Before I got sick, I was an avid baker. I made breads, pies, pastries, and even a wedding cake once. I also lived in France, where I ate the best bread in the world on a daily basis.
When developed Chronic Fatigue, I was terrified that I’d have to give up gluten. I tried a bunch of diets to try to heal my symptoms, and I was so relieved when going gluten-free didn’t help. My beloved carbs were saved!
However, I still taught myself to bake gluten-free because my sister IS highly sensitive to gluten. Cutting out gluten was a game-changer for her health.
I don’t believe food restrictions should keep anyone from enjoying global cuisine. Especially the glory that is French bread! So I developed this recipe in honor of my dear sister. It has the best consistency of any gluten-free bread I’ve tried. It’s crisp on the outside and tender inside. The tapioca mimics the pull-apart texture of gluten, while the yeast gives it that true bread-y flavor and aroma.
I’ve also included some modifications for vegans and those who don’t use refined sugar in the recipe notes. The only restrictions this bread won’t work for are paleo and grain-free diets. For them, I recommend Danielle Walker’s bread recipes.
I hope you enjoy this bread and share it with all the diet-restricted people you love. Bon appétit!
Gluten Free French Bread
- 2 cups white rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 packets (14g) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
- 3 eggs, separated
In a medium bowl, stir together the rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and salt.
In a small bowl, mix warm water and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the yeast and let it rest a few minutes. If it foams up, you're ready to make some bread. If not, you may need warmer or cooler water, or some new yeast.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flours and mix well. I like to knead the dough in the bowl with my hands, but a spoon or dough hook would work too. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and egg whites (reserve yolks for next step). Mix until smooth.
Grease or line two loaf pans with parchment paper. Divide the dough between the two pans. In a small bowl, mix together 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Using a brush or your hands, coat the dough with a thin layer of egg mixture.
Cover the pans with a clean towel and let the dough rest in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour. I like to put mine in a oven that's been slightly warmed and then shut off.
Once your dough has risen, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Be sure to remove your pans first if you have them in the oven. Bake the loaves for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F (200 C). Bake another 25-30 minutes, until golden.
Remove the loaves from their pans and cool on a wire rack. This bread is at its best when fresh and warm, but will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
• To make this recipe vegan, use 5 tablespoons aquafaba in place of egg whites. Omit egg wash. The crust will still be crisp, but won't be as golden.
• You may use honey, coconut sugar, or other natural sweeteners in place of white sugar. Honey is my favorite and works great.
Recipe adapted from A Saucy Kitchen
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Photos: Sam Steere