Sunday 6 March 2011

Rustic millet & malted buckwheat bread

Here's a riddle: what's crusty and chewy on the outside, with a soft, open crumb, full of whole grains, and gluten-free?

If you guessed "this bread"...ok, I know that wasn't really a riddle. Honestly, though - it is over 50% whole grain, yet has no eggs or gum. (Go ahead, check the recipe!) It's also really delicious, and keeps for days without getting dry. So go ahead - it's actually quite easy to make! I've been making it for a few months now, and have finally gotten the recipe just right. I gave up on trying to get a really impressive picture of it, and just decided to give you the recipe.

There's really only one problem with this bread: because of the high oat content, it doesn't really brown at all. It's so good that that doesn't matter, though - especially if you make it prettier (and even tastier) by rolling it in seeds before baking. I've just used sesame here, but I think a blend of sesame and poppy seeds would be even better.

I first hinted at this bread in my post about malting buckwheat. If you've never tried malting, I really encourage you to go for it! The seeds do most of the work themselves, you'll just need to tend to them every so often. Within a few days, you'll have nutty, sweet, roasted buckwheat bits that add a really special flavour to bread. (If you don't want to wait that long, you might try substituting whole teff grains or maybe some sort of seeds.)

This recipe uses a piece of equipment not normally used for baking: a blender. That's because the sponge starts with raw grains rather than flour - the resulting larger grain pieces keep the crumb from being too close, which makes bread gummy. It also gives a very nice, rustic texture.

So here's what to do:

The day before you want to bake the bread, combine in a blender:

- 1/4 c whole millet
- 3 T raw buckwheat
- 2 T malted buckwheat
- 1 c gluten-free rolled oats
- 60 mL thin yogurt, such as Trader Joe's European Style (yogurt should be just milk & cultures, no added thickeners)
- 250 mL water or whey

Blend until the mixture reaches a thin porridge consistency (no big chunks!), probably about a minute if you are using a standard kitchen blender. Pour the resulting slurry into a large bowl and stir in:

- 1/2 teaspoon yeast

Cover the bowl tightly and set it in a draft-free place for 12 - 24 hours.

Now make the dry mixture (sorry, only volume measurements for now - my scale seems to have lost its accuracy)

3/4 c tapioca starch
3/4 c Expandex modified tapioca starch
2 tsp potato flour (not starch)
2 tsp chickpea or other bean flour
3/8 tsp Pomona's pure citrus pectin (this is just pectin - as opposed to standard brands like Ball's etc which contain dextrose or other fillers)
2 T psyllium husks
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
(optional - 2 tsp sugar)

Blend the dry ingredients thoroughly, then mix into the sponge from yesterday. Knead dough by hand to ensure it is well-dispersed. If dough seems too stiff, sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of water. Re-cover bowl and set in a warmish place for up to 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Now rub a piece of parchment with olive oil, and pre-heat oven (with baking stone) to 200º C/400º F.
Press dough into a flat rectangle on the parchment paper (as if you were going to make cinnamon rolls, but smaller). Roll the dough up into a narrow loaf shape, with the seam on the bottom, and roll it in plenty of sesame and/or poppy seeds. Cut slashes in the top crust and drape a piece of plastic-wrap over the loaf. Allow it to double in size (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours) and, using a baking peel or baking sheet to transfer, slide it onto the baking stone.

Bake for one hour. Cool for at least an hour before slicing.

P.S. - After this week, I'll be able to post (and create) recipes a lot more often. This is my final week of college! (Which means really ought to get back to work on my final project, rather than blogging.) Soon I will also post some tutorials, going over yeasted-bread-baking techniques in more detail.
Until then - Enjoy your bread!


  1. Fabulous!! The best gluten free bread I have ever made.
    Thank you, thank you.

  2. For those who can't get Expandex, I used teff flour & a teaspoon of xanthan gum instead with no problems.

  3. So glad to hear the recipe turned out well!
    I never would have thought of using teff flour instead of starch - I will have to try that now!

  4. Hi Meg, I just came across your blog while looking for recipes made with malted flours. I was wondering why you used only a small amount of bean flour? Does it have a specific purpose? I have become obsessed with try to create the "perfect" loaf of gluten free bread.

    1. Hi Pam, I apologize for missing your question, I just came across it while doing some maintenance on the blog. The bean flour in this recipe contributes to the flavor - although it's a very small amount, I remember it does seem to make a difference in this particular formula. (It's been a long time since I made this one, but I do remember that I spent several months varying the proportions before posting it.) In other formulas, the difference may not be noticeable. Hope that helps!

  5. hi meg, could you recommend any other substitute for expandex other than teff and xanthan gum? thanks!