Bread is one of my favorite things about the holidays, whether it’s dipping a buttery roll into my mashed potatoes, consuming gobs of gingerbread cookies on Christmas Eve or eating a perfectly frosted slice of pumpkin loaf for breakfast on Black Friday.
But as I mentioned in a recent post, my partner Nick suffers from celiac disease, which means we are a gluten-free household. Gluten-free bread makes for crumbly, dry sandwiches and an empty wallet, and it costs a whopping $13 for a full loaf at the store.
That is why Nick and I bake our gluten-free bread at home, which costs a little over $5, when we have the time. But when the holidays come around, typical bread won’t cut (or slice?) it for me, so Nick and I have experimented with some festive gluten-free recipes online and in cookbooks.
My three favorite gluten-free recipes are gingerbread, pumpkin loaf and dinner rolls. I like the recipes below because they are not just tasty and easy to make, but they also garner compliments from our holiday guests, who are often nervous to come to our home for a meal because of the notable lack of gluten.
Most importantly, these recipes are affordable, which means more holiday spending cash in your wallet.
My biggest beef with gluten-free bread is probably the dryness. Dry bread in any scenario is unappetizing, but when it comes to specialty breads like zucchini bread, banana nut bread or, my Christmas favorite, gingerbread, moistness is even more crucial.
Nick and I have tried a few recipes that we found online and in our stacks of gluten-free cookbooks, but by far the most moist gluten-free gingerbread recipe we’ve found is from Amy’s Healthy Baking.
½ cup millet flour: 30 cents
½ cup brown rice flour: 50 cents
1 tablespoon tapioca starch: 10 cents
2 tablespoons ground ginger: $1.33
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon: 25 cents
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder: 14 cents
¾ tablespoons xanthan gum: 56 cents
¼ tablespoon salt: 1 cent
1 tablespoon oil: 2 cents
1 egg: 13 cents
3 tablespoons molasses: 50 cents
2 tablespoons vanilla extract: $2.25
¼ cup milk (original recipe calls for fat-free milk, but we prefer whole milk): 3 cents
¼ cup Greek yogurt (original recipe calls for fat-free: 31 cents
⅓ cup brown sugar: 17 cents
Total cost: $6.60
I love how moist this bread is, and Amy’s secret is pretty simple: Greek yogurt. The recipe also turns up the spice factor with two tablespoons of ginger.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Loaf
I’m a true momma’s boy, so for me, it’s nearly impossible to top my mother’s homemade pumpkin loaf. But Philia of Sweet Phi might have done it (sorry, Ma). Her recipe is versatile — it’s good with chocolate chips, as she describes, but it’s also great with a cream-cheese frosting. Nick and I might even try it with raisins this year!
3 eggs: 39 cents
1 cup sugar: 24 cents
¼ cup brown sugar: 13 cents
1 teaspoon vanilla extract: 37 cents
1 cup pumpkin puree: $1.75
⅓ cup vegetable oil: 12 cents
1 ½ cups gluten-free flour: $1.60
1 teaspoon baking soda: 1 cent
½ teaspoon baking powder: 1 cent
½ teaspoon cinnamon: 4 cents
½ teaspoon ground ginger: 11 cents
½ teaspoon salt: 1 cent
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg: 8 cents
¼ teaspoon allspice: 11 cents
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice: 8 cents
Total cost: $5.05
As Phi says, her pumpkin loaf has the right spice level: It’s pumpkiny but not too in your face about it. And more importantly, I can confirm her claim that it’s better than the stuff you get at Starbucks.
Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls
Classic dinner rolls are typically my excuse to eat a lot of butter, but dare I say that I could eat these gluten-free dinner rolls without butter?
I love the softness of these gluten-free rolls by Naomi of Better Batter. Anyone who has eaten their fair share of gluten-free dinner rolls knows how rare finding a soft one can be.
2 ½ cups milk (we use whole): 34 cents
⅓ cup sugar: 8 cents
2 teaspoons salt: 1 cent
4 tablespoons unsalted butter: 85 cents
1 package rapid-rise active dry yeast: 83 cents
1 egg: 13 cents
4 cups gluten-free flour: $4.27
Total cost: $6.51
Baking gluten-free bread at home is cost-effective, easy and downright delicious. I definitely recommend trying one or even all three recipes in your own home this holiday season.
Timothy Moore is a writer and editor in Nashville who loves to eat. In fact, he’s been doing it since the day he was born. His favorite foods are burgers, peanut butter, mashed potatoes, ice cream, sour cream and jalapeños — but never all together.
Nicholas Kreider is an interior design and décor small-business owner who sometimes swaps his paintbrush for a spatula. Despite having celiac disease, Nick has a recipe for everything, but he can usually be found making something with Tim’s favorite foods.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
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