Gluten-free Vegan French Bread Recipe

It makes me mad when I hear relatively recently diagnosed Celiacs talk about how they haven’t had pizza or bread since diagnosis… or that when they have had it, they didn’t enjoy it. It is not that I am mad at them- far from it! No, I’m mad at a society that equates bread products with gluten, and mad at companies that create allergen-free bread completely lacking in taste or appeal that scar these poor souls so dreadfully that they vow off bread entirely.

Oh, I know there is a school of thought that says breads are over-rated, and what we all need to do is go back to the basics. Protein, Vegetable, Fruit, crunchy grain that looks like bird seed (preferably boiled). I suppose that might be healthy and good for the body, sometimes. And this diet certainly simplifies life when you are first overwhelmed by a bewildering new diagnosis. But all the time? Forever and ever? No! Just say no, I say. Because toothsome, luscious, crunchy bread and supple, seductive pizza is something I would never want to live without… and all of us gluten-sensitive people don’t have to. And… furthermore, let me tell you a secret. Even if you can’t have dairy, or eggs, or soy- you can still have amazing bread that kicks all those lead weight gluten-free breads to the curb.

I’ve finally gotten to the point with my darling baby Yum where I can have enough ingredients to make some really tasty baked goods. Karina the gluten-free goddess showed me the ropes there, to the joy that is rice-free, dairy-free, egg-free baking. But glorious and abundant as her site is- there are still things I want to eat that haven’t been created yet. And so, this week I turned my sights to french bread. Ah, french bread. I’ve long had an affair with Bette Hagman’s classic white rice-tapioca rapid rise french bread. But, its reliance on eggs, flirtation with dairy, and rice-heavy base just doesn’t work for me these days. My spiced basil-balsamic dipping oil recipe was getting dusty… and so, I wiped off my beloved Kitchenaid and started experimenting. This loaf was the incredibly satisfying result.

We took this loaf on a car-picnic to the drive-in movie with Baby Yum. Basil dipping oil? Check. Caraway and fresh Beet vinaigrette salad? Check. And the bread? With its crunchy exterior and soft center, it was wonderfully rippable, and made up for my long lost rice french bread big time.

Gluten-free Sorghum Rosemary french bread recipe
Ingredients
Special equipment *french bread pan- worth every penny!
spectrum shortening (or other palm oil shortening, or coconut oil)
Millet grits (or cornmeal if corn is not an issue for you)

1 1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca flour (or, for a more delicate bread, arrowroot starch)
1 tbsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. egg replacer
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp. rapid-rise yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 Ener-g foods Egg replacer “eggs” (4 1/2 tsp. egg replacer whisked with 6 tbsp. warm water)
1 tsp. vinegar (i use cider)

melted Soy-free dairy-free earth balance margarine
crushed rosemary
kosher salt (flaked is perfect)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375F.

Grease TWO SIDES of french bread pan with shortening or coconut oil and sprinkle with millet grits or other gritty gluten-free substance like cornmeal. (Recipe makes two french bread loaves) Do NOT line french bread with aluminum foil or anything like that- the holes are there for a reason and the dough is thick enough that it will not leak out the bottom.

Combine dry ingredients (through 1st egg replacer) in a medium mixing bowl of a standing mixer and fold together. Put sugar and lukewarm water in a small bowl and add yeast. As it starts to puff up, add the yeast water to the medium mixing bowl. Add olive oil, egg replacer “Eggs” and vinegar and mix on medium for 3 minutes.

Carefully scoop out your dough and make TWO bread shaped ovals in your french bread pan. Baste with melted margarine and make a few slightly slanted decorative slices in the top. Sprinkle with crushed rosemary and flaked kosher salt.

Let rise for 20-30 minutes or until about doubled in size.*

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread sounds slightly hollow when you tap it and is a nice brown color.


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48 Responses to “Gluten-free Vegan French Bread Recipe”

  1. that looks great! kudos to you for making it happen!

  2. Wow, this looks good!
    French bread has been one of those missed foods, but I think with some minor tweaking for my diet you have just reintroduced it.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  3. “Incredibly satisfying” indeed. It looks just plain incredible to me! Major kudos, Sea. I’ll be sending more egg-free, dairy-free rice-free group members and gfe readers your way for this one. :-)

    Shirley

  4. OMG! That looks soooo good, can I come over? :-)

  5. I’ve decided I can’t wait – I’m making this right now! It looks so delish.

    You are a rockstar!

  6. That looks GORGEOUS! I will definitely be making it soon.

  7. Thanks for sharing this! It really is good to see how breads can still be a part of our lives.

    One thing that has helped me is to look for breads that are *naturally* gluten free – that have been since their “creation” by people who ate them without even thinking of the lack of gluten. One example is a kind of flatbread made from millet and sorghum flours. Nothing else, just some water and a pinch of salt. Yes, its challenging to roll this bread out and cook it evenly on the stovetop, but this is something that takes practice for anyone, and its delicious when done. Another thing I’ve learned is to make real corn tortillas – nothing but the corn and the water. Again, naturally gluten free breads without thinking of it. I make a kind of steamed rice bread – rice flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, and some spices to taste. Steamed in a kind of muffin tin thingy, the bread comes out soft and spongy, perfect to soak up a good stew/soup.

    The other advantage is exploring the cooking of different countries. The millet/sorghum flatbread comes from my own family’s background, as does the rice bread, but I’ve found numerous other breads that I am learning about in this gluten-free life.

  8. Wow, does this look good! I wanted to ask if it tastes as good the second day, and then realized it probably didn’t last a whole day.

  9. This looks excellent!

    I agree that it can be frustrating when people assume you don’t eat anything that tastes good when you’re gluten free. You’re definitely proving them wrong!!!!

  10. This looks beautiful! I’ve made your pizza crust several times (the adaptation of Carol Fenster’s recipe), and it is wonderful. By far one of the best I have ever had!

  11. Aww, thanks everyone!

    Learner- I really like that approach to gluten-free dining. I love finding naturally gluten-free breads in other cuisine traditions (like India- so rich!). Flatbreads are really yummy… corn, sorghum, millet all make great bases, and I love idli/dosa batter and the like. Very yummy.

    Heather- i’m on a rotation diet so was not *allowed* to eat this loaf the next day, but all of these photos are taken on day #2. When i cut the bread it still seemed very springy and lovely. I had made another (different) sorghum-millet-arrowroot french bread/baguettes recipe a week or so ago and found that it froze beautifully and was just as good re-heated. This was not the case with the Bette Hagman white rice bread, alas- it did not freeze well. Anyway, I’ll let you know but I think this bread does keep well. Of course all bread, even gluten bread, is generally best the first day, and fresh out of the oven. :)

    Aubree- I don’t worry about those people, I usually just invite them to my house for dinner and they stop feeling sorry for me. haha.

    Metta- Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy the pizza. I have been working on a new formula so stay tuned. :)

    -Sea

  12. Wow – I could go for this, a bit of wine, and a nice picnic blanket, and spend a warm spring day with it! Yum!

  13. This looks great. However, I have a problem with yeast. This is probably a stupid questions, but the yeast is required even with the xanthan gum?

  14. Hi Kristen,
    Yes, the yeast is required for this recipe. In this recipe, the yeast makes the bread rise, adds flavor and strengthens the dough. Xanthan gum does not help bread rise, but strengthens the dough, adding elasticity. Without yeast though, you’d have a very flat, heavy bread. There are substitutes to yeast, but you usually have to take a quickbread approach and use baking soda or baking powder for that rising action. I would start with a non-yeast recipe. Karina the gluten-free goddess has some nice soda bread recipes that don’t call for yeast. Bette Hagman also has chapters in her cookbook for yeast-free bread. Good luck!

    -Sea

  15. Is there anyway around the egg replacer I can’t have eggs. The ingredients on the egg replacer look yuck I have some.

    The bread looks awesome though. I don’t have millet flour but have coconut flour instead ?

  16. Hi Lori,
    The egg replacer doesn’t flavor the bread- it just helps with leavening and texture… so it doesn’t really matter how it tastes. It is basically glorified baking powder/soda, so it might help to think of it as that sort of ingredient. Some people use flax seeds as an egg replacer, but you’re not going to get the fluffiness with that substitute. Since you have some in your pantry- I would just try it using the egg replacer.
    Instead of using coconut flour which will give you a coconut flavor to your bread and sop up moisture like crazy, I would just use more sorghum flour. I’ve made the bread that way and it is terrific. :)

    Happy baking!

    -Sea

  17. Sea, I’m feeling really sorry for myself today, and french bread is the one thing I miss the most since going GF. I want to make this, but I do not have a pan like that yet. Could I make it in a dutch oven or cookie sheet?

  18. Laura,
    I’m sorry you’re feeling down. I have days like that, too.
    I have made this on a cookie sheet, and it is good (but not quite as great texture wise). You can also make this as baguettes or little rolls. It is probably a good idea to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper for ease of removal. When you feel like a (minor) investment, you can get french bread pans through Amazon or a gourmet cookery store. I bought two over ten years ago and LOVE LOVE LOVE them and use them all the time. in fact, I probably make french type bread way more often than any other! It is surprisingly easy and rewarding.

    All my best,
    Sea

  19. Sea, I’m late to this party, but do you have to let this bread rise at all, or does it just go straight into the oven?

  20. Hi Gaile, thank you for asking- the bread should rise for about half an hour with rapid rise yeast. Oops! I have edited instructions to include this info. :)

    -Sea

  21. Thanks Sea – I am going to try this recipe today. Thank you for sharing it, and happy Mother’s Day to you!

  22. Just a note: if you don’t have a french bread pan and are freestyling this, french bread pans come with at least two slots, so, yes, you make TWO skinny loaves. Second- don’t let the bread overproof! If it will overflow if it doubles in height, use common sense and make a second or even third loaf.

    -Sea

  23. I just made this almost exactly as you said (the only difference was that I used honey instead of sugar in the yeast and as you suggested arrowroot) anyway, it rose well but came out really gummy. The only other thing I can think of is that maybe it was like that b/c I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan because that is how my mom makes french bread (non-GF anyway) and it tastes great. Would it really have made that much difference though just because of the pan? It’s so gummy! :( Help?

  24. Hi Ari,
    I’ve made this recipe many times with arrowroot starch, and never had it come out gummy, so I don’t think that is the problem. I suspect the honey. According to some research I did,
    “Honey is a good substitute for granulated sugar on a one-to-one ratio by weight. However, one must reduce water or other liquids in cookie recipes by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.”
    Did you reduce the liquid? Honey tends to make things more moist, which is not always desirable. It might be ok with some modifications (altering liquid).

    Tapioca starch gives a more robust bread that would be less inclined to be gummy, and you might have undercooked the bread depending on how your oven runs.

    I haven’t tried to make french bread in a 9*13 pan for many years (only had to when we lived in Japan and my french bread pan wouldn’t fit in our tiny oven). It doesn’t work as well for our gluten-free flours as a french bread pan. Gluten-free dough, especially this dough, is more runny than gluten dough and can use the support of the shaped pan. The holes in the pan add extra crunch to the exterior.

    I hope you’ll give this recipe another try, ideally with sugar, or at least modifying the liquid ratio. You might need to have baked it for a longer time, also. Don’t take it out of the oven until the exterior is golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap it.

    If you can tolerate tapioca, you might try that next time as well, especially if you are experimenting with honey.

    Egg replacer can yield gummy results, but I’ve made this bread recipe many times successfully without it being a problem so I don’t think that is it.

    Good luck!
    Let me know how it goes.

    All my best,
    Sea

  25. I made this yesterday and it was delicious! My wheat-sensitive, egg and dairy allergic nephew LOVES you! However, I had to use all sorghum since he cannot have millet either, and my dough came out incredibly loose and sticky. I could not shape it into loaves without adding another 3/4 cup of sorghum flour. Any ideas why? Thanks so very much for this wonderful recipe.

  26. Hi Lyn,
    I also had to stop using millet flour because it seemed to bother Baby Yum, and so I make this with 2 cup sorghum and 1 cup arrowroot all the time. The dough IS loose and sticky, so you have to spoon it into the french bread pan. It is not the same texture as a gluten bread. It should not be liquid (i.e. runny like crepe batter or something) but I suspect that it was the texture that it should be, and you could have baked it without adding more flour. I’m glad your nephew enjoyed the recipe!

    My most recent post was for a sorghum-tapioca roll without millet. It is also egg-free, but uses flax seed. Take a look!

    -Sea

  27. One word…mmmmmmmmmmm.

  28. [...] if you are using Egg-Free, Dairy-Free bread, such as this recipe from Sea, of Book of Yum, for Gluten-Free Vegan French Bread (I suggest to substitute cinnamon in place of the rosemary if using for French Toast). Food For Life [...]

  29. Hi,

    this bread looks great. I would like to try but a bit confused about the recipe. Other than the 3 Ener-G egg replacer, you have another 2 tsp of egg replacer (not specified) there. Do you mean any brand or type of egg replacer?

  30. My son can’t have egg or potato, which takes out all the egg replacers I’ve seen. He can have flax, but you say that doesn’t work in this recipe. Any clues how to modify?

  31. Kathy,
    I have changed my mind about the flax issue, actually. I tried it and got good texture. I’m not wild about the flavor addition, so I used it to make onion rolls. The onion covered up any flax flavor:

    http://www.bookofyum.com/blog/gluten-free-vegan-onion-sorghum-roll-recipe-4958.html

    I would try that recipe for your son, but you could also do this one and try the flax if you don’t mind the flavor. Just leave out the optional two teaspoons of egg replacer in either recipe.

    Best wishes and happy baking,
    Sea

  32. [...] Monday: American Tofu Meatball subway on Sorghum-Millet French Bread [...]

  33. brilliant! I love this!

  34. [...] “Lady and the Tramp” scene, anyone? If you have any leftovers, you can serve it on gluten-free french bread in a subway sandwich. Delightful! What is your favorite vegetarian main dish for Valentines Day, or [...]

  35. Just made this bread and am quite impressed – like the fact that it has no potato starch and just a bit of tapioca. The bread came out quite nice even though I don’t have the right pan – used wax paper. Flavor good, texture nice.
    I used agave instead of sugar for the yeast. A lot of gf breads out there are so high in starch. And it’s nice to find a vegan version as well.

  36. Hi, I attempted to make your wonderful bread! This was my first experience baking with yeast. It turned out totally flat and super yeasty-tasting. I think I may have used nearly 7 tsp of yeast instead of 6 (three of those little yeast packets that come together), but would that cause the bread not to bake up? The bread clearly wanted to be as wonderful as your pic, but it came out of the oven flat and spilled over the sides of the french bread pan. Any ideas what I did wrong?! Thanks!

  37. Hi julia, I’m so sorry your bread didn’t work out! This is my go-to recipe for bread and so I’m surprised that it didn’t work well. Let’s see… I don’t use all of 3 little yeast packets for this, just 6 tsp (2 tbsp.) so I end up with some annoying fiddley bits of yeast left in the packet. ;) I’ve never tried using more because it is an unusually large amount of yeast anyway. Make sure your water is not too warm, as that will kill the yeast, and dissolve your sugar in the warm water before adding the yeast. Make sure your yeast is not past its expiration date. Also, the pan you use to bake the bread will make a difference. I highly recommend a french bread pan, but if you don’t have one and just want nice results, you could also bake the bread in a greased muffin tin sprinkled with millet grits or cornmeal for tasty white rolls. Or try doing it on a flat baking sheet knowing it won’t be as fluffy and nice. Oops, just noticed you had a french bread pan. Ok, scratch that. Did you let the bread rise before putting it in? It is a delicate balance between letting it rise enough and having it over-proof and rise too much (which will then result in deflation.)

    You know, as I read this, I think what happened is the excess yeast made it overproof in the oven and then spill out, leaving you with a flat loaf. Definitely try it again with the proper amount of yeast. I’m so sorry you had a disappointing experience. Wish I could bring you a loaf from my house!

    Please tell me how it goes if you try again. It really is a reliable recipe so I have high hopes for you!!!
    -Sea

  38. Hi :) ! I am so glad i found your site – am trying to go GF and follow the GenoType diet which for arthritis issues disallows nightshades – so no potato, which you thankfully don’t use in the alternative flour recipe as well as a long sought after sub for tapioca which i cannot have as well ( UGGH). So – your bread recipe fits the bill, especially since you’ve included an alternative to millet! Thanks so much again and i look forward to learning and trying more from your exceptionally informative/interesting site. What a service to the world, peace, Linda

  39. Hello, i am trying to find a way to make good gf bread without eggs. Egg replacer is made from egg derivatives and so is not really vegan, nor can my guts handle it. If you have a good recipe without it, i would be very grateful.
    Thank you.

  40. I have tried to make 2 recipes for bread (one made with yeast and one without. I used egg substitutes in both. I have had to throw both away. I have followed the gluten free recipes exactly except for the eggs. What is wrong?

  41. 2 questions. Could I bake this in a regular loaf pan? Could I use real eggs (3 I guess) if I don’t need to avoid then?

  42. I know I am very late to this party, but I made these loaves tonight and my family is in love! Thank you so so much!!! The recipe could not have been easier or more flavorful!

  43. I made this today! I’ve been craving some bread since having to go egg free. I didn’t have any millett flour, so, I used oat flour (gf of course, and oats don’t bother me). I don’t have a French bread pan (although I’ll be purchasing one soon), so I made rolls. This is the most amazing bread I’ve made since having to go egg free!! The texture is wonderful- soft inside, crunchy outside! I’ll defiantly be making more. Can’t wait to see how it tastes on the second day.

  44. O..M..G… this is by far the best gluten free bread I have ever had and the only one that doesn’t even taste gluten free. Totally worth the investment in a French bread pan. Like Page, I used oat flour in lieu of millett and it was fabulous. I halved the recipe to make a single roll since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. From now on I’ll definitely be making the full recipe.

  45. Can you just use eggs instead of egg replacer? If so, how many?

  46. What size is your pan, the width of each loaf? The picture looks like a baguette size 2.5 in wide vs french width of 4 inches. I will order the pan but want to get the correct size!

  47. Simone- Egg replacer by Ener-g foods is vegan, I assure you, and certainly not made with egg derivatives. It is mostly gluten-free starch.

    Brenda- Without looking at the original recipe that you followed, I can’t help. But in general, the fewer real eggs called for in a recipe, the better an egg-sub will work.

    Tammy,You can use 3 egg whites instead of egg replacement.

    Cami, I used the exact french bread pan shown in the Amazon slideshow above. I didn’t use a baguette pan; the photo just happens to show a narrow part of the bread.

    Hope this helps, all! Happy baking. I still make this recipe frequently!

    -Sea

  48. Jennifer McClean Says:

    Thank you soooooo much for an incredible recipe! I ordered the french bread pan online and was very glad I did! Finally the pan arrived and I was able to bake it just this morning; the taste and texture is PERFECT! I’m making an Italian dinner tonight just to go with the bread!

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