Articles & Recipes

Tips for Successful Gluten-Free Bread Machine Baking

April 20, 2018

"You hear a lot these days about the importance of whole grains in your diet. Many people think wheat is the only whole grain available. How mistaken they are — some of the most nutritious and delicious whole-grain flours are gluten-free. Among them are amaranth, buckwheat, corn (including whole cornmeal), millet, GF oats (including oatmeal), quinoa, rice (both brown and colored), wild rice, sorghum and teff. It seems like every time we open a magazine, we see an article on adding these flours to your diet. We’ve been using these nutritious flours in our recipes for quite some time — we’re ahead of the times!" -Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, authors of Great Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Bread Machine Recipes.

 

Tips for Successful Gluten-Free Bread Machine Baking

• Read through the recipe before beginning, then gather the equipment and ingredients and wash anything that needs it.

• We selected specific flour combinations for individual recipes based on the desired texture and flavor of the final product. Rather than using a standard mix of flours, we like to vary the proportions of flours and starches so that each recipe is unique. Unless mentioned as a variation, we have not tested other GF flours in the recipes. Substituting other flours may adversely affect the results.

• Select either metric or imperial measures and stick to your choice for the entire recipe.

• Gluten-free recipes can be temperamental, so be sure to measure all ingredients accurately. Even an extra tablespoon (15 mL) of water in a baked product can cause the recipe to fail. Use a clear, graduated liquid measuring cup for all liquids. Place it on a flat surface and read it at eye level.

• Select the correct dry measures. For example, when the recipe calls for 3⁄4 cup, use a 1⁄2-cup measure and a 1⁄4-cup measure (for 175 mL, use a 125 mL measure and a 50 mL measure). Use the “spoon lightly, heap and level once” method of measuring for accuracy and perfect products. Use measuring spoons, not kitchen cutlery, for small amounts. There are also sets of long-handled, narrow spoons made especially to fit into spice jars. These are accurate and fun to use.

• Remove the baking pan from the bread machine when adding liquid ingredients. Do not measure over the bread pan.

• Gluten-free flours and starches must be well mixed or sifted together before they are slowly added to liquids, as they have a fine powder-like consistency and lump easily.

• If your bread machine has a Preheat Cycle, keep the top down until mixing starts, so the heat does not escape. As soon as the liquids begin to mix, add the dry ingredients, scraping the corners, sides and bottom of the baking pan and the kneading blade while adding. Watch that the rubber spatula does not get caught under the rotating blade. Continue scraping until no dry ingredients remain and the dough is well mixed. Some machines require more “help” mixing than others.

• The consistency of the dough is closer to a cake batter than the traditional yeast dough ball. You should see the motion of the kneading blade turning. The mixing mark of the kneading blade remains on top of the dough. Some doughs are thicker than others, but do not adjust by adding more liquid or dry ingredients.

• The kneading blade needs to be removed at the end of the long knead to prevent the collapse of the final loaf. However, some bread machines knead intermittently rather than continuously, so the first few times you use a new machine, listen carefully for the sounds of the different cycles. Make notes of the times the cycles change. We note the times for start of mixing and end of long knead right on the machine. Use either a label or permanent marker to write them on the machine. Then set an auxiliary timer for the time the kneading finishes and the rising starts. This will alert you to when to remove the kneading blade. The dough is sticky, so rinse the rubber spatula and your hand with cold water before removing the blade. Smooth the top of the loaf quickly.

• Some bread machines and some recipes bake darker-colored crusts than others. If you find certain loaves are too dark, next time set the Bake Cycle temperature lower. When baking on a Gluten-Free Cycle, a Basic Cycle or a 2-Hour Rapid Cycle, select a lighter crust setting, if possible.

• At the end of the baking cycle, before turning the machine off, take the temperature of the loaf using an instant-read thermometer. It should read 200°F (100°C). If it’s between 180°F (85°C) and 200°F (100°C), leave the machine on the Keep Warm Cycle until the loaf is baked. If it’s below 180°F (85°C), turn on the Bake Cycle and check the internal temperature every 10 minutes. (Some bread machines are automatically set for 60 minutes; others need to be set by 10-minute intervals.)

• Slice the cooled baked loaf with an electric knife or bread knife with a serrated blade. Place one or two slices in individual plastic bags, then place bags in a larger sealable bag. Freeze for up to 3 weeks. Remove a slice or two at a time.

 

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