GF Substitutions Part XIII: Making and Using Gluten Free Bread

by Jenn on October 4, 2010

in GF Substitutions,Gluten Free

Zucchini Bread

Welcome to another week of Gluten Free Substitutions here on Jenn Cuisine!  If you’ve missed the past few announcements, there is just ONE WEEK left to submit your gluten free experiences for the substitutions roundup!  Curious?? I know you are :) Check out the details, and email me your submissions to jenncuisine at gmail dot com!

Bread is one of those things that I don’t try to adapt much or create off of the top of my head.  Not because it can’t be done, but because my experience with baking bread (let alone GF bread) is sorely lacking.  It’s not that I can’t do it, I just need more practice before I feel qualified to share a list of helpful bread baking substitution tips with you all.  I was going to make some this weekend (especially since I had some tasty New England style clam chowder that was just begging to be served in a bread boule), but silly me didn’t put the ingredients on the grocery list.  gah!  Kind of hard to make bread with no yeast around! But when I’m not being forgetful, bread is something I usually actually do by the book when it comes to making gluten free; simply because I don’t know what I’m doing and don’t feel comfortable enough yet.  If you make tasty gluten free bread regularly, I commend you!  This is one area I’m still working on overcoming – until then, I am quite happy to buy some scrumptious pre-made GF bread, including some fantastic GF baguettes :)

That doesn’t mean I won’t make delicious gluten free bread from scratch, just that I’m not at a point in my skills to start recipe development from scratch.  However, if a batch doesn’t come out awesomely, I will often go back to my list of what to do when a recipe flops, and reassess things.  1st, I figure out if I followed the recipe correctly, and only then will I decide to start playing with ingredients.

If I want to really play with ingredients and substitutions though, crusty Euro-style bread is not what I look to make.  Instead, I make things that I can play a bit more with, like bagels.  However, I will let you in a little secret.  My favorite GF bread to make isn’t actually a yeasted bread at all.  It’s a quick bread!   My favorite sandwich bread is actually a zucchini quick bread (pic above); what I do is I just cut back on the sugar content, and then it goes from sweet dessert/breakfast to savory and sandwich-ready.  Besides, quick breads are generally quite forgiving, and really adaptable to a variety of flavors and ingredients.  You can even turn them into something that looks like a cake!

Strawberry Banana Quickbread with Chocolate Chips, Gluten Free

If you are going to tweak bread recipes though, I recommend you take a recipe that you know works, and start by minor tweaks only – i.e., keep the starch:flour ratio the same, and just sub within those categories.  Remember how we classified all those gluten free flours a while back?  A good place to begin if you are missing a certain ingredient in a recipe is to sub it out for another flour in the same category that is likely to have similar properties.  If your favorite bread recipe has almond meal, and you have hazelnut meal at home, I’d say that’s fair game to substitute.  Or if your favorite uses quinoa flakes and you have millet flakes (you see where I am going with this?), or uses millet flour, and you only have sorghum, etc.  Keep it simple until you get a handle on exactly how your bread is working for you (or against you as the case may be).  If things are still not perfected the way you like, then it’s time to start messing with ratios.

For example, I started messing with ratios in a recipe when a gluten free buckwheat bread that I so wanted to work out just kept on failing for me.  I repeated the issues so I knew it wasn’t just a stupid mistake (or at least it was one I kept repeating without knowing it!).  My problem with my bread was that the dough was really a “batter”, way too soupy and it resulted in an extremely dense loaf.  I ended up adding in more dry ingredients – keeping the starch:flour ratio the same but altering the wet:dry ratio until I got something that still poured like batter, but at least wasn’t “soup” anymore.  It’s still a pretty dense loaf.  When it bakes now it is a bit better in consistency, and does make for some great sandwiches.  But as I tweaked, I only did a little bit at a time, gradually changing until I found something that worked more to my liking.  It’s by no means the perfect GF loaf – there’s definitely still room for improvement.  But it’s tasty and satisfying and lets my husband enjoy real homemade bread.


Ok, so say you have found / tweaked an amazing loaf of gluten free bread.  Now, what do you do with it?  Assuming you’ve managed to let it cool without just digging right into it, each person in your family fighting for pieces of fresh steaming bread that came right out of the oven, eating sandwiches and making toast can get mighty boring….Just exactly what culinary doors are open to you once you have a delicious gluten free bread??

French toast
Bread pudding
Bread crumbs for making homemade mac & cheesechicken cordon bleu or zucchini chips, or roasted stuffed artichokes
French onion soup and gazpacho blanco
Stuffing!!! (Thanksgiving is coming soon you know…)
Grilled cheese
Fried sandwich goodness – Paninis & croque monsieurs
Vehicles for other tasty treats – Bruschetta, tomanade, ouefs en meurette
Salmon burgers or meatballs or crab cakes!
Dipping in a hearty buttercup squash soup or cheesy fondue

_PAG1524cheese White Gazpacho

My list is totally not complete.  There are a gazillion ways to enjoy tasty bread, and there are so many wonderful gluten free bread recipes out there to try!  Have a favorite?  Let me (and everyone else) know about it!  Have a story about adapting a bread recipe? I’d love to hear what worked/didn’t for you!

And remember to send me your submissions to be featured in the Gluten Free Substitutions Roundup, there’s only a week left to enter!  It can be a new or an old post, the particulars aren’t important – the important thing is to share a substitution experience – the more we all see how everyone experiments in the kitchen, the better we all benefit :)

Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays


Rosa October 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Lovely breads!



Jenn October 4, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Thanks Rosa!

kamran siddiqi October 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm

That is some gorgeous bread!! Lovely photos, as always! :)

Jenn October 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Thanks Kamran!

torviewtoronto October 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm


Jenn October 4, 2010 at 11:49 pm


Deanna October 5, 2010 at 2:28 am

I spent a while early on trying to get gluten-free bread just right. I never came up with anything I was super thrilled with, and then the shiny fun part of making gluten-free bread was over and I decided I didn’t really want it anyway. Of course, now that the weather is turning colder, I’m probably going to dive in again. If I ever come up with a fantastic recipe, I’ll let you know. :)

Mmm….bread pudding…..

Jenn October 5, 2010 at 6:10 am

I’ve been meaning to try French baguettes for a while….will probably start on it now that it is getting cooler as well :) Until then there is some pretty nice store-bought bread that we can use – it’s expensive, but really great quality. And of course one can you any random gluten free bread that they find for tasty bread pudding!

alex@amoderatelife October 5, 2010 at 5:01 am

Hi Jenn, The lovely K over at cooking allergy and gluten free shared your blog and recipe with us on the hearth and soul hop this week, so I thought i would stop by your blog and have a visit! Your site is just lovely and I adore that you open up to the idea of gluten free instead of feeling restricted! I am now following your tweets and grabbed your rss feed and I hope we can entice you to link up your own recipes on the hearth and soul hop some time soon! :) Alex@amoderatelife

Jenn October 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

Thank you so much! I am still in awe at all of the amazing words Kim had to say, her post was one of the highest compliments anyone could receive!

InTolerantChef October 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

I admit that I buy my gfree bread, and then complain the entire time I eat them! I promise I’ll give it a go soon.
I’m still trying to organise a post for your roundup, my pre teen AKA technichal advisor- is back from holidays so I might stand a chance!

Jenn October 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Oh wonderful, can’t wait to see what you share!!

Iris October 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I haven’t experimented with bread making at all yet, except for quick breads. It’s definitely something I want to learn how to do, but it always gets put to the backburner. I have been experimenting with trying to make a “breadless” french toast though, so hopefully I can make that work for me.

Jenn October 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Breadless French toast! Awesome idea! I totally understand the experimenting getting put on the backburner, I have not done nearly as much with breads as I want to…

Linda October 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Great tips Jenn. I added your link and the picture didn’t show up right away, but it did after a few minutes. I’m off to find a substitution post to email to you.

Jenn October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Thanks Linda!! And thanks for figuring out the linky for me, hopefully next week I get it alright!

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads October 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I have no idea why I’ve never thought of using quick breads like regular bread. It is much easier to make gluten free, so it makes sense. Hmm…. Once the cooler weather hits, I do believe I get to do a bunch of testing. :) Thanks for the great idea!

P.S. Your pictures made me really hungry. lol!

Jenn October 6, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Thanks! Hope you enjoy!!!

Lori October 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

Like the comment above, I had never thought of using a quick bread. For us, after coming from Turkey where I was making ALL bread products- to Belgium, where I can buy ALL bread products, I must admit that I have been a bit lazy. I did have a big plan to ‘attempt’ crossiants in the next weeks. I plan on using the Schar flour mix. I’m crazy about them. My cupcakes have never been better!

Your pictures are beyond words! I think they could be the best food photography on the net! Are you thinking about doing a photography class in Europe???

Thank you for your blog!

Jenn October 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thanks so much! Which flour mix do you use for the cupcakes? B or C? I have not done gluten free cupcakes yet, I should though!

And thanks so much for the lovely compliments on my photography! You know, I had not ever thought of teaching a class… I still feel like a beginner myself! hmm….

Lori October 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

For the cupcakes I use the Schar C for cupcakes- I have some devil’s food cupcakes in the oven as we speak (write…) It works great!

Brian October 8, 2010 at 12:59 am

Great suggestions. I usually stick with quick breads or my french bread recipe. GF sandwich bread is hard to get right.

Jenn October 8, 2010 at 5:34 am

Oooh I would love to see your French bread recipe! That is another one that has been on my list to make sometime!

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