This week, I experienced the joy of baking homemade gluten free bread.  Yes – despite having little time and living in the middle of nowhere, I can attest to the fact that gluten free bread can be made at home rather easily and turn out to be light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside too!  That’s right, no need for toasting these babies… In fact, in our house, there’s no way you would need to toast anything, because it doesn’t last long enough!

Now before you go jumping to conclusions, let me assure you, I am not the sole creator of these bread recipes, nor in the last week have I been the only cook.  I have family visiting and have been fortunate enough to have the delicious smell of freshly baked bread wafting towards me whilst I busily tap away on the computer… My mother-in-law (now known as the gluten free bread queen :-)) made a few perfect loaves to demonstrate how great homemade gf bread can be, and my, what distracting and inviting temptations they have been!

I have witnessed the process and was provided with all the instructions to go forth and create, and whilst I could happily go on enjoying the results of my Mother-in law’s amazing creations, eventually it was time for me to have a go.  I’d like to share my experience by giving you a bit of a rundown on the process and help awaken you to the wonders and yumminess of gluten free baking.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m all about the how – showing you that in a few simple steps, just about any change can be easy enough.  So this blog is designed to help you by giving some tips and strategies for making a few gluten free breads without needing to go through the trial and error stage.  We’ve done the failures so you’ll have the success (have I mentioned a big thank you to the queen of gluten free bread baking, my mother-in-law?!).

I can hereby truthfully say it is not a laborious task to make homemade gf bread. I have seen it happen, made it myself and tasted the results (the best bit!) and my kids have helped actually make some loaves too.  I do warn you, once you have tried homemade gf bread, it’s rather difficult to go back to store bought – even from your favourite gf bakery!  It does take a little while to bake, but in the long run, it’s about the taste isn’t it?  A little work in the kitchen is always worth it if it tastes good 🙂

Before getting into the nitty gritty, it’s worth noting this isn’t my first attempt at baking gf goodies.  I’ve been at it a while.  I’ve mastered some recipes and still have some failures as I progress.  If you are a little anxious about gf baking and attempting it for the first time, I would actually recommend you start with something simpler (muffins, cake etc) and work your way up to the bread.  That said, it’s not as hard as it sounds and even someone new to cooking bread or gluten free stuff could make at least one of the gf breads I’ll discuss in this blog quite easily with a little care…  If you’re game, lose the fear and dive on in I say!

So what did I bake?  There are plenty of gluten free bread mixes out there and I’ve only just started working my way through them, however my mother in law has a few favourites she has mastered, so they’re the ones I was introduced to this week and they’re the ones I’ll blog about today.  As more get tested, I’ll fill you in.

First, let me introduce you tobread2 Spring Hill Farm’s Gluten Free The Real Bread Mixes.  Of the two breads I’m talking about in this blog, this is the easy option and the quickest.  Spring Hill Farm make it super simple by giving you full instructions in a video and premixing the flours so all you have to do is add the sugar, yeast, salt, water, oil and vinegar.  Which means, not only is it gluten free and easy, but for those with other sensitivities, it’s also dairy free and egg free.

Spring Hill Farm also sell the loaf tins with their bread mixes online. I was given as a gift and highly recommend it.  A good tin gives even cooking and makes a fine loaf!  That said, you can also make this bread without a loaf tin in free form style, a bit like a cobb loaf.  More on that in a minute.

So, with the Spring Hill The Real Bread Mix Original blend, it is rather easy because you just have to add all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix them with a dough hook attachment on your mixer.  Gotta love a throw everything in a bowl and mix it recipe!  When baking this bread, the main thing you need to have is time and patience.  You have to allow time for the dough to rise (or prove if you’re up with the lingo), then mix it again and let it rise again before cooking.

But that’s basically it!  The end result speaks for itself.  Smells and tastes great, is a versatile easy to use recipe and you end up with bread for making a sandwich without toasting!


Here are a few tips:

  • Be sure to check all the flour is mixed in and not stuck to the bottom of the bowl – give it a good stir by hand to check.
  • We found it best to grease and line the tin with baking paper (see picture) to really be sure it doesn’t stick and stop the paper sliding around.
  • When proving the dough, cover the bowl or loaf tin with a greased piece of baking paper so it doesn’t stick as it rises and touches the tea towel.
  • We put the dough in a closed room with the heater on a set temperature to prove so we could have a controlled warm environment on a cold winters day, but the Spring Hill Farm video puts the oven on 50°C then turns it off to put the dough in for proving. Don’t do the second proving in the oven though, as you have to set the oven to heat for cooking.
  • This bread is always best eaten fresh.  If not using it that day, freeze it in slices and defrost in the microwave for 10 seconds or reheat/defrost in your toaster if it has that option available.
  • bread4Ok, so lets look at the time…
  • It takes about 40 mins for it to rise the first time and then about another 20 mins for the second proving time, so make sure you allow at least an hour and a quarter to do the two proving times with a mix in the mixer in between.
  • This proving time does differ greatly depending on how warm your house is or if you use the oven.  On a chilly winters day here, it took a lot longer than an hour to get the dough to double in size.
  • Add to this the original mixing time of about 15 mins (to measure it all out, mix it and grease the tin) and cooking time of about 55 mins, and you’re looking at about 2 ½ hours all up (with a bit of faff time).
  • Then the worst bit – you can’t cut it whilst its really hot, so you need to let it cool before slicing it up and devouring!!
  • Remember though, this time is broken up into little bits. You can do other things whilst the dough is proving, so it’s not really that labourious, just requires patience, as I’ve mention earlier!


Now a bit about variations…

Spring Hill Farm have a gluten free fruit loaf and seed loaf bread mixes also.  But after looking at the ingredients online, we decided to try them ourselves, as the dried fruit mix had preservatives.  I prefer seeded bread, so decided to try this out first, and it went quite well!  I added ¼ cup sunflower seeds and ¼ cup pepitas to the original bread mix to make a seeded loaf (left a few extra seeds to sprinkle on top).  Turned out great – if anything, I’d add a few more seeds as it wasn’t as seedy inside the loaf as I would like.  I’m yet to try the fruit loaf mix by adding my own fruit.  Will let you know how it goes when I do.


Now before I go on, I have to warn bread7you… Once you taste the next variation we have tried, you might find it makes the plain loaves obsolete!  The queen of gluten free bread (in our family) decided to add finely chopped sundried tomatoes (2 tbs), olives (¼ cup) and grated parmesan cheese (⅔ cup) to a free form loaf of the original bread mix, leaving a little of the cheese and olives to place on top of the loaf, but otherwise doing all other methods as normal.  The result is a delicious smelling and really tasty (almost like a pizza!) cobb loaf that I confess is making me eat way too much bread!  As with all the gf fresh breads, I recommend eating this one with a great big smear of pure organic butter…  Enough said.

Ok, onto the other type of gf bread we baked.  This one is a brown bread recipe from Gluten Free On A Shoestring.  Click here for the link to this recipe.

I like this recipe for several reasons.  First, there are lots of tips on this website to help you through the process when new to gluten free baking.  My mother in law attests to this fact.  Her failed experiments (we all have them!) were helped by reading tips from this website, along with a few other sites.  I also like this recipe because it’s got an awesome crusty exterior.


My mother in law’s tips…

  • For an egg free option, use chia seeds soaked in water (2 tbs white chia seeds into 1 cup water and left to soak) and weighed out to be 42g of mix per egg (so you need 84g of soaked chia seed mix for the brown bread recipe).  Depending on the consistency of the dough, adding a little extra chia mix is easy to get the right moistness.
  • If you’re using normal egg whites, I advise weighing them to make sure you have enough moisture, with the same rule – 42g per egg white.  My eggs were a little on the small side, so I ended up using almost 3 egg whites to make up the 42g x 2.
  • Sprinkle seeds on top of the bread to stop it sticking to the baking paper/teatowel when proving and to give it an extra seedy crunchy nutty taste.  I love using sunflower seeds and pepitas for the top, but you could also use sesame or any of your favourites.
  • When heating the milk, it’s important to have it at the right temperature as it can not activate the yeast or kill it if the temperature is not correct, which affects the dough’s ability to rise.  So it’s best to use a thermometer to get it right.
  • Measure out ingredients by weight and save time by measuring the first ingredient into the bowl, then just tare the scales each time before adding the next ingredient.
  • There are a few weird flours and ingredients in this recipe that require a little hunting to find if you live in the middle of nowhere, but once you’ve got them, you’re sorted.  Where to buy?  Try healthfood stores, local co-ops and wholefood or organic stores.  You can also get them online by searching for gf shops and other stores such as Organics on a Budget. 


Onto the time…

  • This one takes a little longer than the bread mix mentioned previously for obvious reasons.  You have to measure everything from scratch, so that’s the first thing that takes longer – but not by much.
  • Proving takes about 40 mins to an hour, but then you don’t have to prove this loaf twice – the first is enough.  So that saves a bit of time.  Again, this proving time varies – mine took way longer on a cold day.
  • The other difference in time is the baking.  You bake for 30 mins, then remove from the loaf tin onto baking paper on a tray to crisp up the crust in the oven for another 5-10 mins.  My mother in law has found it best to cook for a few minutes longer – 35 mins – before removing from the tin to crisp up the crust.  So all up, it’s at least 15-20 mins preparation, 40 mins proving, and 40-45 mins cooking, which means set aside 2 hours or so, with a break to do something else whilst it’s proving.
  • Once again though, the time and effort is well worth it! The end result is a really yummy, seedy, crunchy, crusty loaf that again, doesn’t last long in our house.  If it doesn’t get totally eaten in one sitting, put it in the freezer in slices.

Now all this may sound like a bit of work so I wanted to just quickly cover this issue.  When it comes to gf living, there are definitely some major changes and adjustments.  It’s a change that requires full commitment and at times, seems too hard.  But there are a few simple things you can do to make life easier.  I urge you to follow my suggestions for going gluten free (click here to see my previous blog The Secret To Going Gluten Free)  from the very beginning to make the change as smooth as possible and help you through the harder bits.  I can’t stress enough the importance of putting things in writing and preparing yourself.

Expectations are killers during change, so put them aside and lose the fear of the unknown by getting prepared and planning ahead.  Knowing a little about what to expect during the change and preparing for obstacles will make a world of difference when you come upon such hurdles.  Get your support sorted up front and ride the wave – when you come out the other side, it is so worth it!

Most of all, remember its far better to do a little work, such as cooking homemade bread, than it is to break the rules, have a bit of gluten and feel crappy for days after.  For more support in going gluten free, keep an eye out for my upcoming ebook full of tips, strategies and steps to make the change to gluten free easier.  I’ll also cover a lot about how to start baking gf foods – what steps to take and what ingredients to use.

Looking for more gluten free recipes? Click here to head to The Food Werewolf Recipes page.  Most of the recipes are gluten free or include simple tips to modify them so they are gluten free.  Do you have some favourite gluten free recipes you’d like to share?  Or perhaps some favourite recipes you want advice in converting to gluten free?  Contact me here or on Facebook for help.

In the meantime, I’m off to eat some more delicious fresh homemade gluten free bread 🙂

Happy gluten free baking!

Loren x