Vegan Gluten-Free Bread

Believe it or not, one of the questions that I get about veganism a lot is ‘Can you eat bread?’ (The answer is a definite yes, because yeast are not animals.)

I myself wondered this when going vegan many eons ago, and was happy to discover that bread was indeed vegan.

Most bread, that is.

Bread, friends, should have four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt.

You can add spices, herbs, fruit, vegetables, etc., but the base of the recipe should be those four ingredients only, possibly with sugar so that your yeast can munch on and get to work quickly. (Obviously challa and other egg bread variations are an exception, but we’re talking about ‘bread bread’ here, okay?)

Now, go look at a package of sliced bread at your grocery store. I’ll be over here making and eating a sandwich before you’re done reading the ingredients.

It’s with this spirit that I approached this month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally. (See Karen’s post at Cooking Gluten Free for the rest of the ralliers!) I knew that the ‘flour’ part of those four ingredients would take some whole wheat, some starch, and some ground seeds (to replace the gluten), but the other ingredients would remain water, yeast, and salt.

I took inspiration on the process from Shauna’s gluten-free bread recipe at Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef, who taught me that ‘gluten-free bread dough doesn’t look like gluten dough.’ Now you know, too. (It turns out that our two approaches to the ingredients ended up pretty similar too, so I’m going with great minds on that one.)

Flour—conventional wheat flour—contains whole grains, starches, and gluten. (If you remove the starch, then you’re left with seitan or wheat gluten, which is delicious but decidedly the worst thing ever for those with a gluten intolerance.) Depending on what you’re making, you can substitute different gluten-free flours and starches for flour.

Bread is tricky though, because it’s sticky. It’s not like a cake with a delicate crumb that just needs some carbonation. It needs a cloak of stickiness as it cooks. I imagine that most of the ralliers will be adding eggs to their recipe and using those lipoproteins and albumen to bind. (Eggs and/or gums, but something about gums just unsettles me. I’ve never cooked with them, and I’ve never needed them.)

Flax and chia seeds work wonders, however. (I imagine that psyllium husk would do the same, but I’ve never tried it.) You can use ground flax and chia (either both or one or the other) to replace eggs in a bunch of vegan recipes, and I used them in Vegan Gluten-Free Bagels with great success.

So you’ll need those, but not just for this recipe!

Beyond that, I’ll assume that you have water and salt. Feel free to replace the whole grains in the recipe below to get a different flavored bread, and by all means play around with seasonings and additions to make it your own.

Other than that, enjoy this vegan gluten-free goodness. I’m making mine into a vegan, gluten-free grilled cheese for a moment of innocent bliss.

Here are the ratios that I used for this bread:

  • Flour to water: 5:4
  • Whole grains to starches: 17:8 (just over 2:1)

And here are my past Gluten-Free Ratio Rally posts:

Vegan Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

By M. M. Cassidy Published: June 6, 2012

  • Yield: 1 Loaf (3 Mini Loaves, 2 Boules, 6-8 Burger Rolls, 16 Dinner Rolls) (6-8 Servings)
  • Prep: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Cook: 15-25 mins
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 20 mins

Bread. No gluten? No gums? No eggs? No problem.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, ground seeds, and water. Whisk vigorously to combine and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Whisk to combine and distribute evenly.
  3. Once the wet mixture is frothy (i.e. the yeast has proofed), add it to the dry mixture and stir to incorporate.
  4. Don't worry when it doesn't look like bread dough with gluten. It will be somewhat stiff, but still very sticky.
  5. Oil a large bowl and turn the dough out into it. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot (top of the fridge has never failed me) for two hours. After two hours, it will have risen, and will be spongy (the picture below was for 1/4 recipe).
    This is what the dough should look like after rising for 2 hours.
  6. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF).
  7. If making loaves, turn the dough into a loaf pan (oiled if not non-stick) or divide into mini loaf pans. If making boules or rolls, divide and roughly shape into desired end result on a ceramic stone or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake. Rolls will be on the shorter side, loaves longer. The end result will be rolls that sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, or loaves with golden brown, crusty sides and a golden top.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving. Excellent when served immediately, but also good as sandwich bread or soup companions the next day.

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  • http://chewonthisvegan.tumblr.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    Looks delicious, and such a gorgeous crumb.  I’m so happy that there’s another vegan Rally participant (who also eschews gums) – who needs eggs, right?  (Ermmm, besides the hens, obviously.)  Speaking of traditionally eggy breads, I think I’m going to try making some using the vegan yolk replacer that just hit the market – have you tried it? I used it to make carbonara a couple of weeks ago and it was so authentic it sorta freaked me out.  (Okay, it really freaked me out.  But it made my Italian husband happy.)

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Monika,
      Likewise ecstatic to find another vegan, gums-eschewing Rallier! Let the hens have their eggs, and the…genetically modified corn, soy, or wheat have it’s xanthan gum?

      I haven’t heard about this yolk replacement, but I’d love to try it in my carbonara! It’s always pleasantly surprising tone freaked out by vegan substitutes mimicking the real thing—wonder if cheese’ll ever get there?

      • http://chewonthisvegan.tumblr.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

        The yolk replacer is called the Vegg, if you can find them on FB or at Compassion Over Killing, I think they have a website, too.  The ingredients didn’t look too scary to feed to my family: fortified nutch, black salt, beta carotene and sodium alginate.  I’ve used it to make homemade pasta noodles, carbonara, tofu scrambles and omelettes, custards, creme brulee . . . pretty much everything except egg bread. 

        I’m doubtful that cheese will get there without relying on weird binders.  And now there’s the whole palm oil debate going on.  But I was a smoked gouda and brie lover, which are much easier to replicate than stretchy cheeses.  Have you ever tried Dr. Cow?

        • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

          The Vegg—I’ll have to try it! Sounds like one might also be able to cook up a homemade version… TBD.

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  • http://honeyfromflintyrocks.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/millet-chia-bread-variations/ ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

    Looks great!  Thanks for participating in this month’s rally!

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Thanks! The Rallies are always a welcome challenge!

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  • Rachel Jagareski

    Your bread has a delicious looking crumb. Great texture and your photos are superb too. Wonderful post for the Rally.

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Mm I was psyched with the way that the crumb turned out. A lot of other recipes call for some vinegar, and I’m wondering whether that would develop the air pockets further, but I never ended up thinking that I needed it.

  • http://mealswithmorri.blogspot.in/ Morri

    Dudette, this is one bangin’ peace of bread bread. :)

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Thanks, Morri. ;)

  • http://jenncuisine.com/ Jenn

    What a great set of flours, and congrats on a vegan version of bread – it looks awesome!!

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Thanks, Jenn! The basic recipe came fast, but it definitely took a bit of tweaking to get the right flours. Where I ended up with quinoa and brown rice, I had used chickpea one (lingering be any aftertaste) and all quinoa another (that sharp quinoa aftertaste). This balanced things out.

  • http://www.zestbakery.com/ Charissa (zest bakery)

    We get asked that question at the bakery too. What is your stance on honey? Is it considered vegan? Good to see another vegan loaf for this rally!

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Funny how people skip right from animals, over plants, to yeast and state, ‘It’s a living thing!’

      Regarding honey, personally, I think that bees are evil creatures hellbent on destruction, so any ounce of pain that I can bring to them is welcome. There’s a backstory, I promise… That said, I do have honey from time to time (and mead! yes!), but it’s always from local farmers (or brewers). We have a bunch of honey and mead up around here, it seems, mostly because one can’t do much with the soil.

      Some vegans eschew honey, however, for the same reasons as they’re vegan (it’s bad for animals/it’s bad for humans/it’s industrial agriculture and bad for animals/humans/the environment). I won’t buy industrial-scale honey-in-a-bear, but damned if I wouldn’t claw my destructive fist into a hive for some comb.

  • http://thecanaryfiles.blogspot.in/ Jonathan

    Yay for gluten-free, vegan bread!  [fist bump]  Your bread looks and sounds wonderful, Meaghan – Thank You for sharing!

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      You’re very welcome, Jonathan! I shared some at yoga last night with gluten-sensitive and gluten-lovers alike and it was a hit!

  • Heather Dillard

    This bread looks so pretty!

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Thanks! The mini loaf pan made it seem a lot daintier than it probably is…

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  • Kele

    I was so excited reading this recipe since I’ve recently been considering trying a gluten-free diet to help control some long-standing health issues… buuut then I hit the almond flour, like in so many gluten-free recipes, and no nuts for me. :( Any suggestions on replacing that part, or (as I’m learning about gluten-free baking), is removing that likely to throw off the whole thing?

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Kele,

      Definitely don’t remove it! It will make the dough super wet, I think.

      Almond flour sucks up a lot of moisture—just like coconut flour! If you can have coconuts, then try replace it with that. And you probably know this, but coconut flour is different than coconut flakes or shredded coconut. As with just about every flour, Bob’s Red Mill makes some.

      (Disclaimer: I’ve actually never cooked with coconut flour. I hear that it sucks up a lot a lot of moisture and can be a little unpredictable (a term which here means ‘throws off the tried-and-true substitute-by-weight method.’))

      I’d suggest starting by using 3/4 of the weight of the almond flour’s worth of coconut flour—in this case 75 g. (This response that I found seems unpromising… Hm… http://www.elanaspantry.com/frequently-asked-questions/substitutions/#3substitutions)

      Again, this is total off-the-cuff guessing, but that’s how I make just about everything, so I’m sure that it’ll work…

      I’d suggest Googling a bit (try ‘substitue coconut flour for almond flour’) to get a feel for other’s suggestions. Then, when you’re cooking, try to keep the batter as wet as the pictures. Add a little more liquid if it looks like it needs it.

      And let me know how it turns out! Best of luck!

      Meaghan

  • Aj

    Hello! I’m excited to make this for my toddler! She has multiple food allergies and your recipe looks superb! How do I convert this recipe to cups?

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Hi, AJ—

      If you’re going to be cooking gluten-free, then I really recommend picking up a kitchen scale. They should be $20+ on Amazon, depending on which model you buy.

      That said, because each flour has a different weight, they convert different to cups. For instance, 80 g of potato starch is a lot more flour than 80 g of almond flour.

      Your best bet, if you don’t have a scale, is to do some Googling to determine how many grams are in a cup of each flour and then divide from there.

      I keep a conversion chart note for myself, so here are the ingredients that I’ve found:
      Sugar: 225 g/C
      Water: 236 g/C
      (I don’t have almond or oat)
      Brown rice: 158 g/C
      (No quinoa)
      Buckwheat: 132 g/C
      Potato starch: 192 g/C
      Sweet rice: 204 g/C

      So from that, you can start to get an idea of why you can’t substitute by volume 1:1…

      Sorry for the extra work! Hopefully it turns out all right. I promise that a kitchen scale will be worth its weight in gold. (Especially if you pack leftovers compulsively and want each serving to weigh the same, &c.)

  • Jen Dp

    Hello! I have a blog called Hot. Vegetarian Coeliac and I’ve added a link to your recipe from my recipes page: http://vegetariancoeliac.blogspot.co.uk/p/recipes.html Hope that’s okay? Jeni

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Hi, Jeni—

      Of course that’s all right! Food is meant to be shared. =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/crazy4soccer Mia Little

    Hello (: I’m looking for a gluten free bread recipe that I could turn into bread bowls. Do you think I could do this with this bread? Or any suggestions because all m gluten free cooking books are not really helping.

    • http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/ Meaghan

      Hi, Mia—

      You could certainly try turning these into bread bowls.

      I’ve never made any myself, but they key to the bread bowl is a tough crust. Normally this isn’t hard to generate with a lot of kneading and the development of a gluten blanket around a boule of bread, but with gluten-free bread, it’s obviously different.

      I’d suggest cooking in some kind of container to get a really hard crust. I can’t think of a circular container, but maybe you don’t mind non-round bowls, and could use mini loaf pans or a round-ish Pyrex dish? Keep the pans in the oven to preheat, then pop the bread into there. That way, the crusts cooks fast and first, and you’ll get a little more of it.

      Alternatively, eschew the dish altogether and just pop the round balls of dough onto a preheated ceramic baking sheet. That’s the traditional method, which might work here as well.

      At least, that’s what I’d do if I were trying to do the same. I’d suggest trying with one serving to see whether it works and then tweaking from there with larger volumes.

      Best of luck! Do let me know whether you’re successful!

      Meaghan

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