Gluten-Free Naan and an update on freezing the dough!

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This past week I got together with 3 enthusiastic bread bakers.  I’d brought two buckets of dough to work with; the master recipe from ABin5 and the gluten-free brioche from HBin5. From those two buckets we baked everything from an epi and sticky buns to flatbreads like pita, pizza and naan.  Charlie, Anne and Carole are very creative and not at all intimidated by bread baking, although they are fairly new at it. I was there to teach them about baking and yet I came away with all kinds of new ideas and inspiration. Out of a request for quick breakfast ideas to feed their kids (some of whom are on gluten-free diets) we experimented with making the gluten-free brioche into a naan. Rolled out in sugar and fried up in butter it was fantastic. The brioche cooked in this way had a crisp caramel coating with an almost pudding like interior. It was so good and easy that it got me thinking about making a more traditional version of naan with the gluten-free crusty boule dough I had left over. It was every bit as delicious as the naan made with our wheat doughs and still as quick.

I also experimented with freezing the gluten-free doughs. Several of you had wondered if this was a possibility since we only recommend refrigerating it for 5-7 days. At the bottom of this post you will see how that experiment turned out.

Gluten-Free Naan:

8-ounce piece of gluten-free crusty boule dough

1 tablespoon Ghee, clarified butter or European style butter (You can use regular butter, but you have to be careful of the butter burning. The ghee and clarified butter have a higher burning point and allow you to cook without worry of it burning.)

Brown Rice Flour for dusting the surface of the silpat and pizza peel

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For the g-f dough you will need to roll the naan out on a Silicone Baking Mat that is sprinkled with brown rice flour. This method is also used for rolling out the pizza in the book.

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I used a piece of dough that was about the size of my fist. This turned out to be the perfect size when fried in my 10 1/2 inch Skillet.

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sprinkle the dough with a bit more rice flour and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.

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Gently pat the dough into a disk…

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you may have to pat the sides to round them off.

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Peel back the plastic and sprinkle with a bit more flour so that the plastic won’t stick as your roll it thinner.

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Replace the plastic and roll the disk to scant 1/8-inch thick.

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peel off the plastic.

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Carefully transfer the dough to a Pizza Peel that is lightly coated with rice flour.

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You may need to use a Dough Scraper to ease it off the silpat.

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Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and swirl it around.

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Slide the dough into the hot pan.

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Cover with a tightly fitting lid to trap the heat.

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After about 2-3 minutes the side of the dough will be golden and the top with be bubbly, flip it over with a spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes on the other side.

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I served the naan with dips I made from Suvir Saran’s Indian Home Cooking; eggplant dip with tamarind and mango chutney.

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It was pure comfort food and no one knew that the naan was g-f but me.

The following is a 1-pound piece of gluten-free crustly boule dough that I froze for one week, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator and then set off to bake.

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I unwrapped the defrosted dough and set it on a piece of parchment. Because it was wrapped and frozen in the right shape, I didn’t fuss with it at all before I loosely draped it with plastic and allowed it to rest on the counter for 90 minutes.

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I slashed it with a serrated knife and baked it exactly how I had the original loaf.

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The bread was fantastic. Great crust and amazing flavor.

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The crumb was a tiny bit denser than the original loaf, but I was the only one in my family to notice this at all. I’m thrilled to report that the g-f dough freezes wonderfully.

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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

167 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Naan and an update on freezing the dough!

  1. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    I would really like to try gluten free baking later this week. It’s the current baking group project. Also, I know people who would love a good gluten free bread.

    We are discussing what to use instead of xanathan gum, it’s so expensive!

    My health food store sells guar gum in bulk. It would be great to buy this product, it’s much cheaper.

    My question-should I use the same amount of guar gum as xanathan gum in your recipes?

    Thanks, and I will report back to the group. Your help is very much appreciated!!!

    Judy L, TN

    • Judy: We didn’t test guar gum, but I see people on the web saying that they are substituting it one for one as you suggest.

      Be aware that I can’t vouch for what appears on the web– I can’t say whether it really works, or if it works well. We probably won’t be testing this anytime soon, so you’re on your own checking this out.

      Be aware that some people report stomach upset on guar gum. Do a google search on “guar gum” and check this out before you test further.

  2. Thanks, Zoe,

    I checked Wikipedia. It said Guar gum is economical because it has almost 8 times the water-thickening potency of cornstarch . It also said that guar gum is a water soluble fiber that acts like a laxative.

    But Wikipedia also said that “Xanthan gum is a “highly efficient laxative”, ”

    Thanks for making me aware of this. I guess everything in moderation, huh?

    Judy L

  3. Hi,
    My son was diagnosed with gluten free and wheat allergies….I checked out your book on Monday and have baked all week…I was interested in seeing if I could bake him some g-f breads. I am so excited to see it here on your website…do you have a book that has a chapter about gf baking? I have your Artisan in 5 min book…is there another book I should check out?
    I am going to bake him some bread this week.
    Thank you,
    Sandra

  4. Hello Jeff and Zoe. I just wanted to say thanks for all your hard work. I just bought ab5md and LOVE it. My mother is gluten intolerant and I was raving about your book to her. I am so happy about the new book and all the gluten free recipes. I set my mom a link to the GF boule. THANKS.

    • Amanda: The GFs have been the source of lots of somewhat surprising joy– didn’t realize how many people were their missing bread out there…

  5. I FINALLY just received my book that has been on back order for MONTHS! I need GF breads that taste, feel and look like gluten breads. I saw a few recipes had Sorghum flour and soy flour. I don’t know what it is about sorghum flour but it tears my stomach apart and gives horrible bloating and gas. This is true for another family member who is NOT gluten intolerant. What can be used in their place to receive the desired or most closely desired result?

    • Hi Julia,

      You may want to try replacing the sorghum with brown rice flour. Try doing this with a half batch, so you can make sure it works for you. You can add the yeast with the water or the flours, it doesn’t really matter.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I also need to knwo how to use the yeast. DO I add it in wet or dry? If it is wet, how do I change the liquid ingredients? If you add even a we bit too much water-even a tsp or less, it alters the outcome of GF baked goods. I appreciate any assistance. I want to bake my bread this week please.

  7. Hello,
    I am experimenting with the gluten free breads for my friends. Today I made up the brioche dough and it is very, very sticky. It is about an hour into the 2 hour rise and hasn’t done much. Is that normal for this dough? I notice that it didn’t say to warm the milk so I am wondering if I should have done that in order to get a rise from the yeast. Any help is appreciated! I’ve been giving away the gluten free crusty boules and baguettes and my friends are very impressed!
    Chance

    • Chance: Wait the full two hours and check back at that point– I bet you’ll be fine. So long as the final liquid mixture was basically lukewarm, you should have been all right. If not, might help to warm the milk a little. But not to the point where the mixture is more than lukewarm.

  8. Thanks Jeff. The dough did rise, although it was still very sticky. To roll it out for cinnamon rolls, I put the sugar on the mat as called for, but had to add a little cornstarch to keep the plastic wrap from sticking as I rolled it out. Is that stickier than normal or to be expected?

    I also pinched off pieces of dough and rolled them in cinnamon sugar to make a pull apart bread and it is AMAZING. My kids are hungrily eyeing the cooling brioche loaf.
    Chance

  9. I am allergic to
    xanthan gum, can I use equal amounts of guar gum with good results in your gluten free breads?

    • Colleen: People have asked about guar gum, and I’ve seen it used on the web, so I’m hopeful. But, never having used it, I can’t vouch for it– worth a try though. No idea on how much to use, better search on the web.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful! Jeff

      • Hi! I’m wondering if you have tried guar gum as a substitute since this post or if you have heard anything else about it. I’m allergic to wheat so have been looking into wheat free breads, but I am also allergic to corn so I can’t eat xanthum gum. I’m baking the 1st loaf w/ guar gum substituted….when I let the bread rest before baking, it flattened out rather than rose. Any suggestions?

      • Hi Erin,

        I have not tried it myself, but have heard that people have better luck when they have combined it with some ground flax and/or chia.

        Good luck! Zoë

  10. Hi Jeff and Zoe: I noticed on one post that you said that you have had trouble with using a gf multipurpose flour because you need to have multiple flours to make the breads work. I use the Jules Gluten Free Flour and it works beautifully! It is the best brand of GF flour that I have found, even though it is pricey. All recipes work like a charm.

    I am looking for a dough that can be rolled for pizza and for making stuffed items like calzone, etc. I used to use pizza dough for so many things, but am finding that GF pizza dough is ok to put in a pizza pan, but that’s it! No more stuffed breads. Anyway, if you come up with something I would love to know!!! Thanks.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      We are working on that dough now for our next book, which is all about pizza and flatbreads. There will be a g-f chapter in it as well.

      Thank you for the heads up about Jules.

      Zoe

  11. Hi Zoe and Jeff,
    Just got your HBin5 book last weekend and have made both the GF crusty boule and the brioche doughs. I couldn’t resist looking at the rest of the book for ideas, and I wonder if you have made a GF version of the pumpkin pie brioche or the apple strudel bread. Both of those sound so yummy! I am so thrilled with everything I have made so far!! We are smelling the cinnamon rolls baking as I type!! Thanks a million for the best GF bread recipes I’ve found anywhere!!
    Missy

    • Hi Missy,

      I’m thrilled that you are baking the G-F breads and enjoying them so much. I think that you certainly could bake the apple strudel bread by filling the brioche dough just like you would with the Super Sam Cinnamon Buns, just don’t over fill them or the dough may fall apart.

      I have not tried the dough with pumpkin, but it is a lovely idea and I will try it.

      Thank you! Zoë

  12. For the Na’an- Just moved overseas and had no silpat mat or rolling pin, so i improvised and it worked brilliant! I put the dough on parchment paper, covered with seran wrap and flattened with the bottom of a big iron pan. I peeled off the seran wrap and flipped it into the hot pan- not removing the parchment paper. After about 30 seconds, the paper pulled right off and it was perfect!

  13. What is the best way to defrost frozen dough? I am using the original recipe and the challah recipe from the original book. I love your recipes and my family loves the fresh bread! Thank you!!

    • Reesa: defrosting instructions are on page 181 of the original book you have, Step 4, last two sentences. Thanks for using the books!

      Jeff

  14. This is great! My best friend has Celiacs disease, so it’s hard to cook for her. (She also has a very long list of other allergies, but wheat is the hardest, especially since I like to bake). We love Indian food so this will be a great recipe for us to try. Thanks!

    Al

  15. I just made the GF brioche dough. It seems very lumpy (which I see from above is probably ok) but also much more like a batter than a typical Bin5 dough. Is this to be expected? Thanks.

    • Hi Jen,

      Now that it is chilled, did the dough firm up? With this dough you do need to add the water very slowly. You can also try to mix it in a stand mixer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. Just how COLD can a refrigerator be to hold the dough for two weeks? I have the opportunity to co-use a cheese cooler, but its temp is colder than a household frig. How long would the dough need at room temp prior to baking? Or how would I calculate the answer?

    • Diana: Typical fridge is 40 degrees F, so yours is somewhere between 32 and 40. I’m guessing you need to increase the typical resting time by 30 to 50%. This will be even more of an issue for whole grain doughs– which book, recipe are you trying (which page number)? Jeff

  17. Yeah, I didn’t add the water slowly. It came out decently, but a little on the flat side. Will heed the “slowly” requirement next time!

  18. I have a friend that only eats sprouted wheat (strictly follows the eat right for your type diet) do you have any future plans to create sprouted wheat bread recipes?

    • Katie: We do, but we’re really in the information-gathering stage. Unfortunately the sprouted wheat flour isn’t very widely available in our market, so no idea when we’ll actually get this done. Please let us know if you experiment with this. Jeff

    • Hi Kara,

      Is it sizzling when you put the dough in the pan? If not, you may need to turn up your heat a little. You can also do this will less butter, in fact you can do it with no butter and then just brush some on top.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. I have made your GF baguette and it is amazing! Now I want to try the GF naan.
    When you start with the bould dough – is it at the step when it just comes out of the fridge? Or after having rested at room temperature again?

  20. My daughter-in-law showed me your site today. I recently was told to go gluten free by my doctor. I have had a very hard time finding a bread that I enjoy. I checked your list of ingredients for the Crusty GF boule and found that I had everything in my pantry so I immediately made a batch. I made one loaf plain and I made one losf with rosemary, olives and sea salt on the top. They both are very good, but the rosemary olive loaf is fantastic! Thank you so very much for helping me to again be able to enjoy bread.

  21. I’m having a craving for fresh bread, but realized I don’t have enough sorghum flour to make the gluten free cheddar and sesame bread. Can I substitute millet flour for most of the sorghum flour?

    • Jennifer: can try it, but will need to experiment to keep the moisture content the same. Can’t vouch for the taste– that’ll change too. We’ve found these are a little temperamental to substitution.

  22. Love, love, loved the gluten free pizza dough! I used an air grate to bake the pizza on and it came out perfect! It is probably the best gluten free pizza dough I have ever tried!

  23. 1. Is there anything else that I can do with atta flour, other than chapatis, puris and naans?
    2. I was making chapati with the atta, n found a few recipes using mashed avocado in the dough. Result: the chapati stayed ‘soft’ n pliable longer compared to regular chapatis. Yum!

    • M: We haven’t experimented with atta flour, but my understanding is that it’s a hard-wheat flour (lots of gluten), so it might work something like US bread flour— that is, if it’s ground finely enough. Assuming that, you might find you can adapt it for use in many of our recipes in the books. US versions (click on book images above), or the UK version (http://amzn.to/fLNCN2).

      In Healthy Bread in Five, we experimented with a variety of vegetables in wheat dough, including avocado (Avocado-Guacamole Bread in Chapter 7). I’m not surprised it worked particularly well in chapati flatbreads.

  24. Hello – we love the taste of the gluten free brioche dough. It is VERY wet, but always rises and cooks through…we have a hard time turning it into cinnamon rolls because of the batter like consistency, but no biggie, we just stir it around with cinnamon and sugar and plop in cupcake tins!

    My question is this though. I get tapioca flour in a 25 lb. bag, cornstarch I only get in the smallish kind of containers from the store, so tapioca is easier for me to use…..I wondered if you had experimented with other combinations for this dough…in the other recipes there are 3 cups of tapioca starch, but in the brioche there are 3 cups of cornstarch…….did you try making the brioche with the tapioca and it didn’t work? I made this the other day with all tapioca instead of cornstarch and it rose REALLY high, but then fell in on itself once it cooled. Totally edible, but not pretty at all… I have not noticed this happening in the other loaves that use tapioca flour…..just wondered if you had tried it….

    Thanks, Deb

    • Hi Deb,

      Yes, I have tried substituting tapioca for the cornstarch and it worked well. I wonder if there was some other difference in the loaf that caused it to fall in on itself? Maybe add a little more flour and dry the dough out a bit.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • So why did you choose cornstarch instead of tapioca for that one? Did you think it came out better? Did you all just try to find another flour option? I have also had good results with substituting corn flour (masa harina) for the tapioca in the brioche recipe…..

  25. Deb: We tried a number of combinations, and some of the better ones ended up in the book. But that doesn’t mean other substitutions wouldn’t work nicely– so give it a try. One thing though, we did find that combinations tended to work better than single-flours.

  26. Hello. I love your GF brioche bread. I would love to try some of the other GF recipes, but they have soy flour in them, which I can’t have either. Can I substitute anything else for the soy??

    Thanks!
    Heidi

    • Hi Heidi,

      You can use any bean flour to replace the soy. We added it to provide some protein to the recipe and all of the bean flours are high in protein.

      Thanks! Zoë

  27. I just got your HBin5 book and wanted to try the gluten free recipes for my son, who is gluten free, dairy free and egg free. Can the breads, like the crusty boule be made without eggs and substitute flax gelled in warm water instead? Are the eggs necessary to keep bread together or for the texture? Thank you.

    • Sheila: Brioche is the epitome of a white loaf–so most recipes don’t have much whole grain, and ours is no exception. You’d have to start experimenting with a base more like the Gluten-Free Crusty Boule at the beginning of that chapter. Even push the brown rice flour and sorghum farther, in place of some of the tapioca and cornstarch, would take a lot of experimentation.

      • I make the GF Brioche dough almost exclusively to sell to people – they LOVE it! I have messed with the recipe at times to try to produce the same texture with more healthy things in it! I have reduced the oil and honey by 1/2 and replaced about 1 1/4 cups of the cornstarch with 1 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup ground flax seed. I do not get as high of a rise and a couple of times it came out undercooked. But I have had a success as well! That is reducing the liquid by half, but I don’t think I added more…haven’t done it recently, but I think that in order for the bread to accommodate that much liquid it has to have all those starches (corn starch and tapioca).

        Thanks! Deb

  28. Thank you so much for dedicating a chapter of your book to gluten free breads. I missed baking bread so much! This is so much better than the breads from mixes – they all taste the same (bland and flavorless). Your breads are full of rich flavor and have a delicious crumb. The steam bath technique is amazing and has given my bread crusts again!!

    One question: Why does the gluten-free bread have to rest so much longer after refrigeration than the regular gluten-filled recipe?

    Thanks so much!!!

  29. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    Thank you for your great work! Although I would LOVE to try your recipe, I happen to live in South Korea where “gluten-free” is relatively new and most people are simply catching up on full-wheat bread baking! Any kind of gum (xanthan or guar) is almost impossible to come by unless I get someone overseas to mail them for me…. And some of my friends are allergic to gluten AND those gums…. Is there anything that can replace the gums in your GF bread recipe? I was lucky enough to buy chia seeds at a hefty price… I know I could get some flax seed if I need to… (also kindda costly but I can actually get them! Thank God… ) psyllium husk powders are still not available in Korea either. Please help!

    • we haven’t been impressed with the testing we’ve done with chia seeds, so can’t really recommend them. Flax doesn’t work this way (to give structure). So nothing to report for now, so sorry!

  30. I have just got you book Healthy bread in 5 min a day. I am gluten free and have been for 9 years. I really dislike rice flour. Not much nutrition and I don’t like the sandy texture it gives. Do you think I could replace the brown rice flour with buckwheat flour? What about some others healthier GF flours like Quinoa, flax, Amaranth. I am a nut for high fiber, high nutrition flours so plain brown rice flour goes out the door.

    • You can try some substitutes in the recipes. Any of those you mention might work as a swap for rice flour, with the exception of flax, which we find we can’t use that much of without overwhelming the flavor (but that’s a matter of taste)– it also can make the bread seem slimy if you use too much.

      Having suggested all that, I have to say– this will require experimentation, since we haven’t tested HBin5’s recipes with those swaps. You may need to adjust the water, and I can’t say in which direction. Bet it will work though, since rice flours are always just a minority of the total ounces of flour in any of those recipes.

      FYI– Cheddar/Sesame Bread on page 244 has no rice flour.

      • I replaced the rice flour with buckwheat and soy flour with sorghum in the GF olive oil bread. It made wonderful pizza, and bread. I have been making a bread for myself for years and I tried making it with your method and if turned out almost great. The flavor was what I am use to. It was a heavy and dense loaf. Would a water adjustment up or down help that? I could send you the recipe if you would like to look at it. NOTE the e-mail address change please.

      • Yvonne: So sorry, we can’t troubleshoot and evaluate individual recipes– things would bog down for us here and we wouldn’t be able to keep answering reader messages ourselves the way we want to. Swapping flours in these recipes is a can of worms– very challenging. Adjust the water by keeping the consistency about how your remember it for our un-altered loaf, you should be good.

  31. Do you have any recipes using millet flour? I have some on hand and my husband just loves millet. thought i might try a recipe with it.

    • Don’t currently have any but you should be able to swap it into our recipes up to about 10 or 15% of the flour in a recipe. Let us know how you make out, it’ll be an experiment.

  32. Hello : where are the recipes this bread looks wonderful or the name of the book I think Zoe u said you wrote Iam sorry not the best computer person Iam trying to do breads my 14 month old been diagnosed with celiac disease so be great to try some this breads and ways it’s being done looks and sounds like a time saver ! Thanks for help

    • None of the recipes from this book are yet on our website– in particular, the new flour mixtures we have in the book– which will make GF baking quicker and more convenient. But you can see some of our old GF recipes by clicking on “Gluten-Free” in the right-hand gutter. Also, our other books have some gluten-free, except for the very first book we wrote (in 2007). But the upcoming one is the only one of our books that is entirely GF.

      • Not sure what you mean by “other” book. The one with all GF? That’s Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and though it won’t ship until October 22, it’s available for pre-order now, at http://amzn.to/1msOBmY

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