I finally gave in and looked at a “real” recipe. The book “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking” has an interesting approach to bread and the newest edition has a chapter on gluten free breads, so I decided to start there. The 5-minute approach is very hands-off so it seemed like a good option for gluten free. A friend has been trying some of the wheat-based recipes in the book and has been pleased with the results, and the book has well defined volume and mass measurements for ingredients which will make it easy to quantify and adjust the recipes.

For my inaugural batch, I would have liked to follow the recipe exactly, but I didn’t have quite the right ingredients on hand, so I did a little improvising. OK, enough preamble, on to the recipe:

Dry Ingredients:
160g brown rice flour
100g sorghum flour
160g tapioca starch
230g potato starch
20g kosher salt
16g yeast
15g xanthan gum
The dry ingredients were combined with a paddle mixer. NOTE: Everything was loose enough that it combined well, but I might prefer to sift the dry ingredients together in future batches.

Wet Ingredients:
600g water
70g canola oil
The book recipe calls for eggs and melted butter… I don’t have eggs or butter around the house regularly, and I forgot to pick them up before baking day, so I used bland old canola oil. It provides some fat and the flavor should be neutral enough to let me evaluate the other ingredients better. The egg would have provided some protein structure, I’ll have to remember to pick up a dozen eggs next time I go to the store.

The water was microwaved just to the point that it felt warm. With the dry ingredients slowly mixing, ~400g of water was added and the dough mixed until it came together. The canola oil was added, mixing continued, and the remaining water was added. The bowl and paddle were scraped down a couple times throughout and after all the liquid was added the mixer speed was increased to thoroughly combine. The resulting dough was quite loose and a bit sticky. Between the fingers, it had a slightly gritty feeling.

The dough was turned out into a glass bowl, lightly covered, and left to rise until approximately doubled, a little over 3 hours in my cool house.

A small loaf pan was oiled (again, no butter or other solid fat to grease the pan…) and filled about half way with the dough/batter, taking care not to overly deflate the bubble structure. The bread was baked at 400F for 60 minutes, then turned out onto a rack to cool.

Procedure Notes:
I did not smooth the top of the “loaf” after putting it in the pan. A light smoothing/glazing with water would make a better looking loaf.
I didn’t really let the loaf rise in the pan before baking, and I didn’t get a very significant bloom in the oven. The dough was quite light, but a little additional rise time before baking might be good.
The loaf released very well from the pan.

Structure and Tasting Notes:
The loaf smelled wonderful while baking, and the crust set and browned very nicely.
Wait until the loaf cools completely before cutting. I was impatient. It didn’t cause a real problem, but the interior of the loaf was a bit gummy while warm. The crust was very nice, and cuts a little better when fully cooled as well. Smoothing the top of the loaf would also help with cutting it cleanly.
The crust has a very nicely developed toasty, nutty flavor. There is a bit of an “off” aftertaste; it’s not bad but it is noticeable. Strong toppings (peanut butter) cover the aftertaste cleanly.
There is a distinct sweetness to the loaf, likely from the sorghum flour. It’s a nice flavor accent but could be undesirable in some applications.
The crumb of the cooled loaf is moist and just the tiniest little bit gummy. The loaf might have been slightly underdone, but I think it was pretty close. I didn’t have a good thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the loaf.

The above recipe makes enough dough for 2-3 loaves, but I only made 1 loaf on the first day. The remaining dough was lightly covered and put in the fridge, I’ll make another loaf tomorrow that incorporates some of the changes noted above.