Low FODMAP RIce and Spelt Bread

After many months of experimentation, I finally honed in on the correct proportions of flour, starch and vital gluten that make an elastic dough. The result: a low FODMAP rice and spelt bread, very simple and light – not unlike the Italian pane toscano (albeit I do add salt and a tiny bit of butter). More importantly, I finally started enjoying bread again! There’s a new loaf in my little portable oven every weekend. Right now, I’m experimenting with something similar to foccaccia, the recipe will hopefully appear soon.

A word on gluten and spelt flour – contrary to a fairly popular belief, the low FODMAP diet is not gluten free. Gluten is a protein and therefore, cannot be a FODMAP. I choose to include it in my cooking instead of xanthan gum (a common binding agent for gluten-free recipes) since gluten is a naturally occurring nutrient that my body knows and is used to. On the more scientific side, it also contains heaps of protein (always welcome when trying to cut down on meat), as well as some poly-unsaturated fats, calcium and iron. Now, I’m aware that some people may require a low FODMAP and a gluten free diet. If you are one of them and still want to try this bread, here’s a handy chart on how to bake with xanthan gum that I found a while back; I would then also replace the 1/2 cup gluten with 6 tablespoons spelt flour, 6 tablespoons rice flour and 3 tablespoons tapioca starch.  Let me know how it goes! As for spelt flour, it does contain fructans and so it’s not strictly low FODMAP. For me, this bread works well – I limit the portion size to one slice and there’s a fair amount of other fours there – but as always, proceed with caution!

Low FODMAP Rice and Spelt Bread

(Yield: 1 loaf, preparation: 30 minutes, total time: 4 hours, difficulty: medium)

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons butter or vegan replacement
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lactose-free milk (Lactaid or rice, unflavoured)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Before you start , make sure you’ll have a place for the bread to rise – it needs to be warm (ideally around 98 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius) and free of drafts. I usually put the bowl of dough in front of a small heater and cover it with a linen towel to prevent excessive drying. Another important factor when baking with yeast is the temperature if ingredients, you want them to be at least room temperature, and possibly even warmer. I usually help the dough here by using warm water (again, not warmer than body temperature or you’ll kill the yeast). However, if your kitchen is very hot, do the opposite and use cool water to protect the yeast from overheating. Delicate little critters, aren’t they!

Low FODMAP Rice and Spelt Bread

Once you’ve taken care of these pre-requisites, you’re ready to roll. Mix the milk and sugar and heat up in a microwave oven or on the stove. It needs to be at body temperature – too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cold and they won’t re-activate; stick your finger in it to check. Add yeast to the warm milk, stir well and let stand for 15-25 minutes in a warm place, till you see froth forming and the liquid seems to be expanding. In the meantime, sift all flours into a large bowl and whisk well- this step is important as we’re adding gluten, so if it’s not mixed in well, it will form clumps. Add the salt, softened butter and once ready, pour in the yeast base. Start adding water 1/2 cup at a time, you’re aiming for a soft dough that is very elastic, but just ‘together’ enough to not stick to your hand. Yeast dough is very forgiving, so if you’re a little off the mark, the bread will simply grow slightly differently in the oven – but it should still work. Once the dough is well formed, cover it and leave in a warm place to rise. This should take anything from 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the starting temperature of ingredients and on how warm your ‘rising’ place is. When the dough has doubled its initial volume, gently tip it into a greased loaf tin; mine is 4.5 x 9 inches. Bake at 330 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) for 50-60 minutes. My oven is very efficient, so if you know yours does not hold temperature well, you may want to increase it by 10-20 degrees; again, the bread should come out fine anyway, you may just need to bake it for slightly longer. Once a piece of wood inserted into the middle cones out dry (I use a wooden chopstick), the bread is ready. Let it cool and slice… or, if you’re impatient like me, tear in as soon as it stops burning your fingers!

P.S. Yes, those are Emmental cheese and strawberry jam in the photo. What can I say, this combination speaks to me.

2 Comments »

  1. I love your recipes! I was wondering if this can be baked in a bread machine? if so.. what would you recommend for the settings?

    • odrowaz says:

      Hey! Thanks for the message! I don’t have a bread machine I’m afraid – and also in general, I recently found out that spelt flour is only low FODMAP if fermented (in sourdough bread). For me, this bread is OK in small quantities (I never have more than one slice and there’s a fair amount of rice flour there), but proceed with caution. :)

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