Gluten-Free Walnut Sandwich Bread

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The days have been long and cold and filled with snow and ice here in the northeast. It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to cook low-simmering stews and fragrant soup and fill the house with the scent of delicious food. So early this morning, with another storm heading my way, I hauled out a much-used soup pot, a couple bags of split peas, and a frozen ham bone leftover from the holidays and set to work. I now have a huge cauldron of bay leaf scented pea soup for dinner tonight – and several dinners after that, if we lose power.

And you know what? Even though I swore off baked goods until I lost all my “Christmas pounds”, today I’m throwing caution to the wind: it’s an I-really-want-some-fresh-bread for dinner kind of day. Thank goodness there isn’t a rule about the best kind of bread to eat with pea soup because I’m hungry for walnut bread.

The dough took a long time to rise in my very cold kitchen even though I put it in a warm oven (I preheated the oven to 100ºF, the lowest setting, then it turned off and aired it out for a few seconds to bring the temperature down to about 80ºF). I made a long cut across the top of the dough with a very pointy knife just before I baked it. But you can see the in picture below how it didn’t open evenly.


GFWalnutbread topshot

The side that is wider was on the hotter side of my oven. Even when I try to stick the whole pan there so it’ll bake evenly, it doesn’t work. As some of you may remember in my Babka escapades, the hot spot of an oven can really affect the final look of your bread. You might also notice that my walnut bread isn’t quite as high and round as the Babka; the finely ground walnuts I added to the walnut bread dough make the finished loaf  a little heartier – and a little less high.



But I have to say, even if it is a little crooked, like it smells incredible when it’s baking in the oven and it looks beautiful when it’s comes out..

GFWalnut bread

My recipe makes a large bread that you can bake in a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. It has a rich flavor and a complex, hearty texture from the finely ground nuts that enrich the dough. It’s perfect toasted for breakfast and topped with fruit preserves and nut butters, or served along side cheese or soup, and it makes a great sandwich with leftover roast chicken. Of course, tonight I’ll be enjoying it for dinner with my pea soup, but I know the left overs won’t be around for long.

gfwlanut bread one slice
Gluten-Free Walnut Sandwich Bread

Allow the bread to rise slowly. Don’t put it in a place that is too warm; the ideal temperature is about 80ºF. A fast rise will contribute to an unstable bread that is likely to fall. The xanthan gum needs time to “set” in gluten-free breads. Also, try not to let the bread rise above the pan before you bake it, because this will also contribute to instability. It should be no more than 1 inch below the top of the pan. You can use non-diary milk substitutes. If you don’t want to use the gelatin, add extra egg yolk or leave out entirely.

Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons skim or 1 or 2% milk (or milk substitute) (110º F)
1/4 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs (room temperature
2 2/3 cups Bread Flour Mix*
1/3 cup finely ground walnut
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1- 1/4 oz. packet active dry yeast granules (not quick rise)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and dust with rice flour. Your bread will rise more dependably when baked in a shiny metal pan that isn’t non-stick.
  2. Mix eggs and canola oil together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (except chopped walnuts) in large bowl of electric mixer. Quickly add warm milk and egg and oil mixture to the bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Mix in chopped walnuts. Spoon dough into prepared pan; cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30–40 minutes or until dough just reaches 1/2 inch below top of pan. If you use a warm 80ºF oven to help the bread rise, and you have only one oven, you will have to pull the bread out before it is finished rising in order to preheat the oven to bake it.
  4. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400ºF while bread is rising (do not use a convection oven; bread will brown too quickly).
  5. Bake bread in center of preheated oven for 10 minutes, cover with aluminum foil (leave a little leave room for bread to rise) and crimp foil tightly around edges so it doesn’t open while bread is baking. Bake another 55 to 60 minutes. Your bread should have a hollow sound when tapped on the sides and bottom, and your instant-read thermometer should register about 200-205°F. Remove bread from oven and turn it onto a rack to cool. You can pre-slice the bread into 16 slices, not including ends. Wrap bread well in plastic wrap and then foil. Store in refrigerator for up to three days or freezer for up to three weeks.

Cook’s Notes: Dry ingredients can be mixed ahead and stored in plastic containers for future use. Do not add yeast until just ready to bake bread.* Find my Bread Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.

©2013 by Annalise Roberts

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18 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Walnut Sandwich Bread”

  1. Good morning!
    I have a Zojiroushi bread machine
    (Virtuoso) and two of your books.
    Zojiroushi recommends brown rice for their gf bread. I have also read that you use it some… 1.have you any information about the dangers of using rice because it has levels of
    arsenic in it that would be prohibitive if used on a regular basis… especially the brown rice. Consumer reports did an article on this, so it has been fairly well documented. Just wondered what your thoughts are.
    2.Also, going to try the millet blend today so hope that is a workable alternative.
    Where is the best place to get fresh millet flour?
    3. I just wondered if any of the settings on the Zo machine are the same as your homemade one?
    Thank you for all the research and work you have done for us.
    Truly appreciated…Sincerely,

    1. hi Wendy,
      I have read a lot about the arsenic levels in rice and I plan to keep a watchful eye on developments. Of course, arsenic is present in many foods and so it’s hard to avoid completely. I use brown rice flour in my all purpose flour mix, but not in my bread flour mix (which uses millet and sorghum as the whole grain). However, as you have probably read in my books, I’m not a big advocate of eating sweet baked goods or even bread every day. I don’t think any grains are particularly good for us. As a result, not only do I not eat a lot of rice, but I really don’t eat enough sweet baked goods to worry about the arsenic in the rice flour. That said, if you eat a diet that includes large amounts of rice every day, you might want to think about where you can cut back –if it concerns you.

      I try to buy Arrowhead Mills millet because it always seems fresher than Bob’s Red Mill’s.I buy it in stores that get a lot of turnover (like my local WholeFoods). Not sure where you live, but you want to make sure the bag of millet flour smells sweet and grainy when you open the bag, otherwise it will be bitter and off-tasting when you bake it in the bread.

      The Virtuoso works a little different than there other models because the lid warms up. This means you should reduce the rise time to 25-30 minutes because otherwise, it rises too fast and too much (if your home is cold you might need 30 to 35 minutes). You might also need to reduce the bake time to 55 to 60 minutes, but first try it with just rise reduced.

      Let me know if you try it and you have questions. I’m here to help.

      Very best regards,

  2. Thank you so much for answering.
    I tried the millet blend and the
    flavor is just wonderful. I need to tweak it a bit for moisture. You are spot on as far as your suggestions as to rise and bake time. Will let you know. We do not eat baked goods with every meal either, especially the sweet ones (I just ran out of space… but thank you!!!

    1. hi!
      You are very welcome!
      I hope you enjoy the breads you make and let me know if you have other questions.
      Very best,

      PS. I just realized that if your bread was a bit dry, it could be because of the pan. Was it a dark or thick pan?

    2. Brown rice (and white) cultivated in California and Canada do not have the arsenic levels that are inherent in rices from USA. The arsenic problem arises from growing the rices in soil that at any point had crops such as cotton. So I always inquire where the rices are cultivated. I purchase my brown rice in particular from Authentic Foods, Vitacost (they carry a rather fine Superfine category of several flours), and also has responded that their rices do not contain arsenic. For me, it is what it is, so I try to make my gf blends and recipes with other whole grain flours but I do not shy away from the rices. You are right that one should be cognizant of how much you are ingesting. Hope this info helps.

  3. Hi, Annalise, Could you please tell us how to make ground walnuts? Is finely chopping good enough to work in this recipe? Many thanks! Debbie H.

    1. hi!
      I used a mini food processor, but if I didn’t have one, I’d use a blender (although it’d be harder to get it all out of the blender). If no blender or mini chopper, I’d crush it to the best of my abilities with a rolling pin (nuts in a plastic bag and a dish cloth on top of that).

      In any case, you have to make sure you don’t over process or you get nut butter (delicious nut butter, but not what we want in the recipe).

      Hope you enjoy the bread!
      Very best,

  4. HI, I enjoy your blog so much, and hope you can help me. I am trying to find a recipe for a rollable pizza style dough that is gluten free, yeat-free and corn free. There are so many cookbooks and e books that have promised great this and that, I buy them, and I can’t use them because of her allergies, the expense is killing my budget.

    1. hi!
      I don’t have a rollable pizza crust, but I do have a really delicious pizza crust that you can spread or pat into a pizza pan. It first appeared in the November, 2005 issue of Gourmet magazine, and then in my first book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics, which came out in April, 2006 (and the second edition, in 2008). Gourmet put it online in January, 2007 and so you can find the recipe here:

      The recipe for the flour mix uses my all-purpose brown rice flour mix which is made up of finely ground brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. The pizza crust also uses millet flour (I recommend Arrowhead Mills, because it is usually fresher than Bob’s Red Mill). Also, I typically recommend Authentic Foods Extra Finely Ground Brown Rice Flour, but for the pizza crust, you can use Bob’s Red Mill because even though it is grittier, it works well in the pizza (just be sure the bag is fresh). The brand of the potato starch and tapioca starch doesn’t matter (and I typically use Bob’s Red Mill or Authentic Foods). I like Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum best.

      Although the recipe says to spread the dough with an offset spatula (you can dampen it if it sticks) many people have told me they simply press the dough out under a greased peace of plastic.

      If you decide to give the recipe a try, I hope you enjoy it! And if you have any questions, I’m here to help!

      Very best,

  5. I have a 4.5 bread pan but it is that taller shape with the corrugated sides sold by King Arthur and recommended for gf baking. Would this bread fit in that size pan or do I need to use the 9×5?

    1. hi!
      Yes that pan should work (I’ve used those pans myself). You’ll get a slightly thicker crust than if you used a thinner sided pan, but it will still be delicious. An alternate way of baking this bread is to bake it at 375º F for 35 to 40 minutes without any foil on top. I give directions for this in my new book – The Heirloom Collection, but thought I’d mention it here – the reason being, the pan you want to use is pretty heavy, but since the bread bakes for less time in the newer directions, the crust may not get as thick as it would if you baked it longer.

      If you have any problems – or questions- let me know and I’ll try to help out.

      Very best regards,

  6. Hello,
    I have been enjoying your comments on flours and how the various starches and additives behave. It helps a lot to understand how things work and will help me tweak recipes to my own requirements.

    I am considering baking my own GF bread, but do not yet have any 9×5 bread pans. You mention a shiny, nonstick pan works best, but I haven’t found any pans without a coating. What kind do you use?


    1. Hi Wendy,

      I can recommend the USA bread pans (Link below), even though they say non-stick, because they are light, shiny metal with an excellent weight for GF breads (they are heavy enough that they help with a slow rise). If you buy one, be sure that when you grease and flour the pan, you get a good coating of flour all over the inside. You can find these at a lot of stores and online.

      I actually love my Nordic Ware Natural Bread pan (my 9×5-inch pan). See link below. It is the ideal weight. I used it to make the walnut bread here on this blog.
      I ordered it online.

      Sur La Table has an excellent line of shiny pans. Check it out online (or you might have a store near where you live).

      Hope this helps.

      Very best,

      1. Thank you very much for your prompt reply about pans. I live in Canada, but have been able to find both pans on I knew USA Pans consistently is recommended, but I was wondering about the nonstick coating and your reply covered that – a big help!

        I am retired, bake for one, and don’t eat a lot of bread. I also have a LOT of secondary allergies and to keep from developing more, my doctor has me rotating all my foods, including oils and grains. So I can’t use a single flour mix or even handle a high amount of starches in the mix. I even rotate between yeast breads, soda breads and unleavened breads.

        I mostly stick to whole foods and have replaced bread and pasta with vegetables or whole/cracked grains as much as possible. But as you say on your blog, sometimes you just feel like some bread with supper!

        For now, I am concentrating on learning more about artisan-style breads. Luckily, I love the taste and textures of denser breads.

        So, your explanations are really helping me understand how to tweak recipes. I bought your Gluten-Free Baking Classics today! I will be reading and re-reading your book a lot, I think!

        Thanks again,
        Wendy (Ottawa, Canada)

        1. Hi Wendy,

          You are very welcome. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I’d be happy to help.

          Ultimately, I think that even if you and I don’t eat a lot of bread, when we do, it should taste delicious and not break our hearts. And so, I’m happy to tell you that you’ll find several fragrant, easy to make, delicious breads in that book!

          Very best,

  7. As I mentioned above, I have to rotate all my foods due to allergies. So, what I have done is to premix the starches in your bread mix as one option and I use it for bread and for other no-rice-flour recipes. It works perfectly – no surprise as you have already tested it for me!

    Then I needed a *completely different* starch mix to use with brown rice for a rotation option. Your website and cookbook REALLY helped me figure this out. I read and reread everything you said about starches and substitutions. I read where you suggested that one chef used arrowroot plus your remarks about sweet rice flour. You mentioned that both add dampness, and you also remarked that white rice flour is mostly starch and is drying. The final result: a second starch mix that is 1/3 arrowroot, 1/3 sweet rice flour and 1/3 white rice flour. So far it has worked beautifully in all the brown-rice-flour recipes I have tried (mostly non-yeast recipes).

    In fact, I make yeast-free soda flat bread (with yogurt/cottage cheese to provide a yeast-like tang) for pizza dough and it is fantastic. It browns nicely on the bottom and has a soft, pillowy texture. But, best of all, it has a lovely chewy texture and I thought, “Aha! that’s the sweet rice flour and maybe the arrowroot”.

    Maybe others with multiple restrictions might wish to try this mixture, and, if so, I hope it works well for them too.

    Thank you so much for helping me understand more about how things work in baking.

    1. Hi there!

      You are very welcome!

      Wow you are a fabulously methodical tester. Welcome to my world! I love the way you approached your situation. And yes, I wold say that the extra chewy part is the sweet rice flour. It does seem to add a bit of lovely texture that you can’t get with other flours.

      Very best,

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