/ Food & Drink

Can breadmakers produce a decent gluten-free loaf?

Gluten-free bread

Have you tried making gluten-free bread in your breadmaker? Were you disappointed with the results? Perhaps it’s more important to change our mindset than our recipes in order to get a better loaf…

During our recent live breadmaking Q&A, members asked about making gluten-free loaves in breadmakers. They wanted tips on baking a successful loaf as their recipes were producing disappointing results.

But why is it such a big issue? Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, and triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease that can damage the lining of the small intestine.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which, Coeliac UK says, is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 60. By the time some people are diagnosed, they may be so used to eating ‘normal’ bread that gluten-free options seem disappointing. But why – are our expectations higher than they should be?

The worst thing since sliced bread?

Linda Smith, said:

‘I’ve just bought a Panasonic 256 breadmaker. I have to have wheat-free bread but no matter how well I follow the recipe/instructions, it doesn’t produce a decent loaf. I have tried three times using different recipes and the results are greasy, wet, flat and unappetising – disastrous! What am I doing wrong?’

But what do we class as a ‘decent’ loaf? Admittedly, if you compare gluten-free bread and a normal homemade loaf, the two look nothing alike.

Gluten-free bread is denser and has a closer crumb texture, as it’s the gluten strands in wheat flour that give bread its structure. Recipes have to compensate for the lack of gluten in flour by using other ingredients; and the flour itself (rice or potato can be used) makes the texture dry and crumbly.

And because the bread structure and texture won’t be the same, gluten-free bread is never going to look or taste anything like a normal loaf. So maybe gluten-free bread should be described as a gluten-free alternative, rather than ‘bread’?

Gluten-free bread on test

We wanted to put this to the test further, so we enlisted the help of expert baker Patrick Moore, of the More? Artisan bakery, to assess gluten-free bread made in two Best Buy breadmakers.

I’ve never made gluten-free bread, so when I saw the results I thought I’d done something wrong. They hadn’t risen as much, were almost brick-like in appearance and one was slightly sunken on the top!

Our expert, however, actually thought they were OK – for gluten free loaves. The texture and taste was more like a crumpet than bread, but both had a nice thick crust – and didn’t taste as bad as I was expecting. Granted, I wouldn’t swap my usual homemade loaf for them (if I didn’t have too), but I still went back for more.

How to improve your gluten-free bread recipe

Our expert’s advice on making gluten-free bread is to add an extra egg, or soak seeds overnight and add them in, or experiment with a little more (or less) water. And if all else fails Patrick recommends trying ready-mixed gluten free bread flour.

Most breadmakers now come with a gluten-free setting, but some don’t, so if you’re in the market for a breadmaker with a gluten-free setting we’ve just added this search option to our breadmakers reviews.

Do you make gluten-free bread in your breadmaker and have you any success stories you’d like to share? Do you think we need to lower our expectations in order to enjoy our gluten-free loaves?

Comments
Guest
Jocelyn Droppa says:
29 September 2011

In my experience gluten free bread needs a more slow prove than ‘normal’ bread to give it the structure. I would try making it with chilled liquids and taking it out of the bread maker to prove and see if the results are different. I gave up on the breadmaker I used to have when I was first diagnosed because the GF function was a lot faster than normal bread – when it actually needs to be slower.

Guest
Daniel Lunn says:
30 September 2011

Your remarks on gluten free bread are interesting, but do not solve my problem and what is, I suspect, a problem shared by many others.
I don’t need gluten-free bread – I need WHEAT-free bread, and nowhere do you mention this in spite of Linda Smith (mentioned in your article) stating specifically that her problem is wheat intolerance. I can have rye, buckwheat, cornflour, oats, etc. and and I can even tolerate spelt. I have a bread maker, but nowhere can I find a decent recipe for, say, rye bread or spelt bread which doesn’t have wheat in it. I’ve just come back from Brittany where one of their traditional (and superb) breads is made from rye and buckwheat so I know it can be done but I cannot find a recipe for doing it in a breadmaker.
Would it be possible to persuade an expert to produce breadmaker recipes breads with grains other than wheat?

Guest
Katrhrein Curtin says:
1 October 2011

I very much agree that there is not enough advise on wheat free bread. Any help in that direction would be very welcome!

Guest
Lesley says:
23 June 2012

I hope you have found what you are looking for, before I knew I was gluten intolerant i tried making bread with spelt flour in a breadmaker, it was amazing, but because it rises so fast the best way is to use the “Dough” setting, let it rise once (proving) then let it knead then take it out and put it in a normal loaf tin to rise and bake it in the oven, it gives superb results. Some breadmakers have a spelt setting. Other than that the book mentioned by others for gluten free bread and cakes is ok but take notes as you use it so you can adjust the liquid to suit.

Guest
Joychip says:
1 January 2016

I use the following recipe and use the basic setting for a nice spelt loaf.
500g White spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
300 ml water
1 tablespoon oil

Guest
Colette says:
15 June 2016

Spelt is in fact a form of wheat. Like other forms of wheat, spelt contains the gluten protein, and therefore isn’t safe for those of us who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Hope this helps!

Guest
Chris Gordon says:
30 September 2011

HI you need a Panasonic which will bake a proper rye loaf I think. Most breadmakers as you say use a mixture of flours. I happen to love rye bread and wanted a breadmaker which can cope with dark rye flour. I haven’t bought one yet though, so check the recipes online at Pansonic

Guest
Yvonne Coppock says:
30 September 2011

There’s a book called “Gluten-free Bread & Cakes from your breadmaker”, by Carolyn Humphries, available on Amazon. It has lots of bread recipes. My favourite is Mixed Seed Bread which is made with rice flour, but you need to experiment for yourself to see which you like. I add poppy seeds as well as the sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds she suggests, and I find the seeds help to disguise the fact that it’s not proper bread. She also recommends using Xanthum Gum (available from health food shops) to give something nearer to the consistency of wheat. The trick is to time your baking so that the bread is ready just when you want to eat it. You get the lovely smell of fresh bread and it tastes good straight from the breadmaker. However, after that it’s really only nice toasted. So slice it and freeze it, so you can take out a couple of slices to toast when you need them. Having said all this, since I discovered Genius bread (available at Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and health shops) I hardly ever make my own, because Genius is the nearest you can get to real wheat bread.

Guest
Jennifer Oatley says:
23 April 2012

Try Warburtons gluten free bread, obtainable from Morrisons. They also sell Genius. However I have to confess that Warburtons has the edge, it really does look and taste like bread, available in Brown and White. The proof, try and see for yourself. I really think Warburtons have found the answer to making a decent Gluten free bread.

Guest
mirmy says:
18 March 2014

our bread maker has broken down and I find that all Gluten Free bred from Supermarkets is extremely fragile and I am left with a bag of crumbs even the new Warburton’s range does this.

Guest
Labessane says:
28 June 2014

Store your loaf in the fridge in a large sandwich bag (Tesco). This will stop it falling apart and keep it fresh for much longer.

Guest
An old hand says:
30 September 2011

Diagnosed at 50, I was horrified at the taste of the “cake like” stuff bought, passing for Gluten free bread. In Australia, volunteering for the Coeliac society I was offered their “loan” bread-maker, a Panasonic, the only one to have a gluten free recipe, and it worked perfectly. When a neighbour passed on her Breville, I made hundreds of perfect loaves. Since returning to Britain, I am considering the Panasonic. Follow the recipe in the book, or now the updated models have a programme, much shorter cooking time and fresh yeast is needed, a mixture of rice flours, and do not forget the Xanthum gum, the binder. My son also a coeliac, baked his bread in a Breville, every week, perfect loaves. I used brown sugar for a better crust, and I can assure you perfect loaves can be made for years. In the Panasonic, you put all the ingredients in the pan, but the Breville I used, you mixed the wet ingredients and dry separately then combine before putting into the pan. Whatever brand I buy next, after almost a decade of new technology I would expect perfect loaves every time !

Guest
Lesley says:
1 October 2011

I have Lyme Disease, misdiagnosed by the NHS as chronic fatigue syndrome after decades of relapsing illness. Going gluten free is one of the things that has helped me. When I ate wheat I used to like heavier loaves, like the ones made by Cranks, so I’m not after a light fluffy type of loaf. I use the Doves Farm recipe from the back of their gluten free bread flour packet. I find I get a better loaf if I use brown bread flour and put the bread machine on the ‘normal’ cycle, not the ‘gluten free’ one. The loaves are bit on the heavy side, but the bread makes nice toast.

Guest
Fletchy says:
1 October 2011

I have been baking gluten free bread in a Morphy Richards breadmaker for years, mostly successfully though every now and again there is a dodgy loaf… however, I have used the Juvela Breadmix (available on prescription) most successsfully following the breadmakeer recipe… dry ingredients then wet on top… this produces a lovely light and airy loaf enjoyed by everyone who has ‘tasted’ it. My daughter was diagnosed as coeliac at around 2yo. Currently have lost the paddle! so stuck. To b.e honest the combination of flours, freshness of the yeast made the most difference to the success of the bread
I also used to buy flours from the local mill, rye, malt etc it made beautiful malt loaf, buckwheat ( no wheat or gluten)

Guest

I also used to enjoy a panasonic bread maker and several cookbooks for making delicious interesting breads until I developed a wheat intolerance. I tried all kinds of wheat and gluten free recipes without much success and gave up. The breadmaker gets now used when visitors come, and I resigned to glutenfree pancakes and the genius breads. I would love to have a breadmaker and recipes that can make glutenfree breads as good as the genius breads.
Please do some tests on both. A gluten free setting on the breadmaker is not enough. I would like to know how good the breads are that come out of it. I would love to be able to make my own tasty gluten and wheat free breads in a bread maker and happily invest in a new model, but I am weary of buying another useless peace of kit.

Profile photo of Lady Crow
Guest

Having recently discovered that I have a wheat intolerance, I have been trying to make a decent gluten free loaf and I can assure you it can be done! My sister made a fantastic light gluten free loaf with Doves farm white flour .I have not managed to replicate this yet but I am ever optimistic and am experimenting with adding more or less water as I think this is partly the issue. I also use Caroline Humphries wonderful book and she advises that you use the normal bread setting not the Gluten free one. I have bought Gluten free rolls as they keep for a long time if sealed (Useful for taking abroad) and the best brown loaves are the GS range and unfortunately Tesco also make some nice GF bread. So you dont have to compromise but you have to accept that they do not have wheat in them so they are different.

Guest
geoff says:
3 October 2011

I tried to make a gf loaf in my panasonic but failed several times. (I was thinking of building a wall with them_)In the end I bought a tray for smallish deep cakes and mixed ingredients in a bowl; into the airing cupboard for 1 hour plus, before baking in the oven for half hour at 180-200. They rose after proving whether they were wet or dry mixes. Even non-coeliacs love them. I think the machine would work if one could vary the times to suit.

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Guest

I’m glad rye has been mentioned; 40% of the respondents in our survey, during the live Q&A, said they’d tried baking with rye flour.

There are breadmakers which have a specific rye setting, the two new Panasonic models for example, so it’s possible to make rye bread in a breadmaker, but we’ve not tested this setting out.

Some breadmakers also let you set your own recipe and timings, so you can add your favourite recipe, however the breadmakers generally won’t alter the temperature.

Daniel, I’ve asked our bread expert, Patrick Moore, for some advice on the buckwheat and rye bread. He may have some ideas for you.

The recipe for the Kenwood BM260 includes Xanthium gum, and the bread made in this model looked more visually appealing than the Panasonic. Geoff, I agree! I thought the gluten free bread made in the Panasonic looked like a bit brick, but the taste was actually ok – more like a crumpet, though.

Guest
brian o 'cheallaigh says:
19 September 2013

Lisa , great that youtaking time to advise us professionally on the vagaries of bread making. I recently discovered have an High INTOLERANCE to Wheat,Maize, eggs,nuts and milk: so I will have to resort to baking my own bread. Be it in a breadmaker or oven What I would like is for you to advise me (and others who have a similar list of Intolerances) to guide us where to go and what to do
through your expertise in this critical zone of food intake.
brian 0’cheallaigh

Guest
Carole Morrison says:
4 October 2011

I use a Kenwood breadmaker model BM250 to make my Gluten free bread using the Gluten + Wheat free brown bread flour from Dove’s farm. I use the medium loaf recipe on the back of the packet for machine brown bread then use the normal number 1 programme with medium colour. I find that if I slice the bread as soon as it is cold and put into bags of 2 slices then freeze them it keeps the bread fresh

Guest
Bashir Jivani says:
6 October 2011

I’ve been using my Morphy Richards breadmaker (a Which best buy! but from several years ago). It doesn’t have a GF setting so I use the normal one and the bread comes out lovely. Below is the recipe for the brown version (I think it is the Dove’s farm one). Enjoy!

Milk- 320g/14oz
Vinegar 1tbsp
Oil 6tbsp
Eggs2
Flour 450g/16oz
Salt 1tsp
Sugar 2btsp
Yeast 2tsp

You can use any type of milk and any type of vinegar and for best results weigh the ingredients where indicated. It is critical to use EXACT measurements (use electronic scales or measuring spoons – but don’t mix imperial and metric measurements). I also add 1/4 tsp dried vitamin c powder to help make it rise
Method
1. Weigh the milk into a bowl then beat in the vinegar, oil and eggs. Pour this mixture into the bread machine pan.
2. Add the flour, salt and sugar to the pan and stir with a spoon.
3. Sprinkle the yeast on top.
4. Start the machine on a normal bread programme.
5. After a few minutes mixing, lift the machine lid and scrape down the sides of the pan using a plastic spatula.
6. Continue the machine on the normal baking programme.

Guest
Sarah says:
14 August 2012

Thank you Bashir Jivani will give this a go Sarah

Profile photo of Lisa Galliers
Guest

Thanks for all the great tips and recipes, I’m sure others will find them very useful. If you have any other ideas about what Which? could test in this area, please let us know. We’d love to hear.

Guest
Kitty says:
4 March 2016

I didn’t like the taste or texture of the Doves Farm bread. But I’ve recently discovered Helen’s white bread mix, which I really like.
Could you consider testing different mixes/recipes for gluten free bread? And does it make a difference which machine (if any) you use?

Guest
Vaiti says:
30 January 2017

If you produce a report on bread-making machines for gluten-free, would you make sure to point out that it’s best the machine is never used for glutenous bread. Well-meaning friends might otherwise use their machines to make contaminated bread. Caeliacs need separate toasters as cross-contamination will make them ill and damage the intestine. Similarly, if one makes gluten-free bread in a machine which has been used to make ordinary bread, there will be a danger of cross-contamination.

Profile photo of Lisa Galliers
Guest

We’ve spoken to the Which? bread expert, Patrick Moore, and asked him about gluten-free bread. His tips are below:
Gluten-free bread shouldn’t require more time to prove than normal, usually one proving of around one hour is sufficient, or the standard bread maker setting.

Chilling liquids is not necessary, as it would change the activity of the yeast cells making it difficult to forecast when the loaves are ready to bake.

Patrick doesn’t have a recipe for Brittany Bread, but he has sent us the simple spelt recipe adapted for bread makers, below:

Walnut Spelt
400g wholemeal spelt
1 ½ teaspoons Rapeseed oil
1 ½ teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons milk powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 dessert spoon active dried baking yeast
30 g walnut pieces (optional)

Method
Place all ingredients in a bread maker on normal or basic cycle.

Guest

What! – no water?

Guest
Toppy says:
1 September 2014

Shouldn’t there be some water????????????

Guest
Colin Richards says:
29 October 2011

With an old Argos breadmaker, I have found that one teaspoon of Xanthan Gum helps the consistency of the bread. My wife has also found that when she uses gluten free flour mix to make pastry, the handling of the pastry is made much easier when using about 1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum.
Incidently, Xanthan Gum is now available on prescription.

Guest
Zena Powdrill says:
29 October 2011

I follow the Panasonic recipe fairly closely and must say that it produces excellent results for gluten free bread which can either be used fresh on the day or toasted the following one, or sliced and frozen andlater placed, straight from the freezer, into a toaster twice for superb breakfast/anytime slices. The great difference in preparing a gluten free loaf is to remember that the method is completely different, i.e. the ingredients are placed in the pan in strict order as follows: (recipe courtesy mostly of Doves Farm Gluten Free products)
Place following ingredients in the bread pan as follows:-

310 ml water
1 teaspn. cider vinegar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium egg
1 medium sized egg white
450g (1lb) gluten free white bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspn salt
1 1/2 teaspns. Doves Farm Quick yeast or similar

The following is optional but really tasty
Place the following in the dispenser or add when prompted:
1 1/2 tablespoons each of the following:
Linseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower and (1 scant teaspoon of caraway seeds if desired)
Place in breadmaker on Gluten Free – Dark Crust setting for 2 hours.

Guest
Terry Wilson says:
11 November 2011

My partner uses the Doves Farm gluten free flours and like others here found it rather dense and heavy. She has discovered, after acting on a hunch, that the loaf can be radically lightened with the addition of a heaped teaspoon of baking powder – just make sure you get the rice based one not the wheat. Also, use twice as much oil as usual. Give it a try!

Guest
Gluten Free Flour says:
19 July 2012

Some scientific papers suggest using something like this:

Corn Starch or Rice Starch 75%,
Rice Flour 17%
Animal Gelatine or Agar 8%

Guest
billy says:
8 August 2012

I have a Russell Hobbs model no 18036 breadmaker, it has a GF setting , i use Juvela white mix (on prescription) it makes perfect bread, the texture is a bit cakey but it tastes great, hope this helps.

Guest
Paul says:
24 January 2013

the best gluten free bread recipe is on the back of the doves farm flour packet but if you want it fluffier use have rice flour and half strong bread flour or brown bread flour it is slightly ligher but you still have the taste of the oil now if any one could sujuet something else then oil I would be greatful

Guest
Paul says:
24 January 2013

I use akenwood convection bread machine it has a gluten free programme,useing this machine I have found the best gluten free bread recipe is on the back of the doves farm flour packet. but if you want it fluffier. use half rice flour and half gf strong wight bread flour or gf strong brown bread flour it is slightly ligher but you still have the taste of the oil now if any one could suggest something other then oil I would be greatful

Guest
mike says:
17 March 2013

I buy gluten free bread mix and use water at 36°C(following instructions on the packet) on 2 hour setting on my Panasonic, and get a good loaf each time.

Guest
hazel Morrell says:
20 August 2013

Try the JUVELA bread machine recipes which advise Rapid Bake setting on the Panasonic and not .Gluten Free setting. I add 2 tbsp of sesame seed linseed mix and heaped tbsp Flaxseed mix .Looks and tastes good

Guest
Toppy says:
1 September 2014

Shouldn’t there be some water??????????????

Profile photo of Grajacky
Guest

I am having a problem with my Panasonic Breadmaker. For years I have been using the same recipe + ingredients + my GF bread has been fine but recently the loaf after a couple of days has gone VERY soggy. I have experimented with water quantities all to no avail.I use the same breadmaker to make a GF loaf for my daughter using slightly different ingredients + it comes out fine. Any ideas Thanks Graham

Profile photo of Gee
Guest

I have been trying to find a gluten, flour and yeast free ready made loaf for years to no avail. Even though bread makers may use gluten free flour, some people are intolerant to the flour itself. It would be nice to find organic ingredients too as chemicals sprayed on growing food soak into and surround cereal grains a which can also cause allergies and long term health problems. I know my needs may seem extreme and probably asking too much of a baker to achieve a crusty soft loaf without using wheat flour and yeast. However, if I could buy an organic bread flour in the UK without wheat and yeast I would be quite happy making a traditionally Irish type soda bread that needs no yeast. Honey or a healthy sugar replacement could be used and sugar free yoghurt for non dairy users in place of butter milk works just as well. Another alternative is to purchase the right amounts of organic cereal ingredients and make up your own gluten and yeast free bread mix. There is a company called Ugg.com who sell Paleo type bread mixes etc who look very interesting due its attempts to use organic and grain free ingredients. Its all about thinking, researching and experimenting and hoping not too much gets thrown in the bin! It would just be nice to have better and more choices. Hope some of this helps.

Profile photo of alfa
Guest

Hi Gee,
This is a recipe I found on the internet:
Peanut Sandwich Bread

1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 packet sweetener (optional) (I left this out)

Blend peanut butter and eggs until smooth.
Add in remaining ingredients.
Pour into a sprayed loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Let cool before slicing.

This makes a very surprising nice loaf of bread that is quite dense as it does not really rise. When sliced the slices are about half the size of a normal loaf. You would not have it as everyday bread but does make a nice change and is very easy to make.

I lined the loaf tin with greaseproof paper. I have also bought but not yet tried Meridian crunchy peanut butter as the reviews say it is a bit on the runny side so might mix easier.

If you search the title on the internet, there are a few variation suggestions.

Guest
Mum Of Five says:
3 July 2015

I came across the Zero Gluten Baker which, as per its name, is specifically for gluten free baking. I would be really interested if anyone owns one and if it has been successful. It claims to make a variety of loaves and rolls but also brioche, sponge cakes, brownies etc. Its not cheap but probably worth the price if it actually does what it says!! A Which review would be useful!

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
Guest

That’s not a bread maker which has been tested, however, we’ll certainly pass on the feedback if we plan to test more 🙂 We’ve also tested 11 models that can produce gluten-free loaves.

Profile photo of CJC
Guest

My advice – never make GF bread that includes vinegar or egg, both give the bread a horrible texture and taste and are just not nice, to my taste. I have experimented over the years and I (and other people) prefer my own cobbled together recipe. However, before diagnosis, I always ate wholegrain breads and enjoyed a denser loaf than lots of people and so I prefer my GF bread denser than shop-bought ones, which seem to either be too sweet or too puffed up for me, and hence my recipe will not be to everyone’s taste.

600ml warm water
650g GF flour – I try different combinations but I find the following always works:
– 200g buckwheat flour (ensure it’s GF as some aren’t now, due to bad contamination) (if you don’t have this, add more of the flours below or substitute eg about 50-100g of the amount for other GF ‘flours’, or eg oat bran)
– 250g Doves brown bread flour
– 200g Doves white bread flour
35g butter
1.75 tsp GF dried yeast (I notice eg Morrison’s has wheat flour in it!)
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
12-16 tblsp mixed seeds; eg sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, linseed, poppy, roasted buckwheat groats (I keep a plastic box full of the mixed seeds and just scoop out the mixture, rather than add any particular amount of any one type of seed)
NB l love seeds and so started to add them because I wanted them but I found that they not only added flavour, vital minerals and texture, but are important for ‘supporting’ the loaf, ie adding bulk to prevent the loaf from sinking. Consequently, if you use only tiny seeds (eg. sesame, poppy) you’ll need the higher amounts.
The loaf mixture should be fairly stiff but still mix easily by the paddle.
Add the ingrediants in the order listed and use the breadmaker GF programme; use the extra dark crust setting if available.

The loaf should come out flat-topped and even!

………AND, please note, spelt flour is NOT, absolutely NOT, gluten-free!!

Profile photo of NannieCats
Guest

My grandaughter has an intolerance to wheat, gluten, dairy, nuts and egg. I have just bought a bread making machine and wondered if anyone has bread recipe ideas without these ingredients that they may have tried with success.