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Gluten-free bread making is challenging. Likewise, bread made in the breadmaker – my breadmaker, anyway – is a bit hit and miss. I’m usually happiest making a sourdough loaf, kneaded either by hand or in my trusty Braun mixer, then baked in the oven.

But I am a gadget girl and a few years back, I scooped up a bargain on eBay – a Breville breadmaker for, if I remember correctly, about $50.

So today I decided to use up some of the many odd flours I keep buying on impulse in the health food shop, and make a loaf of gluten-free bread in the machine. I don’t have to follow a gluten-free diet, but I do think it’s healthier not to eat wheat, wheat, wheat all the time.

I liked the look of this recipe by autumnmakesand does. I didn’t have all the flours she used, so instead my flour mix consisted of:
175g brown rice flour (in place of the millet and teff)
75g lupin flour (instead of the oat flour)
100g sorghum flour
50g tapioca flour (“arrowroot” is often actually tapioca)
25g potato flour (recipe says potato starch, but I used what I had)
1 tab (8g) xanthan gum
1 1/2 t salt flakes

I made a few other substitutions – a light olive oil in place of the canola oil; a tablespoon of white chia seeds soaked for 10 minutes in two tablespoons of water in place of one of the eggs – so two eggs, plus one “chia egg”; 1 teas of rice wine vinegar, instead of the tablespoon of vinegar in her recipe; and 2 teas (7g) of dried yeast. I also added a quarter cup of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds to the dry mix.

My bread machine doesn’t have a program with a long rise, which is what she suggests, but it does let you set a custom cooking program, so I played with the times to create a program that mixed for 25 minutes, rose for one hour 55, skipped the punch down (two rises, with a knock back or punch down in between, is great for gluten-based breads but a destroyer for gluten-free ones, at least in my experience); and baked for 35 minutes. The baking time was a guess based on the times the breadmaker gave for other loaves. Just in case that wasn’t enough (and because I like the crustiness you get from oven baking) I turned the oven on to heat to 200C towards the end of the baking time.

I followed her method for putting the ingredients into the breadmaker. When it had been mixing for about five minutes, I used a spatula to scrape down the sides, so all the dry mix was then incorporated, and about ten minutes later,  smoothed out the top a bit . Just before the end of the mixing cycle, I sprinkled on another two tablespoons (14g) of sunflower seeds. I think it’s important to do any of these playing around steps before the rising starts – after that, every time you open the lid you let heat escape.

This is what the bread looked like once the breadmaker was done:

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I removed it VERY carefully from the baking bucket (I’ve had gluten-free breads shrivel in front of me when tipped out – but this one was actually quite sturdy) and gently removed the mixing blade from the bottom.

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I decided to give it ten minutes in the oven – here’s the final result:

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I Like this bread. Sure, it’s not the same as a wheat or spelt based bread, or even a rye, but for a gluten-free bread it gets a big thumbs up. It’s quite dense, but not sticky or gummy, as some gluten-free breads are. It’s not crumbly, or eggy, and it has a gentle flavour that’s vaguely reminiscent of a rye bread. It’s also surprisingly bendy for a gluten-free bread:

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It is a touch sweeter than a “normal” bread, but I had some for lunch with a mustard-based spread, ham and tomato, and it was just fine. And it is really rather more than fine schmeared with some butter or dairy-free spread and a good swipe of golden syrup!

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