Are Bread Makers Good For Gluten-Free Bread?

Have you ever tried a gluten-free bread recipe in your bread maker but the outcome was neither pleasing to your eyes nor your taste buds? Making gluten-free bread on a bread machine can be challenging even for experienced bakers, raising the question of whether bread makers are really good for gluten-free bread.

Bread makers are good for gluten-free bread, but the outcome mainly depends on the ingredients you use, precise measurements, your adherence to the recipe, and the program settings on your machine’s control panel. You might need to add extra ingredients to make your loaf come out properly.

This article outlines what you need to know about making gluten-free bread on a bread machine, as well as the basics of gluten-free bread. Grab your supplies and follow us through this guide.

Basics of Gluten-Free Bread

Perhaps one of the many reasons why some people feel that GF bread made on a bread maker isn’t as good as other types of bread is that they compare it to wheat flour bread.

The fact is, gluten-free bread and regular wheat bread aren’t comparable, as the two are nothing alike. As the name suggests, GF bread contains no gluten, which is a group of proteins found mainly in cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye.

Therefore, gluten-free bread is made using wheat flour alternatives such as rice flour, potato flour, almond flour, psyllium husk, and tapioca starch.

This bread tends to be denser due to its primary ingredients and often has a closer crumb texture than the normal wheat bread. Since the gluten strands present in wheat flour are responsible for the structure of normal bread, their absence explains the difference in structure between these two types of loaves.

Due to the difference in texture and structure, a gluten-free loaf won’t taste or look anything like a normal wheat loaf. Therefore, your GF loaf mindset and expectations might be the reason behind your disappointments with your baking outcome.

Reasons To Choose Gluten-Free Bread

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose gluten-free bread:

  • Alternative for people with celiac disease: Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and damages the body tissues, mainly the gut or small intestines, and is triggered by even a small trace of gluten intake that can result in significant damage.
    Normal bread contains a considerable amount of gluten so people with coeliac disease are advised to consume gluten-free bread. 
  • To manage dermatitis herpetiformis (DH): This form of the celiac disease where, instead of attacking your gut, your immune system attacks and damages your skin. The telltale signs of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) are itchy, bumpy rashes on the skin, which can be quite painful.
    To steer clear of these painful rashes, people with this condition are advised to eat GF bread.
  • To manage the effects of gluten sensitivity: Gluten sensitivity is a condition similar to lactose intolerance, where your body fails to metabolize gluten. This results in gastrointestinal distress such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. You can manage gluten sensitivity by shifting to GF bread instead of the normal wheat loaf.

What Do You Need to Make Gluten-Free Bread?

Making your GF loaf from scratch allows you to control what gets into your bread, which means you can tailor your loaf to meet your nutritional needs perfectly.

If you want a successful loaf, you need to understand the essential ingredients to use and the handy tips that may give you a successful baking experience. So, let’s look at some of the ingredients you’ll need to make a decent GF loaf using a bread machine.

Common Ingredients

GF bread ingredients may vary depending on your recipe or personal preference. That said, below are some of the common ingredients that go into your bread maker.

  • Gluten-free flour
    This is the primary ingredient in GF baking, which includes rice flour, sweet potato flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and arrowroot flour.
  • Yeast
    Yeast is essential to allow the bread dough to rise.
    When making your bread in a bread machine, you’ll want to use a fast-acting type of yeast that doesn’t need rehydration.
    If you’re sensitive to yeast, you can follow a hand-baked gluten-free bread recipe that gives you a flatbread, or you can use a mixture of baking soda and baking powder, with apple cider vinegar.
  • Xanthan gum
    This is used to replace gluten and hold the bread structure as the dough rises.
    Some flours contain xanthan gum, so it might not be necessary to add more of it.
    Therefore, it’s necessary to check on your flour’s ingredient label.
  • Eggs: Eggs or egg whites are included in most GF bread recipes to improve the loaf texture.
    If you are sensitive to eggs, an alternative flour is chickpea flour or ground flaxseed.
  • Salt
    A small amount of finely grounded salt is used to add flavor to your loaf.
    Too much of it may slow down yeast activation.
  • Sugar
    It nourishes the yeast, adds a bit of flavor, and helps brown the crust.
    You could also use maple syrup, molasses, or honey.
  • Vinegar
    Vinegar creates an acidic environment for the yeast to work and also makes your loaf flavorful.
  • Water
    The amount of water you use depends on your recipe and the size of bread you’re making.
    It isn’t really necessary to use warm water because the bread maker will gently warm the ingredients anyway.
  • Oil
    Oil helps develop the crumb and improves the eating and shelf life of your loaf.

Handy Tips

Now that you know the essential ingredients in making a perfect GF loaf on a bread machine, let’s look at some helpful tips:

  • Check your ingredients carefully
    Thoroughly analyze any ingredient you use by checking its label to ensure it’s gluten-free.
  • Be precise
    Measure your ingredients precisely according to your recipe, as a shortage or excess of a particular ingredient has a direct impact on your bread.
  • Allow the loaf to cool
    Once the baking cycle is done, remove your loaf from the machine and allow it to cool before serving it.
    By removing your bread from the machine, you reduce steam absorption that may result in a soggy crust.

Essential Features of a Bread Maker 

Before you make your GF loaf using a bread machine, let’s first look at the essential features of a bread maker, which include:

  • Bread pan
    This is the part of your machine used in making bread, which comes with a kneading paddle and a rotating shaft that keeps the paddle moving.
    Additionally, it has built-in handles to lift it out of the machine.
  • Kneading paddle
    This is found inside the bread pan, and it mixes the ingredients kneading them into a dough.
    Some kneading paddles collapse after the kneading cycle but still leave a hole at the bottom of your loaf.
  • Viewing window
    This allows you to keep an eye on your bread as it bakes, and it reduces your chances of opening the lid to check on your loaf’s progress, which may interfere with temperature circulation inside the machine affecting the quality of your loaf.
  • Cool wall
    Most bread makers come with an insulated wall to prevent the surface from getting too hot as baking continues.
    However, it’s advisable to use kitchen gloves or a towel to remove the bread pan from the machine once your bread is ready.
  • Alert
    Different bread machines come with different modifications to notify you when your bread is ready, such as an alarm to let you know that your bread is ready.
  • Additional accessories
    These accessories depend on your bread maker model.
    Since bread making calls for precise measuring of ingredients, most bread machines come with a measuring spoon or beaker to help you get your recipe right.
  • Control panel
    Bread makers come with pre-programmed settings that allow you to customize your bread to your preference.
    Through the control panel, you get to choose the type of loaf you want, the size of the loaf, and the crust color, to mention a few.
    Additionally, you can set the ideal baking time depending on your recipe.

How To Make Gluten-Free Bread in a Bread Maker

Now that you learned the essential parts of a bread machine, let’s look at how you can use this wonder machine to make fresh gluten-free bread. To use a bread maker, you need to add all of your ingredients (in the right order, either the liquid or dry ingredients first), press a few buttons on the control panel, and let the machine do everything for you.

The countertop kitchen appliance does everything from mixing ingredients, kneading the dough, allowing it to rise, and baking your loaf to perfection. Depending on the model, it may make a sound to notify you once the baking cycle is done.

Now let’s go step by step on what you need to do to bake your GF loaf on this machine:

  1. Plug your machine into a power source.
  2. Precisely measure your ingredients and add them to the bread pan in the right order. 
  3. Check your machine’s menu to be sure of the order to use, either the liquid ingredients or the dry ones first. 
  4. Counter-check your ingredients to be certain they don’t contain any traces of gluten.
  5. Turn on the machine once you’ve added your ingredients.
  6. Select a program to customize your bread making to your preference.
    Since you’re making gluten-free bread, you’ll need to select the gluten-free setting from your menu.
    When selecting your program, remember to select your loaf size and your preferred baking time.
  7. Once the baking cycle is complete, remove your loaf from the bread pan and allow it cool. 
  8. If you like your bread with a softer crust, cover it with a soft towel while it is still warm and wait until it cools. 
  9. You can also spread butter or oil on top while it cools to give it a nice and soft crust.
  10. Slice your loaf only after it has completely cooled.
    You can enjoy your loaf as it is or add any healthy, delicious topping of your choice.
    You can even toast or sandwich it!

Some modern bread makers have a gluten-free setting on their control panel, while others don’t have this setting. However, if your machine doesn’t have a gluten-free setting, you can still bake gluten-free bread. Use a quick program that features one mixing cycle rather than two, as it’s the case with normal wheat bread. 

Depending on your machine model, this quick program setting is sometimes called Basic, One Rise, or Rapid. Additionally, when selecting the crust color, go for the option of a dark crust if available. 

What To Expect When Baking Gluten-Free Bread

When baking gluten-free bread, don’t expect it to resemble the normal wheat bread you had previously baked, as the two loaves will display great variance. Compared to a normal wheat loaf, your GF bread will be a little heavier and denser due to the absence of gluten responsible for giving bread its structure and texture.

Gluten free bread is best eaten fresh on the day it’s baked. However, if you would like to preserve it for later use, you can freeze it either in its whole form or sliced. To prevent freezer burns caused by moisture loss, tightly wrap your GF bread using freezer-safe wraps or ziplock bags.

What if All Doesn’t Go As Expected?

Sometimes, the results you get aren’t exactly what you had hoped for. Mishaps are bound to occur, and when this happens, you’ll want to double-check the ingredients you used based on your recipe as well as their measurements. Make sure the ingredients are also still within their shelf life, especially the yeast.

Check the program settings you use for your baking to make sure they are correct.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Bread Maker To Bake Gluten-Free Bread

From the ease of use and the time you spend cleaning after baking your bread, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a bread maker to bake gluten-free bread:

Advantages

Here are the advantages of using a bread maker:

  • Easy to use
    A bread maker is one of the baking appliances that’s very easy to use.
    When baking your GF bread, you need to measure your ingredients, add them to the bread pan, press a few buttons on the control panel, and you’re good to go.
    Its ease of use means that even people new to baking can comfortably make gluten-free bread without any additional training.
  • Saves on time and energy
    Using a bread maker to bake GF bread saves time and energy.
    It gives you hassle-free baking where you don’t use a lot of effort in mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough.
  • Saves money in the long run
    While you may spend a few hundreds of dollars in getting a quality bread maker, you’ll eventually save money over the long term.
    Buying GF bread from the stores is quite expensive compared to making one from scratch.
    As a result, baking GF bread using this wonder machine saves you a few dollars that you would have spent buying a loaf from the store.
  • Fresh and healthy GF loaves on the go
    Bread makers are portable, meaning you can carry them in your car wherever you go.
    All you need is gluten-free baking ingredients and a stable power source and you have your fresh GF bread.
  • Offers a clean and tidy operation
    Unlike manual baking, making GF bread using this machine doesn’t leave your kitchen messy.
    Everything happens within an enclosed compartment of the machine, meaning you won’t worry about cleaning up your mess after baking.

Disadvantages

Here are the disadvantages of using a bread maker:

  • Makes only one loaf at a time
    A bread maker only makes one oaf at a time, which means you’ll take a lot of time to make multiple loaves.
  • Leaves a hole in the loaf
    Given that a bread machine bakes the loaf in the same tin where it kneads the dough, the kneading paddle often gets stuck in the bread.
    Once you remove the paddle at the end of the baking cycle, it leaves a hole in your loaf, which can be a nightmare if you want to make sandwiches.
  • Manual cleaning
    Bread makers aren’t dishwasher safe, which means you’ve to do all the cleaning by hand.
    This calls for extra care to avoid scouring the non-stick inner coating of your bread pan.

The pros of using a bread maker to bake gluten-free bread seem to outweigh the cons, making it a worthy investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you know about using a bread maker when making gluten-free bread that we haven’t already covered? Does your loaf need help?

Let’s address some of the Frequently Asked Questions concerning GF bread making on a bread maker. 

The Verdict: Are Bread Makers Good for Gluten Free Bread?

Are these wonder machines really good for GF bread? With the right recipe, ingredients, and machine settings, a bread maker can make decent GF bread.

To get the most out of making GF bread using a bread maker, you need to be very particular about the ingredients, measure them precisely, add them in the right order, and use the correct program setting. Only then will your machine give you a perfectly baked GF bread with the right texture, structure, and taste.

You don’t necessarily need to invest in a machine with GF settings. If you’re using the standard bread machine without the GF setting, you can choose a program setting with one mixing cycle such as Quick, Rapid, One Rise, and Basic.

Conclusion

Perhaps it’s now time to get out that gluten free recipe you’ve been dying to try on your bread machine. With the right ingredients, recipe, and program settings, a bread maker can bake a decent GF loaf as it does with other types of bread.

Additionally, if you stop comparing GF loaf to the standard wheat loaf, you would appreciate and enjoy your GF loaf made in a bread machine.

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