Monday, September 30, 2013

High Altitude Gluten Free Bread Recipe

A really good gluten free loaf tested at high altitude!  Uses whatever kind of flour you have on hand.

I've tested this about ten times with a lot of different flour combinations.  It makes a nice, light, soft bread that keeps well and is good for sandwiches or toast.  It doesn't cave in much after baking like most of the other recipes I've tried, or the Cosco gluten free bread.  I use the flour ratio from this recipe as my all-purpose gluten free flour mix.   I get ideas for flour combinations by either looking at recipes online for gluten free bread or by what I have in my pantry that needs to be used up.  I've considered just trying to make the most cost efficient loaf my staple, but experimenting is just too much fun.  The inspiration for this recipe comes from here.  Notice from the pictures below that you can make a "white bread" by using rice, oats, amaranth, and millet.  You get a more "whole grain" flavor by using sorghum and brown teff.

In a small bowl mix:
1 cup really warm water
2 1/4 tsp SAF instant yeast
1 tsp sugar

In a large bowl mix:
*240g of whole grain flour, a combination of 3-4 flours (rice, brown rice, millet, brown or gold teff, quinoa, toasted quinoa, sorghum, sweet sorghum, amaranth, oat, etc.  If using a bean or garbanzo flour use 30-40g or less.  Bean flour is always a good idea for the protein and fiber, but you sacrifice a bit on texture.)
*125g of starch (tapioca, cornstarch, potato starch (15g or less), sweet rice flour, arrowroot starch, etc)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs sweetener (brown sugar, white sugar)
1 Tbs Bob's Redmill xanthan gum

*I highly recommend using a scale to measure flour, without a scale the flour/liquid ratio will vary.  However if you must use cups, fill your cup a spoonful at a time and gently level with a knife.  Assume 1 cup of the whole grain flour is 120g.  1/2 cup of starch is about 62g.

In stand mixer mix:
3 eggs lightly beaten (bring to room temperature by soaking in warm water)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup oil (light olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.  I usually use coconut oil)
1 Tbs sweetener (honey, agave, sugar, brown sugar)

add the yeast and flour mixture to mixer and mix for 4 minutes (I use a bosch mixer).

Scoop batter into a well greased pan with a spatula.  Then with wet fingers smooth and shape the loaf.  I like mine kind of rounded on top.  I tried it with an indentation down the middle once, but the finished loaf looked like it had caved in.  Put the loaf in the oven with the light on to rise until the loaf is about even with the top of the pan or "double" as most recipes say.  The bread sometimes does nothing for 30 minutes and then starts rising like crazy.  Sometimes it starts rising right away.  I haven't figured out exactly how it works yet.  Just watch close.  If it over rises and the air pockets get too big it can fall after baking.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with foil and then cook 45 more minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  The bread is better if you wait an hour to slice, but my kids usually talk me into slicing before that.  When the bread is cool I slice the whole loaf at once so I can have convenient sliced bread the rest of the week.

I took some pictures of a batch I made of 12-grain bread.  My oven isn't level, so you'll notice all my loaves lean a bit:(
Below: 12-grain bread with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, millet, and pumpkin seed add-ins,

after about 40 minutes, ready to bake.

after 10 minutes of baking, the additional rise during baking is very good, time to add foil.

All done, house smells heavenly!

First slice, yum!

Below: Multi-grain with quinoa-sprout add-ins

Left below: amaranth, brown rice, millet, oat loaf 
Right below: quinoa, millet, brown rice, teff loaf

Below:  the loaf I shaped with an indentation down the middle.
Left: amaranth          Right:brown rice, teff

Sweet Sorghum Bread
(quantitities to use in template)
60g Bobs Redmill sweet sorghum flour
60g millet flour
80g brown rice flour
40g teff flour
60g tapioca flour
65g sweet rice flour
1/4 C sunflower seeds
3Tbs white sugar

Golden Amaranth Bread:
60g amaranth flour
60 g millet flour
80g brown rice flour
40g gf oat flour (make flour in blender or coffee bean grinder)
62g tapioca flour
64g cornstarch
3Tbs brown sugar

Multi-Grain Bread:
inspired by King Arthur's multi-grain flour blend
40g each of the following: sorghum flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, teff flour, amaranth flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, and sweet rice flour.
white sugar

Quinoa-Millet Bread:
60 g quinoa flour
80 g millet flour
70g brown rice flour
30g teff flour
60g tapioca flour
66g cornstarch
brown sugar

I use a K-tec Kitchen Mill for my quinoa flour, millet flour, teff flour, and rice flours.


Living Lavallee said...

Awesome! I haven't yet tried to bake gf bread. I buy it at Costco occasionally - never thought I would pay $8 for two little loaves of not-too-good bread. I prefer to wait for other people to do all the work of experimenting :) So, thanks!

Lisa said...

Hi There, I am curious if there were any actual high altitude adaptations for this recipe? Just wondering because i live at 9,000 feet and when I tried it, it didn't rise. I looked at the recipe you adapted from and didn't see off hand what the high altitude changes would have been. If there were any changes, let me know so that maybe I need to tweak further for an even higher elevation.

Regina said...

One of my readers, Gretchen, at 7200 ft said this is the only recipe that works for her, so that gives me hope for you! Make sure 1) the yeast is active, it should be foamy when you add it to the mixer. 2) the flour and eggs are at room temperature. 3) When you shape the loaf, your hands should be wet enough there is no sticking, make it nice and smooth, I usually dip my hands or spatula in water several times. I suspect the wetness on the surface of the loaf keeps the top from drying out and allows the bread to rise better. You could cover it with greased plastic wrap too if it seams to be drying out. 4) you could increase the liquid in the recipe by 1-3 Tbs of water because I am at 5000 ft and you are enough higher that it might be affecting the consistency of the batter. 5) I have the best luck with coconut oil 6) I often forget to add the final Tbs of sweetener that goes with the wet ingredients, reduced sugar sometimes helps high altitude breads, so you could try that. 7) I usually let the bread rise in the oven after warming it for 60 seconds, after the bread is nearly done rising, I take it out and preheat the oven. Whew! So many things to try, I hope it works the second time around:)

My modifications to the original recipe aren't typical high altitude adjustments, but I decreased the liquid 1/3 cup, the flour approximately 1/4 cup, and increased the baking temperature 25degrees. (sometimes I use 1TBS less sugar). I cover the bread with foil after 10 minutes of baking to prevent over browning. said...

Followed your instructions and I'm left with a runny mixture. My mixture does not resemble dough or anything like that at all. Any suggestions as to what could have gone wrong??

Regina said...

Gluten free bread "dough" is often very thin, many recipes describe it as a cake batter consistency that has to be poured. If it was even thinner than this some my guesses for troubleshooting would be 1) digitally measure the flour, 2) reduce water by 1-3 TBS if you have a lot of humidity, 3) use a stand mixer to thoroughly devolop the xanthan gum.

Mandinga said...

Thank you so much! This is the first successful loaf of GF bread I've made. I live at 6,000 feet and followed your directions exactly. Thank you for experimenting and finding what works! I can't wait to try more types.

Mandinga said...

I read that you slice a loaf for the week. Then, how & where do you store it? I have mine in a plastic bag on the counter, but I'm worried it'll go bad.
(Dry air, 6000 ft.)

Mandinga said...

I read that you slice a loaf for the week. Then, how & where do you store it? I have mine in a plastic bag on the counter, but I'm worried it'll go bad.
(Dry air, 6000 ft.)

Regina said...

I can store mine on the counter for five days most of the year, in the summer only a few days. If I think it will last longer I put it in the freezer.

Sandi Beaumont said...

I'm in Ecuador with no Xanthan gum available, I do have flax seed though and have seen other recipes substituting this, what ratio would you suggest for your recipe>
So looking forward to trying to bake bread again.

Regina said...

According to, you would grind 1 slightly rounded tbs of flax seeds ( in a coffee bean grinder) then you add 1/4 cup boiling water to form a slurry. This could then be added to the recipe in place of zanthan gum. Although I haven't tried it in bread, I often substitute psyllium husk in my baking for zanthan gum: 1 tablespoon psyllium husks for every teaspoon x.g. Psyllium husks are produced in Ecuador, so perhaps if flax isn't strong enough to make good bread look for psyllium husks or psyllium husk powder.

Sandi Beaumont said...

thanks so much for your post - I tried flax seed (2tbspns) but the bread came out really wet, will try adjusting a few things later this week - your suggestion of Psyllium will have me out in town searching too.

Regina said...

I recently tried this recipe with psyllium husks instead of xantham gum. I used 3 Tbs psyllium husks. I noticed that after 2 minutes on the mixer, the dough was completely liquid like cymbaluk described. I was worried, but after 4 minutes it had thickened up a bit. It was still thinner than my regular dough. I poured it in a bread pan (it was that thin). Lo and behold, it rose just like the xantham gum bread, in the same time frame and by the same amount. It also cooked in the same amount of time as usual. The bread looked very nice, but it was nowhere near as yummy, it had bland flavor and the texture was somewhat grainy. Homemade still always beats store bought gluten free bread IMO.

Mira said...

I just tried this recipe for the first time. I live at 7000ft and it worked like a charm. The only thing I changed is that I baked my bread in a pre-heated dutch oven at 400F (10 minutes covered, 40 minutes with the lid removed). The bread has a really nice dark crust and is fluffy inside. Thank you so much for this recipe!

Regina said...

Thanks so much, those of you at 7000+ feet who have tried this and reported back that it works!. There aren't many resources out there for high altitude bread making and your comments help.

Unknown said...

Just a curios question, a couple of years late, lol, but how do you allow your dough to rise in the oven with the light on, when your very first instruction is to preheat oven to 375 degrees? I can't wait to actually try your recipe as I live in the 'mile high city' (Denver) and although I am an experienced, successful, bread baker here, I am struggling with GF bread dough, as well as the conflicting information that is available on high altitude adjustments! (Add/subtract liquids (flour is too dry here to use less!), bake at higher/lower temps, more/less eggs/oil/leavening, etc....)

Regina said...

Try this: warm the oven for about 90 seconds and then put your bread in to rise for 30 minutes. At that point, remove it from the oven and let it finish rising on the counter or near the oven while the oven preheats! It is just habit to put oven temp first in a recipe. I have a toaster oven and sometimes I use one for rising and one for baking. Anyway, warmer temperatures help the bread rise better.

Ybba said...

Formerly, 'Unknown', lol. I figured that is what you meant, but I just had to ask : ) Recipe with sorghum (1st variation) came out great. I did a little adjustment,to use Expandex (yes,it's modified,by heat(?) chemistry(?), but not a GMO!) & am very pleased that your recipe didn't balk at the adjustment! Thank you so very much!!! I was pretty sure that I was not the only person trying to do GF bread baking at high altitude!

Faith Pow said...

I have been looking at all the recipes recently comparing photographs and ratios of starch with grain. Just come across your blog and looks you've done some of the work for me :)! Thank you very much for posting!

Chronic Pain Be Gone said...

Any idea how many calories per slice? Regular size?

Linda Morse said...

Just made a loaf of the assorted grain bread and it is really the best GF I've had, and believe me.....we've tried all the brands out there and I've made some others that my husband won't even eat. We're at 6600 FT and the crust came out nice and brown and inside with nice texture, not gummy at all like many GF breads. The center did fall a bit during baking and I had to bake another 10 minutes, yet it could be our oven temperature is off a bit...didn't use an over thermometer.

Thank you so much for posting this recipe and doing the leg work for us! Greatly appreciated!

Jackson said...

From Jack Owens

Just tried the recipe where we live in NE Arizon at 8200 ft. Followed exactly, came out great. A little sink after cooling, not bad though. Used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend but used the your recipe measure instead of Namaste's 138gr listing per cup. Thanks from one who has gone through many failures at high altitude.

Myra LIn said...

Just tried the recipe for the first time from Flagstaff, AZ and my loaf came out brilliantly!! Hands down, the best slice of bread I have had in a long time!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Myra LIn said...

Just tried your recipe in Flagstaff, AZ where it came out brilliantly!! Hands down, the best slice of bread I have had in a very long time!! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

Luisa said...

Your recipes turn out so well up here in Calgary 1
However, my kids find them a bit sweet for sandwich bread.
How and where can I cut down on the sugar and not affect the wonderful results?
Thank you for solving this issue for me.