Grain-free White Sandwich Bread Recipe

 

White sandwich bread is an American household staple.  It's one of those things people miss after going gluten free, even if they never really thought much about it when they ate gluten.  It's one of those things people just take for granted, and sometimes a person just wants a simple grilled cheese on white bread or a slice of toast with butter.

There are many debates about the best GF white sandwich bread.  Many of them have gums or other binders that give them a strange texture.  Most have rice flour, which is great because it's inexpensive and widely available, but it has its own problems with texture.  It holds on to water longer than other grains, so it takes forever to bake and it often contributes to gumminess.  

Here is my contribution to the white sandwich bread recipes of the world.  As a bonus, it's also grain-free, using a mix of pseudo-cereals and tuber flours.  It also has a few extra attributes that are difficult to come by in the world of gluten-free bread: it toasts well, and it's not gummy at all.

Grain-free White Sandwich Bread Recipe

Mix time: 30+ minutes (including a 20 minute rest time)

Rise time: 20-120 minutes

Bake time: 45-55 minutes

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the dry ingredients: 

 450g gluten-free, grain-free flour blend consisting of (see substitutions after recipe):

    150g Light Buckwheat Flour

    100g Potato starch

    100g Tapioca or arrowroot starch

    70g Quinoa flour

    30g Cassava flour

25g powdered or very finely ground blond psyllium husk

3g (1 tsp.) yeast

24-48g (2-4 TBSP) sugar, depending on how sweet you would like it

8.5g (about 1.5 tsp) sea salt 


After blending the dry ingredients together thoroughly, mix in:


1 egg, whisked, about 60g in weight (if your egg is a very different weight, add/subtract milk to compensate)

450g milk at room temp or a little warmer*

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional - improves rise)


Once the dough has been mixed, incorporate:

50g (4 TBSP) butter or oil


Mix all ingredients thoroughly, whether in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or by hand. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, butter or grease a loaf pan, preferably a 9x4x4 inch Pullman pan. When 20 minutes have passed, remix the dough thoroughly.  It should be very thick by now.


Press the dough into the greased bread pan and smooth out the top.


Cover the pan and let rise until it's about 50% bigger, anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on dough temperature.  When you see it start to rise, pre-heat your oven to 230°c/450°f.  When the dough has reached a 50% rise place the pan in the oven, loosely covered with the pullman pan lid or tented with tin foil. (I usually just set the pullman pan lid on top, I don't slide it on securely.)

Bake for 15 minutes, covered, at 230°c/450°f, then take off the cover.

Bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered at 200°c/400°f.

At this time, check to see if the top seems done.  It should be firm enough that it sounds hollow when tapped.  If it isn't, bake another 5 minutes or until it's well browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Once it's baked through on top, remove it from the oven and carefully remove it from the pan with oven mitts.  Careful, it's hot!  Tap the loaf on the bottom side.  It likely doesn't have that hollow sound on the bottom yet.  If not, place the loaf back in the oven directly on the rack.  You can place it upright or on its side.  Bake another 5 minutes on the rack or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Once done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

 
Storing

This bread stays relatively springy for about three days at room temp.  I usually keep it out on a cutting board the first day I slice into it, and save it with the cut slice down on the board to keep it fresh and the crust crisp.  At the end of the first day I put it in a plastic bag and keep it at room temp. At the end of day three I either put it in the fridge or I slice it and freeze it.

Toasting

Toast on the highest setting and keep an eye on it.  It should start to turn brown toward the end of the dark toast cycle.

Substitutions

Milk. The recipe can easily be made dairy free by subbing a vegan milk or water for the milk.  When subbing water for milk, reduce the liquid about 10%.

*A note about hydration:

My recipes in general seem to need hydration adjustments for other climates/other grinds of flour/random acts of nature. This recipe for me can go either up or down in hydration and still come out.  A higher hydration might create a slightly tackier feel to the inside, but the bread will stay fresh longer and have a more open crumb. A lower hydration makes the dough a little bit easier to handle and shape.  It can take a few tries with a new recipe to nail down the perfect hydration for any baker.

Sugar. Honey, brown rice syrup, agave, or any other natural sweetener should work.

Salt.  There is no substitute for salt, but you can reduce the amount of salt as much as you like.  I even left it out on accident once and it still mostly worked, though it wasn't perfect. (It was compressed at the bottom, but I also didn't use an egg.)  If you reduce the salt drastically, you might want to reduce the sugar as well unless you want it really sweet.

The following substitutions are just suggestions based on past experience, and have not been tested.

Egg. I tried a few loaves without the egg, and they were okay but didn't have quite the rise and there was a bit of compressed dough at the bottom where it couldn't hold itself up.  If you want the bread to be whiter instead of golden, use two egg whites instead of a whole egg. I will test a vegan version of the loaf sometime soon, but usually about a tablespoon of ground flax seed plus 50g extra water subs well for an egg in other sandwich loaves I've tried.

Apple Cider Vinegar. You can sub lemon juice or another kind of vinegar.  You may omit this but you may lose a little bit of rise.

Blond Psyllium Husk. I use Terrasoul powdered psyllium in this recipe which you can find on Amazon USA here: https://amzn.to/3tLHejO

Starches.  Sub out the starches for any other starch, but keep in mind that potato starch absorbs more water than most other starches so you may have to reduce the liquids in the recipe accordingly.

Buckwheat.  This recipe relies heavily on light buckwheat flour. Light buckwheat has the hull removed and it doesn't have a ton of fiber.  For this reason, I don't suggest subbing dark buckwheat as it's much more fibrous and will soak up a lot more liquid.  I grind my own from hulled buckwheat groats. It will be a different recipe without it, as it's the main ingredient.  Ivory teff has similar properties, so that would be the first thing I'd try to replace buckwheat.  If you can't find either of these ingredients I'd suggest finding a different recipe or making your own blend.  In the USA, you can order light buckwheat on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3hRWHte 

Quinoa flour.  This flour lends the bread a really nice, thin, crisp crust and allows the bread to brown and toast nicely.  You can reduce the amount used, and swap it out for more Buckwheat and Cassava flour.  Try (proso) millet flour as a full substitute.  I used the Norquin brand of Quinoa which is a Canadian brand available on Amazon USA here: https://amzn.to/3sS0wEN

Cassava flour. Sub potato flour (not starch) or just increase the buckwheat and/or quinoa to compensate.  Cassava helps the coloration of the loaf by making it more neutral, where buckwheat can look a little gray in color when it's used alone.  Cassava flour is also a very neutral flavor, so if the bread ends up tasting too strongly of the other grains, increase this one and decrease the others.  I've done up to 100g of cassava, and it made a much whiter and more neutral colored loaf, though it was a bit more dense and didn't rise quite as much.  I used Bob's Red Mill Cassava flour.

 Enjoy!



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