Getting Started - Baking bread with Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

Most of the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour bread recipes will contain the flour, yeast, sugar, salt & water. Simple. However, too much of this, not enough of that, not warm enough, too warm etc. etc. etc. can result in bread that is less than satisfactory. If bread making with wheat flour were simple there wouldn't be the need to have hundreds of books or websites devoted to baking good bread & how to avoid the pitfalls. To add another complication we are going to be baking gluten free bread (I actually find it easier with this mix).

Following are hints & suggestions for making better bread.

I recommend using a heavy based bread tin with base dimensions of 25.5 cm x 9.5 cm & a height of 10.5 cm. This size bread tin is available for sale on the website - visit the Bakers' Magic shop.

  

Want to know what recipe/method I use?

It's not the simplest one.

I use the slightly more involved recipe & add some oil.

I usually mix it in my Thermie or Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Prior to proofing I put a little oil on the top of the dough (& maybe sprinkle on sesame seeds). 

    

The simplest recipe

450 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

1 tbs Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Yeast

~550 g Warm water 

The simplest way of making the bread is to mix the ingredients all together & let it proof in the baking tin but there is a major disadvantage to this method. Until you actually see the dough rise during the proofing stage you don't know if the yeast is viable.

 

Slightly more involved recipe but same ingredients

2 tsp Yeast

1 tbs Sugar

100 g Warm water

Mix the above ingredients together & let it sit at room temperature for 5 mins. This gives the yeast a readily available food source & they can "revive" in a relatively undisturbed environment.

Assemble the following ingredients

450 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

1 1/2 tsp Salt

~450 g Warm water

After 5 mins the yeast mixture should be frothy on the top, if not give it a little more time. If there are no bubbles at all it's probably not a good mixture to use to make bread (check water temperature). There is also the possibility that the yeast are not viable. Activate more yeast from the same batch & if the same thing happens that batch is probably not viable. If this is the case buy more yeast.

If the yeast mixture has a frothy top or you can see bubbles proceed by mixing the dry & wet ingredients together etc.

 

Add a little bit of oil for a smoother dough

 A little bit of fat/oil can certainly smooth things over.

Adding oil has the added advantage of;

making the dough easier to handle,

giving the loaves a beautiful golden brown crust,

keeps the loaf fresher for longer &

can help in reducing hole size.

I usually add in 50 g of oil/butter per 450 g of Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour 

  

Adding in Extras

Adding in extra ingredients can change an ordinary loaf of bread into something special. There are a lot of different ingredients to choose from; dried fruit, nuts, seeds, other gluten free grains etc. When making a new recipe I usually start with adding ~200 g of additional ingredients (this excludes bran or fibre) to 450 g of Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour. Depending on the ingredients I will add more water to the mix. I usually don't increase the amount of water for nuts but for grains & seeds I will.

For example in my "wholemeal" bread recipe, I include an equal amount of buckwheat flakes, chia bran, rolled millet, quinoa flakes & rolled amaranth (total 200 g), I will add an additional 190 g of water.

If you want bread containing additional ingredients to be similar to a "white" loaf then the dough will need to have similar consistencies after you have added the extras. If the dough with added ingredients is thicker then add a little water. You will possibly need to do a little trial & error in working out the actual amount of water/liquid needed.  

Mixing it

I have used my KitchenAid, Bread maker, Thermomix, hand held beaters,  stab blender (Bamix) & by hand for making bread with Bakers' Magic Gluten free flourThe smoother the dough the better for baking. My order of preference for mixing the dough (hydration percentage of 122%) is;

  • No 1) Thermomix - It has a cutting action & can warm the dough while mixing. I mix it @ 37 C for 2 mins 30 secs at speed 4. The dough resulting from this mixing action is "pourable". If you want a slightly stiffer dough mix it @37 C for 1 min 30 secs at speed 3. 
  • No 2) KitchenAid (Stand mixer) - Use the flat/paddle beater. It will take ~5 mins to mix, sometimes it may take longer. This dough is easy to manipulate as it is not "pourable". I prefer this method if making scrolls.   
  • No 3) A kitchen whiz - I haven't used it but its cutting action should make a smooth dough. 
  • No 4) Stab blender - It has a great cutting action but can only do small sections at a time. If I were making bread with my Bamix I would only do 1/2 recipe and would only attempt recipes with > 122% hydration (ie Turkish Pide).
  • Equal 5th) Hand held beaters & Bread maker - it will depend on the individual Bread maker but most of them have a paddle to mix the dough & do not use a cutting action. If using hand held beaters you may find the dough "walking" up the beater & then blobbing out (ensure your mixing bowl has high sides).

Remember baking & eating bread is a personal experience - what I like you may not.

The consistency of the dough differs depending on the mixing method.   

 

 Proofing

I usually proof the dough in the final shape on a baking tray or in a tin in a warm environment. If I have a lot of loaves or a shaped loaf I will proof them in the oven. I will warm the oven (~50 C) & put a baking pan full of hot water at the bottom of the oven. If I have a single loaf in a tin I will put the tin in a roasting pan and put hot tap water in the pan to approximately 1/4 of the way up the sides of the bread tin. I then cover the roasting pan with glad wrap.

The proofing time will depend on a number of factors but I usually put a timer on for 30 mins. Basically you want to see the dough "double" in size. If the dough hasn't risen well I would give it a little more time. For more information go to Proofing.

Optional - After proofing gently prick the top of the dough with a skewer. This will help expel any air bubbles that have formed beneath the surface during proofing & you are less likely to get a hole beneath the crust in your bread. 

 

Baking 

 Baking times & temperature will vary depending on the loaf size, shape & added ingredients. As a guideline I bake;

  • Normal loaf (450 g of Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour) at 200 C for ~50 mins in an oiled heavy duty bread tin.
  • Two baguettes (total of 225 g of Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour) at 200 C for ~30 mins in a french roll pan.
  • Turkish pide (225 g of mix) at 215 C for ~25 mins in an oiled cast iron roasting pan.
  • Cigar shaped loaves (225 g of mix) at 200 C for ~ 35 mins on a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Buns (225g of mix) at 200 C for ~25 mins in an oiled large muffin tray. (The actual time will depend on the size of the buns)

The actual times will depend on your oven.

  

Let it Cool

Fantastic, you have made a loaf of bread & you want to eat it. Do not cut into the bread when it is hot, there is a possibility of the loaf collapsing. The starches present in the mix need to set before the loaf can be cut. If the bread is not too hot to pick up in your hands then it should be okay to cut into. This is provided you don't play with fire for a living. 

If you specifically want hot bread then let the bread you have made cool down before reheating it in the oven. I store some of my bread in the freezer then reheat it in the oven with a dish of water at the bottom. This bread has a higher water content than wheat flour bread as such it appears to retain heat for longer when it is reheated. Take care when cutting into a hot reheated loaf or when you are biting into toast.

 

I hope you enjoy baking the bread & eating it.