Spicy Herb Bread

Here is an interesting tasting bread with a really nice chewy crumb, crunchy crust and spicy flavor. The naturally crunchy crust was enhanced with Milharina, a pre-cooked corn flake with the texture of polenta. Like most gluten free breads, it is best eaten when it has just cooled because it also becomes quite hard the next day. However, with the addition of "modified tapioca", the bread becomes wonderfully flexible when warmed for 10 seconds in the microwave or wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in a 400° F oven for 10 - 15 minutes. The recipe is for a bread loaf; however, you could make 12 rolls. The baking time would be around half.

1/4 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Yeast (or 1 package of instant yeast granules like SAF)
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
3 1/2 cups Gluten Free Bread Flour (see recipe below)
2 Tablespoons Sugar, dried honey sugar or honey. If using honey, add as a liquid ingredient.
1-1/2 teaspoons each Xanthan gum and guar gums or 3 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Dried garlic granules or powder (not garlic salt)
1 teaspoon Dried onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Caraway seeds coarsely ground in a mortar or hand bruised
1 teaspoon "Italian" herbs [mixture of oregano (2x), marjoram (1X), thyme (1X), basil (1X), tarragon (1X), and rosemary (1/2 X)]
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
3 Tablespoons Dry Parmesan cheese (more, if the cheese is freshly grated)
3/4 cup Warm water (110° F) Note: if you add corn flour to the flour mixture, the amount of water in the recipe may need to increase. This was tested without the corn flour.
1 teaspoon Cider vinegar
2 whole Eggs warmed to room temperature
  Margarine and Milharina (see bellow), cornmeal,or brown rice flour for preparing the baking pan

"Chebe" enhanced bread flour recipe
2-1/4 cups Sorghum flour
2-1/4 cups Cornstarch
1 7-1/2 ounce package Chebe original bread mix. (Chebe says that the package contains 1-1/2 cups by volume)
3/4 cup (optional) Masa Harina or corn flour

The above recipe is a modification for bread (only) of Carol Fenster's mix which we consider ideal for practically all baking except for pizzas. Chebe flour was substituted for tapioca flour. Chebe is a proprietary mixture of tapioca flour and "modified tapioca flour". About all we can tell from the ingredients is that there is more tapioca than modified tapioca. It is suspected (but cannot be confirmed) that the modified tapioca flour in Chebe is similar to Expandex because tapioca flour modified for bread makes the bread stretcher. Both Expandex and Chebe come from Brazil.

The public domain version and earlier cookbook versions of Carol Fenster's flour mix contain corn flour. We have found out that tamale flour (Masa Harina) improves upon just ground corn flour. However, in later versions of Carol Fenster's recipes, she omits the corn flour from the flour mix and uses a higher proportion of lower fiber, refined starches (e.g. corn and potato starches, tapioca flour) with her flour mix. We are happy with bread and cake recipes using 100% of Carol Fenster's original mix. Perhaps the texture is a bit heavier; however, the overall result is more nutritious and more tasty.

Why use Chebe instead of Expandex?

  1. Chebe is easily found
  2. You might want to try the recipe before you commit to buying Expandex

Why use Expandex instead of Chebe?

  1. Using Chebe may be more expensive than if you purchased Expandex in bulk pack and used 1 tablespoon of Expandex for every cup of flour and left out out 1 tablespoon of conventional flour per cup required by the recipe. Note: If the Expandex is expensive, then the Chebe alternative may be better. Our Chebe cost $2.89 at Sprouts in Sunnyvale CA.
  2. You like the results of modified tapioca starch and bake enough to warrant purchasing Expandex in bulk.

Why use Masa Harina

  1. Adds moisture to the bread and may reduce dry mouth feel
  2. Increases the taste and complexity
  3. Adds to the nutritional profile

Why not use Masa Harina

  1. May make the resulting bread less gummy
  2. Milder tasting
  3. Can reduce the amount of water which may yield a better crumb

Expandex enhanced bread flour recipe
3 Cups (12 oz) Sorghum flour
3 Cups (16 oz) Cornstarch
1 Cups (4.25 oz) Masa flour or finely ground corn flour
2 Cups (9 oz) Tapioca starch
9 Tablespoons (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon - 2.5 oz) Expandex modified tapioca starch



Milharina is pre-cooked and dried corn. It comes from Brazil (available in Portuguese food stores) and is gluten free. Brazilians use it in many ways, often like polenta and couscous. They also make a rich, unleavened cake using coconut milk and shredded coconut. We tried the couscous, and it is extremely bland; however, it is a good base for rich spicy meat and absorbs the juices. It makes a really wonderful crunchy coating for bread since it is pre-cooked.