Best Gluten Free Bread Recipe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we first went gluten free we bought a few gluten free breads at the local markets. It didn’t take too many purchases of commercial GF breads to decide that I would rather stop eating any bread if it meant eating the commercial varieties.  So I set myself to uncovering the best gluten free bread recipe that I could make myself.  But finding a good recipe wasn’t easy either.  Many of the gluten free bread recipes that I found had lousy texture, dried out quickly, or tasted gross (and sometimes, all of the above).  Initially, I couldn’t find anything that even resembled my idea of bread.  So I decided to live without gluten free bread.

When we started our gluten free bakery, my intention was to stick with sweets. Making cookies and sweet breads wasn’t that challenging and there were a lot of recipes for good gluten free desserts.  I found ways to alter many recipes and make them even better. I started learning about changing my favorite baking recipes into gluten free recipes, as well. But bread remained the challenge.

As we took our baked goods to Farmer’s Markets and watched people loving the samples of our sweets, we kept hearing the same question, “Do you make any bread?” So, after a while, I got the hint and went back in search of good gluten free bread recipes.  I added a few breads to our line that were acceptable, but I wasn’t happy with them personally. I kept searching for the best gluten free bread recipe available. (I skipped gluten free bread machine recipes since they wouldn’t allow me enough control over the process to make changes.) I found a fabulous French Bread Recipe, it just didn’t last very long before becoming crumbly. But then, I landed on an e-book for artisan breads with a gluten free chapter that contained a recipe for brioche! Though I was unfamiliar with this type of bread, I decided to try it anyway. After I made my first batch, I experienced my first wave of hope for bread since giving up gluten. 

The brioche bread was tasty, had a flexibly soft texture, and sliced well for sandwiches. Additionally, it was easy! So I put it to a more stringent test to see how long it could hold its great texture. I wrapped it well and left it sit on my counter for 4-5 days. When I opened and sliced it, I was amazed! It had not become dry or crummy, it still held together well, and I didn’t want to gag when I ate it. Actually, I enjoyed it. With later trials, I found it also made fabulous gluten free buns or rolls that froze well. We added these to our line and they quickly became our top selling loaf bread. Those who bought our gluten free buns ordered them often for holiday meals. Some people bought them by the dozen and froze them for individual usage. Many told us that it was the best gluten free bread they had ever tasted.

The original recipe came from an e-book by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D and Zoe Francois: Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. (Their book also contains a good tasting recipe for an artisan Boule, but it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the brioche.)  I’ve made a couple of changes to their recipe when I adapted it to our bakery.  Below, I will give you my version of brioche, the only gluten free sandwich bread that I ever want to eat.  It is not only gluten free, but is also dairy-free. You will need a sturdy mixer to mix this bread.

For two loaves  8 x 4: grease pans lightly, even if they are non-stick, corrugated non-stick aluminum works better than other pans. I recommend avoiding glass pans.

In the bowl of your mixer, blend together the following:

1 ¼ cups of almond milk

½ cup honey, ( ¼ cup will also work if you desire it less sweet)

2 eggs

½ cup walnut oil (this is very important for the taste, do not substitute other oil)

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Then, combine the following separately with a whisk:

½ cup brown rice flour

½ cup tapioca flour

2 cups of cornstarch, minus 2 TBS

1 TBS active dry GF yeast

1 tsp salt

1 TBS xanthan gum

With the wet mixture already blended, turn mixer on low. Add the blended flour mixture one large spoonful at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Then turn the mixer to high and blend an additional 2 minutes to be sure all is well mixed and incorporated. Check bottom of bowl part -way through to be sure the honey has fully mixed into the batter. Then, divide the dough between your 2 prepared pans, smoothing the top with a spoon. (I use a downward cutting motion to get it even.) Set aside into a warm area (best around 78-80 degrees) to rise. Allow to rise for 2 ½ to 3 hours, covered with a cloth, until doubled.  Near the end of rising time, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake bread for about 45 minutes, until well browned on top. Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10-15 minutes. Then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. When completely cooled, wrap well.

To make gluten free buns, I used a large food scoop, size 8 or 10. Scoop mixed dough onto baking sheets lined with silicone baking sheets (sometimes known as silpats). Cover and allow to rise for 2 hours. Then bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly; then move to wire racks to cool completely.

This is truly the best gluten free bread recipe I have found anywhere! Try it and tell me what you think!

Cooking with Gluten Free Flour

One of my challenges with gluten cooking arose when I wanted to make gravy, puddings, and other sauces. I wasn’t sure how to thicken my food. After all, I’d always used wheat flour and I just drew a blank when I needed to find a thickener.

I didn’t find my choice thickeners all at once. I had previously used arrowroot powder, years before, to do…something. I had read somewhere that it could be used as a thickener, so I tried. If I remember right, my first effort was gravy. I added the arrowroot and began to heat it. As it got warmer, it started to thicken and I nearly concluded that this would be easy. But…as the gravy got hotter and began to boil, it seemed to lose its thickness and left me with a slightly thickened broth that looked a bit oily, not what I was after.

I spent more time skipping the whole process. I just made simple recipes and ignored trying to make anything else. But, I got bored. There weren’t all the good gluten free cook books around like there are today. So once again, I set my sights on finding other ways to thicken my food. I decided that I must find a way to do my cooking with gluten free flour. Below are the different flours that I use for thickening, and some others that I know about.

I’m a big fan of sweet white rice flour. I use it in gravies, sauces, puddings, and baked goods. Though it isn’t my only thickener, it’s certainly my favorite for heated foods. It’s an important ingredient to keep on hand for converting recipes to gluten free. When first added to liquids, it doesn’t seem to mix in well. But as it gets heated, it blends in beautifully to make a smooth product with great consistency. It can be replaced with equal amounts in recipes that normally use wheat flour.

Though I don’t the results as well, in a pinch I’ll use brown or white rice flour to thicken soups or gravies. The texture isn’t as nice as with sweet white rice flour as it can be a bit grainy, but it’s acceptable in a pinch and it costs a lot less. And with these flours, you only use half of the amount that you would use with wheat flour. They must be mixed with water before adding to recipe. Heating doesn’t change the consistency of these flours.

For years, many people have used cornstarch to thicken sauces, soups, and puddings. My limited use of it stems from it’s very shiny, almost oily appearance. When using this flour, it needs to be mixed with cool liquid before adding. It can be used successfully in pie fillings and fruit sauces. It provides a good structure for pudding, as well. But I avoid using it in gravies of soups. When substituting it for wheat flour, use only half the amount.

Some use tapioca flour in gravies, stews, or vegi dishes. But if heated too long, it gets a bit stringy. So I rarely use it outside of baking. When using it in cooking, you 50% more (ie. use 1 1/2 tsps in place of 1 tsp) when converting from wheat flour. It should be mixed with cold water before adding to recipe.

I’ve heard of people using potato starch for thickening with good results, though I’ve never tried it.  It converts from wheat with half the quantity.

Unflavored gelatin powder can work well to thicken desserts, puddings, or salads. Just be careful not to mix it with acidic raw fruits, or it won’t set.

I’ve seen Agar powder used in recipes as a thickener, but I’m also not very familiar with it. I do know that you substitute at half the quantity of wheat flour. I have used it in bakery to improve texture in a few baked goods. But it’s expensive, so I’ve avoided it in my kitchen.

If you’ve found some great ways to thicken foods without gluten, please share with the rest of us. We’d love to hear what others are using successfully!




Gluten Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I planned to post my recipe for this marvelous dip before the holidays. Unfortunately, no

Spinach Artichoke Dip in Gluten Free Bread Bowl

Spinach Artichoke Dip in Gluten Free Bread Bowl

photos existed from the previous times I made it. It’s a regular guest to my Christmas Eve menu. I waited to post it until a photo could come along. I bake this dip in a 1 qt bowl, then carefully transfer it to my bread bowl without inverting the top, so the melted cheese remains on top.

I begin by making my Gluten Free French Bread  into baguettes (previously posted), slicing and toasting them in the oven. I do this step a day or two ahead. It saves some of the last minute rush!

I make an additional recipe of the French Bread and form into a bread bowl on a baking sheet lined with a silpat. I try to do this within 24 hours of serving since it dries out. Otherwise, I make and freeze it right away.

Dip Recipe:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

14 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise or vegannaise

1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 mozzarella, grated

garlic salt, to taste

pepper, to taste


Cream together, cheeses, mayo, basil, and garlic salt. Add the artichoke hearts and spinach. Mix well. (May be refrigerated for later use, if desired.) Grease a 1 quart dish and place dip into dish. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees fro about 25 minutes, until slightly brown on top.

Served with toasted bread and/or raw vegetables.



Essential tools for Gluten Free Baking

When I first started baking gluten free, words like “silpat” or “french bread pans” left me confused. So I tried baking without them. (Besides, I didn’t know where to find them anyway!) Along the way, I learned the importance of certain tools. I also learned which tools I could do without. I list of a few of the essentials below and explain why I believe they’re important. I’ll put links to them for those of you without local resources for finding them. I usually link to the least expensive option that’s reliable. If you find reliable products that cost less, please share those with us below!


A foundational item for baking cookies, bread bowls, artisan breads or anything put out on a baking sheet is a silpat (a short name for silicone baking mat). I use the ones that are roughly 16″ x 11″ triangles. These fit 1/2 size baking sheets of the same dimensions. Most mats can last for over 3000 trips to the oven.

Why use these? Gluten Free batters and doughs are sticky. They stick to baking surfaces easily and remove terribly. With a silpat, you can pick cookies off with ease, often without running a spatula underneath. They never tear up the underside of cookies or bread bowls.

Other Options: Parchment paper can provide an acceptable alternative, though it costs more in the long run since you can’t reuse it repeatedly. Sometimes gf baked goods will stick to the paper if left too long cooling. (Yes, I’ve learned this firsthand!) So if you use parchment paper, remove baked goods soon after coming out of the oven. Greasing provides another option, though less desirable. Some gf cookies absorb the grease before joining to the pan for a long stay. Before I started using the silpats, my cookie sheets were well fed. They kept as many cookies as I did with some recipes!

Stand Mixer

Many gluten free bread recipes require beating for two-three minutes, or more. If you make your breads the old fashioned way (not in a bread maker), then your arms will tire-to the point of falling off-if you hold a hand mixer the whole time. (My arms hurt just remembering the pain!) Since I ran a bakery, I always used a KitchenAid, but less expensive options exist. The link follows to the Amazon mixer page with stand mixers starting around $30. I can’t personally speak to the durability of other brands since I haven’t used them. But I would make my decision based on the amount of baking that I do.

Covered Bread Pans

If you’re going to make homemade bread in the oven, covered bread pans will save your bread over and over. Most gf breads need to be covered part way through baking. I used aluminum foil for a while. But after burning my fingers repeatedly and watching my bread burn when I didn’t get the foil on tight enough, I gave in and bought a covered pan. I’ve never looked back. The lid slides right over the top without needing to touch anything hot! My fingers love me for this one!

Instant Read Thermometer

When I first started making gluten free bread, I noticed that the recipes usually gave a temperature reading for when done. I found that odd and just timed my bread instead. But sometimes my bread came out a bit gooey in the center, while other times it came out a bit dry. (Yes, I mean dry for gluten free.) I finally gave in and bought a thermometer. The first one I tried broke quickly (Taylor). So I bought a different style and it’s worked perfectly. If you’re making your own bread in the oven, you will want a thermometer for consistency.

While I’ve found many other useful tools, these are the ones that I won’t live without. If you’re having a tool issue, just write in the issue. I may know the tool you need or another reader may have the answer. What tools really help you with gluten free baking?


Make Your Own Gluten Free Flour

I’ve seen a lot of different gluten free flour mixes. I’ve been asked a lot, “what is the best gluten free flour blend?” But I can’t give a single answer. There are some mixes that are really light that are perfect for the lighter baked goods. But some of the heavier ones (ie ones with bean flours and such) can work really well in cookies or yeast breads. So when someone asks for my preference, I can’t give a single answer. You can make your own gluten flour mixes according to what you like.

I rarely use a pre-packaged mixes since they are pricey. I make my own gluten free flout blends and keep them in the freezer for freshness. I have three or four different ones. I will share each below, along with the kinds of baking that I do with each blend. If you use these blends, be sure to mix them thoroughly with a wire whisk.

Brown Rice Blend

This blend is light and basic. I use it the most. I’ve seen this same blend in a number of gluten free cookbooks. I use it often in my lighter baked goods, especially cakes. If you are converting a recipe with it, you will need to add xanthan or guar gum since there isn’t any in the mix.

The mix:

3 cups brown rice flour

1 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca flour


101 Flour blend

(This comes from Carol Fenster’s book Gluten Free 101) She has several choices in her blend, I prefer the one below. This blend works in almost any recipe. It’s not quite as light as the Brown Rice Blend, but it has more taste with the added corn flour.

The mix:

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour

1 1/2 cups cornstarch

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup corn flour


Four Flour Bean Blend

(This one came from Bette Hagman, one of the early pioneers in gluten free cookbooks.) This flour mix is a little heavier than either of the above. I use it in my sourdough breads and a few cookies. It adds more protein than other mixes. But I use it sparingly since it isn’t as light.

The Mix:

1 1/2 cups tapioca flour

1 1/2 cups cornstarch

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 cup garfava bean flour



Holiday Series #4-Gluten Free Baguettes

I love to make baguettes for holiday dipping. I have a great recipe for a spinach-artichoke dip that tastes like the dip from the Olive Garden restaurant that I make every Christmas Eve. At first, I just used vegetable for dipping. But I really missed the toasted baguettes from my gluten-eating years. Then I discovered this version. Now I make it every year!

I begin with my gluten free French Bread Recipe (already posted). Instead of splitting the dough into two loaves, I split it into 4 baguettes and put it in a parchment covered baguette pan. (Don’t skip the parchment, even though the pans might be non-stick. Gluten free dough is thinner and will stick in the air holes and to the pan surface-even if greased.) Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

If you are planning to use for dipping, it is best to toast the bread within 24 hours of baking. When toasting, allow the bread to cool completely. Slice the bread into desired sized slices and toast in oven (I set my oven to about 400). I watch slices carefully. When they are browning nicely, I take one out and check. You don’t want soft spots, as it won’t hold up very long. I remove from oven and cool. If they are well toasted, they can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

I especially like that I can make these several days before I’ll need them, helping to eliminate the last-minute-rush.

If you have a favorite dip recipe that’s gluten free, please share it with us!


Gluten Free Summit Announcement

How do you change millions of lives?

One. At. A. Time.


As I was setting up my computer to begin teaching at a conference in Fort Lauderdale last week, a doctor rushed up to me and said, “Dr. Tom, one of my patients made me promise I would show you this video!”


“Okay,” I thought, wondering what on earth he wanted to show me.


The video was of a woman–a patient of the doctor’s–who was struggling to speak. It took her 30 painful seconds to simply say her name and make a request for help.


The doctor added, “Tom, she’s had every test under the sun–scans, neurological exams, psychological evaluation–and none explained why she woke up a few weeks ago and could no longer speak. I listened to The Gluten Summit, as did she, we removed gluten from her diet and a week later she was back to normal. In one week!”


Amazing. I had tears in my eyes.


Could gluten have been the cause? Perhaps, as it was the only variable that changed for her between the inability to speak and ability to talk once again. She could have been suffering from vocal ataxia, or vocal cord paralysis, which occurs when the brain is unable to send messages to the muscles. Ataxia (neuropathy) has been associated with gluten-related disorders.


I’m thankful her symptoms have improved. Moving the needle of awareness has benefits…


Lives change. People get better. Amen.




“Now That You Know, Where Do You Go?”

Webinar Date Change


We received 100s of emails asking us to move the webinar after the holiday season when you have more free time to learn what to do with the information from The Gluten Summit. And, because it is so important to your health, we’ve agreed to give you this present after the New Year!


WHEN: Thursday, January 9 – Sunday, January 12

WHERE: We’ll announce the FREE link as we get closer to the dates!


To get the most from this free webinar…

I’m giving you some homework to do!


In the webinar I’m going to assume you’ve done your homework so we can go directly into more technical information. Nothing like this has been done before, so if you take the time I promise you will not be disappointed!


I’m asking you to do 6 things in the next few weeks. Get one or two done before your busy holiday season kicks in and the rest will follow!



Watch this entertaining and informative video (5 minutes, 28 seconds) about gut microbes from National Public Radio (NPR). This is a CRITICAL concept if you want to understand how to move toward optimum health.




Because these 5 interviews from The Gluten Summit are particularly relevant to the discussion we will have in the webinar, I’m making them available online again for FREE!


Properly Testing for Gluten Sensitivity and

Why Current Methods Fail”

Dr. Aristo Vojdani, PhD, MSc, MT, CEO, ImmunoScience Laboratories



“Eliminating Gluten as the 1st Step in

Preventing Brain Conditions”

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM, Board-Certified Neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine



“Before Marsh III: Why the Early Stages of

Celiac Disease Must Be Taken Seriously”

Michael Marsh, MD, DSC, FRCP, World Renowned Celiac Disease Researcher



“The Reality of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and

its Many Manifestations”

Umberto Volta, MD



“Are You Developing an Autoimmune Disease

Years Before Symptoms?”

Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD, FRCP




Your comments on Facebook and email are bringing tears to our eyes time and time again. Your struggles, your wins, your notes of appreciation–they all fuel us to continue doing this work. Thank you so much. Keep them coming! We’re very appreciative!


Here’s an example!


“There are absolutely no words to express my appreciation for this amazingly phenomenal summit, and to have it so wondrously given to us in such a ‘front row’ venue. It has truly been an enjoyable, educational and generous ‘symphony of stars’. The information in this summit is giving life back, and giving life to an untold number of people. Thank you, thank you, and thank you to all who worked so hard and sacrificed so long to put this together, and again to ALL the presenters for their generosity, sacrifice and knowledge. This summit has given us answers and HOPE!”


Happy Holidays, Folks. See you January 9th-12th!



Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Founder, The Gluten Summit and

Holiday Series #3-Orange Cranberry Bread

There’s nothing like cranberries for the holiday baked goods. We had several versions of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsweet breads at our bakery, and the holiday versions with cranberries where always a big hit. We made ours with orange flavored bread, most of the time. But it can also work well with lemon flavoring. We used a similar recipe to make lemon blueberry bread, as well. People loved our lemon blueberry bread. When we sampled these breads at markets, even people who eat gluten loved them.

This bread is moist and tasty. It will last almost a week in the fridge, though the quality starts to wane after about 3 or 4 days. It also freezes really well for at least a month. It mixes up quickly and pulls together pretty quickly.

At the beginning of baking, the bread looks like it’s falling the middle. But don’t worry, it will be fine by the end of baking.

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan, 8 X 4 inches

In the bowl of your mixer, combine:

1/2 cup cane sugar

1/3 cup walnut oil (substitutions WILL influence the flavor negatively)

1 egg

1 TBS orange zest

1 tsp orange oil

1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup plain yogurt (coconut yogurt will work if you need it dairy free)

Mix separately and add to above mixture:

3/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sweet white rice flour (not white rice flour!)

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

When completely mixed, pour into greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Note: All of our recipes where developed at over 5,000 feet. If you have problems with the recipe doing well at your elevation, send us a note. I adjust recipes all the time for the elevation and can help back our the changes. In general, gluten free baking is less sensitive to elevation changes.

If you make a good variation, please share it with us all!



Holiday Series #2-Cranberry Almond Cookies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of our best gluten free cookies came only for Christmas. With the use of dried cranberries and roasted almonds, it screamed “special!” I always used Oskri dried cranberries because of their healthier ingredients and lower sugar content, but you can use any gluten-free ones that you like.

I made the cookie base from a conversion of a well-known cookie line recipe. Since I developed the recipe where I live, at a mile high in elevation, you may need to adjust the baking soda slightly if you live at a different elevation. It took me a number of tries to get that right.

This cookie base can also be used for other “added-ingredient” cookies, ie. blueberry pecan, white chocolate macadamia nut, etc…Any mixture of fruit and nuts will work well. Recipe makes about 48 cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together:

2 sticks of softened butter (1 cup)

1 cup sucanat (you may substitute brown sugar)

1 cup cane sugar

After the above is creamed well, add:

1 Tbs gluten free vanilla

2 eggs, room temp

Beat mixture for 3 minutes

Mix together the following in a separate bowl, then combine with above mixture:

3 cups gluten free flour mix (make sure it contains ONLY flours; no gums or leavening agents)

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

When all is well mixed, add:

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1 cup chopped, roasted, gluten free almonds

Scoop dough by the Tablespoon and place on silicone lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies to allow room to spread. Bake for 12-14 minutes. (Longer times produce harder cookies.)

Holiday Series #1-Cinna-Balls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe sold lots of Cinna-Balls when our gluten free bakery was operating. It’s a delicacy in it’s own category, but we called it a “cookie” since it’s a small round sweet treat. It’s soft and nearly melts in your mouth. It’s a lighter sweet taste than many cookies. You have to experience it to really appreciate it. And it whips up pretty quickly without a lot of fuss.

Cinna-Balls came to our line because of a failed recipe for Snickerdoodles. We decided we these were much better than any gluten free Snickerdoodle that we had tasted, so brought them in. Their popularity ran very strong and some people kept them on order every week. My husband still asks for them whenever I start baking.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen round cookies. You will need to line your cookie sheets with silicone baking mats for this recipe. Without them, they will flatten and stick to the trays. You will have a cinna-mess instead of Cinna-Balls.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together:

2 sticks (1 cup) soft butter

2 cups of sugar (I always use cane sugar to ensure that it is NOT genetically altered.)

4 tsp GF Vanilla (I use Rodelle)

3 eggs

2/3 cup of almond milk

Mix in a separate bowl:

2 1/2 cups of sorghum flour

2 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup sweet white rice flour (different than white rice flour)

2 tsp cream of tartar

2 tsp baking powder

4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp sea salt

Combine butter mixture with flour mixture and mix well. Then roll dough into 2 inch balls. Roll each ball into a mixture of:

4 tsp cinnamon

4 tsp cane sugar

Place on baking sheets, 1/4 inch apart, on silicone mat and bake for 10-11 minutes. Do NOT over bake or they will become too hard.
Allow to cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers for up to 5 days, or keep in the freezer.

Let us know if you have any questions.

**We did make them with Earth’s Balance, on request, for those needing dairy-free options.


Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Cake (GF, DF, EF)

Looking over this recipe, I couldn’t believe something could look this good that is gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. I’m definitely going to try this one soon! I’m sharing the link with you all so that you can tell us what you think if you make it. I usually don’t make vegan recipes, but this one will be an exception.


I think I’m drooling!

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