I wanted to share a sampling of the lovely loaves I’ve trialled in the last month. In the interest of full disclosure and aspirations of replication, SG-FBP (standard gluten-free bread practices, e.g. spooning flours/starches into measuring cups & the leveling off with a knife, mixing dry & wet ingredients separately, speedy transfer of dough to oven following said mixing, judging doneness via food thermometer in the middle of the loaf reading 210 degrees F) were utilized across all loaves.
First up, the contender from Living Without. This was a bit of a high-maintenance loaf, and definitely requires a careful setting out of all ingredients, greasing & flouring of pan, and beforehand cooking of quinoa or millet (I used millet). In order to avoid the magical fruit flour, I replaced it with grain flours of equal weight. This loaf ended up containing millet, sorghum, teff, and brown rice flours with tapioca, arrowroot, and potato starches. In place of the sparkling cider I used a can or two of pomegranate Izze sparkling juice (purchased at a major discount from a local bargain supermarket); sparkling juices or plain old carbonated water also work well in bread or other baked good recipes calling for water by providing the e’er elusive loft and soft qualities of “real” bread to the gluten-free, vegan counterparts. I also subbed in brown rice syrup for the honey, simply because it’s what I had on hand. I mixed the dry & wet ingredients by hands, which resulted in a few clumps of cooked millet spread throughout the baked product. I only have a hand mixer that is on its last leg, so next time I would puree the cooked millet or quinoa in a food processor or blender prior to adding it to the rest of the ingredients. This bread rose quite nicely for a yeast-free loaf, surely aided by my recent purchase of a 9 x 4 x4 loaf pan specifically designed for gluten-free bread. I have yet to bake a loaf that rises to the extent of the picture on the King Arthur website, but it certainly yields higher loaves than my other loaf pans. The gluten-free loaf pan is unique in that it’s sides are all perfectly perpendicular to the bottom of the pan; most standard loaf pans have a slight tilt to their 4 sides. The right angles of the gluten-free loaf pan somehow (witchcraft? nah, science) support a more effective environment for the dough to climb up the sides.
And how did it taste? In the words of my significant but gluten-consuming other, “This tastes like bread!” Now, I’ve made what I would deem “good gluten-free bread” in the past, and I in fact enjoy the prominent tang of certain gluten-free flours (e.g. amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat), but this loaf really did taste like whole wheat. I think the combination of multiple flours and starches (instead of the typical 1-2 flours + 1 starch) really shaped the end result into a mellow wheat-y hue.
Next up we have the soaked quinoa loaf. I’d made soaked quinoa pizza crust and soaked grain pancakes/dosas, but this is a veritable LOAF. Super easy! Very short ingredient list! No mussing about with flours/starches (I can’t seem to measure my starches without dusting the entire kitchen and myself with a thin layer of snow)! This loaf could technically be called a two-day process, but soaking quinoa overnight is a fairly passive step. I would imagine it would work just as well with any other soaked grain. The end result did not have that bitter taste of un-toasted quinoa flour. In fact, it had a very light and sweet sourdough element. The outside was crunchy, and the inside was nice and moist (without being mushy). My gluten-free loaf pan wasn’t able to work its loft-giving magic with this loaf, probably because there just wasn’t enough dough. If I make it again, I would probably use mini-loaf pans or even make the recipe as muffins. I would also measure the chia seeds, then grind them, so that digestion would be an easier task (if you can handle digesting full seeds/nuts, then no need to do this). I didn’t use a topping of any sort. Yum! Oh and check out that wonky little crater!
Bringing up the rear in fine form, we have the teff pumpkinseed loaf. This is currently cooling and I am currently attempting to resist its allure beyond the two small slices I’ve already savored. This loaf was easier to pull together than the first one, but it did require a few little prep steps, such as toasting and grinding the pumpkin seeds (Have you heard of nuts.com? Have you experienced the wonders of their extensive list of CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE bulk items?? If this means nothing to you, imagine not being able to safely buy things in bulk anymore, anywhere, after a diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Yeah, raw pepitos in bulk are a big. DEAL.). Other than that, there’s the standard soaking of flaxseed meal, to which we bakers of egg-free goods have grown accustomed. This loaf rose nicely, though I didn’t do a great job of creating a flat surface prior to placing it in the oven (it’s the whole “rustic” look, right?). And taste = wow! Moist, hearty, mellow. Teff is one of my favorite gluten-free flours (aside from the less pronounced “base” flours such as millet and sorghum), but due to its high cost, I typically sub 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount called for with buckwheat, as I did with this loaf.
In case you were wondering, I do in fact make food other than bread… Currently working on some carrot ketchup in the crock pot and some zucchini pizza sauce in the oven! Also enjoying a cauliflower cheese sauce I’d pulled out of the freezer this week, atop spaghetti squash with broccoli, spinach & chicken.
In other news, I killed my coffee grinder making walnut butter… It lived a full life, grinding spices, seeds, nuts, and grains. I was going to purchase a refurbished Vitamix, but decided to hold off and hope that Santa brings one. I know that $329 is a great deal for a Vitamix, but it’s not exactly within budget. I bought a $10 coffee grinder to carry me through til then. I am probably the only person whose coffee grinders never see the light of actual coffee, but hey, they sure can rustle up some smooth cashew cream!