Boule recipe with olive oil if you prefer the texture of that loaf. They are both wonderful and give you fantastic options for free form loaves, sandwich breads, pizzas and even crackers. You will find all of these, plus many other gluten-free breads and awesome sticky buns in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

For those of you who are celiac or just baking for someone who is you will find all of the directions and tips for handling gluten-free dough below. It is just as easy as our other recipes, but requires slightly different techniques and a new list of ingredients.

Gluten-Free Crusty Boule

Makes enough dough for at least four 1-pound loaves

2 cups Brown Rice Flour

1 1/2 cups Sorghum Flour

3 cups Tapioca Flour (also called tapioca starch)

2 tablespoons yeast (can be reduced but you will have to increase the rise time)

1 tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)

2 tablespoons Xanthan Gum

2 2/3 cups lukewarm water

4 large eggs, whisked together

1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil or olive oil

2 tablespoons honey or sugar

click here to see the video of this recipe

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Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a 5-quart lidded Round Food Storage Container. Combine the oil, honey and water, set aside.

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Dump the eggs into the dry ingredients and then stir while you pour in about 1/3 of the oil and water. Unlike our wheat doughs we do not add all of the liquid at once and stir. If you do that it will result in a lumpy dough.

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continue to stir while you pour in another 1/3 of the liquid.

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The dough will start to come together in a thick dough. Add the final 1/3 of liquid and

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stir until the dough is nice and smooth. Cover with the lid, but do not snap it shut. Allow it to rest on the counter for about 2 hours. Place the dough in the refrigerator and store for up to 7 days. (I have a piece in the freezer and I will report back about how that turns out once I defrost it and bake it up. Stay tuned.)

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On baking day take the bucket from the refrigerator. The dough will be quite fluffy still and you want to try not to handle the dough too much. Just like our other doughs the trick is to keep as much of the air bubbles in tact as possible.

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Use wet hands to remove 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough from the bucket.

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The dough will be quite scraggly when you take it out, just place it on a piece of parchment paper.

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Use wet hands to smooth out the surface of the dough.

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This may take dipping your hands in the water a few times…

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to get a nice shape.

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Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter for about 90 minutes. If your kitchen is very warm you may only need about 75 minutes.

30 minutes before baking time preheat the oven with a 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven in it to 500 degrees. Be sure it is fitted with a metal Replacement Knob, the original plastic knobs can only be heated to about 400 degrees. To find directions for baking on a stone see page 237 of HBin5.

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The dough will not have grown much while resting, but it will seem a little bit puffier. Use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the dough.

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Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid.

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Lift the bread on the parchment and VERY CAREFULLY lower the parchment and bread into the pot, replace the lid onto the pot. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes remove the lid, turn the heat down to 450 and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

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Once the bread is done baking remove it from the pot using a spatula.

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Allow the bread to cool completely before eating or the center may seem gummy.

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The loaf is also wonderful toasted and served with butter and marmalade. Enjoy!

To read an interview Jeff and I did about the gluten-free chapter of HBin5 visit Wasabimon.

10/12 update: WEIGHT of GLUTEN-FREE FLOURS

Brown Rice Flour: 1 cup = 5 1/2 oz = 160 grams

Tapioca Flour (Starch): 1 cup = 4 1/2 oz = 130 grams

Sorghum Flour: 1 cup = 4 3/4 oz = 135 grams

Corn Starch: 1 cup = 4 1/2 oz = 130 grams

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

910 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Crusty Boule

  1. Hi again Jeff. I wanted to report back. I made two GF pizzas and one batch of breadsticks over the weekend. The second pizza crust (yum) was better than the first, and I think I’ve got a handle on the rolling (and using ample flour) technique. The breadsticks were delicious, as I remembered Laura telling me many moons ago. So, finally some successful GF baking going on over here. Next time I’m going to try the boule recipe, as I’m not sure I loved the thought of all the corn starch in the olive oil recipe. Hi to Laura, Rachel and Julia! :) Thanks again for getting me baking.

    • I have recently switched to gluten-free due to health problems. One of my favorite non gluten-free recipes was your pita bread. Is there any way to make it with a gluten-free dough?

      • Jenny: The gluten-free recipes work as flatbreads, but they don’t tend to puff as much, if at all.

  2. This is hands down THE BEST gluten free bread I’ve ever eaten! I’ve bought expensive mixes, store-bought loaves, and recipes only to be mightily disappointed. The very first time I made this loaf it was perfect and delicious! My family is so excited to have good, gluten free bread options. We’ve made the loaves for sandwiches and pizza, and we can’t wait to try sticky buns and crackers! Thank you sooooo much!

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thank you so much for the lovely note, we are thrilled you tried the G-F bread and are enjoying it! :)

      Cheers, Zoë

  3. Awesome, I just took my first bite and that’s the best way to describe it. Also made a solid pizza crust – I just winged it on that but you just sold a book. Great work, thank you!

  4. Are there high altitude adjustments needed for gf master mix? Hard to get those flours here, would like to know beforehand. At 6000 ft in dry mtn climate.
    ty

    • Carla: Have you been to our “High Altitude” page under our FAQs tab (above)? We haven’t tested this at high altitude and surprisingly, readers haven’t given us feedback till now. I imagine that it is worse, due to the complete lack of gluten. Those suggestions may help– but it may be tough to make this work, though 6,000 feet isn’t that high.

      The risk is that it might be too dense, can’t completely rule it out before you buy ingredients….

      Jeff

      • I have recently made this in Cheyenne, WY (6,062). I didn’t make any changes to cook temp or liquids and it came out fine.

        My only change was to exchange the sourgham with buckwheat flour.

      • Hi Aaron,

        Thank you so much for letting us know. Many of our g-f bakers will be happy to hear that it works well at high altitude.

        Cheers, Zoë

  5. I’ve done the suggestions for high altitude with the wheat recipe. It helps. Going to try adding 1/3 cup more water to the next batch as it’s still too dense. But I didn’t see any suggestions for high altitude adjustments to the GF recipe. Having trouble rounding up the flours. LOL I have to stay away from wheat – I feel like I’m pregnant now! :\

    • Hi Carla,

      You will probably want to reduce the amount of yeast and do the cold refrigerator rise for the GF dough. You may also need to increase the xanthan gum if it is not working well. I would start with a 1/2 batch until you get the loaf you like!

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Pam: Many people have asked, our general answer is that since we haven’t tried it ourselves, we can’t say for sure. There’s lots of chatter out there on the web, suggesting that it can but used in place of Xanthan gum, but I’m a little skeptical. Because we store dough, we need a little more structure, and I’m afraid guar gum wouldn’t cut it.

      If you experiment with it, please let us know what you find– especially on the question of whether the dough can be stored. Jeff

  6. Is there a good replacement for the soy in the gluten free recipes? My son is allergic to gluten and soy. Thank you so much! Your recipes are amazing.

    • Constance: only a couple of our recipes have soy– just increase the other flours proportionally to make up for the lost volume– it isn’t all that much. Jeff

  7. Thanks so much for posting the gluten free flour weights! I hadn’t been getting consistent measurements for my cornstarch. Since it’s so light, and I buy it by the box, it’s tough to do scoop and sweep.

    We had an awesome pizza with the olive oil gf dough last night.

    I’m doing gf brioche right now.

    What’s a sub for 8″ pan? I’m guessing that the 9″ is too large. I have a bundt pan and 9″ pan.

    Thanks,

    Judy

  8. Oops, I don’t have a bundt pan. I have a tube pan. The batter is a bit more runny than the one with olive oil, so I appreciate your weights/

    • Hi Judy,

      Teff: 1 cup = 5.25 ounces = 150 grams

      I don’t have the weights for soy, but will get it next time I have it in the house.

      You can use a tube pan in place of a bundt, no problem. Be sure it is well greased. You can just fill the pan to about the half way point, it will take longer to rise and bake if it is larger than 8″ wide. You can also use a regular loaf pan.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  9. Thanks, Zoe!!! I appreciate this information, and look forward to the soy flour weight.

    i don’t know how I am going to “roll out” the Super Sam dough,” it’s like batter. Maybe rolling out isn’t as much of a problem and putting together and moving the dough into the pan. I might just fill the tube pan partway, add the filling and bake.

    I can’t figure out why I won’t be able to do what you did. Can I add more rice flour?

    BTW, the g-f brioche came out really nice. More like cake, actually, because of the sweetness of the soy milk (instead of cow’s milk).

    THANKS,

    Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      Yes, it does sound like your dough is much wetter than mine and you can certainly add more rice flour to thicken it up.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. I was wondering about the gluten free boule recipe. Are there other uses for it? And what other gluten free recipes are in the hbin 5 book. You see I live 1 hour and45 minutes form the nearest bookstore or mall. So it is hard for me to look at it to decide if can afford it. Thank You Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      We use the g-f dough for everything from baguettes to pizzas. There are also recipes for mock rye bread, g-f brioche, cinnamon buns and others.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Thank You Zoe. Question, how much dough is used to make the baguettes and how long to bake them and at what temp.?
    Thank You Donna

  12. Do you have a recipe for pumpernickle rye bread twist in a gluten free version. King arthur has rye powder just for your info. I miss that rye twist. Donna

  13. I do not have a dutchh oven yet. Can you give me instructions for using my pizza stone and what temp. Thank YOu Donna

  14. I jsut made this g f boule it is fabulous. I have sseveral questions, how long would it take to bake a 2 pound loaf and can I use Shuanna’s multi grain mix for this recipe? Thank You Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      You will need to let the loaf rest longer before baking and bake it longer. Let it rest an additional 30 minutes and bake an additional 20. You will have to experiment with Shauna’s flour mix, I have never used it in our method.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  15. Wondering if anyone has tried this with egg replacer? (we use EnerG) We can’t have eggs, either :(

    Or, any GF recipes without eggs?

  16. Miss Zoe,

    I forgot to slash the bread when I put it in the oven, until 10 minutes afterwards, is that okay? Next question, what is the internal temp of the bread supposed to be when it is done?

    Thank You Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      Slashing helps to make a beautiful loaf and for it to rise to its potential, but it is not absolutely necessary.

      The internal temperature of our loaves is generally around 200-210, lower for some of the enriched breads.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. I made the crusty broule yesterday and it was wonderful! Even my reluctantly gluten free kids gobbled it up. I’m heading today to buy the book. I did have one question though. Heating the oven to 500 degrees yesterday afternoon when it was 102 degrees outside made for a warm house. Today I’m planning on cooking the bread earlier in the day. But I was hoping/wondering if there was any way that I could use a bread machine.

    • Hi Michelle,

      How interesting, we usually tell people they no longer need a bread machine, but I never thought of using one as a mini oven. I have no idea if it will work as such, but it may be worth a shot. The main downfall of the machines is that you can only do one loaf at a time, which doesn’t really save you any time. But I wonder if there is a “bake” only setting, so it won’t do the mixing? If you give this a try, please let me know.

      Have you considered baking on the grill? Here is a post about that and it will work just as well for the G-F doughs: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2011/06/19/grilled-buns-on-fathers-day

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. Thank so very much for sharing a fabulous GF “Crusty” bread recipe. I have missed this type of bread for so long now. I made your Crusty Boule with a few variations and it was delicious. I wanted a bread higher in protein so I substituted the brown rice flower for GF buckwheat [not to mention my husband & I love the flavor of buckwheat]. I also added ½ cup of nicoise olives, crushed dried rosemary and topped my bread off with coarse sea salt. I followed the remaining directions exactly as you outlined and the end result was magnificent =) Merci, Merci, Merci ~

  19. I hae seceral questions.
    Can I make Naan and make pita from this recipe? HOw long should I bake them if I were to do 2 ounces instead of 8? I am a diabetic so I need towatch my carbs.
    Thank YOu Donna

    • Yes, you can do it. In general, it’s the thin-ness that reduces baking time, and if you make it the same thickness the baking time won’t change.

  20. I am going to bake up a batch for some gluten free friends this weekend and I dont own a dutch oven or a pizza stone, is there a way to modify this for a loaf pan?

    • Try small loaves or you may find the centers over-dense— in general that’s why we do the GF’s as free-forms– which dry out better. Same temp but may have to increase the baking time, will require some experimentation. Jeff

  21. You certainly could, and doing it in a smaller one can contain the sideways spreading that you sometimes get with free-form loaves. I don’t usually grease the sides of the pan, but with GF you may need to do that to prevent sticking (if it looks like it’s going to grow/expand to touch the sides. Jeff

  22. I followed this exactly, except using refined coconut oil. It rose beautifully the first 2 hours. However, it was very thin. You couldn’t grab any dough out. Had to pour, scoop it out. And it didn’t rise at all the 2nd time. I still put them in the oven, in bread pans, so we’ll see what comes out.

    • Hi Amy,

      The guar gum doesn’t have the same power to create structure in the dough as xanthan gum. I’ve not played with guar gum enough to tell you exactly how much you need to use to make it work in the same way? I’ve never gotten as good a result with it, but if you find an amount that makes you happy, please report back and let me know.

      Thanks, Zoë

  23. Hi. I have come back to this page over the past few weeks and today finally bought your cookbook so that I could have the entire GF chapter. I’m new to the GF thing and am finding it difficult to change, but the recipes in the GF chapter make me think it’s going to be just a bit easier. I do have a question tho, somewhere in one of your interviews I thought I read that the pumpkin brioche could be made using your GF brioche recipe. Is that true? If so, how do I merge the 2 recipes? Many thanks for such a terrific chapter. You may have just saved my cooks heart!

    • Hi Lisa,

      There is a pumpkin brioche in that book, but it is not g-f. It would be a wonderful combination to try, but I haven’t done it yet with the g-f flours. If you try it, do a half batch to make sure it will work. I would substitute some of the liquid with the pumpkin puree.

      Thanks! Zoë

  24. Don’t know where I’ve been but I just discovered y’all’s book. I LOVE IT!!! Thank you for helping me expand my tastes and techniques!!

  25. Yesterday I made the GF Brioche. It was almost impossible to get the lumps out of the dough (I think the cornstarch is difficult to combine). I do not have a machine, so I stirred and mixed until I ran out of energy. I think I did not mix in the wet ingredients slowly enough. What should I do next time to help the process and is there anything I can do with the dough that is sitting in my refrigerator?

    • Hi Nancy,

      Adding the wet ingredients slowly will prevent this, and using the stand mixer makes it even easier. The lumps may work themselves out a bit in the refrigeration, so give it a try and see what you think. If it is still too lumpy, you can try throwing the dough in your mixer.

      Thanks, Zoe

      • Thank you, Zoe. The bread actually came out fine and tasted delicious. I guess the refrigeration did take care of the lumps. Next time I make it, I will add the wet ingredients more slowly.
        Nancy

  26. My sister told me about this website. We are gluten free and I want to make your gluten free boule bread, I have everything I need, but realize my parchment paper only withstands 420 degrees. I was really hoping to make this up this evening, but don’t know where I can buy the right parchment paper.

  27. Zoe, thank you for responding so quickly, I have my first loaf in the oven right now, I noticed when I added the water for steam, there was very little steam created, the pan was preheated when I added the water, and I haven’t really seen any steam since, there is about 15 minutes left before the bread is done and I’m not seeing that nice brown color yet. Any thoughts?

    • Pam: The steam’s only needed in the first 10 minutes so you should be OK. WHich book, and which page-number recipe are you doing? Jeff

  28. I’m trying figure out how to make bread for my husband that is gluten free, wheat free, and yeast free. He has sensitivities to all three and all recipes I’ve found have yeast. Are there any substitutions for yeast?

    • Jenna: All you’d be left with is quick breads– those risen with baking soda and baking powder, check with Gluten Free Girl’s books….

  29. I’ve made your crusty boule many times and it has turned out great. Except the past two batches of dough I’ve made won’t hold their shape and flatten into a pancake. What am i doing wrong? I’m following the recipe as I usually do.

    • I just realized I did do one thing differently from your recipe, I ran out of xantham gum, so I used guar gum. Could that be causing the bread to not hold it’s shape?

      • Anika: I’m guessing that it’s the guar gum– I don’t think it has the structure of xanthan. You might need more? We haven’t tried this particular ingredient. Jeff

      • I tried making the dough again with xanthum gum and it worked perfectly. Guar gum was causing the dough to not hold it’s shape.

  30. I made this bread and enjoyed it! Thanks for a good recipe. I don’t much care for tapioca flour myself though – is there something specific I should look for in a substitute? Do I have to do another starch in place of it?

    Also, I got a good first rise in the bucket but after I shaped and let it rise again, it didn’t move at all. The finished product was quite doughy. Any thoughts? I did substitute flax seed & water for the egg since I have egg allergies as well.

    Thanks so much!!

  31. I tried the Almost Rye GF recipe and it was way too watery. I couldn’t even shape the loaf. Any chance there’s a typo in there? I may have misread or mismeasured, but I don’t think so. Can I just add more flour, even if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a few days? I’d hate to lose all that teff flour!

    • Ben: No typo, but unfortunately the GF flours aren’t standardized across brands the way regular flour is. So just add more flour till it’s able to be handled and then let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours to re-ferment. You should be fine. Jeff

  32. Hi, I was wondering if “fermented” sorghum flour can be used instead of regular sorghum flour? My husband bought some of both…

    BTW, I have your first two books…am a busy self-employed consulting engineer, with three kids (8, 12 and 17) and a husband who travels 50% of the time. But I have been keeping my family in bread with your method for over a year without having to buy even one loaf from the grocery store…if I can find time to do this anyone can!

    Congrats,
    Kelly

    • Hi Kelly,

      I have never used the “fermented” sorghum flour, so I’m not sure if it behaves differently. If you decide to give it a try you may want to make a small batch to make sure you like the flavor. Let us know how it goes.

      Thanks! Zoë

  33. OH.my.god. I am beyond excited to have found this post!!! Thank you so much…even before making + tasting it, I know it will be a winner!!

  34. I made 1 batch of the artisan bread for Thanksgiving turkey stuffing. I added 1 tsp. of Poutry Seasoning to the mix. I transformed one batch into croutons (cutting into cubes and drying in the oven) and used it for a flavorful and delicious stuffing.

  35. Help! I’ve been a long time fan of your Artisan Bread recipes. My mom recently went gluten free. I bought her the HBin5 book and ordered 25 lbs of gluten free all purpose flour. Now I read the recipe to find it doesn’t use gluten free all purpose flour. Can I use that in the Crusty Boule recipe? Now I’m off to find the other ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. Love you site and your books!

    • Laura: I can’t predict how that GF flour will work– in particular, how it will absorb water compared with the mixture of GF ingredients we tested in the book– we did not use a commercial GF mixture like the one you bought.

      Will take some experimentation with the water level– but probably can get it to work. What’s in that flour? Jeff

      • It totally turned out! Since this was my first gluten free baking experience I have nothing to compare it to, BUT the end product was a nicely shaped, crusty brown loaf with a light crumb and a near nutty taste. I let it cool on the counter and it sliced beautifully. I used 6 1/2 c’s Bob’s Gluten Free All Purpose flour which is a combo of Garbanzo Bean Flour, Potato Starch, and some of the other flour’s your recipe called for. I followed your recipe for the remaining ingredients and it turned out great. Thanks!

  36. Wonderful recipe, excellent site! I’m wondering if you have any hints as to how I can make this work to bake in a pullman style pan. I’m trying to create a larger sandwich style loaf for feeding my 3 boys. Thanks.

    • Hi Cyndi,

      You can certainly bake this in a loaf pan. You will probably end up using more dough to fill the pan, so you will need to allow the loaf to rest a bit longer and bake longer to make sure the center is not too dense. The exact times will depend on the size of the pan and how much dough you use.

      Thanks, Zoë

  37. GREAT recipe! I’ve been using the recipes in ABin5 for a while, and whipped up a batch so we’d have fresh bread for Christmas dinner. However, my sister is celiac, so we needed an alternative for her. I figured I’d come see if you guys had a gluten-free option, and voila!

    The GF bread came out GREAT — my sister said it’s probably the best GF bread she’s ever had! And to be honest, I tried a piece too — and it might actually be even tastier than the basic boule recipe from ABin5!

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  38. I have tried many store bought GF breads and have made several of my own, but this is by far the best GF bread I’ve ever tasted! I made all three loaves in one day, sliced them and froze them for toast in the morning. GF bread has always left something to be desired, but this bread is as close to the “real deal” as it can be. Having the cookbook and relying heavily on the buttermilk bread and the boule for years, I’m excited to have the GF version available now. Thank you!

  39. I haven’t yet tried any of the GF recipes, but I’m getting ready to. I have just recently started eliminating wheat from my diet. I HAVE baked other recipes from your first 2 books though. My concern is less with gluten (do not have Celiac), than it is with wheat. I’d like to try the boule recipe, but do not have any sorghum flour. Could I substitute another flour? I like oat flour; can I use that?

    Also, for the GF Olive Oil Bread, or the GF Brioche, I’m not crazy about the idea of all that cornstarch. Can I substitute another starch/flour for some of it? And, do you know if arrowroot will perform in the same way that the cornstarch does in these recipes?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    • Leslie: You can try oat flour, or proportionally increase other flours in the recipe, but it’s going to take some experimentation, in particular with the water level. No promises about flavor or texture. We found that developing the GF recipes was fairly sensitive to mixtures of flours and their proportions.

      We haven’t experimented with arrorroot or other starches, but worth a try…

  40. This is the best gf bread that I’ve ever made. Those that don’t eat gf have raved over it, not believing that it was gf. My kids argue about who will get to eat this bread, it is that good. Thank you for such a delicious and easy recipe!

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