I think I am a finicky bread eater. Not because it’s gluten free bread. Nope, but because I like to make it and experiment with ways to change up a recipe. I like using the ingredients I have on hand and changing them up to see what else I can do.
(And yes, I’m like this in the classroom too. My teaching rule of thumb: if I’m bored, my students are DYING.)
Enter stage left: The bags of flax seeds and flax seed meal in my refrigerator.
I bought the flax seeds as an easy way to increase the fiber content in the breads I bake. I then began adding them to practically everything. A couple tablespoons of flax seeds doesn’t mean you have to alter a recipe either. That’s part of the beauty of it all. No major recipe changes, but a major fiber boost. Hooray!
Before going gluten-free, I ate hearty, healthy whole grain breads with flax or other seeds. I loved hearty breads like rye, pumpernickel, etc. But I’m also a fan of the soft and squishy. On Sundays, when I bake bread for the week, sometimes it’s a tough call. I’m not sure what kind of bread I am in the mood for. So that’s where this recipe comes in handy. You can make it with or without a sponge (the sponge adds a bit of depth of flavor to the bread) and you can make it lighter or heartier (depending on how you use the eggs). Regardless of your choice. It’s a tasty bread. I’ve been enjoying it for sandwiches and grilled cheese dinners with my love this week.
To alter this bread recipe from the step-by-step directions below (which make the hearty version), do the following:
FOR A LIGHTER BREAD:
- Separate the eggs.
- Whip the egg whites until they form firm peaks and set aside.
- Add the yolks to the other wet ingredients that are adding in after the sponge is created.
- After mixing the flours/dry and the wet/sponge, gently fold in the egg whites before scrapping into your prepared bread pan.
FOR A QUICKER LOAF OF BREAD (No sponge):
- Combine all dry ingredients except yeast.
- Proof yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (not hotter than 110F) plus 1 Tablespoon agave nectar.
- *Combine remaining wet ingredients with proofed yeast before mixing.*
- (*You can still separate the eggs and make a lighter loaf of bread here too.)
FOR A HEARTY, HEALTHY LOAF (Made with a sponge): Follow the instructions below.
Gluten-Free Hearty, Healthy Sorghum-Flax Bread
Makes one loaf.
- 3/4 cup rice flour (or millet flour)
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup GF rolled oats (or quinoa flakes)
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sweet rice flour
Heat water & milk, then add agave and yeast:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 Tablespoons agave or honey
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
- When the yeast is warm and beginning to foam, add 1 cup of dry flour mix (from above). Reserve the rest of the flour for the bread.
- Let “sponge” activate for 2 hours in a warm – NOT hot – place in your kitchen. This is your “sponge”. It is done when it has risen and begun to settle again. Before proceeding to add any additional ingredients (eggs, vinegar, melted butter and club soda), whisk the sponge together (or use a fork) to make sure there are no stringy parts.
To dry ingredients, add:
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
To the sponge, add:
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup club soda (+ 1/4 cup of club soda if necessary)
- Combine all ingredients – flour/dry ingredients and sponge/wet ingredients.
- Beat in your mixer for 5 minutes minimum but no more than 10 minutes on medium-high.
- Preheat the oven to warm and turn off the heat. Leave the oven door closed.
- Butter the bottom and first 2 inches of the sides of your bread pan.
- Scrap the dough into the prepared bread pan with a wet spatula. Dip the spatula in to water as often as necessary to keep the dough from sticking and smooth the dough into the corners of the pans and into the pan as evenly as possible.
- Place bread pan into the warm oven (with the door closed but the heat off) to rise for 1 hour.
- Without taking the bread out, turn the heat up to 350F and bake the bread for 35-45 minutes or until golden.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing on a cooling rack. (I usually wait a few minutes and then dump the bread out of the bread pan and on to the cooling rack.)
Slice as needed to keep moist.
Store in an airtight container on the counter for one week.
Leftovers make great bread crumbs, croutons, crab cakes, meatballs, etc too!
Happy bread making all!