Something you might not know about Willow Creek Farm’s kitchen: it is totally Gluten-Free. I make almost everything from scratch, including breads, bagels, rolls, biscuits, etc. I have not tried pasta yet because we have a brand we love and there just isn’t enough time in the day. 🙂
I looooove sandwiches. I could eat a sandwich for lunch every day of my life and never be bored. I just love them. So, when we were diagnosed with Celiac Disease 7 years ago and had to go on the Gluten-Free diet I was really missing sandwiches. I tried numerous recipes, and tried all the store-bought GF Bread I could get my hands on. None of it worked. It all was dry and crumbly and/or tasted like cardboard. It just wasn’t the same and it really bugged me.
But I kept trying. I was determined to make a great GF sandwich bread for my family (and myself!). The first step towards success was getting Bette Hagman’s cookbooks. As I worked my way through the cookbooks I found MANY recipes that have become family favorites. But the most important, was her recipe for “Four Flour Bread Mix” that I found in her “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread” book. This mix, that I make using her recipe and keep in a large food-grade bucket (because we go through it so fast), is the base for this bread.
I originally started with her recipes for bread, using her mix, but then, over about a 3-year period of time, I tweaked the bread recipe to improve it more and more until it was just what we wanted. And thus became out favorite GF bread. It is moist, and flexible, and tasty.
I used the recipe all the time, to make our weekly loaves of bread, but also to make rolls for dinner. It began making the rounds at family holidays, and dinner get-togethers and such. And EVERY time people ate it they said that they could not believe that it was gluten-free. They thought for sure I had baked a normal wheat bread for the occasion, though they knew that we don’t allow any gluten products into our house. Everyone was shocked when I told them it was indeed gluten-free.
Before I give you the recipe, I must first put in here that baking bread is truly an art, not a science. You can follow this recipe exactly and not end up with the same results as mine. The weather, altitude, your oven, your house temperature, and your climate, among other things, can effect the results of bread. I will make excellent loaves for weeks in a row and then all of a sudden we will have a dry loaf. It is just the nature of bread. So if this doesn’t turn out like my photos, try again, and again. I had never baked bread before we went GF. I had no clue about bread. But after years of practice, I now have very good bread instincts and can add a bit of moisture or a bit of dry ingredients when necessary when I see that the dough isn’t looking just right or let it rise longer or bake shorter etc. If I followed the recipe exactly every time it wouldn’t turn out so great every time. So keep that in mind. The recipe is a jumping off point, and your method is the rest. If you keep trying and tweaking it you can end up with an excellent bread too.
Because of copyright, I am not going to post Bette’s Four Flour Bread mix recipe, you can find it in her book “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread” or maybe it is posted in other locations.
Here is the recipe, it makes 2 loaves:
- 6 2/3 cups Bette’s Four Flour Bread Mix
- 9 Tablespoons butter, room temp
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 eggs, plus 4 egg whites
- 2 cups warm water (115F)
- 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1/3 cup honey
- Optional: 4 Tablespoons quinoa seeds (red or white)
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F.
- Mix eggs, butter and vinegar with whisk attachment on standing mixer until barely combined (I use a Bosche, but used to use a Kitchenaid). Because of the wet consistency of the dough, this dough cannot be kneaded by hand and thus needs a strong mixer.
- Add water and mix briefly again.
- Add flour mix, honey, and yeast. Mix shortly with the whisk or cookie attachment until combined, then scrape bowl with spatula and switch to dough hook. Beat with dough hook for 3 minutes (Bosche) or 5-6 minutes (other type of mixer). Texture should look like photos below. If you want a grainy/seedy bread, stir in the quinoa seeds at this point.
- Grease two loaf pans with canola oil spray (I have tried butter and oil to grease and it never works, so I always use the spray). Pour dough into loaf pans (half in each).
- Put in oven and TURN OFF the oven. Let rise 30-35 minutes or until just barely over the top of the pans.
- Leave in oven and turn on oven to 400 degrees F. Let bake 20-30 minutes from the time you turn the oven on or until the top is med-dark brown but not burnt (ovens vary!).
***To make rolls, since the dough is so wet, I spoon it into regular sized muffin pans, or extra large muffin pans, each hole about half full. I then let it rise the same, and bake the same, but keep a close eye on the baking time because they sometimes go less.
Note: I apologize for the coloring of the photos, they are not accurate, a light broke in my kitchen so now the lighting is awful in there (can’t wait to remodel!). So the dough color, and the color of the bread is way more yellow in the photos than it normally is.
Here is the texture after all the mixing, and when you are pouring the dough into the pans:
And here is the finished bread (it is NOT this yellow in real life):
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