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Y’all, I’m so excited about this! As you know, I’ve been eating gluten-free for almost two years now (after years of serious digestive problems caused by wheat). That means I’ve switched to a diet that is full of meat, veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, along with the easier starches for me to eat — rice, potatoes, etc. Slowly over the last two years I’ve worked on coming up with and trying out gluten-free recipes for traditionally glutinous things like cookies/pies/desserts, tortillas, muffins, etc, but I still eat those things rather sparingly and I only make them homemade (I don’t buy a lot of pre-made gluten-free snacks from the grocery store). I’ve gotten used to eating our previous night’s dinner leftovers for my lunches, so I don’t make many sandwiches and therefore I’ve gotten away without needing bread. Most of the gluten-free bread options at the grocery store are bland and expensive (although I do like this Rice Almond bread).

For a long time I’ve been meaning to try baking my own gluten-free bread, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then, a couple weeks ago when visiting my sister in Nashville, I tried some of the gluten-free bread she had made (my niece also has a gluten allergy). After realizing how nice it is to have a piece of crusty bread to eat with soup or a nice buttery piece of toast, I decided my own experiments in gluten-free bread-making were long overdue. Blair had forgotten what recipe she had used, but after a quick search on Pinterest, several delicious-looking loaves popped up: this, this, this, and this. After reading through those recipes, I realized that they were all the same! That’s when I knew that this promised to be a really good loaf of bread.

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I followed the same basic concept as all those recipes, except I cut the recipe in half. The original recipe is for four small loaves (and Drew and I don’t need that much bread in a week!). Two loaves work much better for us (I usually bake one immediately and save one in the fridge to bake a few days later — they are small, round loaves).

This really is a delicious loaf of bread. It is nice and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, with a great texture! It is dense but also fluffy. I really don’t think most people would even be able to tell that it is gluten-free. But I really love how simple and easy it is to make and that the list of GF flours is short and simple!

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Gluten-Free Artisan Bread (Crusty Boule)
makes two 1 pound loaves. Adapted from original recipe, here

Ingredients:
-1 cup Brown Rice Flour
-3/4 cup Sorghum Flour
-1 1/2 cups Tapioca Flour (also called tapioca starch)
-1 tablespoon yeast
-1/2 tablespoon sea salt
-1 tablespoon Xanthan Gum
-2 large eggs, whisked together
-1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
-2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 tablespoon honey

Directions:
1. Mix together flours, yeast, salt, and xanthan gum in large bowl.
2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs.
3. In another separate bowl (or large glass measuring cup) combine water, oil, and honey.
4. Dump eggs into dry ingredients and mix while adding in 1/3 of wet ingredients.
5. Continue to stir while adding the second 1/3 of wet ingredients, and repeat with final 1/3 of wet ingredients.
6. Stir until dough is nice and smooth (will be a pretty wet dough).
7. Divide dough into two equal sized balls and place into plastic Tupperware containers (with lids). If baking one loaf immediately after rising, you can leave that half in the mixing bowl.
8. Cover Tupperware containers with lids, but do not snap shut. If leaving one dough ball in mixing bowl, cover that bowl loosely with plastic wrap.
9. Let dough rest on counter for 2 hours to rise.
10. Place the lids on dough you aren’t baking immediately and place in fridge (can store up to seven days).

11. If baking dough immediately, place dutch oven in the oven (make sure it has a metal knob, not a plastic one) and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Let dutch oven heat up in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
12. While oven is heating, transfer dough to a slice of parchment paper (gently dump it out of the bowl, being careful not to handle it too much or knead it, you want to keep all the bubbles in the dough that you can.)  If dough looks a bit scraggly, use wet hands to lightly smooth out the surface.
13. Use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the top of the dough, if you wish.
14. Once oven/dutch oven are heated, remove the dutch oven from the oven, and carefully lower the dough (on the parchment) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid on the pot and place back in oven.
15. Bake at 500 degrees inside lidded dutch oven for 20 minutes.
16. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, turn down the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
17. Once bread is done baking, remove it from pot using a spatula and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t cut into bread until cooled or the center may seem gummy.

11. If baking dough from refrigerator, transfer refrigerated dough to a slice of parchment paper (gently dump it out of the bowl, being careful not to handle it too much or knead it, you want to keep all the bubbles in the dough that you can.) If dough looks a bit scraggly, use wet hands to lightly smooth out the surface.
12. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on counter for about 90 minutes (if your kitchen is very warm you may only need about 75 minutes).
13. Place dutch oven in the oven (make sure it has a metal knob, not a plastic one) and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Let dutch oven heat up in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
14. Once dough is done resting and oven is heated, use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the top of the dough, if you wish.
15. Remove dutch oven from the oven and carefully lower the dough (on the parchment) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid on the pot and place back in oven.
16. Bake at 500 degrees inside lidded dutch oven for 20 minutes.
17. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, turn down the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
18. Once bread is done baking, remove it from pot using a spatula and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t cut into bread until cooled or the center may seem gummy.

Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can also bake this bread on a baking stone or cast iron skillet. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the stone/skillet inside. Once heated, place the dough (on the parchment paper) on the stone/skillet. Place a metal pan of hot water on the rack under the baking stone. Bake for 30 minutes.

If you have a larger family and want to make more than two small loaves in a week, double this recipe (or follow these measurements, that link also includes more detailed photo instructions of each step). Here is also the same recipe adapted into naan. I also hear this freezes wonderfully, but I haven’t tried that yet!

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Not that I need to give serving suggestions for bread, but seriously this bread is so versatile and delicious! My favorite is to slice a couple slices, spread with butter and place under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes until crispy. Another version of that is to do the same but add shredded Parmesan cheese on top. Excellent served alongside a nice Italian dish or a creamy soup (like this one). Also great for sandwiches/paninis or toasted with jam!

Enjoy!

P.S. I did a rough calculation to see how much a loaf of this bread costs. Based on the cost of the flours (from the regular grocery store or Whole Foods – this would probably be a little cheaper if you bought your flours in bulk online) and how much of each is used the in recipe, and estimated costs for how much water/salt/yeast/oil/etc. is used, a small round loaf (about 8 slices) costs about $2.60 a loaf. (Remember, this recipe makes 2 loaves.) Not bad for delicious GF bread!

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