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Not Your Grandmother's Brown Bread

I’m a daily peruser of recipe blogs and sites. It’s fun to see what fellow foodies are cooking, baking, freezing, canning, and eating.

Always, always, always the photos attract me—just like a kid in a candy shop. I’ll take one of these, two of those…oh, oh, yes, and a big helping of that! Doesn’t matter that I can’t eat most of what I see. Probably wouldn’t have the time to make most of it anyway. I just love to browse.

Yesterday, when my whole schedule got turned upside down leaving a window of opportunity and a growling stomach, this recipe jumped off the page and begged me to make a gluten-free, vegan version right then and there. No “favoriting” for another time. Nope. It yelled, “Now. Right now!”

My spontaneous “what-the-hell” baking adventures don’t always turn out well. Not so this brown bread. It’s simple and quick and performed perfectly even though I added a little bit of this, a little bit of that…just to give it my own touch.

So, thanks to Georgia Pellegrini—and her great great grandma—who’s recipe jumped off the page and inspired me while I was window shopping on FoodGawker.  And, thanks to the women who dreamed up brown bread and who baked when things like cream and butter and eggs were scarce. They created wonderful foods in their kitchens despite their ingredient challenges—not all that dissimilar to those of us who create wonderful foods despite our food challenges.

This recipe is linked to The W.H.O.L.E. Gang Friday Foodie Fix. Check out the other great recipes posted there.


Not Your Grandmother’s Brown Bread

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour a standard loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl sift together:

2 1/4 cups GF flour blend*

¾ cups GF oat flour*

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup potato starch

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cardamom (optional)


Add and whisk into the bowl with the dry ingredients:

¾ cups chopped walnuts

½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries or chopped dates – optional)


In a separate bowl mix together (stirring after each addition) in this order:

2 cups hemp milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup molasses + ¼ cup golden syrup**

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 teaspoons baking soda


Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a spoon or silicone spatula until just blended. Transfer to the loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes. At 45 minutes check the loaf and if it’s getting too brown tent it with foil for the remaining baking time. Cool in the pan, slice, and enjoy with or without a large dollop of your favorite jam.

*I used Authentic Foods Gluten-Free Multi Blend Flour for the gluten-free flour blend and Laras Whole Grain Oat Flour.

**Most brown bread recipes call for molasses or maple syrup as the sweetener. I didn’t think I’d like the taste of just molasses alone so combined molasses and golden syrup. You might also try molasses and agave or any combination of liquid sweeteners to make up 1/2 cup total. I would personally steer clear of a mix of molasses and maple syrup because the two flavors would probably not complement each other.


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    [...]Not Your Grandmother's Brown Bread - The Sensitive Pantry - Gluten-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, & Vegan Recipes[...]

Reader Comments (12)

Nancy. Oh my God. This looks UNBELIEVABLY good. I am just like you - I love, love, love perusing blogs and pictures... and I'm so grateful I did just that this morning, as it brought me to your lovely site and this fabulous recipe. I am making this the first chance I get. Thank you so much! :)

Jun 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDesi Domo

Desi - You're welcome! So glad you visited and were inspired by the brown bread. It's perfect for breakfast or with tea in the afternoon. Not too sweet. -Nancy

Jun 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

Yay! No eggs. I'm on this one. Thanks Nancy!

Jun 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

Lexie - That's my very first "Yay! No eggs." comment. =D It's hard to believe we could be so excited about an egg-free recipe. I share (and appreciate) your enthusiasm.

Jun 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy


Going gluten free can help people for growing healthy along with their kids and other family members…


Jun 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergluten free bread


I've just discovered your site and all your recipes look fantastic, however, I'm in Australia and we don't have the flour mixes you suggest. I would really like to try "Not Your Grandmother's Brown Bread" recipe is there another flour mix you can suggest, maybe one I can mix myself.

thank you

Jun 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Renee - do your health food or grocery stores sell any type of pre-mixed GF flours? The ones I've mentioned usually include rice flour, tapioca or potato starch and some other ingredients (like xanthan gum). So any pre-blended GF flour mix with those or other GF flours would probably work. We have other brands here, too -- Bob's Red Mill, Pamela's, Astoria Mills to name a few.

There are many flour mix "recipes" on the internet but I haven't tried them yet. Take a look at these two. Maybe one of them will work for you:

I would guess any of the above options would be able to be substituted in my recipes calling for a flour blend. What kind of GF flours do you have access to in Australia?

Jun 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

Hi! Your recipes look wonderful, however I am sensitive to oats too. Is there something I can substitute for the oat flour that will hold up the texture and flavor? I am still relatively new to this lifestyle and your Not Your Grandmother's Brown Bread recipe looks like a great place to start.

Thanks for making a site like this!

Jul 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRowan Brosam

Rowan - I guess I'd experiment a little as it's hard to determine the effect of replacing the oat flour in the recipe...until you test it out. So, some thoughts:

- use 1/2 c corn flour (make sure it's flour not meal...flour has a finer texture) and increase the GF flour by 1/4 cup or
- sub with 3/4 cups buckwheat or quinoa flour or
- increase the almond flour by 1/4 cup and the GF flour by 1/2 cup

It's important to note that not all flours substitute out on a 1:1 ratio so a little sleuthing on the internet and definitely some testing is in order. Hope one of these works for you. Would be interested in hearing what you finally decided to do and if it worked out OK.

And, you're very welcome! I enjoy sharing my kitchen with you! Nancy

Jul 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

This recipe looks delicious. I have only recently discovered I am gluten intolerant. I have noticed that a lot of GF baking recipes call for hemp milk...I don't even know what that is. I am not vegan or lactose intolerant...would substituting just regular old cow's milk be okay?
And the "golden syrup"...could I just use honey? Thanks for posting this. I am really excited to bake it!

Feb 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFelicia

Felicia - I think you could substitute regular milk for hemp milk. I use milk alternatives in my recipes because I don't tolerate cow's milk. The original recipe, posted by Georgia Pellegrini, called for buttermilk so if you have that you can go ahead and use it. If you do then omit the lemon juice.

Again, the original recipe called for 1/2 cup molasses. I changed it to 1/4 cup molasses + 1/4 cup golden syrup because I thought straight molasses might be too strong. So, you could go back to all molasses if you'd like. Or, go ahead and try the may change the taste slightly but I bet it would be work well.

I'd love to hear how this worked for you.

Feb 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

Just a thought, many non gluten free brown breads call for corn meal, you might get away with substituting that for the would have a similar texture, Your mileage may vary... and it might change the color/flavor a bit...

Jan 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRhon
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