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

886 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Crusty Boule

  1. Thank you sooo much! I’m going to try this today. I have loved making the artisan bread in 5 minutes recipe and was very sad to have to stop due to gluten intolerance in my youngest. I can’t wait to resume making delicious bread.

  2. Thank you. A lot! Store bought by bread tastes like old gym socks an it is prohibitively expensive. Other great recipes use expensive, hard to find ingredients, and are entirely too labor I intensive. Yours is the yummiest, most economically sound, and easiest. Thank you!

  3. I have made the gluten free boule and rye gluten free breads and enjoyed them. I’ve recently subsitited flax seed meal for the eggs to be able to give to fiends who couldn’t eat the eggs and that worked but it was not as enjoyable a taste without the eggs. Any suggestions for improving the taste without the eggs?
    Thanks,
    Bob

    • Jennifer– can bake on a baking stone, cookie sheet, silicone pad. Which of our books do you have, can point you to directions?

  4. I made a batch of this earlier today and used it to make pizza. You have made me very happy. I can once again enjoy good homemade pizza while my family is happily munching on their gluten laden homemade pizza. This is a happy day in our household. Now I need to use the other three portions of the dough. Looking forward to good tasting GF bread!!! Thanks!!!!!!!

  5. Hi,
    I have a question about your gluten free recipe for the Olive Oil Bread. You are using a soy flour in the recipe. All the soy flour I have found does not appear to be gluten free. I’m not sure why that is. Bobs Red Mill, for example, does not sell a gluten free version. Is there a good gluten free substitute for the soy flour if I can’t find a gluten free source?
    thanks,
    Bob

    • Hi Bob,

      That is very interesting, I’ll have to look into the source of the flour I used. You can substitute any other bean flour, since we added the soy to boost the protein content of the loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Giving the info about the soy flour substitutes is important because lots of people can’t eat soy either. In my case, it interferes with my thyroid. I didn’t make the olive oil GF bread recipe for my pizza crust last night because I was worried about the soy. Now that I know a good substitute, olive oil GF is the next recipe I will tackle. Thanks!

    • A manufacturer might not claim gluten free due to possible contamination with gluten containing grains grown near by or in the previous growing season.

  6. Hi
    I made your GF bread last week and I can tell you it was fantastic and so easy. Loved the idea of using what I needed for a loaf and kept the rest in the fridge and made a batch of bread rolls and naan bread later on the week with the dough. I’m the only one that’s GF but the whole family got stuck into this bread.
    My only problem was that I had to substitute the brown rice flour with white rice flour as that’s all I had and didn’t weigh the flours (went by cup measurements). My dough was extremely wet …way more than on your video and the bread didn’t quite hold it’s nice shape but still very tasty. Would the white rice flour have made the different or just that I didn’t weigh it?

    • Hi Georgia,

      Did you mix the dough by hand or in a mixer? I find that using a mixer for the g-f doughs will make a much more uniform and cohesive dough. If your dough seems wet, it is often that it just isn’t mixed up quite enough and throwing it in a stand mixer for one minute with the paddle attachment will generally do the trick. I find that brown rice and white rice flours are very similar, and should produce a dough that is radically different.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe,

        I weighed the flours this time and used my mixer with the paddle attachement. Worked a treat this time. Thank you for your help.

  7. Do you have any advice on making a smaller portion of this? I don’t really have a lot of room in my fridge… ever, so I want to make one or two loaves of this. I know that you can’t simply double a recipe when it comes to GF baking, so it stands to reason that you can’t simply halve everything either. Have you tried this yet?

  8. Can this bread be made in a 7.5 qt. dutch oven? Would I just need to make the loaf larger, or should I still divide the dough into fourths?

    • In the larger ones, you can get a little less concentration of the steam, so maybe not quite so pronounced an enhancement of the crust. But maybe not– in most cases it won’t make a difference. And of course, the large ones are great for big loaves. The sides of the loaf can touch the sides, or there can be space, doesn’t matter.

  9. Two distinct questions -
    First, what is the loss to the bread baking process or taste if the bread dough (gluten fee and regular wheat based dough) is not given 2 or more hours to rise before going into the refrigerator.. Or just put in directly after mixing. ? ( it does expand in the refrigerator )

    Second question, related to the gluten free boule. I’m substituting flax seed meal for the eggs and that is fine for taste but I am having a hard time reducing the soft gummy texture of the bread. How can I reduce that problem?

    Thanks,

    Bob

    • 1. No loss, just takes longer. Some people will claim flavor’s better this way.
      2. Yeah, those eggs supply some rise. See if you can decrease the gumminess by decreasing the water slightly. Also, make sure you’re never eating GF’s while warm– let them cool completely or it’ll seem gummy.

  10. Hi I’m so excited for the gf recipes in your healthy artisan bread book but having trouble too with wet gummy bread I’ve added flour I’ve baked longer and I use a stone the crust is amazing the look smell holes are wonderfully but cold wet feeling is it supposed to be this way thank you

    • Are you waiting till it’s completely cool? If so, first thing to try is use a little more flour in the batches. But it’s definitely a moister result than most wheat breads.

      • Hi Jeff thank you for getting back to me so fast I did add more flour and I changed the baking time a little and I’m so excited I have beautifully amazing artisan bread that’s not wet or gummy and I was so shocked to see shiny custard crumb all over the loaf and it sang when I took it out of the oven I’ve missed baking wheat bread so much so your book is a real blessing to me I’m enjoying baking bread again i was so excited I bought your pizza cookbook thank you so much you guys

  11. I made this for the first time today, and it turned out perfect! The loaf is fairly small for us since I have a big family. Do you have any thoughts about what the cooking time would be if I made this a 2 lb. loaf?

  12. I made this bread last night and even my gluten eating friends enjoyed it. (And that was after the handicap of having to cook it in a dutch oven in my gas bbq grill as my oven was busy with another project!) Thanks for posting it for us to try. I just ordered the book. Looking forward to trying more of your gf recipes.

      • Got the book! Tried the GF Olive Oil bread which I loved. The flavor was amazing. Can’t wait to make pizza with it. It totally hit the spot as I have been missing a good Italian bread. The kind that you eat so much of that you spoil your appetite for dinner. My only question is about the density. Both of these breads have been denser than the bread of my dreams.I notice you describe the olive oil loaf in particular as having a light & fluffy interior. I wouldn’t describe mine that way so I’m wondering if can make an adjustment. (I have noticed it doesn’t seem to rise much at all during the resting period. Is this normal?)

      • Density is the constant companion of gluten-free baking! Maybe what we should have said was “light and fluffy, well, for gluten-free bread”. It won’t be as light as wheat bread. The minimal rise is typical of all our stored doughs, we rely on oven-spring for loft to a greater extent than traditional non-stored doughs.

        Let’s try decreasing the liquid a little. 2 to 4 tablespoons for starters and see what you think.

  13. Thanks for the response. The batch I made yesterday came out a bit lighter than the first two. It was the first that I made by cooking on a stone and adding steam rather than in a dutch oven. But it also has me wondering if I should be weighing my ingredients out before I start decreasing liquid so I can be more precise. Do you have these recipes converted to weights or would I need to figure it out for myself?

    • Our website doesn’t have weight conversions, sorry–our publisher would kill us if we put all our book content here on the website! Starting with Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Min/Day (2011), all our books have weights in the dough recipes, in addition to cup-measures. The Pizza book has GF with weights (http://amzn.to/eo10NJ), and so does our upcoming New Artisan Bread in 5 (http://amzn.to/17Rw23Y). It’s available now for pre-order, shipping on October 22.

      • I do have the Healthy Bread in 5 book, but there don’t seem to be conversions there. I guess I can brush up on my math and convert it for myself with the help of the internet or the ingredient packages…

  14. I’m trying to make mini pizza crusts with this dough, but I’m not sure what temp to use or how long. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

  15. My county is out of sorghum flour. So you think I could add 1cup amaranth flour and 1/2 cup teff flour as an emergency replacement? My son is allergic to wheat, soy, peanut and milk and we love this recipe. Can I make it w/o sorghum? Any help appreciated….

  16. I notice that the directions on-line for gluten free crusty boule are different than in your book. on-line talks about not adding all the liquid at once and dumping the eggs in separately. Which one do I follow? Thank you so much for all you guys do!

    Blessing and peace to you both

  17. I have made 3 loaves of this so far this week, and I LOVE the taste and texture! My problem is that when I leave the dough out after having it refrigerated, it spreads A LOT. It almost doubles in width, and is rather flat. I have tried reducing the liquid but that didn’t seem to help. Any ideas?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Are you making any substitutions? If not, make sure you are really packing the flours into the measuring cups. If you have a stand mixer, it may help to make the dough in the mixer with the paddle attachment. Let it mix for about 1 minute on medium high speed. This will emulsify the dough, which may prevent the spreading.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. Made this BF bread this morning. The taste is pretty good, but it was very dense. Any tips for getting it to rise more and getting more of an open texture bread? Could my yeast be bad or maybe I need fresher eggs? Hoping I can tweak it so it will be a little more airy. Thanks for this recipe and technique!

    • Hi Heather,

      Did you mix the dough by hand? If so, try doing it in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Let it mix on med-high speed for about 1 minute. This makes for a lighter dough and bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. So when baking this bread why is it y’all baked it in a pot? I saw I can use my cookie sheet but are the temps the same because yours was covered? I’m a little confused thanks I can’t wait to try it I just wasn’t sure on the baking part.

  20. It’s been months now… have you tried the frozen dough? I’m a single person and would like to either make a smaller batch or be able to freeze it.

  21. I would like to substitute guar gum for the xanthan gum. Do you know if they substitute equally or if there is an adjustment to be made?

    • We haven’t started experimenting with this seriously yet, so you’ll have to experiment. It may not have the same structural power as xanthan, but we just don’t know. Please let us know what your experiments show.

      • I tried the guar gum in a halved recipe. I let the dough rise for 2 hours then refrigerated for 22 hours. I made one loaf and then let the dough rise again for 90 min and baked in a 425 oven for 45 minutes. I had a very good tasting, but heavy condensed loaf. I plan to try again with the guar gum when I can complete the process without refrigeration and will then post results here.

      • Update:
        Followed the process from beginning to end without refrigeration. Same results. Returning to xanthan gum….

  22. Please clarify a couple things.
    1) Do you use 2 cups of brown rice flour or do you use 2 of the weight measures you posted in your 10/12 update?
    2) Do you put the liquids in 1/3 at a time or dump them all in at once?

    Re: #1 You listed in the recipe that we use 2 cups of brown rice flour, etc. In the 10/12 update, you say “Brown Rice Flour: 1 cup = 5 1/2 oz = 160 grams” So, are you saying we need to use 160 grams (which actually is a lot more than one cup measure) or just use cups and this is some kind of weird trivia?

    Re: #2 In the printed recipe, you stress only to put in 1/3 of liquid at a time and stir it in. In the video, you say (and do) just dump in all the liquids at once. Which is it?

  23. Hi! I’d love to give this a try. I noticed in your addendum that you list the weight of a cup of corn starch… but you do not have corn starch listed in your original recipe. Is corn starch missing from the original recipe? Or did it just sneak in with the rest on the addendum? Thank you so much!

  24. Correct, there’s no cornstarch in this recipe, that was just included in the weights table for completeness– some of our other GF recipes do have cornstarch.

  25. How did the frozen dough turn out? I would like to be able to freeze this but am wondering if it’s easier to freeze the dough or just freeze the bread after making it.
    Thanks!

  26. Just baked one loaf and the second one is in the oven. My kitchen smells wonderful and the bread is so good.
    I will share the second loaf with friends.
    Thanks for this good recipe.

  27. I am having a GF disaster with trying this in in my breadmaker on the dough setting. It didn’t fit & I took some out put it in a separate covered bowl; it kept rising. It didn’t seem to want to stop rising. Now I’m not sure if I still need to let it sit the extra time…so I will just take some & try baking it. It seems much more watery & I won’t be able to use the same technique you just used to make a loaf. I didn’t have as large a plastic container as you had. I am not sure if I need to let it sit longer or if I can try to pour some into the container now headed for the fridge. It’s also possible that my water was a bit to warm when I started the rising process. Any how, I am just going to check it again now…it should be finished it’s 2 hour rising session!

    I will try it in the dutch oven technique first. Can I do this without the second rising?

    I may also try pouring a small amount into a mason jar to see if I can make mason jar bread….or maybe I’ll try this another day!

    I was also trying this recipe replacing one cup of rice flour with teff & used your egg replacement recipe.

    • It really stuck to the parchment as I couldn’t form the dough it was more like super thick pancake mix…when it went in. I’ve made a ton of gf breads it’s not that hard when you find one recipe that works…it’s trying the others that are a waste of time…I forgot since I haven’t made it in ages! I was diagnosed as celiac 10 yrs ago.

      • Oh, I just ran across the recipes on your web site & thought I’d try it both ways. I will make this again…very good! I love it with the teff…

      • I made this again using my version of the flax seed egg replacement rather than yours & it worked out much better and less watery. If you want to make this vegan replace each egg with one tablespoon of flax seed & 2 of water. I also wanted to conserve electricity & made the bread in my toaster oven in a small cast iron pan with high sides & no waxed paper, just put in a lot of coconut oil. I could probably even bake this on a stove top or a fire with a dutch oven. Thnx

  28. It’s really good & was worth the trouble. Thnx I now have two gf bread recipes I can make. I am now experimenting with baking it in Mason jars then will be freezing them for on the go super yummi gf bread in single portions! I broke one so far…I wonder if I could put the mason jars sideways into the toaster oven to warm them up once defrosted…

    I just have no idea how I will clean the disaster inside my bread maker!

  29. The only substitution I have made is guar gum instead of xantgan gum. After reading some new comments, I think this may be the issue. As I cannot have xanthan gum, I will stick with guar gum and enjoy my tasty if somewhat flatter bread!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      If you try increasing the guar gum and find it is working, please report back, I’m sure other readers will be interested to know.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  30. Jennifer try using 50% more guar gum so if recipe calls for 2tlbsp of axantham gum try 4 tlbsp of guar gum that was a suggestion from bobs Redmill to me hope it helps or 3 to 4 tlbsp good luck

  31. Hi jennifer also I forgot to mention that guar gum brakes down at higher temps so maybe try also lower temps too I hope this and the 50% use of guar gum helps you and please let us all know how it goes I have not tried guar gum for these recipes yet good luck Christine

  32. I’ve been hesitant about making gluten-free, but your formulas seem to work for other breads, so looking at giving your GF a go.

    Quick questions: Is there merit in pre-mixing the dry ingredients into larger batches to avoid having to mix all the time? If done this way, any idea how long it would be OK to store this pre-mix?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Tony,

      It is a concept we are working on as well. I think it is a good idea. I would say the flours should be stored in a dry, cool spot and can last for about a month, depending on conditions.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Cool – I’ll be trying it, and will share results and formulas (I bake by weight, not cups) here.

        Thanks for the info, and keep up the great work!

  33. I have a sourdough starter that I’ve made. I’d like to use it instead of the 2 Tablespoons of yeast that is called for in the recipe. How much of my sourdough starter would I use for 2 Tablespoons of yeast?

  34. Gluten-Free Crusty Boule

    Our experience with purchased bread is that those with tapioca flour are dry and not terribly tasty. Potato flour provides a better flavor in regular breads. Can potato flour/starch be substituted in entirety or in part in this recipe?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Cheri,

      I’ve never made it subsituting with potato flour, so I’m not entirely sure. I do know that corn starch works. We’ve had very positive reviews of this loaf, so you may want to give this recipe a run as written. If for no other reason, to be able to compare if the potato flour is a suitable substitution.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you Zoe for your response. Since you say it is good, we’ll have to try it as is. Thank you so much for the recipes!!

  35. Hi Cheri I’ve used potatoes starch in place of corn starch and it works the same be sure to use potatoes starch and not potatoes flour good luck hope this helps christine

    • Thank you Christine. I have used it in place of corn starch too, but was asking if I could substitute for tapioca starch. And Zoe says not to do that at the beginning anyway. I plan to follow it exactly, but my market didn’t have sorghum and then my car broke down before I could get to another one. We SOOOO wanted to make the bread. Being stuck at home is a good time to bake!! :)

  36. I’m sorry Cheri I must have miss read your post but I’ve used corn potatoes tapioca starch in place of each other with both recipes and it works fine I’ve baked Gf for 15 years so I hope this helps you its nice when we can help each other

    • Christine,

      You are so sweet. I have been able to make all kinds of food since my son was diagnosed with celiac a few years ago. But I haven’t even attempted to tackle bread. But I want to. Thanks for the encouragement. And God bless you as well. Maybe we could exchange email addresses and share ideas?

      Cheri

      • Keep sharing here, so we can see it too. :D

        Stephanie (glutent intolerant, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)

  37. Hi Cheri also I read you were out of sorghum you can substitute brown rice flour I’m sorry to hear about your car I’ve been there its not fun especially when we want to bake I wish I lived by you I would help god bless you good luck Christine

  38. I have loved making bread from your first book, and my friends and family have been enjoying homemade bread daily for years. Now I would like to learn to make GF bread for friends.

    My question is whether I can use any of the many GF flours to dust the tops of the loaves before baking. I love the way that makes my wheat loaves look, and I’d like my GF loaves to look that great. Which flours work best for this? Is there any reason not to do it?

    Thanks!

  39. Hi Jeff and Zoe have you guys tried sourdoughstarter with Gf crusty boule yet and if so what amounts thank you so much happy holidays to you both and your family’s

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