Crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside is what we expect from a French bread, and this baguette fits the bill. Just say the word baguette and you conjure up a picture in your mind of a young French garçon in stripes strolling down the street with a few loaves tucked into his elbow. It goes with anything and everything. It’s never made at home in France because the French are dedicated to the morning task of a trip to the boulangerie. But if you want a great gluten-free baguette, you do have to make it yourself, and this is your recipe to do it. If you want an even crisper crust, just leave it in the oven about five minutes longer.
1. Grease the inside of a long French baguette pan with vegetable oil or softened butter.
2. Combine the chia seeds, yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes while the yeast proofs. Combine the 2/3 cup of millet flour and the garbanzo bean flour, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and salt in a deep mixing bowl and whisk well.
3. When the yeast looks frothy add the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water and the melted butter and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat the dough for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough has the consistency of a drop biscuit dough. Add more millet flour by 1 tablespoon amounts in necessary.
4. Scrape the dough evenly into the prepared pan, forming it into a long line. Cover the pan loosely with a sheet of oiled plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm spot, or until it has doubled in bulk. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with poppy seeds, if using.
5. Place the oven racks in the middle and lowest positions. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack and place a pizza stone on the upper rack. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit toward the end of the rising time, bring a kettle of water to a boil, and have a spray bottle of water handy.
6. Pour 1 cup of boiling water into the heated sheet pan and slide the bread pan on top of the heated pizza stone. Spray the walls of the oven with the spray bottle, close the oven door and wait 30 seconds, then spray the oven walls again. Covering the loaf loosely with aluminum foil after 20 minutes, bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown, sounds hollow and thumps when tapped on the bottom, and has reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Note: The bread is best the day it is baked, but it can be stored refrigerated, tightly covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.
If you go to a French bakery, the number of names given to basically the same bread can be mind-boggling. It all depends on the size and shape. A baguette is long and thin, generally 24 inches by 2 inches, whereas a bâtard is shorter and wider; it’s 16 inches by 3 inches. A long loaf shrinks in length even more when it becomes a ficelle, which is only a foot long and about 2 inches wide. Round shapes are just as numerous. A large round or oval is dubbed a pain de ménage or a pain boulot, whereas smaller rounds are boules and rolls are petits pains.
Looking for more gluten-free recipes? Check out Gluten-Free Bread Baking 101.
Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Bread © 2013 by Ellen Brown, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Buy this book from our store: Gluten-Free Bread.