Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Bread Review

What the biggest problem I hear from people trying to follow a gluten free diet? There are no good gluten free breads!!

Thankfully, this hasn't been an issue in my household thus far because my son does Not (with a capital N) eat bread. Never has, don't think he ever will. But I do. And so does my other son and daughter. We have loaves of regular store bread and I make a mean honey oat bread in the bread machine, but I've started to think I should follow a gluten free diet as well. Just to see where that takes me. So I'm going to try out some bread recipes. Let's face it, commercial gluten free bread isn't very yummy. If you have some lying around, make bread crumbs.

Our first choice is one I found in my cupboard - Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful GF Bread Mix.

Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful GF Bread Mix

I was able to find this mix at a couple locally owned grocery stores near my home that have wonderful natural and organic foods sections. It's also widely available at Whole Foods or you can order online at Bob's Red Mill. They produce a fantastically diverse line of gluten free products so I thought I'd give this a try. I followed the instructions for using a bread machine, but there are also instructions for making the bread in the oven.

Many GF bakers will say that you need a programmable bread machine to make GF bread because it only needs one rise. I have a Breadman, which to my knowledge, is not programmable in quite that way, so I do it exactly as I would for a regular wheat bread. I've never had any abject failures so I'm comfortable saying that you can use your machine the same way.

All you need to make this bread is the mix (duh) and warm milk-substitute (I used 8th Continent Light Original), eggs, and margarine or oil. I heated my milk in the microwave just shy of boiling and whisked it gradually into the eggs and oil. For my Breadman, liquid ingredients go in first, then the mix, then the yeast in a well on top of the mix. Easy peasy. The bag states that the mix makes a 1 1/2 lb. loaf so I set my machine to the regular bake cycle, 1 1/2 lb. loaf, light crust. It took 240 minutes.

Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful GF Bread Mix

Here's a shot of the dough during the first bit of real mixing, nearing the first rise. It's important to remember that a lot of GF bread dough isn't going to look the same as wheat bread dough. If this were wheat bread, I'd be panicking and adding in more flour until the dough cleaned the sides of the pan. I did not do a single thing to this dough. It has more the consistency of heavy cake batter. I suppose it might be worth it to try to add a little more flour and see if that lightened the finished bread, but then again this is a mix. If you're buying a mix, you want the mix to be all you need. We're talking convenience here.

Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful GF Bread Mix

As you can see, I could not wait to dive into the warm crusty "butt" of the bread before I took a picture. That's my favorite part! You can also see that the light crust setting worked out very well. The crust is light colored, crispy, and a little thicker than you would expect from typical breads. The bag states that this bread is "moist and flavorful" and I have to say that's absolutely right. It is moist, dense, heavy, and has a good flavor. There is a little bean-y tinge from the garbanzo bean flour that I am not a super-fan of, but I can deal with that. It's kind of like the difference in flavor between white bread and whole wheat bread - not bad, but a little different.

Last night, after cooling, I put it into a plastic zipper bag to store it on the counter. The loaf (minus a few pieces eaten by me and my son) felt extremely heavy, but the flavor is still nice and it has retained a fairly fresh feel and taste.

I think this bread is a little too dense and doesn't have enough squish to make a good cold sandwich...say for a lunchbox, however, this would make a fantastic toasted sandwich or open face sandwich.

So give it a try. It's hearty and tasty so if that's the kind of bread you're into, you'll probably find this one is a winner!

No comments: