April 16, 2009


Wonderful French Bread

French Bread slice
This bread truly hits the spot. It satisfies any bread cravings you may have, and you can make it in under an hour.  My recipe is adapted from Carol Fenster’s recipe in Gluten-Free 101. It’s a small book, but contains some great bread recipes and is well worth the price. She also has some recipes on her site Savory Palate. One important part of baking this bread is a trick that Carol discovered—putting the dough into a cold oven and turning it on to bake. The dough rises as the oven warms and produces a nice French bread crust.

I love Carol’s original recipe and only decided to vary it because I was out of her flour mix. Since I was going to play with the flour ingredients, I decided to also make it dairy free. I think you could play with the flour mix yourself and get good results if you follow the instructions. Being in a hurry and having several interruptions when I made this, I’m not sure it turned out as well as it could have. One loaf in particular ended up with some very large air pockets which I did not have with the original recipe. However, the flavor was terrific.

A French bread pan is required to give the loaves their shape and help them bake properly. When I finally bought one, I wondered why I had waited so long. If you don’t find one at a store, you can find French bread pans at Amazon.

Gluten-Free French Bread

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil and egg whites and mix to incorporate. Add the vinegar and most of the water. Beat for 2 minutes, adding the remaining water if needed to make a soft dough. (I added the whole cup, but a little less might have been better.)

Spoon the dough onto the pan and carefully shape with a spatula. Because the dough is soft, it will go through the small holes in the pan. Don’t press hard when shaping. If you like, you can brush the top with beaten egg white. Use a sharp knife to cut several slits in the top of each loaf. Place the pan in a cold oven on a middle rack. Turn the oven on to 425 degrees and begin timing for 30 – 35 minutes. Cool the loaves on a wire wrack before slicing. It’s okay to slice them while warm, but not when they are hot.

View Printable Recipe

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Mondays at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.


That bread looks terrific! Thanks for posting your version, I will have to give that a try. I love big airy holes in my bread!
@FreshGinger on Twitter (where I saw your post)
Wow. That looks great. The photos are making my mouth water.
OK, if you're going to keep tempting us with these amazing baked goods you need to start selling them! I'd like to order some. I can eat every ingredient you used and they look amazing!!!!
Wow, I am impressed! This looks great! I will definitely have to try.
Yes, that is a great recipe. When I make it, I line the french bread pan with parchment paper so it doesn't come through the little holes.
Yummy! My MIL is GF, so I'll be saving this one for one of her visits.
Linda - this looks like real bakery bread!! I love it. You always amaze me with your talent in the kitchen.

Thanks so much for participating in Slightly Indulgent Mondays!
One member of my support group makes French bread for us occasionally ... as you can imagine, she's very popular. ;-) I like that you can make it in under an hour. It looks awesome. I'd like a piece with some Boursin and a glass of wine please!

Thanks, Linda!
I just tried this and I really like it. I dislike the texture of rice flour based breads and this is a terrific alternative.
Fred, Thanks again for letting me know. I love this bread, and have recently gotten hooked on making it in the form of rolls.
This bread looks wonderful! My question is about the pans. I have a french bread pan. I have tried a GF french bread one time before - and was so frustrated with trying to get the baked dough out of the little holes - I haven't wanted to use the pan since.

Any tips for cleaning the pan?

Thank you for a wonderful website!

Dawn, I haven't had problems with that. I don't know if the difference is my pan or my recipe. My pan has a non stick finish. I do get a little dough in the holes, but it comes right out when I wash it. You could also use the dough to make rolls. Just scoop it onto a cookie sheet, then you wouldn't have the problem with the holes.
Ok, so I decided to make the French Bread rolls first (because that just seemed easier - and no pan to worry about cleaning!).

Loved it (as did my daughter)!!

Oh my gosh...this is the first time in years that I have had bread that was chewy like that, but soft on the inside. I used to love the artisian bread at Italian recipes - tearing off chunks and dipping it into the olive oil/spice mixture they give you.

I gave one to my friend to try - she thought it was really good too - said it tasted like gluten bread to her! (she is not GF - but she tastes alot of what I make - I am always curious as to what a non-GF person says).

While I am content with the rolls (so easy to use an ice cream scoop to portion) - I will one day try the french bread and use my pan.

mmmm mmmm yummy!!!! Thank you for sharing!

Dawn, I'm so glad you tried it and enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know!
This looks like just what the doctor ordered! Thanks for sharing!
I am ready to try this bread, and have a cupboard full of gf ingredients, but have never bought guar gum. Does anyone know what the difference is between guar and xanthum gums? I suppose that after 5+ years gluten free, it's time for one more ingredient in my stash...
Carol - This recipe will work fine using 2 tsp. of xanthan gum and no guar. I had forgotten that I used both gums in this recipe. I'm going to update the post.

I saw this recipe and I have been wanting to make french toast with french bread (that's the way my husband and I have always made french toast, even before going gluten free). I wanted to make the bread on the bread machine, so I combined this recipe with one that came with the bread machine to make a recipe that would work on my machine. It turned out great! I used to bread to make corn flake crusted french toast! So yummy!
Linda, this bread looks great. I have just recently gone gluten free after my 3-year-old son began having digestive trouble, so I am still trying to figure out ingredients that can substitute for other as we slowly build up our gluten free pantry. Can you tell me if it is possible to substitute cornstarch for the tapioca starch? Will it change the texture and flavor? And what about substituting tapioca flour for the sorghum flour? Thanks.
Tawna ~ You can sub cornstarch for tapioca starch and it should work well. Tapioca starch ads chew to breads. Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are usually used interchangeably. The flour is pretty much a starch so I wouldn't sub it for sorghum. Instead I would try rice or millet flour. Good luck!
I tried this recipe today and it was a complete failure! I don't know what I did wrong. I noticed that the french rolls recipe calls for millet starch, but this recipe doesn't and I didn't know how much that could affect the outcome, but I have never tried that one either, so I have nothing to compare it to.

I was very careful when measuring the ingredients. I used Bob's red mill for everything and some of the items are labeled a bit differently (I'm new to GF baking so this could be the problem). Both the Potato & Tapioca are labeled "Finely ground flour" not starch as in the recipe. They have the texture of starch, so I used them.

Anyway, my dough came out very thick and lumpy and gluey and I kept having to add more water to even get it to hold together. Then it was very hard to spread in the pan and still very lumpy and gluey. Not at all like the description in the recipe.

I cooked it for the full 45 minutes and it was VERY brown on the outside but both loaves fell immediately and were still basically raw on the inside -- that same gluey consistency.

I was very disappointed because I have been CRAVING bread ever since I read this recipe a little over a week ago and I really want to make some bread that tastes like real bread again. Can you give me some hints? I did use 2 tsps of xantham gum instead of xantham/guar gum combo it calls for.

Thanks for the help.
Peggy ~ How disappointing! I think your problem is that you used potato flour. It is very different from potato starch and is usually used in very small amounts. The tapioca flour is okay though. It can be used interchangeably with tapioca starch. Bob's Red Mill sells potato starch which I have seen in some regular grocery stores or try ordering from AllergyGrocer.com. I hope you give it another try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Thanks for the information, Linda. I will try that change and let you know what happens. I'm so looking forward to a great piece of bread again and to be able to make a loaf for my son, who was a complete bread addict before he found out that he also had a problem with gluten. He will be thrilled to have french bread again.
Thank you for the new version of dairy free, soy free and gluten free for this french bread. This is such a fast recipe, I can't wait to try it.
These look great! I can't have eggs either, will these recipes work with an egg substitute as well? Any specific one you'd recommend? Thanks!
Sorry, I haven't tried any of my recipes with an egg substitute. You'll have to do a little experimenting!
Can other starch combinations work? I have a potato allergy, and I am trying to find a GF recipe that doesn't use potato starch. Could corn starch be used instead of potato starch? Or is there a different combination of starches (corn, tapioca, etc) that could be used successfully instead?
Ross ~ I haven't tried other starches so I can't say for sure. I would try substituting corn starch for the potato starch. If you want, you could increase the tapioca starch a little and decrease the corn starch by the same amount.

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