The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread Recipe (Artisan Style Loaf)

Bread lovers, rejoice. This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s also super easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. And it’s vegan – no eggs or dairy products needed!

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A loaf of gluten free bread on a wooden cutting board, with a few slices already cut.

Before we get to the (long awaited) gluten free bread recipe, I’ve got some (super exciting, can’t-believe-this-is-happening) news: I am writing a book.

Wait, let’s put that in all-caps – because this definitely feels like a “shouting from the rooftops” moment: I AM WRITING A BOOK.

I will have more details to share with you soon, but here’s the short of it: it’s a gluten free baking book, covering everything from cakes and cupcakes, through brownies and cookies, all the way to pies and tarts – and bread. In fact, there will be over 15 different bread recipes, from artisan loaves (like this recipe) to enriched doughs like cinnamon rolls and babka.

To say that I am over-the-moon excited would be an understatement. And I cannot wait to share more book details with you over the coming weeks and months!

But for now: let’s talk gluten free bread.

A baked, golden brown loaf of bread on a white wire cooling rack.

Overhead view of a loaf of gluten free bread on a wooden cutting board, with a few slices already cut.

I’ve been working on a reliable gluten free bread recipe for years now – and it’s finally at a stage where it tastes, smells, looks and feels like regular, wheat-based bread. It’s also prepared pretty much like regular bread: you can knead it, it goes through two rounds of rising (the bulk fermentation and the final proof) and you can shape it whichever way you want.

All that said, there are a few (very important!) differences between regular and gluten free bread in terms of the ingredients and the method of preparation that make this recipe work – and I will guide you through them, step by step.

Now, this post includes just a brief overview of the vast, exciting world of gluten free bread. It’s more of a peek even, only just scratching the surface of what is possible (and why it’s possible). My book will include even more information (including the underlying science) you’ll need to become an experienced, confident gluten free bread baker – but this recipe and this post are an excellent starting point.

Before we get to the nitty gritty of how to make your own gluten free bread, here’s a quick overview of the many reasons why it’s absolutely amazing.

Why you’ll LOVE this gluten free bread recipe

1. The soft, chewy interior. The words “pillowy soft” come to mind with every bite – the bread has a gorgeous open crumb and just enough chew to it, like any proper bread should.

2. The crisp, caramelised crust. The crust cracks and crackles as you cut it, and it’s full of those amazing flavours that are brought about by the wonders of caramelisation.

3. The flavour. If you want to compare this gluten free bread to a loaf of regular bread, it’s on the whole wheat side of the flavour spectrum. Its taste is wholesome and more complex than that of your average loaf of white bread, thanks to the addition of buckwheat flour. At the same time, it doesn’t have the overpowering, slightly acidic flavour of, for instance, rye bread. It’s a nice everyday sort of loaf, and it’s amazing with some butter and jam, spread with hummus or as part of a toasted cheese sandwich.

4. In addition to gluten free, it’s also vegan. That’s right, there’s no eggs and no dairy products in this recipe!

5. Easily adaptable depending on the ingredients you have on hand. I’m fully aware that you might not have all the ingredients on hand, which is why I’ve included a detailed list of substitutions at the end of this post and also within the recipe card.

6. Easy to make. I know that making your own gluten free bread might sound scary and impossible. But believe me when I say – it’s really not. And the results… oh my, they are so worth it.

Gluten free bread cross-section.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this AMAZING bread – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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The ingredients for gluten free bread

The list of ingredients for this gluten free bread is actually surprisingly short. (As always, the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities can be found at the bottom of the page.)

  • active dried yeast
  • sugar (to kick-start the yeast action)
  • warm water
  • psyllium husk (which acts as a gluten substitute – more on that below)
  • potato starch (not to be confused with potato flour – these are two completely different things!)
  • brown rice flour (needs to be very finely milled, also called “superfine”)
  • buckwheat flour
  • salt (adds flavour)
  • apple cider vinegar (gives the yeast an extra boost of activity by creating a slightly acidic environment)

The three gluten free flours required to make gluten free bread.

What is psyllium husk and what is its role in gluten free bread?

This is probably the only unfamiliar ingredient in the list above – but one that is absolutely crucial if you want to bake proper gluten free bread.

And before you ask: there is no substitute for psyllium husk.

Psyllium husk is available in two forms: as the rough husk or as a fine powder. This recipe uses the rough husk, which has the following appearance:

Close-up view of the texture of psyllium husk.

When it’s mixed with water, psyllium husk forms a gel – and this is what acts as the gluten substitute, both in the dough and in the baked loaf.

Psyllium gel in a white bowl, being scooped up with a spoon to show the stretchy texture.

Before baking, the psyllium gel helps to create a dough that can be kneaded and shaped (as opposed to a bread “batter” that has to be scooped or poured into a loaf tin). It also gives the dough enough elasticity so that it can trap the gas produced through the yeast action and expand during the bulk fermentation and the final proof.

In the final baked loaf, psyllium is responsible for the characteristic elasticity and flexibility of the bread, as well as its amazing chewy texture with an open crumb.

Mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough

First, mix the yeast and sugar with some warm water to activate the yeast. After 5 – 10 minutes, it will become bubbly and frothy, which means that the yeast is active. If there’s no bubbles and/or foam formation, you’ll know that it’s inactive (possibly expired) and you should open a new yeast package.

Frothy yeast mixture in a glass measuring jug.

Next up, prepare the psyllium gel by mixing the psyllium husk with some water. The gel will begin to form within seconds.

Then:

  1. Add the potato starch, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour,
  2. and salt to a bowl,
  3. and mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture,
  5. the psyllium gel, and
  6. the apple cider vinegar.

Six step process of combining the ingredients for gluten free bread.

Now, we come to the mixing and kneading stage – there’s really no right or wrong way to knead gluten free bread, as you don’t have to go though the stretching motions you’d typically use to build up the elasticity in a gluten-containing wheat bread.

Once the wet and the dry ingredients are combined, I tend to squeeze the dough through my fingers until smooth and homogeneous. After a few minutes you’ll notice the dough coming away from the sides and it will be easy to form it into a rough ball.

Step-by-step photos of kneading the gluten free bread.

While it won’t have the same super-stretchy elasticity of a gluten-containing wheat dough, there’s enough elasticity there that you can stretch portions of it without them breaking off. (Thank you, psyllium husk!)

Gluten free bread dough in a glass bowl being stretched out to show the elasticity of the dough.

Before the bulk proof, shape the dough into a ball. This is best done on a lightly oiled surface with lightly oiled hands. You can see the step-by-step photos of how to shape the dough below: lightly flatten the dough into a disc, then take individual portions along the edge and fold them back, rotating the dough as you go.

Once you complete one 360 degree rotation of the dough, you should be left with a ball of dough. Flip it seam side down and rotate in place to seal the seams.

Step-by-step photos of shaping the gluten free bread.

1st rise: bulk fermentation

For the bulk fermentation, place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. It will approximately double in volume.

The purpose of the bulk fermentation is primarily flavour development – this is what ensures that your loaf will have that wonderfully complex flavour we associate with properly baked bread.

The first rise, where the bread doubles in volume in a large glass bowl.

Shaping the dough

Once doubled in volume, the dough can be shaped. The process is very similar to the shaping done before the bulk fermentation, with the exception that it’s done on a lightly floured surface (I like to use brown rice flour for dusting the work surface and proofing basket).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use the heel of your hand to essentially knead the dough into shape – fold section of the dough back onto themselves, rotating the dough as you go. It’s very likely that the dough won’t be super smooth after the first 360 degrees rotation – just continue kneading until you’re happy with how it looks.

Then, flip it seam side down onto a part of the work surface that isn’t covered in flour and rotate in place to seal the seams.

Step-by-step photos of shaping the gluten free bread.

2nd rise: final proof

Transfer the shaped dough into a lightly floured 7 inch round proofing basket, seam side up. Pinch the seams together to close and seal if necessary.

Cover with a damp tea towel and proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until approximately doubled in volume.

The second rise, where the bread doubles in volume in a proofing basket.

Oven set-up

You should start pre-heating the oven to 480 ºF (250 ºC) about 30 – 45 minutes before you plan to bake the bread.

This is the oven set-up I use:

The oven set-up to bake gluten free bread: a cast iron skillet on the middle rack and a baking tray on the lower rack.

I prefer to use a cast iron skillet rather than a Dutch oven/combo cooker (although I do have one), as I’ve noticed that my gluten free breads show slightly better oven spring (that is: the baked loaves are taller) using a skillet.

That said, if you only have a Dutch oven/combo cooker on hand, feel free to use that. The bread will still turn out gorgeous and delicious. While I only outline the method for using a skillet in the post, the recipe at the bottom includes information for both a skillet AND a Dutch oven/combo cooker.

The baking tray on the bottom shelf of the oven will hold hot water to create steam in the first 20 minutes of baking – the steam is there to keep the crust of the bread malleable enough for the final expansion (oven spring) to take place before the crust starts setting. (Note that this isn’t required if you use a closed baking environment like a Dutch oven or combo cooker, as that traps the steam generated by the bread itself.)

It’s important to pre-heat the skillet/Dutch oven/combo cooker as well as the baking tray in the oven, so that everything is scorching hot and ready for the perfectly proofed bread.

Baking the gluten free bread

Once proofed and doubled in volume:

  1. turn the bread out onto a piece of baking/greaseproof paper (I like to use a baking sheet to help with this step),
  2. score the dough with a sharp knife or a bread lame,
  3. transfer the dough into the hot skillet,
  4. place the skillet/Dutch oven/combo cooker in the oven,
  5. pour hot water into the bottom baking tray,
  6. add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/greaseproof paper and the skillet), and
  7. close the oven door.

Four step process of turning the bread out of the proofing basket, scoring and placing into the hot cast iron skillet.

Bake the dough with steam at 480 ºF (250 ºC) for 20 minutes, then remove the tray with water, reduce the oven temperature to 450 ºF (230 ºC) and bake for a further 40 – 50 minutes. (If the top of the loaf starts browning too quickly, you can cover it with a sheet of aluminium foil, shiny side up.)

A baked, golden brown loaf of gluten free bread in a cast iron skillet.

Cooling the loaf

Okay, here I’m supposed to tell you that it’s incredibly important that the gluten free bread is completely 100% cool before you cut into it. And… it is. Cooling sets the crumb and ensures it’s not sticky or unpleasantly gummy.

On the other hand – I’m a terribly impatient human being and tend to run out of patience when it reaches the lukewarm stage. It’s still okay.

All this is to say: don’t go cutting into the loaf while it’s hot or super warm, but if it feels only slightly lukewarm to the touch and you REALLY want to go for it… slice away.

I mean, who can possibly resist this???

A baked, golden brown loaf of bread on a white wire cooling rack.

Possible substitutions

Although all the ingredients in the recipe should be easily accessible either in your local grocery store or online, I still wanted to include a list of substitutions you can make. (NOTE: all substitutions should be made by weight and not by volume.)

  • Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the water that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and apple cider vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar: You can use other types of vinegar, although I recommend sticking to apple cider vinegar if at all possible.
  • Psyllium husk: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE IT WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only 75% of the weight listed in the recipe.
  • Potato starch: You can use corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot starch instead.
  • Brown rice flour: You can use millet flour instead.
  • Buckwheat flour: You can use white teff flour, sorghum flour or oat flour instead.

A note on measurements (tl;dr: if possible, use a scale)

While I’ve included the volume measurements (cups and spoons) in the recipe card below, if at all possible (and I really cannot overemphasise this): USE METRIC GRAM MEASUREMENTS IF YOU CAN.

They’re much more precise and produce more reliably delicious results. This is true for pretty much all of baking – a kitchen scale will invariably give better results than cups and tablespoons.

Recommended products for gluten free bread baking

Below, you will find the tools that will help you get the best results on your gluten free bread adventure. Note that not all of them are strictly necessary – a proofing basket can be replaced by a bowl lined with a clean tea towel, you can score the bread with a sharp knife, and a sturdy baking tray that holds heat really well can replace the cast iron skillet.

However, these are the tools that will give the best bread, simply because that’s what they were created and optimised for. For instance, the cast iron skillet and Dutch oven are excellent at holding onto heat, which helps give the bread that delicious crunchy crust.

 

So that’s it, friends.

The start of your gluten free bread baking journey. Wonderful, delicious things lie ahead.

Enjoy.

Overhead view of a loaf of gluten free bread on a wooden cutting board, with a few slices already cut.

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A loaf of gluten free bread on a wooden cutting board, with a few slices already cut.
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The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread Recipe (Artisan Style Loaf)

Bread lovers, rejoice. This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s also super easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. And it’s vegan – no eggs or dairy products needed! 

Course Bread
Cuisine Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 1 hour
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 8 g (2 1/2 tsp) active dried yeast
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) superfine/caster sugar
  • 390 g (1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp) warm water, divided
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) psyllium husk (rough husk form)
  • 130 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) buckwheat flour
  • 100 g (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp) potato starch (NOTE: this is different from potato flour)
  • 90 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) brown rice flour (needs to be very finely ground, "superfine")
  • 10 g (2 tsp) table or sea salt
  • 12 g (2 tsp) apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and 150 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) warm water. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts frothing.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and 240 g (1 cup) water. After about 15 – 30 seconds, a gel will form.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the buckwheat flour, potato starch, brown rice flour and salt, until evenly combined.

  4. Add the yeast mixture, psyllium gel and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until smooth and it starts coming away from the bowl, about 5 – 10 minutes. You can knead by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook.

  5. Transfer the bread to a lightly oiled surface and knead it gently, forming it into a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, seam side down, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  6. Once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it gently while forming it into a tight ball (see post for step-by-step photos). Flip it seam side down onto a part of the work surface that isn’t covered in flour and rotate in place to seal the seams.

  7. Place the dough into a 7 inch round proofing basket that you’ve dusted with some brown rice flour with the seams facing upwards. Cover with a damp tea towel and proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  8. While the loaf is proofing, pre-heat the oven to 480 ºF (250 ºC) with a cast iron skillet on the middle rack or a Dutch oven/combo cooker on the lower middle rack. If you’re using a skillet, place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.

  9. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out of the bread basket onto a piece of baking paper and score the top with a pattern of choice (the easiest pattern is a cross, about ¼ – ½ inch deep), using a bread lame or sharp knife. Take the hot cast iron skillet or Dutch oven/combo cooker out of the oven and then transfer the bread along with the baking paper into it.

    For a skillet or combo cooker, this is easiest by sliding a pizza peel or baking sheet underneath the baking paper and then using it to slide the bread along with the baking paper gently into the hot skillet/combo cooker. For a Dutch oven, use the sides of the baking paper as handles to transfer the bread into it.

  10. If using a skillet: place the skillet in the oven, pour hot water into the bottom baking tray, add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/greaseproof paper and the skillet), and close the oven door.

  11. If using a Dutch oven/combo cooker: add 3 – 4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/greaseproof paper and the walls of the Dutch oven/combo cooker) and close it, then place it into the pre-heated oven.

  12. Bake at 480 ºF (250 ºC) with steam for 20 minutes – don’t open the Dutch oven or the oven doors during this initial period, as that would allow the steam to escape out of the oven.

  13. After the 20 minutes, remove the bottom tray with water from the oven (for cast iron skillet) or uncover the Dutch oven/combo cooker, reduce the oven temperature to 450 ºF (230 ºC), and bake for a further 40 - 50 minutes in a steam-free environment. The final loaf should be of a deep, dark brown colour. If the loaf starts browning too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminium foil, shiny side up, and continue baking until done.

  14.  Transfer the loaf onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

  15. Storage: The gluten free bread keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in a tea towel in a cool dry place for 3 – 4 days.

Recipe Notes

POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the water that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and apple cider vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar: You can use other types of vinegar, although I recommend sticking to apple cider vinegar if at all possible.
  • Psyllium husk: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE IT WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only 75% of the weight listed in the recipe.
  • Potato starch: You can use corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot starch instead.
  • Brown rice flour: You can use millet flour instead.
  • Buckwheat flour: You can use white teff flour, sorghum flour or oat flour instead.

NOTE: All substitutions should be made by weight not by volume.

The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread Recipe (Artisan Style Loaf) - This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s super easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. And it’s vegan – no eggs or dairy products needed! Vegan bread. Easy bread recipe. Homemade bread. Gluten free baking. Gluten free recipe. #glutenfree #bread The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread Recipe (Artisan Style Loaf) - This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s super easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. And it’s vegan – no eggs or dairy products needed! Vegan bread. Easy bread recipe. Homemade bread. Gluten free baking. Gluten free recipe. #glutenfree #bread The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread Recipe (Artisan Style Loaf) - This gluten free bread is the real deal – with a soft, chewy open crumb and a deliciously crisp caramelised crust. It’s super easy to prepare, and it behaves similarly to regular wheat bread: it can be kneaded and shaped, and goes though two rounds of rising. And it’s vegan – no eggs or dairy products needed! Vegan bread. Easy bread recipe. Homemade bread. Gluten free baking. Gluten free recipe. #glutenfree #bread

 

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