When I woke up this morning, my very first thought was: I’m having a BLT for lunch.
Today I baked bread.
I’ll never forget my first bite of Gluten-free bread. I’d just learned that Nick had Asperger’s, and had read that a GFCF diet could help. So I bought a $6 loaf of rice bread, brought it home, and made him and I peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The bread looked enough like bread that we both lifted the sandwiches and took big bites without trepidation.
It was like PB&J between two pices of cardboard soaked in vinegar.
I’ve tried some mixes this past year. They all looked like bread, but had a weird bean aftertaste, or that vinegar thing going on. (What is that anyway?) So this time, I’d pretty much resigned myself to not eating bread again. Corn tortillas are my new best friend.
But then I recieved a copy of Annalise Roberts’ book Gluten-free Baking Classics. I ordered my flours. A couple of inpatient attempts with what I had on hand while I waited for my xanthan gum and sorghum flour to arrive resulted in some surprisingly yummy muffins and pizza.
But this. This…oh this was bread. Whole grain, hot from the oven, soft and slightly sweet. I didn’t have to toast it to within an inch of it’s life to make it edible. It wasn’t perfect (the fault of the novice baker, not the recipe), but it was so good that hours later I’m still floating on a cloud.
The recipe for basic sandwich bread called for a mix of sorghum and millet flours, with some starches, xanthan gum, plain gelatin, eggs, milk, yeast, salt, and sugar. I pulled out my $5 thrift-store Cuisine Art to mix up the dough. I had the feeling that the 3 minutes on high whipped air into the dough to help it from being heavy and dense, so I didn’t do what I did with the pizza and mix it with a wooden spoon.
The result was a silky smooth soft dough, much too soft to knead or handle, that had the most wonderful texture. Like chiffon or mousse. The next step was to let it rise. The directions said not to let rush this. I think this was where I made my mistake. I let it rise 20 minutes in the oven turned off. I didn’t think it was coming up enough–it’s cold up here in the mountains and the book said 80 degrees was ideal. So I turned my oven to warm. The dough came up in 10 mintues almost to the rim of the pan.
Isn’t that pretty?
Next it baked for 10 minutes, then I put foil over and baked another 40. The result was a loaf that definitely rose. It was a golden brown beautiful loaf of bread. Whisper light and just as perfect as it could be.
You can see though, that it had already started to fall in the middle.
Then it fell a little more.
But honestly, when I cut into it, I couldn’t have cared less.
Soft, crusty, light…and get this: I just buttered that piece and ate it. Hot from the oven, real butter melting into it’s cranies. And it tasted like bread. Good homemade bread.
I half expected the fallen middle to be a big hollow air pocket. But it wasn’t. I’m not sure what happened, or why bread falls. I’ll have to look into it. But it was just kinda squishy and hard to slice right for sandwiches. It flattened too much. I’m pretty sure that cutting the bread 3 minutes after it came out of the oven had a lot to do with that.
I am not known for my patience.
Especially when my kitchen now smells like hot, fresh bread and bacon.
I toasted up four slices of the bread, expecting to make two sandwiches. One for me, and one for Ruby. Unfortunately, because the bread had fallen, I couldn’t get thin enough slices. So I ended up making open faced sandwiches.
And I got creative: we each had two buttered toasts, one with Swiss cheese and tomato, one with bacon and avocado.
(Yes, yes…I do realize that tomato and avocado are out of season. I’m working on being better.)
Can you see why I’m still smiling?
In other news, I heard back from Annalise Roberts (Squeee! I do believe I’m becoming a fan girl!) and she said I could share her pizza recipe with you guys! Yay Annalise!
Pizza Crust (1 12″ or 2 thin crusted 9″ pizzas)
- 1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1 t xanthan gum
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 t granulated sugar
- 1 packet (1/4 oz) dry quick-rise yeast granules
- 1 t olive oil
- 3/4 cup plus 1 T water, heated to 110 degrees
- cornmeal (optional)
First you have to choose a pan. Annalise suggests the bottom of two 9″ spring form pans, or a textured 12″ pizza pan. Generously spray it with cooking spray, and if you like sprinkle with corn meal. (I did, and yuuuum…)
Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Pour the olive oil and water into the bowl and mix until blended. Scrape the bowl sides and the beaters, then beat on high for two minutes.
Spoon into the middle of pan(s) and use a damp spatula to carefully spread the dough to the edges of the pan. Cover lightly and set aside to rise for 30-40 minutes. You want it to be about double in height.
Put a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees while the dough is rising.
Bake the pizza for 15-16 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Take out of the oven and top as desired, but make sure not to use topping that is too wet. (I used tomato sauce, and it worked out fine.)
Return to the oven for 10 more minutes (8 for a 9″ crust), then remove the pizza from the pan and set it directly on the rack to finish for a crispy crust. Leave it in the pan for a softer crust.
Enjoy pizza with no belly ache!
I’ll post a full review of the book tomorrow.