Gluten-Free Classic Sandwich Bread
Why This Recipe Works
Most gluten-free sandwich bread recipes turn out squat bricks with a cardboard texture. We wanted a reliable recipe that produced a light-textured sandwich loaf—something large enough to actually slice for sandwiches. We began with our classic sandwich bread mixing method in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook but found that the bread significantly improved when we replaced the dough hook with the paddle. The starches in the gluten-free flour blend need to be hydrated, and mixing with a paddle for 6 minutes was the best way to get the job done. (At first the dough will seem very soupy, but as the starches hydrate it will become thicker and start to look like cookie dough.) To build a tall loaf with a nice crumb, we needed more protein and turned to oat flour for help. While many other recipes in this book rely on xanthan gum to provide structure, we preferred psyllium husk in this recipe (as well as in all other bread recipes) because it resulted in a more delicate crumb. Psyllium helped build a stronger protein network that trapped gas and steam—which was key to producing a tall loaf. We also liked its earthy flavor, which seemed out of place in cookies but was perfect in bread. Adding baking powder as well as the usual yeast was also key to getting a good rise. Milk is the classic choice for sandwich bread, but we achieved a better rise with water—and a lot of it. An egg and some milk powder added more protein and structure, and the milk powder was also key for flavor and browning. The high water content was essential to produce steam and enable the loaf to rise, but we found it necessary to prolong the baking time to drive off moisture once the loaf was set. (Shorter baking times yielded a gummy crumb.) To help the dough rise, we fashioned a collar out of foil and attached it to the top of the loaf pan, much as you might do when making a soufflé.