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Grain free white bread without xanthan gum

This grain free white bread is probably one of my favourite recipes to date. You will notice I have been experimenting with cassava flour (it works so well in pancakes and grain free pastry) as well as this delicious, enriched grain free loaf.

Grain free white bread without xanthan gum or nuts

This grain free white bread is made without nuts or xanthan gum. It is entirely gluten free, too, and beats many of my gluten free breads in terms of its ‘white bread’ texture and flavour. Although I have a gluten free ‘white bread’ sourdough, this bread is more in line with what I remember white bread tasting like. It is fluffy, a little milky tasting and absolutely delicious.

This grain free bread is also made without any nuts. It uses cassava flour as the backbone flour, which has a lot of stretch and elasticity while being a wholegrain flour. Tapioca flour and potato starch make up the remainder of the loaf, which is held together by psyllium husk and eggs. Butter and milk powder create a soft and milky crumb, while a tiny bit of sugar helps create flavour, height and a golden brown crust.

Gluten free white bread sourdough toasties with zingy rocket pesto and Fromager D'affinois Campagnier cheese. Recipe from www.georgeats.com

What is cassava flour?

Cassava flour is a wholegrain gluten and grain free flour made from the cassava root. Tapioca flour, it’s cousin, is made from the starch of the cassava root. Cassava flour, on the other hand, uses both the root and the starch component of the cassava. This means that it is basically a starch and a wholegrain flour rolled into one.

I absolutely love cassava flour. While I am relatively new to it, I am finding it to be a game changer for gluten free baked goods. It adds elasticity and structure, yet has a relatively bland, milky taste. I have used it in my cassava flour pancakes and added it as an option in the gluten free shortbread. There is also an amazing recipe for these grain free tortillas on the site.

A side on view of a loaf of grain free bread against a white backdrop

Ingredient notes for your grain free bread

  • At this stage, I have no recipe substitution suggestions at all. It has taken me so many attempts to perfect this loaf. I am working on a vegan version, so stay tuned for that.
  • Cassava flour is absolutely critical to success here. It is the wholegrain and the stretch component of the flour. If you don’t have local access to cassava flour, you can buy it online.
  • I have gradually moved from using psyllium husk flakes to psyllium husk powder. I like it because it’s powerful and assimilates (visually) into baked goods without issue. If you don’t have access to the powder, you can buy the flakes and grind it into powder using a spice grinder.
  • The milk powder adds softness of texture and a white bread flavour. You can by lactose free milk powder online, but it is more expensive. Stay tuned for a recipe to make your own.
  • I have no suggestions on an egg substitute currently. Stay tuned for a vegan version.
An aerial close up photo of three pieces of golden brown toasted grain free bread on a pale pink ceramic plate. The toast has been slathered with butter which has melted into the crumb

Important tips for your grain free bread

  • Again, I have no substitutions at this time. Experiment at your own risk.
  • A steel walled loaf pan is compulsory here. When I test a boule I will update the post.
  • The dough will look frighteningly thin as you first whisk it, but it will thicken dramatically after 5 minutes. Psyllium husk at work!
  • Use moistened hands to transfer the dough from the bowl to the lined Pullman pan. You should be able to pick it up at this stage (it should not be watery or thin).
  • If you are baking in a cool climate or kitchen, you might need to proof the bread longer.
  • Brushing the loaf with milk before baking helps make the top of the loaf look a little more presentable. It’s optional, but it does make the bread look nice.
A close up aerial view of two pieces of grain free bread toasted and topped with raspberry jam. The toast sits on a pale pink textured ceramic plate.

How much liquid should I add to this grain free bread?

This is subject to a bit of experimentation. Cassava flour seems to be quite varied in it’s absorbency from brand to brand. This is fairly standard of gluten free flours. I have used 550g to 600g water with success.

This grain free bread is a little wetter than you might expect when first sliced. It needs the liquid to hydrate the flours, but also to make the loaf rise. Yeast needs a wet environment to proof dough, so the bread will not rise without enough liquid.

A close up side on view of a loaf of grain free bread on white table against a white backdrop. A slice has been cut from the loaf, revealing the fluffy crumb underneath

Why do I need to proof this bread twice?

As I was developing this recipe, I struggled to stop the loaf sides from caving in and the dreaded gummy layer on the bottom of the loaf. Then I tried double proofing the loaf.

The loaf is proofed in the bowl for 1 hour, then moved into a tined Pullman tin. It proofs for a second hour in the tin before baking.

Whatever the mechanism behind this, double proofing helps ensure the sides of the loaf don’t cave in. It helps in removing the gummy layer of bread at the bottom, too.

A side on view of an enriched yeasted loaf of gluten free bread. It sits atop a white marble table against a white backdrop

Can I make this grain free bread recipe as a boule?

I have not tested this recipe as a boule yet. What I would say is that you’d need to experiment with adding less liquid to allow it to hold it’s shape without the Pullman pan holding it in. As I bake more of this grain free bread, I will test a boule and update the recipe.

Can I use a silicon loaf pan?

No. This bread really needs a tall Pullman loaf pan made of steel. This allows it to proof upwards instead of outwards as it rises. I use mine all the time – it is well worth the investment.

An aerial closed up view of two pieces of toasted grain free bread on a white speckled plate. The bread is golden brown and covered in pockets of melted butter

Troubleshooting your grain free bread

  • The mixture should thicken up 5 minutes after you whisk it together. If it doesn’t: have you added the psyllium husk? Was it the powder as the recipe specifies? (flakes absorb less than powder).
  • Ensure your yeast is in date before you start. If you are concerned, use 1/4 (60ml) of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar to bloom the yeast. If nothing happens after 5-20 minutes (weather dependent) start again. Be sure to subtract this liquid from the recipe later.
  • If the sides of your loaf cave in after you remove it from the oven, consider cooking the loaf longer next time. All ovens vary greatly in temperature, so yours might not be hot enough to fully cook the bread through.
  • If you have a gummy layer at the bottom of the loaf, cook it longer next time and add a little less water. It could be that your cassava flour is much less absorbent than mine, meaning your bread needs less water.
  • To reiterate: gluten free flours all over the world vary in absorbency. If your bread doesn’t work, adapt it to work with your flours. It’s a solid, airtight recipe.
  • If your loaf has little dents on the top as it cools, this is nothing to worry about. Mine often do, but the bread inside is fabulous.
  • A gummy, wet bread can often be caused by A) too much liquid for your flours but also B) cutting the bread too early. The crumb need time to gelatinise and set, and you risk disaster if you cut the loaf too early. Wait until the bread has cooled or even overnight. It stays moist for days, so no need to worry about staling.
A side on view of a loaf of gluten free white bread on a wooden table. A person in a dark grey jumper stands behind the loaf and sprinkles flour down onto the bread.

More gluten free bread recipes

An aerial close up view of two pieces of toasted grain free bread on a white ceramic plate. The pieces of bread are golden brown and topped with pockets of melted butter

Grain free bread without xanthan gum

Gluten free, nut free, xanthan gum free
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Proofing time 2 hrs
Course Breads
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g cassava flour
  • 100 g tapioca flour
  • 100 g potato starch
  • 30 g milk powder
  • 20 g psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 7.5 g (1 Australian sachet) yeast
  • 12-13 g salt
  • 550-600 g water
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (20ml) milk of choice to brush the loaf (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large glass or plastic bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps remaining. The batter will look very thin once whisked, but it will firm up considerably after 5 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl and allow to proof for one hour.
  • Very lightly grease and line a Pullman loaf pan. After one hour, gently punch down the dough and use moistened hands to transfer the dough into the lined Pullman pan. Use a wet hand to press down the dough and smooth out the top. Proof the dough for another hour or until it has reached the top of the loaf pan.
  • While the loaf is proofing, thoroughly preheat the oven to 200C/400F. 10 minutes before baking, add a cake pan or oven safe container filled with boiling water to the bottom of the oven. A steamy environment will help with oven spring and keeping the loaf from getting too dry.
  • If you like, brush the loaf lightly and gently with milk before placing it in the oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. The top should be golden and lightly domed. Lightly tent the loaf with a piece of foil, then bake for an additional 50 minutes. The foil should just cover the top of the loaf while allowing air to circulate. It should not be tightly adhered to the loaf.
  • Once baked, carefully remove from the Pullman pan and take the baking paper off the loaf. Allow to cool on a wire rack at least until the loaf is completely cool – ideally overnight.

Notes

  • The body of this post is filled with all my tips and tricks for this grain free bread. I recommend you read them for best results.
  • I have no substitutions for any of these ingredients at the moment. 
You can experiment with how much water your loaf needs. Every brand of flour will vary.
  • Proofing bread in a cold kitchen or winter climate will take longer than a hot summer climate.
  • If you don’t need to use the oven, you can leave the loaf in a turned off oven to cool. This can help set the sides and ensure the loaf is cooled. I recommend removing the dish of hot water and keeping the foil tent on the loaf.
Keyword grain free, grain free bread, grain free nut free bread, xanthan gum free
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3 Comments

  1. What is the size of your pullman loaf pan? they have several different sizes on amazon (1 lb, 2 lb, extra long and narrow)

    1. Hi Hannah! Mine is 23cm x 10cm x 10cm (I live in Australia so we use cm) but Google tells me that is 9 inches x 4 x 4 inches. It’s the small pan 🙂

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