Why not double a gluten-free bread recipe?
I've recently begun baking my own GF bread, mostly using recipes from Gluten Free on A Shoestring. The author says to never double a GF yeast bread recipe, saying that it "just doesn't work". She says she doesn't know why, but to just not do it.
I'm skeptical because that makes no sense to me. I used to double wheaten yeast bread recipes all the time. So why wouldn't one double a GF yeast bread? Is there an actual good reason not to do it?
I have a double batch rising in my kitchen right now, livin' on the edge ;)
Gluten substitutes like gums aren't nearly as forgiving and sturdy as strands of gluten protein, so GF dough is structurally more delicate than gluten dough and prone to collapsing in on itself. If you double a yeasted recipe, always divide it into two separate batches/loaves for proofing and baking. If you try to keep it as one large batch the weight won't allow for a sufficient rise. And if you do manage to get a decent rise, baking it as single extra-large loaf still increases the likelihood that it will collapse on itself in the oven and you'll end up with a dense, brick-like bread.
The other issue is even distribution of ingredients, particularly the gluten substitute. Always sift your dry ingredients well, and mix thoroughly after adding the wet ingredients to ensure that everything is incorporated completely. Remember that in a larger batch there's obviously a greater area for the ingredients to cover. This doesn't pose as much of a problem for wheat-based dough because the gluten is in the flour itself, so wherever there's flour, there's gluten to support it. But with GF dough you're *adding in* that structural substitute, and if it isn't properly dispersed throughout the entire dough the structure of the baked bread won't be consistent throughout.
So technically you *can* double a yeasted GF recipe, you just need to bear those potential impediments in mind and proceed accordingly.
How did it turn out?
Hey goodhealthgourmet, thanks for your very informative comment! The breads came out great! I doubled the recipe because I wanted to make two loaves, so I raised abd baked them in two separate loaf pans (actually, I did one in an old-style Corningware casserole, so it came out square.)
So it really sounds, from what you say, that the advice not to double is for the casual baker who is used to using mixes, rather than the person used to baking from scratch. I always weigh and sift my flours and other dries, and I mix my GF dough in a stand mixer (because my joints can't take mixing anything stiff by hand.)
I used Pamela's Artisan-flour blend because I'm new to GF baking and not wanting to deal with making up a blend of several flours every time I bake. I live in a very dry climate, so I added a little extra moisture as well, because my previous experiments indicated I should. I got a good rise and a very nice texture in the final product.
The bread also tasted good, I cubed the square loaf to make croutons which are also delicious. My next trick is figuring out how to make a very soft crust on a GF loaf.
I'm so glad it came out well! Sounds like you did everything right :)
To achieve a softer crust, brush it *generously* with butter (assuming you can have dairy) as soon as it comes out of the oven, and cover the baked bread with a towel while it cools - this will trap the steam and soften the crust.
Any recipe that contains dairy & eggs will have a softer crust, so you might want to play around with substituting milk for part of the water in your recipe (again assuming you can have dairy).