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Homemade Crusty Bread

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No doubt you’ve heard baking is both art and science. I’ve never considered myself a bread baker but after a little experimenting this recipe for gluten free crusty bread has worked for me. The bread bakers I know, love to talk about how it feels more than exactly how much flour to use. They love the process; the feel of the flour, the dough in their hands and the smell of yeast in the air. I never was one of those people. I want measurements that will work and I just want to follow the instructions.

For everyday gluten free cooks mastering a handful of bread recipes will pay off in spades. The opportunities for warm crusty bread, fresh from any oven, are greatly diminished so you might as well give it a try. Like any recipe it takes repetition and good note keeping to perfect.

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Baking by Measure or Weight

Everything from the size of your eggs, the humidity in the air and the temperature of your oven, all contribute to the success of a recipe. That is the science. The art is when you can bake it successfully, loaf after loaf. Honestly, knowing when it is cooked is the part I have not completely mastered but I’m working on it.

Many bakers swear by weighing flour and with the different flours used in gluten free baking it makes sense to me. I wrote a whole post about Gluten Free Baking By Weight but the reality for many home cooks (I think) is that cup measurements are just easy. In this recipe I’ve given you both. The weights will be helpful if you have tried and failed with bread recipes but I use the cup measurements so I know they work in my kitchen.

Crusty Bread in a Boule or a Loaf

You can make this bread in a loaf pan if you want slices that would be ideal for sandwiches. I wanted to taste it dipped in extra virgin olive oil and good quality balsamic vinegar…so I formed it into a ball. This free form ball-shape is often called a boule after the French word for ball. It refers to a rustic loaf of bread that has been leavened with yeast. If you have ever been to France you will recognize the word “boulanger” which is the bread baker and “boulangerie” which is the bread bakery. Both of these words come from the root word “boule”.

No matter what shape you choose for your bread I wish you success, and persistence until you reach success.

I would love to see a picture of your loaf and will share it here for others if you like. Let me know in the comments below or tag me somewhere on social media.

Ingredients

½ cup (77 grams) brown rice flour
1½ cups (193 grams) tapioca starch
⅓ cup (57 grams) potato flour (not potato starch)
¾ cup (77 grams) sorghum flour
1 Tbsp yeast
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp xanthan gum
1½ cups lukewarm water (100°F or below)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup melted butter

Directions

1
DRY INGREDIENTS
2
Combine flours, yeast, salt and xanthan gum together in a large bowl. Whisk to break up lumps and combine evenly.
3
WET INGREDIENTS
4
Combine wet ingredients in a stand mixer with paddles. Gradually add the dry mixture continuing until it is all incorporated into dough. Using wet hands and a spatula dump the dough into a large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rest until the dough rises, approximately 2 hours.
5
The dough can be refrigerated at this point for up to 3 days.
6
Using wet hands form the dough into a ball shape. Place on a piece of parchment paper on top of a cutting board and let rest for 1 hour, loosely covered with plastic.
7
Set the oven racks so you can place a metal pan with water under the bread. Preheat the oven to 450°F and place a baking stone on the middle rack.
8
Dust the top of the bread with brown rice flour and make hash marks with a sharp knife.
9
Transfer parchment and bread onto the preheated baking stone.
10
Pour 1-2 cups of boiling water into the metal baking pan and place underneath the bread.
11
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until nicely browned and firm. Cooking times will need to be adjusted for the size of your loaf and temperature of your oven.

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