Gluten Free FAQs

Gluten Free FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

We wrote Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day because readers asked for it, here on the website. So we expect no shortage of gluten-free questions. Click on any of them below– these are the ones that seem to be on a lot of gluten-free bakers’ minds.  If you’re having a problem with one of our recipes, breeze through these FAQs first.  If you can’t find an answer in the FAQs, click on any “Comments” or “Reply” field (doesn’t have to be related to the content underneath).  Please tell us which book you’re working from, and which recipe and page number:

  1. Dense or gummy interior, or inadequate rising. What am I doing wrong?
  2. Gluten: What is it? And what grains contain gluten?
  3. Nutritional information: How can I calculate it?
  4. Substitutions for ingredients in our gluten-free recipes
  5. Videos: Where can I view videos so I can see what your gluten-free dough’s supposed to look like?
  6. Whole grains in gluten-free baking: how can I get more of them into the flour mixtures?

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770 thoughts on “Gluten Free FAQs

  1. I recently purchased the GF artisan bread cookbook. I have been using Bob’s red mill products as advised and weighung with a scale for accuracy. I just mixed up a container of the pizza/fatbread dough and it seemd like a thicker dryer dough than any other I had tried so i went back over the recipe and realized I had used bob’s red mill corn flour NOT corn meal. How will this affect my dough? Should I mix in more water. Not sure if you will see this in time to help. I hope I didn’t ruin this …the flours are so expensive.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Yes, you can add a bit more water to the dough. Because you are using it as a flat bread it will be more forgiving. It may be too dense as a loaf of bread, but as a pizza you will probably be just fine. Roll it thin if you find it is denser than you’d hoped.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I ended up adding 1/4 c more water. I made a thicker crusted pizza last night and it was good but then tonight I used oiled parchment paper on top to roll it super thin, (1/8 th inch aprox). It was super crunchy on edges and tasted really good. Everyone was raving over it. I am very pleased with the recipes in this book. I am looking forward to trying more but I fear I may need to buy bigger clothes.

  2. I have the original artisan bread in 5 minutes a day, and then when my daughter was diagnosed with grain allergies we bought the gluten free book. It is our favourite, and we have made so many recipes. We especially enjoy the doughnuts as here in the UK a decent gluten free doughnut is the holy grail. At the moment I’m making them ring shaped as per directions. Would they work cut out with a round cutter, so I could put jam or creme patisserie or similar inside after cooking – a bit like a certain market leader in the doughnut world!! How long should I fry for at what temperature? I guess I could trial and error but the dough is so expensive to make, I can’t afford too many mistakes. Many thanks Liz.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Yes, you can cut them into circles, fry them and fill them. I would test one to see the proper timing, the oil should be 360-370°F. The timing will depend on how thick and how large the circles are.

      I am so thrilled you are enjoying all of the bread!

      Cheers, Zoë

  3. I have a question, but it’s aimed more towards other bakers. Has anyone figured out how to use other flour blends successfully for any of the GF recipes? I don’t use Bob’s flours because they are gritty to me. I prefer other brands. I’ve tried making the sandwich bread using mix #1 twice, but both times ended up with dough that didn’t rise and was quite gummy after baking.

  4. First time Baker: can I use a “heavy duty” hand held “wand” mixer to mix up original dough? Can not afford to buy standing mixer right now, and even. No I used the Danish dough mixer I’m not satisfied that I mixed it up enough… it’s still a bit “lumpy” after much stirring, Have not even tried to bake it!

    1. Hi LisaJo,

      Does the wand mixer have an attachment other than a blade? I’m not sure it will be strong enough, but maybe give it a try and if it sounds like it is struggling, you should stop. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour suitable for your recipes contained in your book.. “Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day” ? Replacing the listed flours in your Master Recipe with a ratio 1:1 with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and adding Xanthum Gum also to the recipe.
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      I didn’t test the recipes with that flour blend, since it wasn’t available at the time when we are writing the book. You can give it a try, but I would start with a small batch to make sure you like the texture and flavor. I have had good luck with Better Batter flour blend.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I have been attempting to make the boule from GF in 5 minutes with Mixture #1 (I substituted white for brown rice and used psyllium instead of Xanthan)p.64 and 60 I bake it in my french cast-iron pot. The bread comes out with a crust so hard we can’t cut it! It looks like bread until we try to touch it … and it is definitely very dense. 🙁
    Help! I want to love my bread! Also I use my stand mixer and I do not overly mix it. This time I tried the tip from the “no rest no rise just bake” box. It was worst than the other times. Thanks for helping!

    1. Audrey: Have you tested your oven temp? Is the loaf taking much longer to bake than what we say? How is the rise before you refrigerate? Any chance your yeast is old?

      1. Audrey: Also should have asked–are you making any substitutes for the flours we call for and tested with in the book (Bob’s Red Mill–which is the only one that’s reliably available all over the US). Other brands require different water amounts, and that throws off everything.

        Also–when you say “I’m careful not to overmix…” that might be your problem. This dough has to be very well mixed, or else the ingredients don’t emulsify. The best way to do that is with the stand mixer, as you’re doing.

      2. Thank you for these pointers. I decided to revert back to the pizza stone method with a water tray under and the bread is definitely coming out better. I ask a friend who works in a commercial kitchen to cut it for me with their machine, as I still find it somewhat challenging with a simple bread cutting knife. The cast iron had rendered it so hard that my friend said they couldn’t even cut it with the machine. Now, as for the flour I confess I never paid attention to the brand! I live in Canada and I buy all my flours at Bulk Barn. (I’ve been mostly making the mixture #1 with brown rice flour and psyllium husk as a substitute). I will try again in the cast iron and this time i will cover the bread a little less time (I realized afterward that I had left the cover on the whole time)

      3. Audrey–thanks for these details, it’s always fun to hear about people’s experimentation–which is inevitable, because ovens and kitchens differ, plus the ingredients we specify… well, not everyone can get those! Glad it’s working for you.

  7. Just bought your GF book for myself and my mom. Cant wait to start. One quick question, can I half the recipe? The whole batch might be a little too much.

  8. I bought your book and have been working my way through the recipes. I am amazed at how well the breads turn out – thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this! The instructions are so clear. My favorite instructions is “about the size of a large peach” – that perfectly describes how much to use. I’ve also gifted the book to a survivor of the CampFire disaster in Northern California who lost all her gluten-free cookbooks in the fire. She is thrilled to get it Neanderthal said it really cheered her up. That’s a great cookbook!!!!

    1. The second to the last line should say “She is thrilled to get it and said it really cheered her up.” I have no idea what I typed for spell check to substitute ‘Neanderthal” – lol!

  9. Hi, I posted some questions a little earlier, but don’t see that they got posted with a reply. Since my attempts at using the Mixture #1 with brown rice flour instead of white rice flour for the Master Recipe for making Boule have pretty much ended up with rock solid loafs, I’m wondering if it’s the brand flour I’m using? I’ve been using the rice and sorghum flours from the bulk refrigerated section of a local natural foods store. I did weigh the ingredients, used a stand mixer, baking stone, oven thermometer and all the rest. I’m am not using eggs. Any ideas for me?

    Thanks!
    kt

    1. As we say in the book, we tested with Bob’s Red Mill flours, and substitutions result in massive changes in water requirement. My guess is that your hydration is off. Best bet to to try with Bob’s flours and see what you think. Also, the with-egg version (especially with egg whites) results in a lighter loaf (see details in the book http://amzn.to/1msOBmY).

  10. I have long been a baker, taking on GF baking when I discovered that my body didn’t appreciate gluten. I have managed to bake almost everything EXCEPT bread that I enjoyed. I just discovered your book, will be getting it soon, but I wonder if you have ever used pressure cookers to (steam) cook bread? All the old little cookbooks that came with pressure cookers had a recipe for Brown Bread (more sweeter than regular bread).

    1. We don’t have one. The steamed brown bread is very particular, very heavy concoction. Sometimes called Boston Brown Bread. I believe most recipes are treacly-sweet and more resemble a pudding than bread. If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll be too dense to do as gluten-free.

      1. Again, thanks for this insight Jeff. It seems I need a better understanding about how steam plays its part in bread making.
        I do find it interesting that so many people are afraid of using a stove top pressure cooker, but the new electric ‘instant pots’ are much the rave these days. Same principles and probably equipment too, just different power source. (I have 5 of the originals of varying sizes collected from thrift store and garage sales 😉

  11. Reading your Equipment tab I see that a Kitchen Aide stand mixer is generally used. I am wondering if anyone has made use of a bread machine to do the mixing? I do have an old (circa 1950s!) Hamilton Beach stand mixer that works continues to work like a charm – but no dough hooks in all the accessories that I have. (no joy with finding on ebay or Hamilton Beach parts)

    1. We haven’t, but it’d probably work. But– you’ll probably have to halve, or even quarter our recipes, which make a lot of dough. And my guess is that it won’t work well to bake in those–too much moisture in our stuff to dissipate.

      1. Thanks Jeff for your insights. I would for sure expect to give mixing by use of bread machine a go with a smaller batch of mix. I never bake using the bread machine anyway – don’t like the shape of the loaf or how the bread turns out. Transferring to a bread pan or baking stone might be a bit challenging, but seeing as to how one shapes the loaf to be baked, handling dough is more a matter of practice I’m sure.
        Very much looking forward to actually making my own delicious GF bread!!

      2. Quick feedback – I did make a 1/2 batch of dough with my bread machine (normal setting – 6 mins. – 5 mins. slow mix + 1 min. through mix)and it turned out well.

        Some alternatives that I used and worked fine for me – plastic ‘cutting’ sheets instead of parchment paper flexible to move with + assistance with spatula for transferring onto hot baking surface. Instead of pizza stone I had a cast iron griddle that I quickly preheated on stove top and fit under a very large stainless steel bowl to capture/redirect steam during initial baking. I removed the SS bowl about 1/2 way thru baking time.

        I also added 1/2 crushed vitamin C tablet to water as our area (west of Rockies) has more alkaline water and the light acid addition helps yeast raising.

        (I took pictures of above alternatives equipment but don’t know if those would be of interest to share here)

  12. Please help!! After enjoying all of your traditional heathy bread in 5 recipes I recently found out that I have allergies to yeast and gluten 🙁 I am so sad and want to continue making the bread somehow do you have any ideas for making a gluten free yeast free bread? I know the results may not be as great but I’m desperate for ideas as my family is really go to miss having fresh bread around! I should also note that I have allergies to milk & eggs, but this hasn’t posed a problem with your recipes as I have been able to successfully make substitutions on those with good results. Any help or advice on this would be greatly appreciated! Your books are wonderful and have changed our life by making fresh bread a part of it!

    1. It’s the yeast-free that doesn’t work in our recipes, so no, I’m afraid we don’t. All the recipes in our gluten-free book (http://amzn.to/1msOBmY) have yeast. You could try adapting natural yeast (from the air, from the flour), as we do in the last chapter of our whole wheat book (http://amzn.to/1NdVkgj)–natural sourdough (aka “levain”). But be aware–we haven’t tested that with the denser gluten-free breads.

  13. My husband has recently been tested for food intolerance and this has completely changed the way I have to cook. He is gluten, dairy, egg (can have duck egg) and yeast (both bakers and brewers yeast) sensitive. I have started a sourdough natural yeast. I would like to know if I can use the sourdough in place of the yeast in your recipes and if I should make adjustments in the flour and liquid. I have used some of the flour blends like Measure to Measure KAF in some of my tried and true recipes without yeast and it has worked very well. I really want to make breads it is what we miss the most. Thank you in advance for any help you give me.

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      We have never made our GF breads with a sourdough starter, but many of our readers have with success. Perhaps one of them will weigh in with their experience. We have not had great success with substituting most commercial GF flour blends in our bread recipes, they just don’t have a great texture. But, I have never tried the one you mentioned, so it may be worth a try. I just suggest with all of this you start with a small batch until you land on the results you like.

      Cheers, Zoë

  14. Wanted to leave feedback about an alternative baking step that worked very well for me. I made the Olive bread dough – using 1 egg white – and after resting wanted to make a pizza from it. No way was I going to ‘lift and slide’ a huge thinner disc of dough onto a 16″ pizza stone! So I instead slightly oiled the pizza stone and shaped the pizza dough right onto the (cold) pizza stone, I had a small cup with water in it to dip a wide bladed silicon spatula into which helped me to smooth and shape the disc of dough. When I had the dough shaped to my liking I put the pizza stone right over a (gas) burner on my stove top and turned the burner to medium-highish flame. Within a few mins. the stone was hot and I slipped the stone into a heated oven for 10 mins. of ‘pre’ baking. I then topped the pizza with our preferences and baked another 15 mins.

    This method resulted in a wonderfully baked crust BOTTOM as well as delightful bread like crust. Every other GF pizza recipe I’ve tried produced a more cake like texture crust. Wonderful to have a pizza that my husband and I both enjoyed.

    1. Wow, wouldn’t have guessed this–might have guessed that direct flame would crack the stone (though some stones specifically say that you can do this…). Iron and steel “stones” would be great candidates for this approach.

      But I never argue with success!

      1. I have a cast iron griddle that I am going to try this same method on for forming bread right onto instead of having to transfer over to.

        I had read that some stones are prone to cracking, but mine 16″ is an older one so maybe better material? Will look into flat cast iron pieces that are larger than my 10″ round griddle is.

      2. We found that this thicker stones are less prone to cracking. Cast iron or steel Stones don’t crack.

      3. Further feedback RE cast iron pizza ‘stone’ – I purchased a 14″ cast iron pizza pan (Amazon) and its turned out to be what works fabulously for making GF pizzas! I can place it on my (gas) stove top and ‘pre-heat’ the pan while also browning the bottom of the crust. I then bake it for about 10 mins. – without toppings – so that the crust doesn’t have to bake thru the toppings to finish cooking. After adding toppings of choice, its another 15 mins. until done.

  15. I LOVE THIS BOOK!! Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day FINALLY met my wish I wasn’t sure would ever come true….to be able to easily make flaw-free gluten free bread easily. Thank you!!!!!!!

    And I have a question….I’ve made the Almond Brioche (to die for!!), 100% Whole Grain Seed bread (my mom loves it!!!), the Master Recipe, Cheese bread, and Pizza dough (yum). So far, I’ve noticed that day-old of the breads, brioche, etc are dried out and hard. I’m ok if the reality is that GF bread doesn’t keep well as day-old, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to store it that keeps it moist and soft?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Cristi,

      I’m so thrilled you are enjoying the GF bread you are baking! What you describe really is an issue with all GF breads. The best way to store the bread is to freeze it as soon as it cools completely and just take out and toast what you want to eat. If you slice it before freezing, you can just take out a piece and leave the rest frozen.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thank you Zoe, you are a gift us all!! (PS – still obsessed with making all the bread from your book – tonight, 9:30pm, I’m baking the Master Recipe, with the egg variation with herb variation. Tomorrow, I’m going to my friend’s house to show her how to make the Almond Brioche (yup!, obsessed, LOL!!!)
        Thank you!!

      2. Oh, also, for the Brioche, if we freeze it (after baking it) in slices…..what is the best way to reheat it? Or, do you advise just eating it same day if freezing/reheating doesn’t really work?

  16. I made my first boules from your Gluten-free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and the loaves were inedible, very dense and doughy, probably from undermixing. I want to use the remainder of the Mixture #1: Gluten-free All Purpose Flour (p.60) to try making the Master Recipe: Boule again. The math doesn’t seem to add up, though. The total volume of dry ingredients from Mixture #1 comes to 12 1/2 cups and I used 6 1/2 cups of it to make the Master Recipe Boule as stated in the recipe on p. 64. So, I now only have 6 cups left of the Mixture #1, which is 1/2 cup short of what I need (12 1/2 minus 6 1/2 = 6). Given your precision regarding weights/ingredients/measurements, i don’t want to just add some random half cup of any flour to the Mixture #1. What am I not understanding?

    1. Hi Susan,

      Did you see this post on the GF master recipe, it may help you get a better result: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2014/11/03/master-recipe-from-gluten-free-abin5/

      The mix is meant to be used in any kind of bread, so it won’t always come out to an even amount, some of the loaves require much less and some more. You can just make a smaller batch of dough if you are trying to make the Master recipe again. Maybe a 1/2 batch would do well, until you figure out what the issue is the the results. Let me know if that post helps?

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. This question is regarding gluten free breads. I have a Wolf convection-steam oven with a built in bread baking mode. I have tried using it to bake the boule but the results are inconsistent. Do you have suggestions on using this type of oven for baking any of the gluten free breads.

    1. We haven’t tried this; don’t have one. My suggestion would be to turn off the convection, but use their steam feature only. I don’t know what their bread-baking mode entails but you could try turning that off too. Then–you’d be re-creating our regular oven effect. The only thing to try after that would be to turn off their steam feature and create the steam the way we show in our books.

  18. Because it is more difficult to gently move and shape loaves AND my results were OK, but didn’t provide sandwich type slices, I set about altering this method a bit.

    Immediately after mixing the dough I put it into mini-loaf pans (mine are – at top – 3 1/4″ w X 6″ long X 2 1/4″ tall). I fill these pans about 1/2 -> 2/3 full and let the dough rise until near the top. I then freeze these, pans and all. When they are froze I wrap them in plastic until I am ready to bake a mini-loaf. I take one of the frozen out of the freezer and put it into my refrigerator over night, setting it out (under a glass bowl) to proof for baking.

    After baking and removing the loaf from the pan, when cool I slice the loaf length wise to make 4 – 2 1/2″ X 5″ slices. These I separate with wax paper strips, place in a large sandwich baggie and freeze until I want to use them. Because I am the only one who is eating GF bread, and I’m not a frequent sandwich eater, this method provides me with bread I enjoy when I want it. Yes its not as artisitic and perhaps not as immediately tasty as what this method produces otherwise, but I am find this a lot easier and manageable for me.

    Additionally, reading about how one is about to use a ‘slow cooker’ for baking, I gave a try with one of my mini- loaves in my solar cooker! The cooker reaches about 250 degrees on a sunny day and using a cast iron dutch oven that I do have the loaf baked nice and golden brown in about 3 hours. Just thought you would get a smile to read that 🙂

    1. Smile indeed, I’d have never guessed that the solar cooker would have worked. So glad it did.

      About your freezing method–also glad that this is working for you–thanks for the ideas…

    1. Hi Antoinette,

      Hi. What an amazing gift. As the name suggests, this flour is best for cakes and pastry, because it has a low protein content, so it doesn’t provide enough strength and structure to trap the gas of the yeast for a loaf of bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. I am so excited to start working with your recipes! Both my husband and 11 year old son have recently been diagnosed with celiac. Before I start baking I have a question. We have a wall oven that has a steam bake feature with a little reservoir to fill with water. I’m hoping this will work for the steam element in the baking process. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Leah,

      I would imagine the steam feature will work wonderfully, but it may take some experimenting. You only want steam for the first 10 minutes of baking, then the oven needs to be dry.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. I recently made a batch of #1 GF mix using Expandex, a modified tapioca flour. The resulting loaves did seem to raise a bit better and the texture was even more chewy than last ‘regular’ batch. If anyone wants to know more about this product, simply Google the name. I managed to contact a supplier and ended up with a 50# bag so I have plenty. But I have seen it for sale in smaller amount online too.

  21. I am getting warmed up to making doughnuts but am not sure if I want to use as much honey as the recipe calls for. Can I substitute sugar for the honey or even part honey and part sugar? (what amounts sugar all/half?)
    I am going to make maple bars which are one of the gluten treats that I have been missing so much. I read in one of the older questions here how the Brioche dough only rises ONE time, so if I make the Brioche dough ‘fresh’ do I let it rest/rise (how long) before scoring it into bar shapes that are then deep fried? Or is it better to make the dough and freeze it before using as the instructions suggest?

    1. Hi Katcha,

      You can replace some of the honey with sugar, but depending on how much you want to replace, you may need to add just a little bit of extra water so the dough is not too dry. Not much though.

      If you are going to roll out the dough and then fry it, you will want to let it rise, then refrigerate to make the dough stiff enough to work with, then you can roll it and fry it.

      Enjoy! Zoë

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