Yeast-Based Paleo Bread

March 28, 2012 in Categories: by

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This is by far and away the absolute best paleo bread I have had.  The use of active dry yeast (see Is Yeast Paleo?) as a leavening agent completely changes the texture and the taste compared to baking soda-based breads (which always taste strongly of egg to me).  So, this is the absolute closest you will get to the flavor and texture of gluten-containing bread without all those gut-irritating ingredients.  I’ve even steered clear of gums such as xanthum gum as a binding agent because of their gut-irritating properties (they are bacterial-derived).

This bread holds together beautifully, so it’s great for sandwiches and toast.  It’s also closer to a normal loaf size than my other recipes (equivalent size or slightly smaller than a 1.5 pound loaf in your bread machine, but it is denser).  I make mine in a Bread Machine, which is certainly the easiest way to make this bread (gluten-free bread can be tough to get a pretty surface with made the old fashioned way, but it’s certainly possible!).  As with all homemade bread recipes, the temperature, humidity and altitude of your kitchen can impact how the bread rises.  You may need to subtract or add 1 Tbsp of water to this recipe to make it work in your kitchen.  I use Mineral Water to add a little extra rise and lightness to my loaf, but the difference is small compared to regular water.  I went through many iterations to get this bread right, so measure your ingredients carefully.  I hope you love this bread as much as my family does (it’s now the only bread recipe I bake on a regular basis).

A quick note on bread and paleo baking in general:  I think recipes like this are great for kids, athletes, and very healthy individuals who can handle more carbohydrates and have no reason to steer clear of almonds.  I do not include recipes like this as a normal part of my diet because I am not someone who can get away with either the omega-6 and phytic acid content of almonds or the carbohydrate content arising from the use of tapioca and arrowroot flours.  If you are sensitive like me, think of this as a special treat rather than a staple.



1.    Mix mineral water, eggs, ground flaxseed, salt, honey, and vinegar in the bottom of your Bread Machine pan.  Use a fork to break up the eggs and mix the ground flaxseed in well.  Let sit 2 minutes before adding the dry ingredients.
2.    Add coconut oil, almond flour, tapioca and arrowroot flour on top of wet ingredients.  Sprinkle yeast on top of the flour (or follow your bread maker’s directions).
3.    Use the whole wheat cycle on your Bread Machine.  Check during the initial knead that the ingredients are mixing well and none are sticking to the edge of the pan (if they are, use a spatula to gently push them down into the rest of the dough).
4.    Remove promptly after your bread machine is done.  Enjoy!


I haven’t tried this, but I think you could also bake this bread without a breadmaker (if you try this and have any tips, please leave a comment!).  What I would try is:


1.    Mix the ingredients in a bowl (still mix the ground flax seed with the wet ingredients and let sit for 2 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients).  It would be helpful if your ingredients were room temperature or slightly warmer.
2.    Let rise in a warm corner of your kitchen for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3.    Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.  Spread out the top evenly.
4.    Let rise another 45 minutes (toward the end of that time, preheat your oven to 375F).
5.    Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Do you need help finding any ingredients?  Check out  Important Pantry Items for the Paleo Baker.


Oh, MAN am I ever excited to try this! I’ve got all but the tapioca flour on hand – good thing tomorrow is grocery shopping day! Thank you!

Thanks for the recipe, hubs doesn’t want to cut bread for the kiddos so this might be a happy medium and I’ve already got a bread machine too, yay!

Wow, I just took mine out of the bread maker…yummy!!
It sank a bit in the middle though.
A question, isn’t Tapioca flour and Arrowroot flour the same thing?

Tapioca and Arrowroot are similar in that they are ground up tubers but they have fairly different properties in baking. Arrowroot adds lightness while tapioca adds elasticity. Both are needed in this recipe.

Two things come to mind about the dough sinking in the middle a little. First, you can try reducing the water by 1-2 Tbsp to thicken up your dough next time (you may have a more humid kitchen than mine). Second, check the date on your yeast. If it’s old, you might want to try a new jar.

Let me know if it works better next time! :)

I really can’t wait to try this! I don’t have any arrowroot flour, but do have potato starch…do you think that would be an ok substitution? Or should I wait until I can buy some arrowroot? Thanks!

Next time you try rolls, cut down the water just a bit (say use 3/4 cup) and then roll balls into a greased muffin tin. Let rise about 1 hour then bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

I typically store in a plastic bag in the fridge (my house is so warm, things tend to go moldy after 3-4 days). I haven’t frozen this bread, but I have frozen the hot cross buns, which are similar. They freeze perfectly. :)

I have been baking bread for years. I can’t wait to go get some mineral water to try his, BUT I did want to add that if you need a warm place for bread to rise put it in a cold oven with the light on. That raises the temp to about 80 and that is ideal for proofing bread. I will also be mixing this in my bread machine, and baking it in my rompertomf. It gives bread the BEST crust.

I didn’t think flax seed was paleo as its a grain seed. Maybe its a grey-area item, but I’d like to avoid it if I can. Can I substitute it with something else? Thanks!

Prof. Lorain Cordain uses ground flax seed in his cookbook. Any argument against flax seed would also apply to nuts, and I’m pretty sure this recipe wouldn’t work without the flax or the almond flour. If you are okay with almonds, but still want to avoid flax, chia seeds would be a very good substitute. Otherwise, you can play with adding probably 2 extra eggs and reducing the water. Hope this helps!

FYI, all true grains are grasses. Flax is not a grass. There is good reason to not go overboard with it and I never buy it pre-ground (and *forget* buying the oil, especially if not refrigerated at the store), but it shouldn’t cause the same issues as wheat or rye.

This is the only bread recipe that I make for my family on a regular basis. The flavor is far superior to either of my other recipes (although those are very good for anyone who wants to avoid yeast or needs a nut-free version). I have a 2lb bread maker, and the loaf comes up about half way in the pan. I’m tempted to suggest trying this recipe as is (certainly I feel comfortable recommending that for a 1.5lb loaf machine), but it’s definitely safer to half the recipe as a first try. That was a very long-winded way to say, yes, I would suggest halving the recipe. :)

Even though I usually don’t leave comments, I just had to stop here and virtually kiss your hands for this recipe! :) As a passionate bread-baker, the one thing I was missing most about transitioning to grain- and sugar-free diet was bread (for me perharps not eating it, but rather baking :-), husband on the other hand used to eat bread much more often) Most of the paleo breads are just too sweet from the almond flour and the gluten-free bread machine mixtures often contain corn and other strange ingredients. But this one, this one is simply perfect. I will be definitely experimenting with the machine settings, but still, a big thanks to you! You’re amazing :)

So, I just wanted to tell you that I made this today, without a bread machine and even with some big mistakes(I over proofed it,left out the salt and used too much tapioca)it is the best gluten free bread I have made yet. It is the lightest, airiest loaf and very stable too. It smelled absolutely amazing and the taste and texture are wonderful, even without the salt. I only let it rise once because we were doing school work and I didn’t read your note at the bottom of the recipe so I did it like most of the GF breads I have tried so far.
I proofed the yeast first,then I mixed it in my kitchen-aid and whipped the batter for several minutes. I then placed it in my largest bread pan and let it rise for 45 minutes which was unfortunately a little too long, it was nearly overflowing. It collapsed a little in the middle because of this. It also cooked in only 35 minutes. My oven may be running a little hot or it may have been the extra tapioca(I put it in twice, so when I realized this I remeasured using the total cups of dry ingredients called for in the recipe)
I should never try to bake and do other things at the same time;)
So, what I will try next time is to
-proof it twice
-proof it for less time
-maybe turn down the temperature after the first 15 minutes, so that the crust doesn’t get too dark(it went from smelling glorious to uh-oh, it’s about to burn)oh, and of course, only add ingredients once and add all of them :O

Anyway, it’s a great recipe and I can’t wait to make it again so that I can get it right. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Thanks so much for this recipe! My husband and I got a breadmaker for our wedding, but we’ve been trying the paleo diet so it sat all lonely until we had some friends visiting and I made them real bread with it. It was delicious, but we paid for it afterward.
Thank you for making it possible to use the machine and still stick to our diet!

Thanks! My philosophy is that it is infinitely better to allow some paleofied foods in our diets than the alternative of giving into a craving for something that can hurt us. Some day, I’d love to write a cookbook that is entirely paleofied old favorites. :)

Do you think it would be possible to use anyting besides almond flour? Just wondering as we have a nut allergy in the house and cannot use almond flour — but it sounds awesome.

I haven’t tried this but I have a couple of ideas. I think you could try 1 cup of coconut flour instead of the 4 cups almond flour (or better yet, if you make your own coconut flour, you could grind it a bit courser and use about 3 cups). You could probably also use seed flours. I have heard that sunflower seed flour is fairly comparable in terms of how it bakes. Let me know what you try and whether or not it works out!

I made this the other day. I had everything but the mineral water and it turned out fabulous. Tap water worked great. My family absolutely loved it and said it was the best gluten free or paleo bread they had ever eaten. I am one happy mamma, thanks. I am calling it the 45 minute bread. 45 min TIMES 3. It was worth the wait.

ps – I donated my breadmaker when I got my celiac diagnosis, so I make this in my kitchenaid mixer and followed the bottom directions. Perfect.

I regularly make mine with regular water instead of mineral water (because I’m too lazy to open a bottle, I guess). The difference is very small. I’m glad it works for you!

Which would be a better substitute for the mineral water: plain seltzer or plain water? Thanks! Gonna try this today.

Okay,it tastes great, but it barely rose in either of the two rises. What did I possibly do wrong? My yeast was fresh.

Gluten-free bread just never rises as much as regular bread. How was the finished loaf? If it seemed overly dense, your dough just probably needs a bit more moisture. If you are using a courser ground almond flour than I am, that could explain it. I also measure almond flour by scooping my measuring cup into a big bag of flour then scraping the extra off the top with a knife, which is a fairly lightly packed way to measure flour. It could also just be a humidity/temperature of your kitchen difference. Try adding 1-2 Tbsp of water to your dough mixture next time and see if that makes the difference.

The finished loaf was 2.5 inches high and very dense. Everything was room temp. I used Honeyville blanched almond flour which seems pretty finely ground. I measured the flour like you do. It could definitely be humidity—I live in Delaware and the humidity is fairly high. I will try adding a bit more water though, and even buy some mineral water. One question: I’m using the oven method since I don’t have a bread machine; after I add the dry ingredients to the wet, do you recommend stirring all together BEFORE adding the yeast or after, or both before AND after? The flavor is fantastic but I would like it a little less dense.

And to everyone out there, any recommendations for a good bread machine?

Cuisinart CBK-200C Convection Bread Maker
i purchased this model 4+ years ago, use it regularly, and have enjoyed its excellent performance. we have used only the gluten-free setting as we have celiac disease and now, having gone grain-free too we are thrilled to find the gluten-free setting makes perfect grain-free recipes as well. purchased my breadmaker as an open-box ‘second’ at xs cargo for $40- needless to say, it doesn’t owe me a thing! when it eventually bites the dust i hope to replace it with the same model- in fact, i love it so much i’ve considered buying another now so i won’t be disappointed if it’s unavailable in the future!

I’ve linked above to the current version of my bread machine, which is still going strong after frequent use over the last 6 years. It’s not the cheapest model out there, but I really like it.

I think it’s just a question of kitchen climate. Homemade bread is finicky like that, and especially so when you omit gluten. Try adding more water (you’ll know you’ve added too much if your loaf sags in the middle). My loaves are typically 3 1/4 – 3 3/4 inches high. Also, I would suggest adding the yeast to the wet ingredients before mixing. I hope it works better next time!

Just starting on Paleo & missing so much. I used to make a cinnamon raisin bread & I’m really missing it. Do you think this recipe would work if I made dough in the bread machine, then added the raisins & cinnamon & then baked it in the oven??

I have in fact already made cinnamon-raisin bread with this recipe. And I think you could do the whole thing in the bread machine. i used 1 cup of raisins and 1 Tbsp of cinnamon, which suited our tastes well. I added the cinnamon right from the start. My bread machine has a beep before the first rise when it’s time to add extras like raisins, which is what I did. I then just let it bake in the bread machine. Also check out my recipe for paleo hot cross buns, which is very similar.

ok, after making this a 2nd time, I love it even more :) I am wondering about changing it up a little bit for a pizza dough? The yeast smell of the bread makes me think it is doable and would be fantastic as well.

I have been meaning to try this as a pizza crust for my family (I haven’t gotten around to it yet because I can’t eat nuts or nightshades so I have to wait until a night where I both have the time and the leftovers of something else that I can eat). My plan when I get to it is to reduce the water to 3/4 cups and add some spices (I was thinking garlic powder and oregano). If you try it before I do, let me know how it works!

I can’t believe this bread is not only gluten-free, but grain-free! I made it once without a breadmaker, and I think my yeast was too old. The taste was fantastic, but texture too dense. I borrowed a breadmaker to try it again, and MAGIC happened. This seems too good to be true! Thank you, Sarah. You really have a gift!

I made this recipe for the first time last night in my bread machine.
It has a wonderful flavor but is very heavy and crumbly.
Having said that,
I could not find blanched almond flour and used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal Flour.
I also was not able to find Arrowroot flour and combined some other GF flours I had on hand(Garban/Fava, Quinoa, Sorghum, and Potato Starch, I know none of these are Paleo but thought I may as well try and use them since I could not find the arrowroot). Would doubling the Tapioca Flour worked better perhaps?
I realized later that Xantham gum is not in the recipe. Would a little of that help to hold it all together?

It sounds like your dry to wet ingredient ratio is a bit off. I find Bob’s red mill almond meal flour to be denser than the Honeyville, which is what I use. Also the GF subs you used may have been denser than arrowroot powder. Arrowroot is used in this recipe to make it lighter, so substituting anything for that will probably affect the texture (although it is a fairly dense bread). Next time, maybe just try potato starch to sub? I purposefully steered clear of xanthum gum and other gums in this recipe (and all of my baking) because they are gut irritants. I think all you need is either a little less flour or a little more water. :)

Thank you. I did not know that about Xanthan Gum. It does not take much to irritate the Celiac’s in this house. Hmm I need to share this info with some friends that continue to have stomach pain after being GF.
Loved the Podcast!

You are wonderfully helpful and full of knowledge. So glad I found your blog! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I will be making it without a bread machine and will let you know how it turns out. I’m by no means a bread master, however, so bear with me.

I am a newby at paleo and i am very excited to try this bread. I have a bread machine but do you warm up the water to a certain temperature like you do regular bread recipies? Can’t wait to try this.

Hi, love the sound of this bread, looks great.
However, I thought arrowroot is a starchy ingredient and therefore shouldn’t be eaten as a paleo consumer.
Can this be substituted with coconut flour?

Whose version of paleo are you following? Starch/carbs are one of the most fiercely debated topics in the paleo community with vastly different opinions from the various experts. Arrowroot (and to a lesser extent tapioca) is considered a “safe starch”, but yes, this bread is carbs, so if you have good reason to limit carbs then this recipe wouldn’t be a good choice (I don’t eat it personally but make it for my kids).

I’m looking for a clarification of the discussions above about sagging in the middle. Not sure if the “middle” means the middle when you are looking at it top down in the bread machine or middle of the loaf once you take it out? I borrowed a friends bread machine to make this, have made this loaf 2 times and used fresh yeast. The only modification I made was using sunflower oil instead of coconut oil (coconut allergy) and 1/3 cup arrowroot and 1 cup tapioca. Both times I looked through the window and saw it rise to the top half way through the cycle but by the time it was done it had fallen back down in the middle. I never opened the lid either so I know that’s not why. I’m thinking of using less water like you mentioned above but just want to make sure I understand what you mean by “middle”.

I realy wish I could draw a sketch in the commenths here. Yes, so this bread at best will have a flat top (depending on your bread machine that either means a square cross section, or more likely a rectangular cross section. If it is drooping in the middle (in my machine it make a long trench down the loaf, but the sides and ends are higher), then reducing the water slightly is required (I’m actually having to reduce the water content myself as the temperature in my kitchen changes as the weather cools). What you describe is exactly what I mean by sagging in the middle.

Thanks, that helps. I’m curious, is this the bread you use for your girls for sandwiches? Both of mine tolerate this OK warm from the oven but are not big fans when I’ve tried it for sandwiches the next day. I tried the “multigrain” bread too and they weren’t a huge fan of that either. They eat bread everyday so I’m desperate for what I can use as a substitute. My one daughter has a strong gag reflex, is super picky and basically would spend her life eating bread, cheese and yogurt if I let her so she’s the one I’m having a super hard time with. I’ve got them off bread for breakfast by doing paleo muffins, pancakes, etc. but it’s lunch I’m struggling with since they love tuna, turkey or almond butter sandwiches.

My kids are out of the habit of eating sandwiches, but if we make them for special treats it’s either this bread or the nut-free version of this bread (which does have a slightly different texture). I slice the bread very thing for sandwiches because it is very dense. Mostly, my husband makes sandwiches for his lunch (can’t get him to pack anything else unless there’s leftovers from supper) and my oldest eats this bread as toast in the morning beside her eggs (she doesn’t like most muffins or pancakes, crazy kid). Both my daughter’s lunches usually look like some grass-fed deli meat (like bologna or hotdogs, my youngest likes sardines and tuna mixed with paleo mayo, my oldest will eat green eggs too) with some fruit on the side, I try and get them to eat veggies with lunch, but it’s still a struggle. They also might get some nuts or almond butter or olives or something like that. Getting used to no cheese and yogurt was definitely a challenge for them, so I understand your dilemma!

Thanks Sarah! They like veggies and fruit thankfully but won’t really eat eggs either which really is a bummer (maybe once a week I can get them to eat an egg). Thankfully I’ve at least got them on goat milk yogurt and cheese. It’s just the bread thing I’ve got to figure out for them.

Hi, could you post a link to the nut-free version? Your comment about the Omega 6 and phytic acid content of almonds has me rethinking my frequent use of almond meal for paleo pancakes and muffins. thanks.

Hi Sarah, Since I am so in love with this bread, I’m wondering if you have thought about or tried to adapt it into wraps/tortillas? I am so desperate for a good paleo wrap that doesn’t taste like coconut or have the mouthfeel of eggs!

OK…so…what exactly will happen if I leave out the arrowroot flour and tapioca flour, and use the almond flour to make up the bulk? I’m trying to stay paleo, but also trying to keep as low-carb as possible across the board, for my fiance’s sake (she has her reasons for needing lower carb). I have a breadmaker, and want to use it…but I need to keep the cost and the carbs as low as I can. If the bread won’t come out perfect, but will still be pretty good, I’ll run with it. As an aside, can you tell I’ve never baked bread before?

Thank you! I made this today for my nutritional therapy study group and they loved it! I used Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour & it worked just fine. Interestingly though, the package indicated that it had 4 cups but when I measured it out, there was about a 1/2 cup left. I decided not to put the extra in and I guess that was a good decision. Now I need to figure out a bread for my dear husband who is allergic to eggs, nuts, & coconut! It feels mean to bake something so yummy smelling that he can’t enjoy! I’ll have to cross the Paleo boundary to do that, I”m sure.

My bread machine has a gluten free cycle. I baked it on the whole wheat cycle last night and it was too dense and I think that it did not cooked enought. Any ideas?

i use the gluten-free cycle on my breadmaker and it works perfectly. and despite the fact that my machine has a pre-warm cycle, i always find having my ingredients at room temperature a further guarantee of success.

I love this bread and shared it with my local WAPF group but cooking ground flax seed created a big debate. Have you done any of your scientific digging on it? I know you have been sick and are busy, I was mostly curious. I am not going to worry about using it occasionally anyway but it did cause alarm to those that frequently use ground flax in baking as an egg substitute. I’m going to bring it up on my NTA Nutritional Therapy workshop weekend. One of the instructors told us not to cook with it either (oil of course, but also freshly ground seed.) I did a little digging myself and can’t really find anything conclusive. Please let me know if you have some thoughts on this. Thanks!

I have to find the article to reference again, but there is a scientific article that shows that the fats are extremely stable in whole/ground flax send compared to flax oil. So, I certainly agree that cooking with flax oil is a bad idea due to the fats oxidizing, but cooking with ground or whole flax seeds is not a concern.

Thank, I hope you are feeling better. I really enjoyed the last show on gallbladder issues. I have a few “practice clients” (I am a student) that are without. I’m doing the same program that Diana did so that was especially cool for me!

Hi Sarah, I have been making this bread with consistently great results for several months now! I have two questions: 1) what would happen if I made it on the “white” instead of “wheat” cycle in my machine? and 2) I have made this as dough and rolled out to make cinnamon rolls, with pretty good success. I’d like to make the cinnamon rolls again, but I’m wondering if I can make the dough ahead of time, freeze it, then thaw and roll out and bake. Any advice on this?

I just found it didn’t quite cook through on the white cycle on my machine since the white cycle has a short baking time. I’ve never tried freezing the dough, so I have no idea whether or not that would work.

I just made this bread and it turned out amazing! I was so nervous checking it in the bread machine because the consistency was so runny. When it finished it’s final rise I could still see the top of kneading paddle but it rose up beautifully during baking and looks just like your picture. Thank you for the great recipe! Now I have a reason to keep my neglected bread machine.

Thanks for the great recipe!!! Quick question. Did you say substitute 1 cup of coconut flour instead of 4 cups of almond flour? That seems like a big difference.

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