Baking your own gluten free bread is a great way keeping bread in your diet if you have to follow gluten free diet (or try to limit gluten in what you eat.).
I’ve been baking both traditional and gluten free bread for best part of 20 years and have often been asked by my students in my bread baking classes how to stop gluten free bread from crumbling.
So, here is how…
Why does gluten free bread crumble?
This is mainly because the lack of gluten, which makes normal – gluten bread soft and binds everything together. The crumbliness also depends on what bread flour mix you use as they all behave slightly differently. I know, all this is slightly frustrating, so let’s have a look at some solutions.
Add xantham or guar gum to your bread mixture
Xantham gum is used for most gluten free baking, including cake baking, biscuits, cupcakes, muffins or even pancakes. Xantham gum does the same job as gluten in traditional flour, but because it’s made from corn sugar, it’s completely gluten free and plant based too.
The main purpose of gluten and xantham gum is to bind the flour particles together which is what in turn makes it soft.
To prevent your gluten free bread to crumble add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum to every 500 grams (or 4 cups) of flour in your bread recipe. Bake it, taste it and if it still feels too crumbly, make a note and add another 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum next time when you bake your bread recipe.
Don’t try to overdo it as if you add too much, your bread might be too tight. Xanthan gum also soaks quite a lot of water, so you might need to adjust the amount you have in your bread recipe.
Don’t overbake your gluten free bread
Another reason, why your gluten free bread might be crumbly, could be, that it’s overbaked and too dry. If you overbake normal bread by a bit, nothing tragic happens as the top usually goes darker, but gluten free bread tend to dry out too quickly. Instead of knocking on your bread to see whether it sounds hollow, use a wooden tooth pick. If it comes out clean (when you pierce the bread roughly in the middle), the bread is ready to come out from the oven.
Add the right amount of water
As I mentioned before, gluten free bread needs xanthan gum to prevent it from crumbling and in turn it needs more water than normal bread. As you knead your bread add water if the bread dough feels tight and carry on kneading. Don’t bee scared to add water right at the end. The dough needs to be soft and pliable before you shape it.
Make sure you measure everything correctly
I think it’s worth mentioning that if you don’t measure out the dry ingredients correctly, you’ll end up with unbalanced dough, which is difficult to correct later on (unless you know exactly what you have and haven’t put in).
Add butter or oil
To make your gluten free bread softer (and less crumbly) add a tablespoon of unsalted butter, coconut oil, lard or any other type of oil or butter. This will help to keep the bread nice and moist for few extra days.
Use specialist gluten free bread flour
I know people, who prefer to make their own gluten free bread flour mix, but most people find this too complicated. Just make sure that you use a specialist flour made for bread baking.
Don’t use gluten free plain or self-raising flours as these are created for cakes and muffins, where the texture is much softer.
This is a similar problem that you might come across when you are baking gluten free cakes and want to make sure that your gluten -free cake is not dry.