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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gluten Free Beet Bread

Adventures in Making Gluten Free Beet Bread
Free of gluten, eggs, nuts and soy

Gluten Free Beet Bread with strained yogurt cheese

Seriously.  That's not food colouring.  It's gluten free bread made with beets.  Don't believe me?  Keep reading.  

I've been wanting to do this for awhile now.  A couple of months ago I was trolling the internet, searching for things to do with some beet puree leftover from my gluten free chocolate beet muffins and cupcakes when I came across this awesome-looking recipe on Taste for Adventure for a regular, glutiny beet bread.

Well those of you who follow me have probably noticed I have a thing for slipping beets into baked goods and just about everything else.  

First there was the aforementioned muffins and cupcakes.

And finally and most recently, my Gluten Free Beet Ravioli.  

What can I say?  I like beets.  I also LOVE the gorgeous colour they lend to everything they encounter.  

So I finally got around to fiddling with the recipe to convert it to a gluten free beet bread.  The result was pretty decent.  It's totally edible, but it's definitely in need of tweaking.  Since this is what I had planned to share with you this week and I don't have anything else stellar to share, I'll tell you the good and the bad and maybe, just maybe, some of you more experienced GF chefs can help me figure out what to do with this!  

I actually don't make a lot of GF loaves of bread, I tend to stick to my super easy Flax Bread, and my  Sprouted Green Lentil and Red Lentil Breads, so I'm experimenting a bit out of my element here.   This is a work in progress.

Here's my verdict on this bread so far:

The Good

1) It's gorgeous.  The colour is stunning.  Who would believe that a baked good could have such a show stopping colour, completely naturally?!  

2) It's cheap and easy to make.  Ingredients are minimal and free of most major allergens. 

3) It smells awesome when it's baking.

4) The flavour is pretty good.  It's kin of like what I remember rye bread to be like.  It's definitely got a bit of a beet bite to it, which is good if you like beets, not so much if you don't. 

The Bad:

1)  It's heavy.  Something went wrong and it didn't rise as well as I had hoped.

2) The texture is not quite right.  It's dense, so the crust is fairly hard, and the innards are "clingy".   I don't know how else to explain this.  It's not gummy, or even really dry, but it's a bit of a workout to chew (also like how I remember rye bread to be!).  Next time I'm going to try it without xanthan gum as I think that will help. 

* So next time I'm going to try it without xanthan, and perhaps with more starch and some baking powder.  I want it to lighten up and be softer.  Perhaps even sweeter, like with some honey.  I may also mix it less.  For regular bread, kneading a long time is a good thing.  Not so for GF bread.  I should have listened to my instincts and not kneaded too long.  

Also, I ground most of the flours I used in my coffee grinder = not the finest grind.  Coffee grinder flour is ok in small amounts, not so much in larger ones, as the grind is a bit gritty and makes for heavier baked goods.  

So again, I'd love to hear your tips on making GF bread, especially for lightening the loaf and getting that springy texture! 

Gf beet bread dough in progress
¼ c + 1 Tbsp warm water
1 ¼ tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar or equivalent sweetener to feed the yeast

About 2.5 cups of GF flour (+ more for dusting and kneading) I used: 
½ c tapioca starch
½ c potato starch
½ c sorghum flour
½ c millet flour
½ c rice flour + more for dusting and kneading 

1 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp xanthan gum (I’d probably do without this next time)
2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

¾ c beet puree (this is approx. 1.5 – 2 beets, roasted in a covered container or wrapped in tin foil and roasted at 375F for about an hour, until soft, then pureed in the blender/food processor.  The original recipe called for raw beets, and I may do that instead next time)
½ c yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 


1) In a small bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar and allow to rest for 5 minutes, until it starts to bubble. 

2) In the meantime, mix your flours, flax meal, salt and optional poppy seeds in a bowl.  

3) In a large  bowl, combine your beet puree, yogurt an apple cider vinegar.  

4) Blend the yeast and flour  mix into the beet mix.  

5) On a floured surface, lay out the beet mixture, knead a few times to work in some flour to get a more dough-y texture.  Work into a circle, about 8" across and 1.5 " high.  Transfer to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  

6) Allow to rise about 1 hr in a warm spot (i.e. oven with a light turned on, or with a bread pan of hot water, or heat oven to 200F while prep'ing dough, then turn off heat and place bread in warm oven).   Score an X on the top of the bread. 

7) Heat oven to 350F, then bake the bread for 30-35 minutes.  

How do you get your GF bread to be light and fluffy?  I'd love to hear how you've learned to tweak and maneuver GF bread! 

OAS Info: This recipe is free of all the major allergens listed on all the OAS charts I've seen. 


  1. This bread is beautiful! Sorry it didn't turn out as well as you hoped. Maybe next time? I made some failed bread this week. At least you only had one loaf! (It looks pretty tasty to me, though!) Thanks for linking up at Gluten-Free Monday on

    1. Thanks Heidi (and sorry about your bread too!). It does taste good, it's just the texture that needs some work. I'll be tinkering with it again this week once I pick up some more finely ground flour ;)

  2. I love the color! This will be great for Valentines day made into little heart shaped breads. I too love beets like crazy so I appreciate you working this loaf out. I would say you are right about getting a finer grain flour, instead of millet you might try almond flour. It is lighter than millet and for me it tends to bake better. I like xanthum gum for the crumb (it helps it to stay together) or maybe use guar gum instead they basically do the same thing. I interchange them all the time. I didn't see the amount of baking powder you might up-it just a tad. And if the center is too gummy try 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and 1/4 cup of milk of choice and add the vinegar to the milk and let it set for about 5-7 minutes to curdle. Makes it like a buttermilk mixture which helps to power up the baking powder.
    Gluten free bread does much better in the smaller pans also so maybe it's better baked in rolls. Good luck with it and let us know how it comes out! YUM!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Olinda! I'll definitely have to fiddle with it. I'm extremely allergic to almonds, though so can't use almond flour :(

      I'm actually thinking of eliminating all gums, as it holds together just fine, and probably a bit too much! But you're right, there was not baking powder in the original recipe and I thought the yeast would be enough, but it clearly wasn't so there will be some powder next time. I will try curdling the milk and yogurt, and possibly making it into rolls, too! Thanks for the ideas :)

  3. LOVE IT!Beets are amazing. I eat them all the time. With my smoothies, in my salad, and lately I've made beet cornbread muffins, which are super delicious.
    COlor of this bread is awesome! I am so going to make it!

    1. Ooh, momphotographer beet cornbread muffins sound wonderful! I'd love to hear your recipe ;)

      If you make the bread, let me know what you think - I'm still tweaking it so if you do something different please do let me know :)

  4. Hi Danielle! I'm definitely intrigued. I hate to admit it, but I've never had beets...what do they taste like? Since eliminating wheat and most grains from my diet, my taste buds have changed and I'm discovering and loving new vegetables all the time. Maybe I'll give beets a try! :)

    All of the breads that I make are quick breads, not yeast breads, so I'm not sure what to suggest, but it sounds like you've received some good ideas to try in the comments above. :)


    1. Anne-Marie, beets taste differently depending on how you do them, but in general they have an earthy, yet sweet flavour to them. Some people find them too earthy at first, but I personally think they're wonderful! Even my husband, who was not a fan, now really likes my beet chocolate muffins and will even take them out with him as a snack.

      You can eat them raw (i.e. shredded into salads) but I like them best roasted in the oven in foil or a covered dish for 45 min-1 hr - this brings out the sweetness and softens the earthiness of them. Baby beets are a great place to start, as they're even sweeter. Baked beet chips are also great.

      They're extremely good for you, very high in antioxidants and vitamins! I eat them almost every day ;)

  5. Mmmm - this sounds delicious! I have been trying to incorporate beets into our diet and this will be a great way! Please share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions

  6. WOW!! This is really bright, especially for natural coloring! I hope you'll be able to get it just right.

    1. Thanks, Hanunyah. I'll be taking another crack at it this week and will be sure to update as soon as I get better results! It's still edible right now, just not perfect ;p

  7. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  8. How super fun is that!? We have an abundance of beets from our CSA so I might be trying this!

  9. I adapted your methodology to the ingredients, except I used one package of Bob's Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix (just shy of 3-1/2 cups) instead of regular flour. It was a shade sticky so I used a bit of tapioca flour to knead and shape. No xanthan, no flax, no yogurt, and I pureed the raw beets.

    I did have to bake it about 40 minutes, but that could be my oven. It rose nicely and it came out great!

    1. That's fantastic! Thanks so much for letting me know. I haven't tried making again and you've inspired me, I think I'll have to give it another go!

  10. Hi again. I used your recipe last night, omitting the xanthan and poppy seed. I pureed the cooked beets, but absentmindedly dumped in the entire batch of puree, probably 1-1/4 cups. Good thing I'd made your flour mix at 3/4 cup each ingredient, because I needed it all, plus some extra rice flour. I also added 2 Tbsp olive oil, because my last loaf was dry-tasting.

    Again, it rose nicely and was a much prettier pink. It doesn't hold together as well as the last loaf, but it's softer and a bit less dense. One slice is a good breakfast. Toasted with a slice of bacon = mmm!

    The beet taste is probably not for everyone, I admit, but my "Baba" would have liked it, and I do too.

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know! I really appreciate you sharing your experiment. I have some beets in the fridge and I think I'll give this another go and see what I come up with. I'll post results here :)

  11. Om Om. So happy for you to be baking gluten free dear friend. What I do is don't use yeast. I use sodium bicarb with raw apple cider vinegar. If you add vinegar without the s.b. it won't have the chemical reaction and make it fluffy. So you prepare your bread and or cake and when it's all mixed and ready for the oven you add the vinegar. you fold the vinegar in slowly and smoothly. If you mix it the bread or cake will come out like a brick. So folding is the key here.

    Also if you don't want it so moist then don't use so much liquid. Forego the yogurt and use the water instead. It'll cook off easier.

    Also delete the xantham gum. With the tapioca you don't need it and it may make it more gluey in texture.

    for gluten free flour I use quinoa flour, white sourgum, sweet rice and brown rice in equal amounts like equally say 1& 1/2 cups then the other 1 & 1/2 cup would be tapioca.

    I am vegan so don't use eggs and use flax ground very well. 1tbsp freshly ground flax + 3 tbsps fresh water = 1 egg. If the recipe would be calling for 3 eggs I would use 5 "eggs" of flax. If you use chia also grind them.

    **** prepare the flax or chia mixture at the onset of the preparation so it has time to sit and become "egglike."

    p.s. I'm a professional baker and have worked years on these techniques. I'm in New York and this works well there. Depending upon your water source and your altitude you may need to vary.

    Love and light to you all.

    I'm baking a beetroot gluten free vegan bread in about 1/2 hour. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Oh, also, don't bake the beetroot. and try not food processing the beets either. grinding anything with metal takes the prana (life force) out of it. You can shred the beets raw and use them. I know this is also through metal but with the hand and much less metallic process being sent through the food. Always using stone or the hands is the best and most natural way of everything.

    One Love always!


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