Gluten free + Vegan Baguettes (!!!)
These baguettes are made with wholesome gluten free flours, and bake up crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious on their own, these are also the perfect base for sandwiches or as part of a pananzella. Take them on a picnic or serve at a party. Completely vegan, too!
Can you tell by the title that I am so excited to share this one with you guys? Because I really am. Out of any recipe I've ever posted in this little space, this one is my absolute most special favourite ever. And surprise! It's MNK's birthday! So I'm calling it a blogaversary celebration and we're eating gluten free and vegan bread!
I chose quite some time ago now to think about my dietary needs in a positive way, instead of being all about restrictions and symptoms and being sick. I honestly believe that a healthy state of mind goes super far in making way for a healthy bod. I get excited about what's in season, and I love to experiment in the kitchen with baking gluten free. It's been a real source of stress-relief for me over the years, almost like meditation. It makes me happy to no end when I hear comments about how a cake doesn't taste gluten free at all, or when the crusty loaf of bread gets devoured by people who get to go into any old bakery to get bread anytime. But let's be real: eating a restricted diet can just be hard sometimes. Always needing to be particular when you order, eagle-eyeing where the gluten on the table is at a family gathering, dealing with the fact that your groceries just seem so damn expensive all the time when regular flour is super cheap. All of that. Not to complain, just being honest.
Bread was never important to me when I was younger. Actually, as a kid I usually just liked things better without the bun, and never was into sandwiches. It's funny to me that as an adult, I find so much satisfaction in bread of all things. The recipe I'm sharing today is one that I've been baking consistently for over a year now. I've adapted it quite a bit, getting it just right. Last summer, I had a few little catering jobs come up and I served this bread at each of them. It was always a hit, with the gf-eaters and the everything-eaters! I've made it into burger buns with equal success, and once also used it for pizza crust (which turned out beautifully).
Psyllium husks, ground chia seeds, the right balance of whole grain flours and starches, and a bit of finesse for shaping the loafs will reward you with the perfect companion to your cheeseboard, an amazing base for an epic veggie sandwich, the most delicious addition to pananzella ... basically, this one is the answer to my bread dreams and I hope you love it as much as I do.
Gluten free & Vegan Baguettes
Notes: You can substitute the sorghum flour for amaranth flour for a deep, dark and nutty-tasting baguette, or for light buckwheat flour for a slightly nutty baguette. The sorghum version below results in a light, flavourful baguette that is somewhat akin to what a mix of all-purpose wheat and whole grain flours would result in. I always pair my sorghum baguettes with poppy seeds on the outside. You can also make a seedy loaf by adding 3 tablespoons of mixed seeds to a full batch of dough (I used poppy seeds and sesame seeds in the buckwheat baguette in the photos). Note that buckwheat flour sometimes gives a bit of a grey cast to baked goods.
I use a food processor to make this dough, and I recommend you do the same. With a food processor, the recipe comes together in minutes. I haven't tried this by hand or in a stand mixer but if you don't have a food processor, I would suggest trying a stand mixer. I don't think a regular hand mixer would work very well.
For the best results, use a baguette mold. A baguette mold holds the shape of your baguettes and has hundreds of little holes that allow the baguette to crisp up as it bakes. Mine cost me about $20 from a kitchen supply shop. I've baked these without the mold which works too, but the resulting baguette will not be rounded like the bread in the photos, and will flatten out a bit as it bakes. Either way, don't skip the final step of baking where you transfer the baguettes directly onto the baking rack in the oven to finish off - this helps them get nice and crusty on the outside.
I've specified the amounts below for both ground chia seeds and whole chia seeds - in total, you want 9 grams. My preference is to use ground chia seeds, because I like their texture in the final product over whole chia seeds. I make my own ground chia using a cheap electric coffee grinder, but you can also purchase them pre-ground.
The amounts of certain ingredients may seem small, like the flaxmeal and nut flour, but they contribute to a good crumb and nice texture. I've tried omitting them and the bread just wasn't as good. For a nut-free alternative to the cashew or almond flour, you could finely grind sunflower seeds and use that.
Shaping the dough takes a bit of finesse but you'll catch on quick. I find it's best to use oil on my hands rather than water, and to shape the baguette gently with my hands before rolling it on my work surface. You'll see what I mean when you give it a shot, just be patient and don't try to "pull" the baguette into shape.
I've adapted my recipe from this one.
This recipe yields 2 baguettes
3/4 cup less a 1/2 tablespoon (94 g) brown rice flour
3/4 cup less 1 tablespoon (82 g) sorghum flour
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (20 g) potato starch
5 tablespoons (34 g) tapioca starch
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon (22 g) psyllium husks
1 1/2 tablespoons (9 g) ground chia seeds OR 1 tablespoon (9 g) whole chia seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) cashew flour OR almond flour
1 teaspoon (2 g) ground flax seed (flaxmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon (9 g) instant active yeast
12 fl oz (1 1/2 cups, 350 g) warm water
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
oil, for the bowl and baking (I use a high-heat tolerant oil like avocado oil)
Whisk the maple syrup or honey in the warm water, then whisk in the yeast and set aside for about 10 minutes, until the mixture develops a frothy yeasty foam.
Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine.
With the food processor running, very slowly pour about half of the yeast mixture in. Continue running the food processor, and watch as the mixture starts to thicken up. Once that has happened. slowly add the remaining yeast mixture and run the processor for 3 more minutes. The dough will become sticky, thick, and will pull into a ball when it's ready.
Lightly oil a large bowl with 1 teaspoon oil (I use a high heat-safe oil like avocado oil usually). Dump the dough into the oiled bowl, roll the dough ball around to coat in oil, and set a clean towel over top. Rest the dough for 45 minutes.
Divide the dough in half with a sharp knife.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and dust with brown rice flour and poppy seeds (or other seeds of your choice: sesame, flax, sunflower, and pepitas all are nice, but the smaller seeds adhere the best).
Coat your hands lightly in oil, then take one half of the dough and using your hands, start to gently shape into a baguette about 7 inches in length. Avoid pulling the dough apart, and be patient. Transfer the baguette to your prepared parchment, roll in the flour and seed mixture, and continue shaping the baguette until it's about 12 inches in length. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Lightly coat the baguette mold (or a baking sheet, if you don't have a baguette mold) with oil. Transfer the baguettes to the mold as you finish shaping them. Cover the shaped baguettes with a towel and allow to rise again, this time for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a sharp knife to make a very shallow slit down the centre of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baguettes from the mold or baking sheet and place directly on the oven rack. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the loafs are crisp, firm and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.
These baguettes, like all bread, are best fresh and the day they are baked. They also freeze really well: wrap well with plastic wrap, and then wrap again with foil to freeze. When ready to enjoy, allow it to come to room temperature and then re-wrap in foil and place in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes to refresh. You can also defrost the baguette in the oven by wrapping in foil and placing in a hot oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!!