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Troubleshooting Gluten Free Bread: Our Best Tips for Baking Bread

By: Beth Ann Morley, Editor,

Troubleshooting Gluten Free Bread: Our Best Tips for Baking Bread

There’s no denying it; baking a homemade loaf of bread can be tricky for even the best bakers. When it comes to gluten free bread, you may think it’s impossible to make the perfect loaf. Although it may be tricky to make a homemade gluten free bread, it’s by no means impossible. And it’s worth the effort when your gluten free bread has the perfect texture and flavor.

We’ve enlisted two of the top gluten free bloggers, Linda from Free Range Cookies and Linnaea from I Am Gluten Free, to help you create the perfect loaf of bread. Baking gluten free bread is something both Linda and Linnaea are experts on, and they’re excited to share with you their tips and tricks.

If you’ve tried baking bread in the past and it hasn’t come out right, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do differently next time. It might take a few tries to master a gluten free bread recipe, but once you discover the perfect technique, there’s no looking back. If you are still having problems, let us know in the comments. We’ll try to help!

Our Best Tips for Baking Gluten Free Bread

Make sure your dough is wet enough:

  1. Your gluten free dough needs to be wetter than your typical gluten dough. Having a wetter dough may make it harder to handle; however, Linnaea has two solutions:
    1. Use plastic wrap: Roll out the dough, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap, and then continue rolling with the plastic wrap between the rolling pin and the dough. This technique will help prevent your dough from sticking to the rolling pin (this is especially handy for pizza crusts).
    2. Use an electric mixer: You don't have to knead gluten free dough by hand as you would gluten dough. Instead, Linnaea prefers to use an electric mixer to beat her gluten free dough. She says that “it's much harder to over-knead gluten free dough than regular gluten dough, so it's very easy and fast to just use your electric mixer!” 
Use xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk powder: 
  1. Because your dough doesn’t have gluten, it needs something to bind it all together. Linda and many other gluten free bloggers agree that you need to use a bit of xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk powder in your gluten free dough to help keep your dough from crumbling. 

Don’t scoop flour:
  1. ​​When measuring flour, use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and level off with a knife. If you scoop from the bag with your measuring cup, you can compress the flour too much. Another option is to measure your flour by weight. 

Bring your ingredients to room temperature: 
  1. This rule applies for yeast breads. Yeast needs warmth to grow, and cold ingredients can prevent yeast growth. So make sure you take your ingredients (such as your eggs) out of the fridge before starting the recipe. 
Shape your bread before it rises: 
  1. With normal doughs, you let your dough rise, fall, and rise again. With gluten free doughs, your dough will only rise once. (That means that you should NOT punch down your gluten free dough.) To make sure your bread looks how you want it to, make sure you shape it before allowing it to rise. For instance, dinner rolls should be formed into balls and cinnamon rolls should rise in their pans. 


Troubleshooting: My Bread is too Dense

Gluten Free Loaf Bread

Linnaea:  “Your dough was probably too dry or you didn't have enough ‘starchy’ flours (such as potato starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch, or arrowroot starch) to balance out the 'dense' flours (such as rice flour, oat flour, sorghum flour, or millet).”

Our recommendation is to try a different mix of gluten free flours. Sometimes you have to experiment a few times before you land on a real gem.

Linda recommends this incredibly versatile gluten free bread recipe. It uses a combination of sorghum flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and almond meal. The bread shown is Linda's Gluten Free Loaf Bread


Troubleshooting: My Bread is too Gummy

Gluten Free Multi-Grain Rolls

Linnaea: “You probably added too much xanthan gum (or guar gum), or you added too much ‘starchy’ flour (tapioca starch is especially notorious for creating gummy bread in large quantities).”

Another option is that your bread simply wasn’t cooked completely. The best way to tell if your bread is done is to insert an instant read thermometer. The temperature should read around 200 to 210 degrees F.   

The bread shown is Linnaea's Gluten Free Multi-Grain Rolls


Troubleshooting: My Bread is too Dry

Copycat Subway Bread

Linnaea: “First, your bread dough could have been too dry to begin with, creating a dry and dense loaf. Another possibility is that the loaf was simply overcooked.

If the loaf is dry but not dense, try adding a bit of olive oil or adding a little gelatin to the mix (too much gelatin can create gumminess, but it will keep it from drying out so quickly).” 

The bread shown is the Copycat Subway Bread


Troubleshooting: My Bread is Tasteless

No-Rise Gluten Free Yeast Rolls

Linda: “The easiest way to enhance the texture and flavor of any gluten free bread is to mix the dough the day before you plan on baking and refrigerate it overnight. The flours will have a chance to fully hydrate, and the yeast will have a chance to do its work. This will result in better texture and flavor.”

Linnaea: “The most common problem is too little salt, but if you added plenty of salt, try using more whole grain flours. Simple starch and white rice flour create a good white bread, but if you want more flavor, substitute regular rice flour for a little brown rice flour, oat flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, or even just a touch of teff flour.”

The bread shown is the No-Rise Gluten Free Yeast Rolls


Our Favorite Homemade Gluten Free Bread Recipes

Gluten Free French Bread

Linnaea’s Favorite Rolls: Gluten Free Multi-Grain Rolls

“My family makes these gluten free rolls all the time (they can be made in a bread maker as well). You can also substitute rice flour or oat flour for the corn flour and teff flour if you don't have those ingredients on hand!” - Linnaea

Linda’s Favorite Bread: Gluten Free Loaf Bread

“The Gluten Free Loaf Bread is a versatile recipe that I use for all sorts of gluten free breads.” - Linda

Make this recipe as-is and you’ll end up with a delicious loaf of gluten free bread. Or you can adapt this recipe to make buns, rolls, or a pizza crust.

From the FaveGlutenFree Test Kitchen: Gluten Free French Bread (pictured) 

This french bread is soft and fluffy on the inside and crunchy and golden on the outside. This gluten free bread is absolutely amazing right out of the oven, especially when it’s topped with some melted butter. 

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