To learn more about how I created this recipe and what I’ve learned about bread-making, see this blog post: Gluten-free Bread Making — What I’ve Learned.
In my quest to create a simple paleo bread recipe, I created this basic cassava white bread recipe. It’s more dense than regular bread, but if you can’t do eggs, it’s a great option.
Yeast is great in paleo breads because it gives your bread a “bread-like” flavor. I know, crazy idea. According to Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (aka The Paleo Mom), yeast is fine in Paleo diets if you’re allowing gluten-free beer and wine. She explains it all here.
But the yeast and cassava flour alone doesn’t seem to give us enough rise. At first, I thought maybe my yeast was dead or tainted, but I proofed it by dissolving 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water and letting it sit until it bubbled, approximately 5 minutes (see lessons on yeast here). My yeast was fine, so I knew I needed to do more work to make it rise better.
My mom has been baking bread using einkorn wheat which is an heirloom wheat flour that’s heavier than “normal” wheat. In discussing our dense bread issues, she suggesting adding eggs for more rise. Adding 1-2 eggs didn’t make much of a difference, so I went all in and added half a dozen to see if lots of eggs would make a difference. (I tried a keto bread recipe that had great texture but tasted like eggs [yuck–I love eggs but not as a bread flavor] and used around a dozen eggs, so 6 seemed reasonable.)
I’ve made other bread recipes using eggs and cassava/ paleo flour combinations and had great success with high-rising loaves, and this one was definitely better than the last. It had a nice rise, a pretty domed top, a lovely browned color, but it was still denser than I wanted.
Mom also read (somewhere) that if your bread is too dense, you’re using too much flour, so my next step was to reduce the flour. I could have reduced it gradually, but I thought, why not go all in?
This photo shows the difference in the loaves when the only thing I varied was the amount of cassava flour. Both loaves have a buttery yellow color (from the egg yolks) and a nice rounded top. The loaf on the right is 2 days older, and has started to go stale (homemade bread only lasts 2-3 days since it doesn’t have preservatives), but the appearance of it has not changed since the initial baking.
The loaf on the left (2.5 cups flour) has 1 cup less flour and is significantly less dense. Notice how the air pockets are nice and round? In the loaf on the right (3.5 cups flour), the air pockets look more squished and the slices of bread feel heavier and thicker (even if you cut the same size slice). Both breads taste the same, but (not surprisingly after what my mom said) the loaf with less flour rose slightly higher than the one with more flour. (It’s hard to tell on the plate there since it slants upward, but side by side on a flat surface, less flour definitely equalled a greater rise.)
Exchanging the water for milk was the final step in perfecting this loaf. I also added some baking powder to help give it a little more lift. Neither of these is strictly necessary, but I like the final result even better.
1. Place all ingredients EXCEPT YEAST into bread machine in the order listed. (If you plan to remove the beater, pour the olive oil over the metal prong the beater goes over, then place the beater in the bowl. This will keep your bread from sticking and being difficult to clean.)
With a clean finger, make a small well in the top of the flour in the middle of the machine (over the beater). Pour yeast into the well and start the machine kneading on settings for a 2-pound gluten-free loaf.
2. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing. NOTE: This bread dough will be wet (like cake batter) and will not look like the dough is supposed to look according to bread machine instructions.
Sugar is necessary to feed the yeast. You can substitute honey or maple syrup, but nonnutritive sweeteners (stevia and other no-calorie sweeteners) will not feed the yeast (and your bread won't rise).
*DAIRY-FREE OPTION: substitute water for milk (1:1). The milk isn't necessary, but softens the final product a bit.
For Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, use rosemary-infused olive oil (if available, regular olive oil works just as well) and add 1 tbsp dried rosemary before adding the cassava flour.
No bread machine? No problem.
Turn your oven on to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes, then turn it off (this provides a warm place for the dough to rise). Knead the dough by hand and shape into a loaf or place in loaf pans (you may need 2). Let it rise for 45 minutes at 80-90 degrees (F). Remove from oven, bring oven temperature to 350 degrees (F). Bake at 350 for 75 minutes and check temperature for doneness (internal temp of 205 degrees).
For the past 20+ years, I've been cooking to accommodate a variety of food preferences, allergies, and styles. Lately, I've been working on paleo breads and baking with cassava flour since we've realized it's sooooooo much easier to send The Wee Man to preschool with sandwiches in his lunch. Visit our About Us page to learn more.Read More