Troubleshooting Gluten-Free Crusty Bread

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Baking gluten-free bread is sometimes not the easiest because it requires attention to detail and an understanding of how ingredients interact in the absence of gluten. When baking a crusty boule , several common issues may arise, affecting the density, rise, and texture of the bread. If you have tried to make a delicious crust Boule, but something was always amiss – this blog post will help you address these challenges with clear, simple solutions, making your gluten-free boule tasty and successful!


Bread Density: Avoiding Brick-Like Bread

One frequent issue gluten-free bakers encounter is bread that turns out too dense. To combat this, consider the moisture content of your dough. A slight increase in liquid, such as an additional 1 tablespoons to 1/4 cup, can significantly improve the bread’s texture.

This adjustment might be more necessary depending on the humidity inside your home or your elevation. Cold-proofing the dough overnight in the refrigerator can also enhance its structure, leading to a lighter loaf. Ensure the dough remains sticky rather than stiff – if it appears too firm, incorporate warm water a tablespoon at a time until it becomes the desired consistency. This should help the dough pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl without forming a hard ball.


Solving Underbaked and Dense Bottoms

If you find the bottom of your bread too dense, it’s likely underbaked. Lower the oven temperature by 15ºF and cover the bread, continuing to bake in five-minute increments until it reaches an internal temperature of 209 – 210ºF. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable if the temperature does not exceed 210ºF. Additionally, proofing the bread in the refrigerator can save time and does not require bringing the dough back to room temperature before baking. Place the cold dough directly into a preheated oven for optimal results.


Enhancing Bread Rise

For bread that doesn’t rise sufficiently, scoring the dough correctly can make a significant difference. Use a sharp knife or bread lame to score, allowing for expansion during baking. Adding moisture to the oven, either through ice cubes in the Dutch oven or by spraying the bread with water before covering and baking, can also promote a better rise.


Preventing a Hard or Dark Bottom

A common complaint is the bread’s bottom becoming too dark or hard. To prevent this, after the initial bake with the lid on, lift the bread and place a stainless steel cookie cutter or an aluminum foil ring underneath. This simple adjustment can significantly improve the bottom’s texture.


Avoiding Over Proofing and Structural Issues

If the bread rises and then falls flat, it may be over-proofed. Opt for a cold ferment to prevent this issue and ensure your yeast is active. A large hole inside the bread, where the top separates from the bottom, indicates a problem with the dough’s formation. Avoid adding excessive flour and roll the dough tightly to eliminate air gaps during shaping.


In Conclusion

Baking gluten-free crusty bread is possible, even though it may come with its set of challenges. By understanding and addressing common issues such as density, underbaking, and structural problems, you can improve the quality of your bread, making it tasty and delicious – EVEN while being gluten-free! With practice and patience, achieving the perfect gluten-free crusty boule is so doable! Don’t forget, Hand + Heart Gluten-Free has you covered with all of our tasty easy to work with grain free Artisan Flour Blend for every gluten-free crusty bread recipe you are daring to try.

Speaking of which, if you are a fan of delicious and easy gluten-free baking recipes and tips and tricks, make sure you are signed up for my newsletter where the BEST gluten-free recipes get delivered right to your inbox!

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