/ 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
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

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

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.

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

Toppy says:
1 September 2014

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

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

you only test white and whole meal bread, you have not tested gluten free bread

Patrick Taylor says:
12 April 2018

When Which? tests breadmakers can it also please put a case for using an oven. Whilst I breadmakers are handy our Panasonic has been relegated for several years as overall my wife’s oven baked loafs are superior with relatively little extra effort for the improved size and taste. It is good for jam making but even that, now we have an induction hob and an infra-red thermometer, seems a job it has lost due to small capacity.

Saving on capital cost, and storage room is also not to be sneezed at. Perhaps Which? could run a survey with its Connect panel on how many people have bought, or been given them, and what percentage use them regularly[ frequency figures] and how many have them languishing in a cupboard or given them away.

My guess is that roughly 20% will be used regularly – as in weekly.

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!!

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.

Angelica says:
30 October 2019

I’ve baked two loaves so far in my Cuisinart bread machine. It has challenges, but it worked out. I think I got lucky early on. The main thing we need to reframe in our thinking is not so much what to expect from the bread, but how much work savings we get from the bread machine. It’s a valuable instrument, but you shouldn’t expect to toss ingredients in and get a beautiful loaf out. It might take more fussing. It’s less work than what I was doing before. And the baking process is much more certain and controlled than in my oven. I have chronicled the successes and failures of my efforts here if you want to see more: https://www.nixgluten.com/2019/10/the-great-gluten-free-bread-machine_29.html