A great way to widen and diversify your customer base, catering for customers with allergies and intolerances can aid your business’s success. As experienced bakers, we know gluten-free bread can be just as tasty and satisfying as wheat-based bread, however getting a good rise without gluten can be a little tricky. If you’re intending to declare your bread as gluten free for retail purposes, it’s essential you make it in a gluten free environment – otherwise you won’t be able to claim your bread is totally free from gluten.
So, to ensure your next batch of gluten-free bread is as brilliant as it should be, here are a few of our top baking tips to help you get it just right.
1. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature
Unlike wheat-based flours, gluten-free flours are often refrigerated. Since yeast thrives in warmer temperatures, and will need all the help it can get without the presence of gluten to get a good rise, making sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking is crucial. If not, you may find your bread is a bit denser than desired.
2. Don’t knead your dough
In wheat bread, kneading the dough is key to making the gluten more elastic and developing the bread’s structure. However, since gluten-free breads obviously don’t contain gluten, you don’t actually need to knead the bread. In fact, you should avoid kneading the bread all together, otherwise you’re simply knocking the air out of the dough, resulting in a flatter bread.
3. Use a specific gluten-free recipe
If you’re new to baking gluten-free bread, you’re likely to have more success using a gluten-free recipe rather than trying to convert a wheat bread recipe. Gluten-free recipes often have different ratios of liquid to dry ingredients, and some may include other ingredients such as eggs which are natural leavening agents or olive oil for extra flavour, so opting for a gluten-free recipe will help to keep things simple. Once you’re familiar with the consistency of gluten-free dough, converting wheat-based bread recipes will be far easier.
4. Shape your dough before you leave it to rise
Since the yeast in gluten-free recipes doesn’t have any gluten to react with, gluten-free bread won’t rise as much as your standard loaf. To make sure you don’t knock any air out of the dough when shaping it, you need to limit your handling of the dough after it’s risen. As such, shaping the dough before you leave it to prove will help ensure a better rise.
5. Use a high active or quick rise yeast
If you’re having issues getting your bread to rise, try using a high active or quick rise yeast to help speed up the process. You can also test your yeast before combining it with your mixture by adding it to the liquids (at room temperature) needed in your recipe. If the yeast mixture swells and froths, it’s working; if not, you need to replace it.
6. Bake your bread in the centre of the oven
If you bake your bread at the top of the oven, the top of the bread can cook quicker than the rest of the loaf. This can cause the inside of the bread to drop away from the top crust and leave a hole. Instead, make sure you bake your bread in the centre of the oven, removing anything from above the bread which may restrict its rise.
7. Add a little mayonnaise
If you think your gluten-free bread is turning out dry or bland, you can try adding a tablespoon of mayonnaise into your bread mixture. A great way to easily add moisture and flavour, just including this small addition could really transform your loaf.
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