Soft, chewy, and unbelievably tender, this Gluten-Free Beer Batter Cornbread is what gluten-free dreams are made of! A perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving feast.
YOU GUYS! I DID IT!
I DEVELOPED AND MADE A YEASTED GLUTEN-FREE BREAD ALL BY MYSELF! ? AND IT’S HEAVENLY!
Sorry for all of the yelling?, but this is pretty monumental for me. Yeasted gluten-free bread has haunted me for years! Yes, YEARS. But this gluten-free yeasted beer batter cornbread? It’s soft, supple, tenderly chewy, AND packed with flavor. It’s basically perfection! (Even if it did take me QUITE a few attempts).
Stop what you are doing right now, and add this to your gluten-free Thanksgiving menu. You won’t regret it – not for one second!
I know you’re probably thinking: “WHOOPDIE DO. You’re a baker’s daughter. You should be able to make bread in your sleep.”
Sure, if you gave me a big glob of glutenous flour I could work miracles, but, as you may know, gluten-free bread baking is a WHOLE different ball game. And, actually, I think being a baker’s daughter gave me a big disadvantage here: when it came to developing this gluten-free bread, I struggled and struggled hard. There were quite a few recipe trials and fails (did you see them on my Snapchat?? Follow me at GrainChanger!) as I couldn’t seem to let go of my traditional bread knowledge. News flash, Leah: your days of 5-ingredient yeasted bread doughs are over.
But that’s okay because, you guys, we have SUCCESS! Finallllly!
Soooo what makes gluten-free bread baking so tricky? And what are my magical secrets to making this bread work? Let’s chat:
[[WARNING: I’m about to get all baking nerdy on you. ? ***pushes glasses up on nose***]]
First of all, gluten is basically essential in yeasted bread baking. SO much more so than in non-yeasted baking. Gluten is what captures and traps the carbon dioxide that is released when the yeast ferments, helping the bread to rise. The elastic nature of gluten is also what helps give structure to the bread, and creates the traditional bread texture and crumb that we know and love. So what do we do for gluten-free bread? Add some (extra) xanthun gum!
I know that some people try to avoid xanthun gum, but in this recipe: it’s absolutely essential. It’s one of the ingredients that mimics gluten the best, and cannot be left out, or even substituted, in my opinion. Know it, love it, use it.
As I mentioned before, yeast releases carbon dioxide when it ferments, which the gluten hangs on to in traditional bread baking, giving structure to the bread. So what happens when we substitute xanthun gum that, while it’s the best we’ve got, still falls short? We need to add some more carbonation, to give the xanthun gum more to hold on to! To achieve this, I added some gluten-free beer to the dough (Tweason’ale by Dogfish Head to be exact – a favorite of mine!), in place of water or milk. BONUS: the beer also adds an amazing depth of flavor to the bread. No cardboard bread here!
If you want to avoid using beer, or have trouble finding gluten-free beer in your area, I bet club soda would work well, too! Same principle, but I haven’t tested it…. yet. 😉
Also, if you took a little sneak peek at the recipe already, you may have also noticed that there are a few other characters in the lineup that aren’t “normal” bread recipe standards: butter, eggs, and milk powder. As you may know, gluten-free flours tend to need more liquid and fat added to to achieve similar textures, as they tend to soak up a lot more moisture than traditional wheat flours – hence the addition of melted butter. Two birds with one stone! Egg is also essential in gluten-free bread baking, as it helps to make up for some of the lack of structure without gluten. For this recipe, just one egg will do! And as for the milk powder, that’s in there to help get your bread beautifully browned. Gluten-free flours don’t tend to brown up as nicely as wheat flour, but milk powder helps to get the job done.
PHEW. Are you guys as scienced out as I am?!
Ok: onnnne more little note on gluten-free bread baking. Last one! Promise!
Because of the lack of structure thanks to the lack of gluten, gluten-free bread dough tends to be thick and wet – think of it like a very thick cake batter – and won’t look like the dry, tight, ball of dough that you may be accustomed to. If your dough comes out wet – don’t fret! It’s actually a good thing. You only need to worry when your dough DOES shape into a nice, firm ball, because, well, you’re going to have problems, plain and simple.
While this cornbread isn’t really a “cornbread” per se (at least not in the sense that we are used to it today – cough Jiffy coughcough) it will make PERFECT addition to your Thanksgiving table. I mean, there’s corn (a staple for the settlers), BEER (Thanksgiving IS the most drunken holiday, afterall), and it’s GLUTEN-FREE meaning everyone gets to join in the carb-laden Thanksgiving fun! What more could you want?
I’m also planning on making a couple more loaves of this delicious bread between now and then to use in my stuffing AND for epic leftover sandwiches. Turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes and gravy all sandwiched between two slices of this tender gluten-free beer-battered cornbread gloriousness? At this point, I might be looking forward to the leftovers more than the feast itself!
HIGH-FIVES for gluten-free bread miracles, just in time for Thanksgiving! Just make sure you don’t prepare it too far in advance of your feast. It has a way of disappearing in a matter of minutes. Just sayin’ 😉
- ½ cup water
- 1 packet yeast
- 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup gluten-free beer, at room temperature
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup gluten-free cornmeal
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ - 2 ½ teaspoons xanthun gum*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon powdered milk
- In a small bowl, bloom the yeast by warming ½ cup water to 110 degrees, mixing in 1 teaspoon of honey, and then adding the yeast to the water. Stir gently, and then allow to sit on the counter, untouched, for 10 minutes. If the yeast is active, it should start to bubble and grow a bit.
- While the yeast is blooming, turn the oven to 200 degrees, and then turn it off immediately after it reaches temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, gluten-free flour, salt, xanthun gum, baking soda, and powdered milk. Set side.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 3 Tablespoons of honey, melted butter, egg, and gluten-free beer. Add in the yeast mixture after the 10 minutes is up, mixing lightly.
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Your dough should be wet and will look more like a thick cake batter than a dough. This is okay.
- Spray an oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and add the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven and allow the bread to proof for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, lightly spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, and sprinkle extra cornmeal in the pan to lightly coat the sides.
- After 45 minutes, remove the dough from the oven, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and transfer dough to the loaf pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and baked through.
- Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then gently transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, then slice and enjoy!