How do I get more whole grains into my gluten-free breads?

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A reader asks: Are there any substitutions for the rice flour or the potato starch? I’m trying to boost the nutrition.

One easy thing to do is to swap brown rice flour for all the rice flour that we call for in Mixture #1 from our 2014 book, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a DayIf you do that, you need a slight increase in water because whole grains always take a little more (see page 61 of the book). With the swap, Mixture #1 will be 75% whole grain by weight, since U.S. sorghum products are whole grain (at least, any that we’ve seen). People have asked about basing breads on almond, millet, or quinoa, but we found that if you try to base a yeasted bread on any of those, it just doesn’t work–the texture and flavor weren’t close enough to traditional bread for most of our tasters and readers.

The other thing is to focus on the recipes that use Mixture #2, which appears in Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day on page 62 (and use it in the recipes on pages 96-108). Mixture #2 is 100% whole grain in the first place.

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34 thoughts to “How do I get more whole grains into my gluten-free breads?”

  1. what can i do to substitute potato starch, we have potato, gluten,dairy,egg and nut allergies? I want to make bread again like I used to before children were diagnosed with the food allergies. thanks in advance

    1. There isn’t all that much potato starch in the recipe, so my guess is that you’ll get a decent result by increasing the other flours proportionally. Alternative: could try cornstarch. But the moisture absorbption characteristics won’t be the same, so may have to adjust the water–see our video in the post on October 21 to see what it should look like when you’re done.

      The other option is arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (same product). Again, will have to experiment.

      1. thankyou for the response, I also didn’t mention the corn allergy but will try using the arrowroot flour and starch. again thankyou.

  2. I love Guiness Draught and was wondering how using it in the Wisconsin Beer Cheese bread (recipe in GF Artisan Bread on page 155) would change the outcome.

    1. Hi Carin,

      I think it should work just fine. If you are nervous about the flavor, just start by making half a batch.

      Cheers, Zoë

      1. I love Guinness Draught and miss it terribly because everything I read says it has gluten in it. It’s made with barley which has gluten so if you need a GF bread you probably shouldn’t use Guinness. But try the bread with one of the other GF beers.

  3. Miss Zoe! Thank you to you and Jeff! Dinner was fabulous with French Onion soup and semi GF Wisconsin Beer Cheese bread made with Guiness Draught! Had I known bread baking could be this easy, I would have been baking bread everyday of my life!
    Kudos to you both for making it so simple to eat healthier.

  4. Hi
    I’m hoping that you can suggest a substitute flour for rice flour in your gluten free all purpose flour mix on page 60 as I can’t have rice or soy products. Thanks so much for any help.

    1. Hi Jo Ann,

      If you’ve baked with gf flours in the past you’ll know that part of the problem is finding a flour that behaves as well and tastes good. Many of the flours that I played with like sorghum, millet, amaranth and others make a nice loaf, but if you use too much of them the flavor is way too assertive. You may not have the same reaction to their flavors, so it is worth a try, but I would start with small batches to make sure you like it.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks so much for your speedy reply, do you think oatmeal flour would work to substitute for the white rice flour in your all purpose mix or would it be too heavy? Or maybe oatmeal flour 4 cups and increase the starch to 2 1/4 potato starch and 2 3/4 tapioca starch to lighten it up more if too heavy. I am a bit of afraidy cat by nature so I hope you don’t mind this question. Thanks once again for your help.

        Jo Ann

      2. Hi Jo Ann,

        It is going to take some experimenting no matter how you go, so make small batches. The oat flour typically absorbs more water, so you may need to add a bit more water if you go that way, but it may be very tasty.

        Thanks, Zoë

  5. Thanks so much for writing this book! I had my whole extended family using your books and using your dough making pizzas on the grill when I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. The same month I was diagnosed was the same month you published this book. I’m about to try Mix #2 for the first time today.

    I want to use it for the Pizza dough, as I’m wanting to also avoid the potato starch in Mix #1. Any reason I can’t do that? Any adjustments I need to make?


    1. The flour substitutions we tested are on page 61, or here on the website’s GF FAQs page in a slightly different form (click on “Substitutions…”). As you can see, we can’t vouch for any potato starch swaps– you’ll have to experiment by proportionally increasing the other flours/starches in the recipe, but you may have to adjust the water to keep the consistency right (see our video for assessing that at

  6. Hi! I am wondering if it’s possible to sub Mix #1 and #2 in your book recipes in any case. (I have some #2 leftovers and wondered if I could use it to make that gorgeous almond coconut loaf). What kind of adaptations would I need to make?

    1. Hi Lindsey,

      I didn’t test it with the mix #2, but for the other loaves that we developed with it, they all needed a bit more water. I would start with half batch and add a few extra tablespoons of water.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Like Lindsey, I have made Mix #2. I noticed that both the recipes in your book call for eggs if only using Mix #2. Since have you (or anyone else on the forum!) tested the 100% whole grain mix substituted for Mix #1 in any of the recipes?
        I would guess to substitute the amount of liquid for the amount of eggs would do the trick, unless the eggs add a quality like binding properties that wouldn’t happen with this mix if omitted?

      2. Hi Felicia,

        The eggs are added as an extra leavening and binder, so eliminating them will make for a much denser loaf. If you can’t eat eggs, you may want to experiment with an egg replacer. Whenever you change the recipe, do so with a small batch of dough, to make sure you like the results.

        Thanks, Zoë

  7. Is the #2 Master Mix with whole grains only available in your book or am I missing a link to it somewhere?
    Thanks so much,

  8. Hey Jeff! I get that – can’t sell many books if you give away all the secrets. I guess I will start looking for the book – not a bad thing either 😉
    thanks and good luck with the book.

  9. Firstly, l would like to thank you very much for wriiting these books. With respect to the olive oil dough recipe in your gluten free book. I am using this dough for pizza, Focaccia and Za’atar with great success thanks to you. Is there a substite for the rice flour (Brown and White) for mixture #1. I would like to avoid rice flour if l could. Thank you for your time.

    1. Have you seen the other flours/starches we mention on page 61? You can experiment proportionally with combos of oat flour, amaranth, and arrowroot. But I have to tell you, we didn’t find anything that performed as well as rice. At least not well enough to release in a book.

      And as you do this, might be worth trying the psyllium instead of xanthan.

  10. Hi, I’ve tried the the master recipe for Boule with the mixture #1 in your book twice now. The only exception with the flours is I’ve used brown rice flour instead of white rice flour. The first time, I mixed the dough in my food processor and baked in a cast iron dutch oven. That loaf came out very dense and kind of gooey inside almost like it wasn’t fully cooked. It was very difficult to cut. I decided to get a stand mixer, oven thermometer, baking stone, etc. for the second loaf. I used the same flour mixture and this one did rise a little more, but still seemed a bit gooey inside compared to the way it looks in your videos, etc. I did realize with the oven thermometer that my oven was 50 degrees cooler than the thermometer, so that could have something to do with the first loaf. But I still don’t feel like I’m getting a fully cooked loaf of bread. I’m staying away from eggs, too, or I would try adding egg whites. The rice and sorghum flours I am buying are in bulk, but refrigerated (unlike Bob’s Red Mill brands which are not refrigerated.) They are GMO free, too. The rest of the flours are Bob’s Red Mill. I’m still trying to get the right combo for that perfect loaf of bread. Would you advise switching to all Bob’s Red Mill brand? I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get this basic recipe down so I can move on to all the other wonderful recipes in your book! Thanks!

    1. Hi Katy,

      The oven temperature is crucial, since the heat is what gives the loaf the initial oven spring, so you should adjust the oven to be the right temperature by turning it up 50 degrees. Check the temperature before adding the loaf. I find the heat for GF baking is particularly important, since the loaves can easily go from great to dense. Are you baking on a stone? If so, make sure it is preheated to the proper temperature.

      You may want to try the “No rest, no rise, just bake” technique on page 68. This may help you get a lighter loaf as well.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I made your 100% whole grain gluten free bread dough. I followed the recipe and weighed everything. It came out very thick, more thick than the video of your other gluten free dough. Is that correct?

  12. Thank you. I will bake some today!!! I made half the recipe of dough just to see how it comes out. Some of my flour is not Bobs Red mill, so we will see.

  13. I love the Seeded 100% Whole Grain loaf in GF Artisan Bread in 5, but have to eliminate eggs right now. Can a “flax egg” be used as a substitute? I can’t do commercially available egg replacers.
    PS—Thank you for this awesome book! I used your original for years prior to Celiac and never thought I would bake bread again. When this came out I was overjoyed!

    1. Thanks for the kind words…
      We have tried flax eggs in white gluten-free breads but never in the 100% whole grain one. This may take some testing. And it may be very dense and therefore would work better as a flatbread. I’m afraid you’re going to have to go through some trial and error.

  14. Your gluten-free challah recipe is delicious. Do you have any suggestions for a version that also can be used for welcoming the sabbath? Challah for that needs to be made of a flour or flour mixture that is at least 51% (by weight) oat flour. [Of the 5 grains permissible for this (wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oat), only oat can be gluten-free.] For the other up to 49% of the flour, I have tried various mixtures of brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, teff flour, millet flour, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, potato flour, tapioca flour and arrowroot, along with a combination of psyllium husks and xanthan gum.
    I will very much appreciate any guidance you are able to offer!

    1. First, I’ll answer your question, but then I have a question for you! The mixtures in my book (Gluten-Free Bread in 5 Minutes a Day) were arrived at after lots and lots of testing. I found that the balance of flours in Mixture number 1 and Mixture number 2 in that book was very sensitive to slight variation. So, pushing oat flour to the point where it’s the majority flour, in my opinion, is not going to work. More power to you if you can experiment with that and be happy with the results. If it’s too dense, it might work as a flatbread which you can call a challah.

      Then, my question for you: can you point me to a resource addressing Sabbath tradition and the question of wheat, wheat variant, versus oat or other grain–in challah?

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