Friday, November 13, 2009

A tale of two loaves

Once upon a time, as you may have read, I received a bread maker as a gift. Immediately, I set to work crafting my first mechanically-assisted gluten-free loaf. The recipe I chose was from the bread machine's instruction booklet: a simple white bread that I made GF by substituting Bob's Red Mill GF flour in place of the white flour called for. That this machine was not designed to handle gluten-less baked goods did not bother me. I figured I would simply add some xanthan gum to the mix and call it good. Alas, it was not good. It was really, truly, not good.

The bread never rose. It looked exactly the same after 3 hours as it did after the kneading cycles. It was dense and had kind of a salty flavor. When right-side up, it resembled a skull.

Unbeknownst to me, a standard bread machine kneads the bread three times... a process that is detrimental to finicky GF products. So I packed it up and set out for Bed Bath & Beyond, where I exchanged it for a machine with a specific gluten-free setting.

After stopping by the health food store for a few GF-specific baking products (something I could have done with the first machine, though I doubt it would have made a difference) I was ready to embark upon my second adventure.

Just as I did with the first loaf, I selected the most simple recipe in the booklet (a cheese bread, specifically written for the GF baker) and went to town. What a difference!

This one turned out moist, airy, and delightful in every way. The crust was crunchy but not burnt, and there were no funky aftertastes or odd textures to contend with. It wasn't overly cheesy (in fact, I couldn't taste it at all) and it did not fall after cooling.

The H said this was probably the best gluten-free bread he's tasted. What a compliment! It really was delicious bread, gluten-free or not. I have another loaf (different recipe) in the bread machine right now, this time a simple sandwich bread. I can't wait to try making French toast and clean(ish) BLTs. The specialty ingredients were a bit of an investment, but I can get all of it online for a lot less once we decide what our favorite recipes/ingredients are. Regardless of the price, it will taste WAY better than store-bought stuff! Totally worth it.

And we'll all eat happily ever after.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you are incorporating pictures on your blog! The bread looks great!