Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

This spring has been flying by. Every time I think “Those flowers won’t bloom for another few weeks,” it feels like they open up the next day. Baby plants are coming up in our garden already. Can you believe that? The spring rains are dousing Portland, but with that comes the lush greens and bright pastels, the mildly warmer weather, and of course, the rhubarb. I started another ceramics class last Friday, and when our instructor made us share an interesting fact about ourselves, mine was just rhubarb. Simple as that. I am certainly the class weirdo. But the time of year has arrived when I always have some in my fridge.

My sisters, who both have important people in their lives avoiding gluten (as do I), requested that I create a gluten-free version of this poppy seed rhubarb bread (which I really hope to re-photograph soon). I’ve done very little gluten-free (GF) baking in my life, partially because I strongly dislike the anti-gluten movement – the people who avoid it because it’s the trendy thing to avoid – when gluten and the grains that contain it actually provide lots of good, healthy nutrients. But, as I have known more and more people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it seems like it is time to wade into the world of GF baking. Another thing I have found so sad about GF baking is that often the pastries I have seen are simply depressing – soggy, structurally unsound, chalky messes. This all changed, however, when I visited my sister in New York last fall. She had been singing the praises of Alice Medrich’s book Flavor Flours, and when I stayed with her we baked two recipes from it: some linzer cookies and I think some gingerbread. They were delicious. Perhaps my favorite thing about them was that, rather than hiding the lack of traditional AP flour, these recipes embraced the flours they used instead, making the flavors of buckwheat or teff or rice flour an integral part. Instead of being the random flavor of the flour you needed to use for the right texture and structure, the flavors played a role in the ingredients and flavor combinations. It makes perfect sense that the book was called Flavor Flours.

I had been thinking of getting a copy of this book for quite some time, and then I realized that not only would it be fun to cook from, but it would be a good tool for me to learn about GF baking and to create my own recipes that are edible for that many more people. So hopefully this is the first of many. If there’s a recipe here you’d like to see a GF version of, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. In the mean time, enjoy this GF version of what has become a favorite spring recipe.

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread

Makes 1 loaf | Recipe adapted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich


1 heaping cup rhubarb, in 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 smaller stalks)
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup olive oil, plus some for the pan
1 1/3 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan with a small drizzle of olive oil.

In a small bowl, toss the rhubarb with 2 Tbsp of sugar. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the remaining sugar (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp) with the olive oil, rice flour, oat flour, and salt. Let this go for about a minute, scraping down the sides if need be – you want the texture to be like a somewhat damp brown sugar. Once that is thoroughly combined, add the poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and almond extracts. Mix this on low-medium speed until the batter is smooth and glossy.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then top with half of the sugared rhubarb (leaving behind any juice in the bowl). Fold the remaining rhubarb into the remaining batter and pour this all into the loaf pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before turning it out carefully. Slice and enjoy!