Gluten-Free Communion Bread 1.0: Round Sweet Loaves (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free allergen-friendly)

Gluten Free Communion BreadThe following recipe was served to the Wartburg Seminary community during the chapel service on May 15, 2013. I had made a very similar version for a service in February; however, this one had slightly better texture and taste. The general consensus was that this was “good bread.”

Considering that I cannot share this recipe without linking back to another “inspiration recipe” it may not seem like I did a lot of work to get to this point, but rest assured my baking notebook is filled with failed attempts. After a weekend of multiple failed attempts, I decided I did not need to start out by reinventing everything from scratch, especially since my goal is to not have inexperienced bakers be afraid to attempt this at home!

This recipe that worked was inspired by the Bread Bowl recipe from Pamela’s Products, and at this point I cannot yet say how altering the flour mix will change the resulting bread. (I do intend to test this recipe with other flour mixes, and will report my results. If you try it as well, please report your results in the comments area.)

Makes 6-7 round loaves depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix flour*
  • 2 yeast packets
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 4-6 T honey (preference based on sweetness desired and consistency)*
  • 1 T molasses
  • 4-6 T granulated sugar of any type (can be omitted but will be less sweet)*
  • Olive oil for oiling hands and coating top of bread rounds halfway through baking time

Directions:

Prepare baking sheets or stones by placing parchment paper over entire surface.

Place flour in very large bowl and create a well in the middle to pour all of the other ingredients into. Add all other ingredients and mix well. I find mixing this by hand works fine, but you may use a stand or hand mixer as well. The texture will be very different from other types of bread (almost goopy or sticky). However, when it is well mixed you will notice the text start to “come together” and change a bit, and this is when you can stop mixing. I find this takes about 3-5 minutes when mixing by hand, but you may be more efficient than I am!

I find it easiest to use disposable plastic gloves to make the loaves. Either way it is helpful to oil your hands before beginning to scoop the dough onto the baking sheets or stones.

I use two small/average handfuls of dough to make one round loaf of this bread. Simple scoop onto the baking sheet and then smooth out a bit. I usually fit three round mounds onto each of my two baking stones. Then cover with flour sack towel or loose plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour. (I am experimenting with a non-rising version as well.) I generally use my warm (not hot!) oven to do this. I have also allowed it to rise prior to shaping into loaves and I find doing the shaping first is more effective.

Go ahead and score the loaves now if you want (I do one simple cross pattern on each round). You will likely want to re-score them halfway through the baking time.

Set oven at 325 degrees. (unless your oven bakes “hot” or “cold” on average and then adjust accordingly!)

Bake 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven briefly, re-score if desired, and lightly coat with olive oil before returning to the oven, and bake another 18-20 minutes.

total baking time is 36-40 minutes generally and for me depends on what rack in my oven the bread is baking on.

Remove from oven and let cool!

Special notes:

*The Gluten Free Bread Flour mix I used is a Pamela’s product, and generally easy to find in area grocery stores I have been to as well as online. It worked better than any of my own mixes I have tried so far although my long-term goal is to give readers many tested options. Before replacing this flour with another flour mix, please look closely at the ingredients in this flour mix. It is created specifically for making gluten-free bread, and it also has some sweetener added to it. I feel like this level of sweetness is desired in order to cover the flavor of some of the GF flours. (I did not add as much sweetener to my first attempts and the community it was served to noticed as they are used to honey-sweetened flat bread being served at communion.)

Please also notice that the directions include using parchment paper. This helps both with the bread not sticking at all and with any possible cross-contamination coming from the pans. Even though the stoneware I use for baking has never touched gluten, I still use parchment paper every time I bake this bread. For both cross-contamination reasons (more on that in future posts) and general hygiene please make sure all equipment and hands are clean while baking the bread, and use only clean (gluten crumb free!) containers to transport the bread.

PLEASE, please, please let me know how it turns out if you attempt this recipe! And, as always, please share your experiences and what you are looking for in a gluten-free communion bread recipe.

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