gluten-free artisan bread

Artisan bread. The crusty artful loaves that you see displayed in the finest French bakeries. Or in the bakery section of your local specialty food market. You could never imagine that one of those amazing loaves of bread could be gluten-free. Well, I’m here to reassure you that it can happen. Thanks to the genius of Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, you can easily achieve this at home. It’s all outlined in their book, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

I will confess that my first attempt at this didn’t turn out so well. It had nothing to do with technique. It had everything to do with my not reading the instructions carefully. As a result, I substituted a few of the ingredients with what was more readily available to me at my local store. I found out the hard way that you cannot substitute sweet rice flour for stone ground rice flour. And that potato starch and potato flour are two very different things. If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients listed for the all-purpose flour mixture, don’t worry. They are all available on Amazon here and here. They are also available online directly from Bob’s Red Mill.

(Since this post was originally published, I’m happy to say that every ingredient is now carried in my local supermarket …a sure sign that times are changing.  So many gluten-intolerant folks out there, unfortunately.)

This may seem like a lot to go through to make a loaf of bread but, really, if you have a serious issue with gluten or someone close to you does …you’ll find that it’s worth the effort. And the best part is that once you mix up your customized gluten-free all-purpose flour, you’ll store it in a large container and have it handy for all of your baking needs. The key is to measure each ingredient carefully …I found that measuring in grams on my food scale by keeping a running total worked out well.

As the authors state …“The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise, the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.”

The yeast is sprinkled in with the flour mixture. Once the dry ingredients are well combined, the lukewarm water is added. It is recommended that it be exactly 100°. I know this all may seem to be a bit much but please don’t give up on it. After all, it’s like a science project. And the final product is so superior …it’s worth the effort. You just can’t buy this at your local bakery. Well, maybe you can if you live in a large metropolitan area. But, for the rest of us …we’re on our own.

If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix up the dough for about one minute. If not, give it a good stir for about two minutes until the mixture is very smooth. And the best part is …no kneading necessary!

After a two hour rest, your dough is ready for the fridge. This is where the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day” comes into play. This recipe makes enough dough for four one-pound loaves. Over the next ten days, grab about a pound of dough, shape it into a round loaf, let it rest for about an hour and bake. Just five minutes of your hectic schedule. The rest of the time it takes care of itself. And the longer it hangs out in the fridge, the more developed the flavor is. Simply genius.

When you dust the prepared dough with flour, use a bit of your gluten-free all-purpose mix. Or, better yet, just use white rice flour.

Just before baking, you’ll score the top of the round of dough in a scallop or cross pattern. Don’t cut too deep, just a quarter inch to a half inch. If you would like to achieve a less dramatic look, barely cut into the dough as I’ve done here.

Our baking specialists recommend that you bake this bread on a preheated baking stone or baking metal, using the steam method. Thanks to fellow blogger and cookbook author, Alexandra Stafford, we now know that you can bake it right in your preheated, lidded dutch oven. That’s the method I’ve chosen. It couldn’t be easier. I use my Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Dutch Oven.

Just lift the dough round, including the parchment paper, right into the dutch oven, cover it and bake. For additional insight on what to expect with this unstructured dough, check out this video.

When the bread is done, place it on a cooling rack for a full two hours. That’s the hard part. It smells so good, you’ll want to cut into it immediately. After all, who doesn’t love warm bread straight from the oven? But don’t give in to the temptation. Gluten-free bread needs a full two hours of cooling to set completely.

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gluten-free artisan bread

Adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Keep a supply of this gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture in the pantry.  With a batch of this master boule dough in the fridge, you can enjoy fresh bread every day.  Just takes five minutes of your time.

Servings 4 one pound loaves
Author Rosemary Stelmach

Ingredients

Gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture

  • 6 cups stone ground white rice flour * (36 ounces / 1,020 grams)
  • 3 1/4 cups sorghum flour (16 ounces / 455 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups tapioca flour or starch (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups potato starch ** (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1/4 cup xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder (1.4 ounces / 40 grams)

Gluten-free artisan bread

  • 6 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture (990 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (or dry active yeast) (10 grams)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (10 to 15 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (30 grams)
  • 3 3/4 cups lukewarm water (850 grams)
  • parchment paper or cornmeal

Instructions

Gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture

  1. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container.  Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.

  2. The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. 

  3. * Do not substitute with sweet white rice flour.

  4. ** Do not substitute with potato flour.

  5. If you’re measuring by U.S. cup-measures, be sure to pack the flour tightly into the cup, as if you were measuring brown sugar.

Gluten-free artisan bread

  1. In a 5 to 6-quart bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

  2. Add the lukewarm water — lukewarm water (100ºF) will allow the dough to rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours.
  3. Mix with the paddle attachment of mixer until mixture is very smooth, for about one minute.  Alternatively, using a spoon or spatula, mix well by hand for one to two minutes.  Kneading is not necessary. Transfer mixture to lidded (not airtight) food container.

  4. Cover with a lid that fits well to the container but can be cracked open so it’s not completely airtight.  Plastic wrap is fine, too.  Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature about 2 hours; then refrigerate it and use over the next 10 days.  You can use a portion of the dough any time after the 2-hour rise.  Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature, but whatever you do, do not punch down the dough — this is unnecessary with gluten-free bread baking.
  5. On baking day:  pull off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, then place it on a pizza peel prepared with plenty of cornmeal or parchment paper.  Gently press the dough into a ball and use wet fingers to smooth the surface.  Allow it to rest at room temperature for 60 minutes loosely covered with plastic wrap or under a roomy overturned bowl. The dough will not look as though it has risen much after the 60 minutes — this is normal.

  6. While the dough is resting, preheat a baking stone or baking steel near the middle of your oven set at 450ºF for at least 30 minutes.  Alternatively, preheat a lidded Dutch oven for 45 minutes at 450ºF.  If you are using the stone or steel, place an empty metal broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below the stone or steel.

  7. Dust the top of the dough liberally with gluten-free flour. Slash a 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch deep cross or scallop(s) across the top using a wet serrated bread knife.

  8. Shimmy the loaf onto the preheated stone.  Quickly and carefully pour 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the metal broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. If you are using parchment paper on the steel or stone, remove it after 20 minutes.  Bake loaf for a total of 45 minutes.  Alternatively, use the piece of parchment paper as handles and carefully lower the dough-topped parchment paper into the preheated pot.  Cover and place in the oven.  No need for a steam bath with the dutch oven.  If you are using the preheated vessel, remove the lid after 30 minutes, and bake for 15 minutes longer uncovered or until the crust is richly browned. 

  9. Allow bread to cool completely, about 2 hours, on a wire rack.
  10. Store remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded or loosely plastic-wrapped container and use it over the next 10 days.  If your container isn't vented, allow gasses to escape by leaving the cover open a crack for the first couple of days in the fridge.  After that, it can be closed. 

gluten-free artisan bread

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have personally experienced all of these products, and I recommend them because I have found them to be helpful and useful.

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  • Hello, I live in Mexico City and I can´t find sorghum flour, can I substitute it for another flour? thank you so much

    • I highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill Sorghum Flour which is available for international shipping through Amazon. Although I haven’t personally tried it …my research suggests that if you don’t have access to sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour is the closest option. Hope this is helpful!

  • Hi Rosemary. Thanks for this post and recipe. I’ve now made 5 loaves from my primary batch — it’s the first time I’ve tried this recipe — and I have a couple of questions for you about the results.

    1) My finished loaves are small. I do see the note that the dough wouldn’t rise much during the hour under the overturned bowl, but even after baking the finished loaves are approximately 5 inches long by 4 inches wide … about the size of the grapefruit size ball of dough I began with. From your experience, should this happen? Or are my loaves not rising/increasing in size the way they ought to?

    2) The finished loaf of bread, despite its size, has a good flavor/taste. I like and would be happy to keep making this bread and eating it. But each loaf so far — again, from my first primary loaf — is gummy. The bread is definitely done and cooked through, but it has a gummy consistency. I’ve wondered if the dough is too wet? I followed your directions to the T, but is it possible there is too much water? Do you have any insight based on your experience?

    Lastly, I’m delighted to have found your blog. Thanks for these recipes. I plan to try the gf pizza crust soon.

    • Good morning, Paul. I’m so glad to know that you are enjoying my blog. The recipes that I choose to post are often from my favorite cookbooks after many test runs in my own kitchen. It is very important to me that my recommendations are backed by my personal experience. And by my family’s stamp of approval!

      You are so correct in your statement regarding the size of the finished loaves. They do tend to be small and hearty. I typically serve this bread as part of an antipasti tray or in a bread basket to be served with a meal of soup or pasta. If you are in search of a gluten-free bread to be used for sandwiches, there is a recipe in the GF Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day Cookbook for a Crusty White Sandwich Loaf that uses the same master recipe dough in a 2-pound portion baked in a loaf pan. I’ve made a few loaves for my gluten-free daughter and granddaughter and they go crazy over it. They especially like it toasted. A future blog post, perhaps?

      I can totally relate to your concern over the bread being gummy. I haven’t had that issue since I started making this bread on a regular basis but I certainly did in the beginning. My first batch was so gummy. Thinking it would not make a difference, I had substituted a few ingredients since my local market didn’t stock a good variety. I used sweet rice flour instead of stone ground rice flour. And I used potato flour instead of potato starch. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a complete disaster. Totally gummy. I had to start over at the beginning. Okay …lesson learned. So now that I have the correct ingredients, I move on. I baked the first loaf from my second batch. I didn’t wait the full two hours before cutting into the bread. It felt cool to the touch, so I figured it would be okay. It wasn’t. It was gummy …not as bad as the first try but still not the texture I’d hoped for. Now I truly believe, without a doubt, that this bread needs a full two hours to set up.

      On a final note or two, I always bake this bread using my Le Creuset 5 1/2-quart Dutch Oven. It works like a charm. Every time. And I always measure the dry ingredients in grams on my digital kitchen scale.

      I’m so glad you took the time to reach out with your questions. I hope my response is helpful. I’ll be anxious to know how you like the gf pizza crust!

  • 5 stars
    I really love this bread, but I came across a small issue when I shaped the loaf. The ball kind of flattened out, and I had to reshape it before I put it in the oven. I didn’t refrigerate the dough. Could this be the problem?

    • Cristina, this dough is definitely easier to work with after it’s been refrigerated. Even though it rests at room temperature for a period of time prior to baking, it works best when it starts off chilled. I’m so glad to know that you love the bread, though. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • 4 stars
    The dough doesn’t seem doughy enough but this is the first time I am making this… is it supposed to be where you need to knead it?

    • This dough does not require kneading. It will seem as though it is extremely moist and sticky. That’s normal …the texture is very different from regular bread dough. It may be helpful to browse through my post photos to see if your dough appears to be of the same texture. Also, there’s a link to a video that will give you another perspective. I hope you are happy with the results, Jeffrey!

  • 5 stars
    Hi. My loaf came out super dense and moist. Does not look as ‘fluffy’ as your pictures. Do you think it’s because there was too much water or did I not cook it for long enough? Thanks!

    • Lindsay, I’m so sorry to learn that your bread didn’t turn out as well as you expected. I hope you were still able to enjoy it. I will say that this gluten-free bread is quite a bit heavier and denser than your typical artisan bread. Keeping that in mind, I must admit that I had some issues when I first tried to make this. So basically I learned some lessons the hard way!

      Always measure the dry ingredients by weight (preferably in grams) using a digital food scale.
      Always use Stone Ground White Rice Flour (not sweet rice flour).
      Always use Potato Starch (not potato flour).
      Always allow the freshly baked bread to rest for a full two hours before slicing.

      I hope these suggestions are helpful!

    • Erin, the cooled loaf can be stored in your bread box for about 3 days if by some off chance it doesn’t get eaten up right away. On the second and third day, it’s best to toast it lightly before eating it. If need be, wrap slices well and freeze them. When ready to enjoy, toast directly from the freezer — no need to thaw first.

  • Hello,
    I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour for the 6 1/2 cups of flour and followed the 3 3/4 cups of water – the mixture, it is not a dough but instead a batter. Any recommendation? Is this because I didn’t make the flour recipe that is in this post? Have you made bread with that all purpose flour before? Thanks!!

    • Hi Amanda. I’m sorry to say that I’ve only made gluten-free bread using this recipe exactly as it is written. The authors of the book are very specific in what they recommend, stating that it is like an exact science. Your dough may thicken after a day or two in the fridge, but I can’t say for sure. This dough is definitely not as thick as regular bread dough but it certainly shouldn’t be too runny as you would see in a cake batter. So sorry!

  • Hi Rosemary,
    I am excited to try this bread. Could i use my stainless steel dutch oven to bake it instead of a cast iron?

    • Hi Colleen. This bread is so good …I hope you love it. In regards to the stainless steel dutch oven, I honestly am not sure if the results would be the same. The cast-iron style heats up slowly and uniformly and holds the heat so well that it creates its own steam in the process. You could try one loaf in the stainless steel dutch oven and if it doesn’t work out, for the remaining loaves, use the alternate directions of placing the loaf on a preheated baking stone with a tray of water on a different shelf. I would love to hear from you on how it all turns out!

  • 5 stars
    I’m stunned! This is such a delicious, crusty, moist bread. It’s so like wheat bread, I can hardly believe it, and vegan too!
    Thank you!

  • 5 stars
    This is the BEST gluten free bread recipe I’ve ever made!! If you follow the directions exactly as given, you’ll end up with a fantastic loaf of bread. I’ve been gf for years now and basically gave up eating bread because it’s very hard to find good artisan gf bread. But now, I get my fresh bread fix whenever I want. What joy!!! I bake mine in a La Creuset baking pan with top, as recommended. I tried the pizza stone (turned out okay), but definitely not as good as when using La Creuset. So, if you make this recipe, I highly recommend you follow the guidelines for water temperature and flour measurements. It makes all the difference!!

  • I don’t see anyone commenting on the differences (good or bad–which actually works better) between the xanthan gum and the psyllium husk. If I have no reason to prefer one over the other, which is better? Or is id best to use half of one and half of the other?

    • Hi Judy. It’s true that xanthan gum can be replaced with ground psyllium husk. The main reason being that there are some folks who may have some intolerance to xanthan gum. If the substitution is made, it is important to follow the recipe for the required adjustment in the amount used.

      I’ve always used the xanthan gum in my gluten-free bread baking with great success. Also, keep in mind that if you are at some point making the gluten-free brioche dough, the xanthan gum cannot be replaced for those recipes that involve free-formed items. The xanthan gum (not ground psyllium husk) aids in the dough holding its desired shape.

  • Hello there,
    I’ve been recommended this recipe for my baby with allergies and myself. Now that we are closed away for COVID here in the UK most shops are sold out of everything. I haven’t managed to find potato starch. but I’ve found everything else on the ingredient list. Is there anything (perhaps the Tapioca?) that I could increase as a substitute?
    Thanks,

    • Hi Kathryn. I hope I can be helpful as we are all going through this unprecedented event.

      You normally have a few starches to choose from besides potato when baking …cornstarch, tapioca, and arrowroot. From what I’ve researched, they sometimes can be interchangeable when baking with them. I’m just not sure how it would work out with this specific formula.

      According to the authors of Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day, “If you don’t have potato flour, you can try proportionally increasing the other starches/flours in the flour mixture, but you may have to adjust the water to keep the consistency at about the level that you see in our video.” There is a link to that video contained within the body of my post.

      On a final note, I was wondering if you tried ordering online directly from Bob’s Red Mill or through Amazon. I have had to do that in the past before these unusual ingredients were regularly offered at most local markets.

      I hope this works out for you. The bread is truly delicious and has a great texture. Stay safe and healthy!

  • Hello,
    Maybe I’m missing something but how much yeast, salt and water do you use to make your gfree bread. I have made the mix now and realize I can’t find the recipe with the rest of the ingredients. Thanks Linda

    • Hi Linda. The first list of ingredients is for the Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture then as you scroll down, the second list of ingredients details what you need to make the actual gluten-free bread dough. For each large batch, you would need:

      6 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture (990 grams)
      1 tablespoon instant yeast (or dry active yeast) (10 grams)
      1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (10 to 15 grams)
      2 tablespoons sugar (30 grams)
      3 3/4 cups lukewarm water (850 grams)

      Hope that is helpful!