Gluten Free Bread – Dan Lepard

Just remembered that I meant to post this one as I said in a post called Gluten Free Seems Hot Right Now a while back that I would have a go at Dan Lepard’s Gluten Free Bread and here are the pics, mostly from the iPad which doesn’t have the best camera in the world.

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This is an easy one to mix though I had to hunt around before I could find the psyllium husk powder loose for sale which I did at Scoopaway on the Gloucester Road, Bristol. They were surprised when I told them what it was going to be used for! It also proved a good place to buy the large quantity of cornflour (cornstarch in American English – the white stuff!) that you need for this recipe.

Dan Lepard’s recipe for a gluten free bread with olive oil is on The BBC Food Blog and he has taken the trouble to post a series of photos entitled The Curious Case of the Gluten Free Loaf for a reader who was having difficulties to show how the mixture changes as it takes up the liquid.

Cornflour is very funny stuff to work with, the particles in suspension behave differently at different pressures is the best way I can describe it, and it can feel like a semi-solid at certain hydrations.

Try for yourself: take a glass full of cornflour and add just enough water that it starts to look liquid. Either use your fingers or a spoon to feel how it behaves as you put pressure on it. You can put your hand through it and it feels like liquid but slap it or bash it with the edge of a spoon and it goes hard and resists, something like the snap of a seat belt under gravity which then eases off when the g drops back again. Relax the pressure and the spoon will drift through it like thick liquid.  Most weird;  my sister and I used to play with it for ages when we were kids.

Dan Lepard previously gave his Guardian readers in his ‘How To Bake’ series a different recipe for Gluten Free Bread in 2009. I haven’t tried this recipe as yet but heard good reports elesewhere.

I had a go at costing it out as it is considerably more expensive than making a wheat or rye loaf, but if you crave a slice of bread and you have no choice but to go for gluten free then I suppose it is worth it!

  • 76p ‘s worth of cornflour loose £1 .69 per kilo.
  • £1.51 worth of Psyllium husk £30.30 per kilo
  • 15 p Sachet yeast
  • 5 p Yoghurt home made
  • 10p Linseeds
  • 10 p oil

approx £2.75 in ingredients for a medium sized loaf.

I found the dough came together almost too fast for my liking and I wasn’t sure whether I should have added some more liquid, but as it was the first time I had tried it I stuck to the recipe good and tight, particularly after reading Dan’s comments on his photostream!

Because of the relative dryness of the dough it was quite hard to shape and there were creases that I couldn’t get rid of. I think the painting it with oil before proving helps to compensate for this though and it baked well and came out of the oven singing.

Dan Lepard. gluten free bread, psyllium husk, The Guardian

There is a slight squeakiness between your teeth when you bite the bread and I was thinking maybe it could use some caraway seeds or something like that to add a bit more flavour, but unlike the only other time I tried making gluten free bread and ended up with a heavy oily mass that I chucked out, this one definitely resembles bread and kept well too. Took a long time to toast and sang bubbly little noises while it was in the toaster which I thought were quite endearing!

I would make it again if someone asked me for it with complete confidence!

25 thoughts on “Gluten Free Bread – Dan Lepard

  1. Abby

    I’ve been so curious about trying to make a gluten free bread for one of hubby’s coworkers who is always sad that she can’t eat the treats he brings in to share…but I’ve never had the courage. I’m so excited that this one looks like a real, beautiful loaf of bread! Bookmarking the recipe now!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I hope you can find the husk stuff Abby, let me know if you can’t and I will get you some to play with. :)

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Jo, I made this ages ago but haven’t made it much since, will try again and freeform it – I baked mine in a tin as Dan instructed, but I think yours looks even nicer! Definitely agree about the squeakiness. I made a kalamata olive and rosemary loaf as well, which was very nice…

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think you made the earlier one with potato starch that was the one in the tin? Link in the post above. this is his more recent version, I think it’s the cornflour that squeaks, something like halloumi cheese, squeak, not taste. Olive and rosemary sound like excellent inclusions.

  3. Tutak

    Yes, those happy hours we spent playing with cornflour while other deprived children had to make do with dull toys like dolls and bikes!….xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      You’re making me weep with helpless laughter here. Thought you’d stopped reading my blog… I think it was Arthur Madisson who showed us the cornflour thing, but I can’t remember. (I still play with it sometimes when no one is looking ;) )

  4. C

    Oooh, must find cornflour to play with…

    Your loaf looks great, but I’m stunned by how much that physillium husk powder costs!!!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I guess that if it does the trick though it is worth it if you really miss bread and need to have gluten free though. I do get asked for it by friends or if I know a recipe, so it is really good to have tried it and have one that you can recommend/say what it’s like. :)

  5. teawithhazel

    another great loaf joanna..and good for those with ibs (irritable bowel syndrome) too because psyllium is often recommended for those with this problem..

  6. heidi

    It looks like a very respectable loaf of bread!
    The squeaking and singing makes it sound quite companionable.
    But the texture just doesn’t meet my bread criteria, I think.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The texture is fine, just a little squeaky. But if you don’t need to make gluten free there is no reason to start. I get asked for it by gluten free friends, so I thought I’d better investigate a bit more and see what was around. Always useful to have up your sleeve ;)

  7. ceciliag

    WEll it looks lovely, but I do love my gluten. Tomorrow I think I will begin to make my first sourdough loaf EVER.. so fingers crossed! c

  8. ceciliag

    Zeb, I made a loaf and it worked (I think) bit hard and chewy but it IS bread! Could you direct me to the easiest entry level bread recipe on your site. I would love to make french sticks too and would be interested in how You make them. Think plain! Thank you.. c

    1. Joanna Post author

      I will put something in an email to you with some suggestions and links. I would suggest the vermont sourdough with a bit of rye is a fine one to start with, not too wet and so fairly easy to shape. I have made a .pdf file with my instructions, and have mailed it to you. I need to do a bit more work on it and I will put it on the blog one day.

      French sticks with sourdough, how about trying Celia’s dragontail baguettes? they look sensational and avoid the slashing stress. I’m going to give them a go one of these days.

  9. jan trounce

    I can imagine that if bread had been off limits for someone, this loaf would be like finding treasure. I love the idea of your sister and you playing with cornflour when you were kids – I can imagine it would be very intriguing and I have to confess I’m going to have a little play myself. It occurred to me that my grandson might find it fun – anything that interests him in food-related things will be an absolute bonus. I’m surprised at the price you have to pay for psyllium husk – I’m sure it’s nothing like that price here although I haven’t bought it for a while. I used to buy it and have it at breakfast time quickly stirred into juice and swallowed before ‘erk’ could register in my brain – but that was to keep my dear little self, ahem, regular you know. It’s also reputed to sweep cholesterol out of one’s system, so this loaf could tidy up all sorts of probems!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I would be very happy if you indulged me and had a liitle cornflour in suspension play :D You write such nice things always, makes it all worthwhile x

  10. emilysincerely

    What an interesting ingredient list for a loaf of bread. I never, in my wildest dreams, would have thought cornflour (cornstarch) would be a main ingredient in a bread. I have learned something here today (not uncommon when I visit you here). Emily

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a bit spooky isn’t it? The linseed adds ‘glue’ to the dough and the psyllium husk adds texture and structure, or at least that’s what I think is going on….

  11. spiceandmore

    That looks surprisingly good – for a gf loaf! Usually they are dry and crumbly, usually tasteless and often eggy (lots use eggs as a bit of a binder to compensate for the gluten). I should try this instead of being bad and sneaking bits of wheat bread when I should not be eating gluten. Greed always wins out though!
    I love cornflour too…and am always a bit sad when I have to put the suspension into the dish I am cooking. It does get rather thoroughly ‘mixed’ before it goes in…which I now realise is just my way of playing with it. Totally fascinating how it changes with a few drops of water!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’d be interested to see what you make of it, it has fewer ingredients to collect than the earlier version, I know Celia said her friends were really pleased with it when she made it. Lovely to hear I’m not the only person who plays with cornflour ;)

  12. celesta birnbaum

    Hello, I’m wanting to try my first gf loaf. But, not sure if you mean corn flour or cornstarch? Thanks so much, Celesta

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Celesta, Cornflour in British English = cornstarch in American English – hope this helps ! Good luck with your baking.

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