I have never been much of a baker, I am not one for precise and exact anything. That is what I love about cooking, measuring and pouring by taste and sense. Once I learned I have to eat a completely gluten-free diet, I swore I would never bake again since most gluten-free recipes for baking have so many strange ingredients and odd flours. To be honest, it just seemed like far more work than it was worth since most of the gluten-free baked goods that I had tried were just plain gross. I finally decided that I should at least try baking something gluten-free completely from scratch, especially since I am really trying to avoid anything processed and only eat whole and fresh. That is when I saw the recipe for this bread posted on Gluten Free Girl & The Chef, I decided to give it a whirl, and boy am I glad I did.
It is the real deal! Crusty, grainy, delicious bread. And yes, I will say it again, it is gluten-free! I have served it to a number of people who don’t eat gluten-free and they have all loved it. Besides the crusty outside, the inside is light and airy, unlike most gluten-free breads that end up dense and heavy. It is great on sandwiches, lovely for breakfast, it is just amazing! What can I say, I am in love. I have made this bread so many times now and each time it gets better.
Gluten-Free Crusty Rosemary Boule Bread
adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois via Gluten Free Girl & the Chef
Makes enough dough for two 1-pound loaves
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
1 tablespoon granulated active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water (heated to 110°F)
2 large eggs, at room temperature*
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, taken off the stem and finely chopped
coarse sea salt
*A note about the eggs: The first two times I made this bread I didn’t totally make sure that the eggs were adequately at room temperature, then I read somewhere that making sure they are at room temperature is very important because if they are too cold it will keep the yeast from doing it’s job. So this time, I put the eggs in a lukewarm bath for about 10 minutes to bring them to room temperature, and wow what a difference it made in the final dough.
Mix together the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, yeast, salt, and xanthan gum in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl, if you are doing this by hand).
Add the water, eggs, oil, and honey to the dry ingredients. Mix with the paddle attachment (or with a large spoon if you are mixing by hand) for a few moments until the dough has fully come together. It will be soft. It will sort of slump off the paddle. Don’t worry. That’s the right texture. Add the rosemary and mix one more time.
Put the dough in a large, clean bowl and cover it with a clean towel. Put the dough in a warm place in your kitchen, then leave it alone to rise about 2 hours.
You can now use the dough. Or, you can refrigerate it in a large container with a lid. The dough stays good for a week. Even just refrigerating overnight seems to improve the flavor, as well. I usually leave one loaf overnight and bake it the next day and keep the other loaf for 1 week and then bake it.
When you are ready to bake, take about 1 pound of the dough (1/2 of the total amount) out of the container and place it on parchment paper, using wet hands form it into a squat oval shape or small ball. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes. (If you are pulling the dough out of the refrigerator, let it rest for 1 1/2 hours before baking it.)
Half an hour before you will put the bread into the oven to bake, turn on the oven to 450°.
(I bake this bread on a pizza stone, when you turn your oven on to preheat, slide the pizza stone in the oven. You can also bake this bread in a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven. Please make sure both are never before used for items containing gluten, if you are gluten-free.)
Before baking, make 1/4-inch-deep cuts with a serrated knife to the top of the dough. Pour on a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Put the dough and the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone and return it to the hot oven. Close the oven door and bake the bread until the top has lightly browned and the bread feels firm, about 35 minutes. (Also, the internal temperature of the bread should be at least 180°.)
Now here is the hard part: Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.