Wheat free troubles


Hi everyone, 

I am not new to bread baking however I am new to making bread without wheat.I've tried several recipes for oat flour, rye flour and buckwheat flour in my bread machine and they all failed. I made a rye loaf by hand, it turned out the best. I don't mind making it by hand, I use to make all my bread this way, but even the rye did not rise quite enough.Yes I am aware that the rye has gluten and the oat and buckweat don't.I would really love to know how I can make them rise and have been considering sourdough??? I have been looking for wheat free recipes only, most contain ingredients like agar agar and xanthan gum, no thank you, I just want  good, ordinary recipe :/

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farinam's picture
farinam 2016 July 10

Hello Moonlightbaker,

I guess it depends what you mean by failed.  I assume from your later comments that you weren't satisfied with how the bread rose.  And this is a potential problem of working without the high gluten content that wheat flour brings.  That is why gels such as xanthan gum and agar agar are used to provide something approximating to the structure and strength that you would normally get from the gluten.

You can certainly make a sourdough starter based on rice flour or almost any other sort and you will probably be best to bake in tins to give the dough/batter support for its rising.  The mixtures aren't nearly as handleable as wheat based doughs as you are probably already aware. 

I am fairly new to this but I gather that mixes of flours and starches give a better result and a more flavoursome bread than trying to use only one flour.  I will have to check with my daughter who has researched this topic much more widely than I have.

Good luck with your projects.


farinam's picture
farinam 2016 July 18

Hello again Moonlightbaker,

I have had a check with my daughter and she confirms that the best flour blends to use are based on 40% wholemeal (such as sorghum, millet etc) and 60% starch flours (such as white rice, tapioca, sweet rice flour).  You will still need to add something to add strength instead of the gluten and you can use psyillium, quinoa (I think) or chia flour.  As I understand it, these can be substituted on a one to one basis for xanthan gum.  These do not give the same strength effect as xanthan or agar agar but do not seem to give the same tummy troubles to those that are sensitive to the other two.  Another additive that you can use, of course, is egg but that also has other effects on the product texture.

The mixtures do not 'heal' in rising so if you want a nice smooth top on your loaf you need to use a wet spatula or fingers to smooth the surface before leaving to rise.  The dough will be batter like and will need to be spooned into the tin.  Whatever you do, do not make a dough that you can handle by hand otherwise you will end up with house-bricks.  Also, you should not let the rise carry on for too long as the structure can very easily collapse and handling into the oven should be done carefully.  After baking, the loaf should be allowed to cool in the tin for some time before turning out onto a rack to cool for similar reasons.  This allows the starches etc to set some more but even so you might find that the loaf still 'tucks its tummy in' a bit as it cools.

I have experimented with a yeasted loaf but have not yet worked towards trying out a sourdough version.  When I do some more, I might get some pics and do a blog on it.

Good luck with your projects.



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