Breadmakers and Gluten-Free Dough: Tips on How to Make it Work

So you buy a box of gluten-free bread mix to use in your bread machine, carefully follow the instructions, punch in the settings, and patiently wait for a beautiful gluten-free loaf of bread to emerge. Except, when you open your bread machine, you find a hard, sunken lump. It’s soggy on the bottom and, when sliced, reveals itself to be still raw on the inside. What went wrong? Well, there are inherent structural differences between gluten-containing dough and gluten-free dough, which means that gluten-free bread dough comes with its own unique set of rules. To make gluten-free bread in a bread machine successfully, we have to adapt the guidelines in the bread machine’s manual.

First, it is important to realize that gluten-free dough will have a different appearance and consistency than you might be used to with gluten-containing dough. Gluten-free dough is usually heavier and stickier, making it more difficult to mix. Part of this is because most gluten-free bread mixes use xantham gum, which helps to bind the dough together in the absence of gluten proteins. Therefore, it is helpful if your bread machine has a large paddle, or two paddles, so that all the ingredients can be mixed together thoroughly. If your machine has a smaller paddle, use a spatula to scrape ingredients off the sides during mixing.

The second important rule about gluten-free bread making is that it usually doesn’t need a second knead or rise. This is due to the way that yeast interacts with the dough when there is no gluten; it is important not to push the air out of the dough because it keeps your bread fluffy rather than dense. Over-kneading or over-rising gluten-free dough can cause it to spill over or collapse. How you deal with this depends on which settings are available on your specific bread machine. Some machines allow you to program the cycles, so that you can choose to skip the second cycle of kneading. Otherwise, you might have to manually remove the paddles after the first cycle. I’ve also heard that gluten-free dough usually works well with a “Quick Cycle,” if your machine has it, because of the lessened kneading and rising time.

Finally, be sure to remove the bread immediately after it is finished baking. Otherwise, it will quickly get soggy, because steam will condense on the bottoms and sides of the pan.

For greater ease of baking, there are now several bread machines on the market that have a specific “Gluten Free” setting, such as Zojirushi, Cuisinart, and Breadman. However, another option is to skip the bread machine altogether; a heavy-duty mixer and an oven with a timer can achieve the same result.

Beginner bread makers might want to start with pre-made gluten-free bread mixes. Some good brands to start with include Pamela’s and King Arthur. For more tips on making gluten-free bread in a bread machine, see this Celiac.com article or this article from Ener-G foods.  Once you have more confidence, you can try making GF bread from scratch using a recipe. Be prepared to have a few flops along the way – you’ll have to sort out some of the distinct kinks of your bread machine and make some adjustments. However, with these tips and some experimentation, you should be well on your way to enjoying fresh gluten-free bread made in your own kitchen!

Do you have any experience making gluten-free bread with a bread machine? Any tips or tricks that you’ve learned? Tell us about them!


45 thoughts on “Breadmakers and Gluten-Free Dough: Tips on How to Make it Work”

  1. I’ve been making my own bread weekly from scratch in a Cuisinart Bread Machine for four years. It has a Gluten-free setting that only kneads the dough once.

    It took me nearly a year to get the hang of making my own bread. Sometimes the bread would rise so much it would overflow. Other times it would be a brick. I use Carol Fenster’s bread recipe. I think the biggest issue for me was doubling the recipe for my machine. I discovered not all ingredients should be doubled….mainly the GF yeast.

    Also I buy my brown rice flour in 25 lb bags from my local Co-op. Each time I start a new bag I have to re-learn how much water to add to the bread recipe. Sometimes the rice flour is coarser, sometimes it is finer. That changes the amount of water I need to add. Now I can eyeball half way through the knead cycle and know right away if I have too much or not enough water.

    It takes practice and patience. But now at least 9 out of 10 of my loaves turn out perfect. The one that doesn’t come out perfect gets cut up and dried for croutons or bread crumbs.

  2. I’ve been making my own bread weekly from scratch in a Cuisinart Bread Machine for four years. It has a Gluten-free setting that only kneads the dough once.

    It took me nearly a year to get the hang of making my own bread. Sometimes the bread would rise so much it would overflow. Other times it would be a brick. I use Carol Fenster’s bread recipe. I think the biggest issue for me was doubling the recipe for my machine. I discovered not all ingredients should be doubled….mainly the GF yeast.

    Also I buy my brown rice flour in 25 lb bags from my local Co-op. Each time I start a new bag I have to re-learn how much water to add to the bread recipe. Sometimes the rice flour is coarser, sometimes it is finer. That changes the amount of water I need to add. Now I can eyeball half way through the knead cycle and know right away if I have too much or not enough water.

    It takes practice and patience. But now at least 9 out of 10 of my loaves turn out perfect. The one that doesn’t come out perfect gets cut up and dried for croutons or bread crumbs.

  3. I have a Zojirushi, and I love it. If you get this cook book,
    Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine, it tells you the proper settings using the “home-aid” setting on the Zojirushi. I only messed up one loaf, adding to much water, other than that I have made many many loafs for sandwiches, and cinnamon raisin breads. I use either Pamela’s bread mix in my machine or Gluten free pantry french bread to make my bread normally. I am gluten and Dairy free and the Gluten Free pantry sandwich bread has dairy in it. I have not tired just using flours yet, but I will get there I am sure, for now its so easy to add some water, eggs, and oil and the mix and in a couple of hours ( even on a 90 degree day) ding, fresh bread. Oh and if order the bread mixes, say on amazon, you can get them cheaper then in the stores I find.

  4. I have a Zojirushi, and I love it. If you get this cook book,
    Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine, it tells you the proper settings using the “home-aid” setting on the Zojirushi. I only messed up one loaf, adding to much water, other than that I have made many many loafs for sandwiches, and cinnamon raisin breads. I use either Pamela’s bread mix in my machine or Gluten free pantry french bread to make my bread normally. I am gluten and Dairy free and the Gluten Free pantry sandwich bread has dairy in it. I have not tired just using flours yet, but I will get there I am sure, for now its so easy to add some water, eggs, and oil and the mix and in a couple of hours ( even on a 90 degree day) ding, fresh bread. Oh and if order the bread mixes, say on amazon, you can get them cheaper then in the stores I find.

  5. I use the Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine cookbook also, but with my much cheaper West Bend machine. I use the 2lb rapid rise cycle and get great bread in an hour. I also substitute the mix cited in the book with Bob’s Red Mill general purpose mix.

  6. I use the Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine cookbook also, but with my much cheaper West Bend machine. I use the 2lb rapid rise cycle and get great bread in an hour. I also substitute the mix cited in the book with Bob’s Red Mill general purpose mix.

  7. i use the breadman. i use pamelas bread mix or bob’s cinamon raison mix. first i did the dough only and then bake . both breads came out great.

  8. i use the breadman. i use pamelas bread mix or bob’s cinamon raison mix. first i did the dough only and then bake . both breads came out great.

  9. I have started using my bread machine through the first mixing ,then poured it out into a 9×5 ghreased bread pan. I let it rise to the top of the pan then baked it according to the oven directions…..Beautiful loaf!!!!!

  10. I have started using my bread machine through the first mixing ,then poured it out into a 9×5 ghreased bread pan. I let it rise to the top of the pan then baked it according to the oven directions…..Beautiful loaf!!!!!

  11. I’m so happy to see this article and know that its not just me! I have the Breadman Ultimate Pro with the gluten-free setting, and for some reason, it never worked out for me. I do get nice crispy edges, but the center is mushy and undercooked. I think most of the time I tried making it with a Bobs Red Mill bread mix. I may have used another brand, Arrowhead Mills, I think. I was thinking that the directions on the bread mix box for a bread machine didn’t consider that my bread machine had a gluten-free setting, so I was thinking of trying to trick it somehow. Yet, usually it says to follow the directions on the bread machine. I’ll try it again with some of the tips in this article. Thank you!

  12. I’m so happy to see this article and know that its not just me! I have the Breadman Ultimate Pro with the gluten-free setting, and for some reason, it never worked out for me. I do get nice crispy edges, but the center is mushy and undercooked. I think most of the time I tried making it with a Bobs Red Mill bread mix. I may have used another brand, Arrowhead Mills, I think. I was thinking that the directions on the bread mix box for a bread machine didn’t consider that my bread machine had a gluten-free setting, so I was thinking of trying to trick it somehow. Yet, usually it says to follow the directions on the bread machine. I’ll try it again with some of the tips in this article. Thank you!

  13. I have a Panasonic bread machine that’s 17 years old. It has a cool-down cycle which keeps the bread from becoming soggy once the baking cycle (always regular cycle) is completed. I make my bread from scratch using Bette Hagman’s basic bread recipe, but I use a half cup of Montina flour in place of a half cup of rice flour. In addition, I always use Authentic Foods’ superfine brown rice flour. The texture of the bread is good, though it’s never soft and chewy. It’s definitely a whole grain texture, and higher in nutritional value than most other breads due to the addition of the Montina. I also use the machine in an environment that is never affected by other kitchen activities, so the humidity and heat in the kitchen cannot affect the performance of the machine. I did have problems with that when I was new at baking GF; paying attention to the room in which I place the machine has made a surprising impact on its consistent performance.

  14. I have a Panasonic bread machine that’s 17 years old. It has a cool-down cycle which keeps the bread from becoming soggy once the baking cycle (always regular cycle) is completed. I make my bread from scratch using Bette Hagman’s basic bread recipe, but I use a half cup of Montina flour in place of a half cup of rice flour. In addition, I always use Authentic Foods’ superfine brown rice flour. The texture of the bread is good, though it’s never soft and chewy. It’s definitely a whole grain texture, and higher in nutritional value than most other breads due to the addition of the Montina. I also use the machine in an environment that is never affected by other kitchen activities, so the humidity and heat in the kitchen cannot affect the performance of the machine. I did have problems with that when I was new at baking GF; paying attention to the room in which I place the machine has made a surprising impact on its consistent performance.

  15. Great article and it is exactly what happened to me. I tried to use my bread machine, followed a gluten free challah recipe, used gluten free flour and ended up something that was like a braided pretzel.
    This article was extremely helpful..thank you for the great suggestions, I will try again..

  16. Great article and it is exactly what happened to me. I tried to use my bread machine, followed a gluten free challah recipe, used gluten free flour and ended up something that was like a braided pretzel.
    This article was extremely helpful..thank you for the great suggestions, I will try again..

  17. I have a breadman ultimate pro like Kristen. I to was having problems , I use my own flour mixture I came up with. using with my old machine , My boyfriend got me a new one . I was excited that it had a glutin free cycle, but I hated it so I just use the white bread setting . Turned out nice, but now I will try some of these tips Thank you. it was nice to here someone else had problems like I did . I thought I just got a bad machine, or maybe I did

  18. I have a breadman ultimate pro like Kristen. I to was having problems , I use my own flour mixture I came up with. using with my old machine , My boyfriend got me a new one . I was excited that it had a glutin free cycle, but I hated it so I just use the white bread setting . Turned out nice, but now I will try some of these tips Thank you. it was nice to here someone else had problems like I did . I thought I just got a bad machine, or maybe I did

  19. I’ve found that when it is humid outside, the bread doesn’t turn out as well. So I try to make bread on a dry day. I like Bette Hagman’s recipe for Butter Basted White Bread from her cook book, More from the Gluten Free Gourmet.

  20. I’ve found that when it is humid outside, the bread doesn’t turn out as well. So I try to make bread on a dry day. I like Bette Hagman’s recipe for Butter Basted White Bread from her cook book, More from the Gluten Free Gourmet.

  21. The gluten free setting on my panasonic is a life saver. Being a celiac myself I have to be very careful what I consume but most gluten free foods are terrible. The gluten free bread I get from the panasonic is amazing though.

  22. Can someone tell me if I can use a regular gluten free recipe (for the oven) in my bread machine? I have a B & D. Just got it the other day ! So excited to try a gluten free recipe in here. I absolutely HATE mixing and HATE kneading!!! Thanks soooooooo much.

  23. Basically when it comes to bread machines there is Zojirishu, and there is everything else. The Zos are all well-engineered, heavy-duty, have spare parts available (including paddles and buckets), and can actually be repaired at service centers.

  24. I use the Cusinart basic white bread setting 1 1/2 loaf, med crust. I use Bob’s mill all purpose to which I have added a cup of tapioca flour, and one more cup of sweet shorgum flour,mix well. For a good loaf of bread. In bowl add 3 1/2 cups of mixed flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, 2 teaspoons of gum,1/4 cup of sugar. In bread machines pan add one egg, 1/3 cup of oil, 1 2/3 cup of milk, warmed by microwave for about 70 seconds on high, 2 teaspoons of apple vinegar, and a tablespoon of honey, start machine and slowly add mixed dry ingredients, spatula down sides of pan any dry ingredients. close machines door. When completely baked with scissors remove any baked crust that stuck, very small amount that will be stuck to your loaf, let cool and bag or put in air tight plastic containter. bread will be like ciabota, store at room temp. This bread is especially good when toasted or panninied for sandwiches. or spread with your favorite spread, Toasting is the secret to gluten free bread can be sliced to any thickness, your choice. Found using gluten free setting on machine causes a sunken loaf, and very dense so don’t forget to use basic bread setting 1 1/2 loaf, med crust, enjoy this non bitter bread.

  25. I have the Panasonic SD-RD250
    it has no setting for Gluten free, I am looking for help if anybody knows how to make GF out of it.

    thanks!!
    Hanan

  26. I just baked my first load of GF bread for somebody else from a box of mix. I just used the Bake Rapid setting on my Panasonic and it came out looking perfect, although I did make sure to take a spatula and really scraped the sides to make sure it was thoroughly mixed and that the yeast all fell in at the right time. I took it out as soon as it was done and had to call the owner right away because I was so tempted to cut a slice.

  27. I use a Regal Kitchen Pro to make all my breads from scratch. I have been using it for 10 years. However, I have yet to make a decent loaf of bread that wasn’t extremely dense. I put alll the ingredients (wet & dry) together in a bowl as instructed then put it in the breadmaker and the breadmaker does the rest. My Royal has only one small paddle. It does knead the bread twice so it rises and falls twice. I just learned that gluten free bread only has to rise once. Should I even leave the paddle in the machine since all the ingredients are already mixed? The Royal gets warm enough inside to make it rise. I would like to start making a decent loaf for once but as of yet have not succeed. I always use Betty Hagman’s recipe. My Royal has a Quick Setting but that has never worked. In fact, the last loaf I made had a hole approx 3 inches wide & 2 inches deep in the bottom of the bread. I don’t know if I put too much or too little water in it or what I am doing wrong. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them.

  28. By the way, I forgot to mention that I have to make gluten-dairy- egg-soy free bread. I use Ener-G Egg replacer but I have yet to find any good milk free substitute which includes no casein or whey ingredients. I know of no sustitute for soy. Regarding the egg replacer, does it have to be mixed before adding it to the mix? I have done both & haven’t seen any difference. Someone please help!! I’m pulling my hair out over this.

  29. Back when I used the Breadman that I have I used Bob’s Red Mill Hearty Gluten free Breadmix. It worked wonderful in the bread machine.
    I still like it but the super deal I got on the mix on Amazon is long gone and so have been experimenting with other flours and making from scratch.
    I have tried to use the bread machine but it doesn’t seem to be able to handle the heavy flours such as teff. However my favorite recipe has 2.5 cups of water, 3,5 cups teff or buckwheat and 1/2 cup tapioca, I think that is too much. I wonder if I cut it down to a smaller loaf if the machine will be able to handle it. I am going to do the math and try it with a smaller loaf.
    I was wondering though if anyone has any experience with the stand mixers and a heavy bread doughs.

  30. 1. always mix 3 to 4 of different flours
    2. add high protein flours (like bean flour)
    3. weight your flour instead of using cup’s (use this kind of recipes)
    4. mix dry and wet ingredients well before butting them together
    5. use warm ingredients
    6. Most important is – I am using separately dough program until everything has been mixed well (I help with the spatula) then I remove paddle and make bread nice looking inside the pan. !Then I let it sit 40 minutes (without touching)! and then I use separate baking program (baking for 1 hour)
    7. Remove from pan right after baking and let it cool a bit under the towel before cutting it.

    This makes a big and airy bread :)

  31. I am using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free bread mix with packet of yeast included. In a Cuisinart, how and when do I add yeast for this machine? No specific instructions are given. Puzzled? Linda

  32. I have a Kitchen Pro breadmaker that has several GF recipes in it….every recipe tho says to cook it under the “whole wheat” setting which takes almost 4 hours and has three rising cycles and two kneading cycles. Should i use these settings? Everyone here is saying to use a “quick Bread” setting which i do have i was just unsure since it is two hours shorter i just want to make sure it cooks. What does everyone think??

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