I use this for more than just sandwiches – I’ve made french toast, used it to dip in soups, and even packed a slice or two in my lunch when I have a long day of classes. It holds up beautifully.
This bread doesn’t taste like sourdough. Instead, I’ve purposely used a small amount of starter in this recipe to help create a lighter loaf. It does, though, have a more complex flavor than any of the other gluten-free breads I’ve had.
Please forgive me upfront for being a little more technical than I usually am. I’ve been playing around with this recipe based on what I’ve learned about wheat-based sourdough starters and bread baking in school. The only way to ensure that you can replicate this at home is to tell you exactly what I did.
Weighing versus Measuring
Professional pastry chefs weigh (or scale) their ingredients – and most weigh the liquids. It’s more precise than using measuring cups. Grams and ounces are the two different units of measure used. I prefer grams because it’s more precise than ounces.
So, yes, the recipe is in grams. I could roughly translate it into cups and tablespoons, however, it wouldn’t produce the same results and you’d have a failed loaf of bread. I’d rather have you frustrated with me about the measurements than because of expensive ingredients that end up in your trash can.
Making it Pretty
Before popping the loaf in the oven, I used a fine mesh strainer to sprinkle flour over the top of the bread dough. Then, I took a very sharp serrated knife, sprayed it with cooking spray, and cut three slashes in the top of the bread. Professional bread bakers call this ‘scoring’ the loaf. I’ve found that my gluten-free breads bake better with a slash about 1/4 inch deep.
It also lets the bread expand during the baking process and create the gorgeous, irregular holes that one finds in wheat bread. This makes me happy deep down in my soul.
A hotter oven will set the sides of the loaf so that it doesn’t collapse when it comes out of the oven. I’ve baked this loaf at 350°F and 375°F and I like how the top looks better at 350°F but the loaf has more stable sides when baked at 375°F. The loaf in the picture was baked at 375°F – try both in your oven and see what works best for you.
You can tap it and look at the top if you want. I’ve been using an instant read thermometer and baking my loaves to an internal temperature of 206°F – 210°F. This has been producing a loaf with a nice crust and a crumb that’s moist without being wet.
Pushing Your Limits
You may not be comfortable with how I put this recipe together – and I’m sure that it will push some of you outside your normal comfort zone. This recipe makes a fabulous loaf of bread. And, honestly, I think that’s worth it.
Other helpful posts:
Please don’t e-mail questions: Instead, leave any questions you have in the comments section. Though I love your e-mails I am not able to answer all the questions that are sent to me. If you leave your question in the comments section, I can reply and everyone else will be able to see my response. It saves me from answering the same question five times.
Have fun baking!
- 82 grams Sourdough Starter
- 300 grams water, about 70°F
- 115 grams eggs (about 2 extra-large eggs)
- 54 grams canola oil
- 4 grams apple cider vinegar
- 328 grams Amy’s Flour Blend
- 12 grams palm sugar
- 10 grams xanthan gum
- 3 grams dry instant yeast
- 7 grams kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the sourdough starter, water, eggs, oil, and vinegar. (I don’t use really warm water because it’s caused my bread to rise too fast. The longer it rises, the better the flavor.) Mix on medium-low until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour blend, palm sugar, xanthan gum, and yeast. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on the lowest speed until the ingredients are incorporated and there are no specks of dry flour left, scraping down the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes. Add the salt and beat for a minute more.
- Remove the whisk attachment. Leave the dough in the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to round the top of the dough. Cover with plastic and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
- Prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. After the first 1 1/2 hours of rising time, put the bowl back on the stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for another three minutes. The dough will deflate and look like it did to begin with. That’s ok. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, smooth the top, and place in a plastic box to and let it rise for an hour to an hour and a half, until it’s level with the top of the pan. (Note: I shape the dough so that the center is slightly higher than the ends, which produces that nice, rounded shape in the final loaf.)
- Place the bottom part of a broiler pan on the bottom rack of your oven. Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 375°F (see notes in post about oven temperature). Just before the loaf is ready to bake, dust it with Amy’s Basic Flour Blend then score it by cutting 3 diagonal slashes across the top, each about 1/4 inch deep. Put the bread into the oven. Add a handful of ice cubes or a cup of cold water to the broiler tray then shut the oven door. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, rotating the loaf 180 degrees after the first 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown on top and the internal temperature reaches 206°F.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the loaf on its side and scoot it out of the pan slightly so the steam can come out. After about 10 – 15 minutes, you should be able to remove the loaf from the pan and either rest it on its side or stand it upright to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (I wrap my bread in plastic and then seal it in a large ZipLoc bag.)