Monday, March 3, 2014

Gluten Free Multigrain Bread (that rises beautifully!)

For years, I have been trying to find (and make) a gluten-free bread with a deep, rustic flavor, and that actually RISES.   On cold days, I wanted soup and this kind of dreamy rustic bread for a hearty sandwich or just a slab of creamy butter. It was a craving for oh sooo long!  For years, so many loaves of bread ended up in the trash because they either had a beany taste, or they got stale before we got a chance to finish them (they were forgotten about and still aren't worth remembering).  Bean flours. Yuck.  I see them used in many bread recipes that come with a guarantee to rise.  But that bean taste... blah!  I just can't get over it.  I even tried using just 1/4 cup of bean flour (garfava, to be exact) in a recent recipe and I could still taste it at the end.  Bean there, done that?

The funny thing is?  I LOVE BEANS.  Just not in bread.  I love beans so much I used to crave them when I was pregnant with my first daughter; my husband and I used to joke that we'd call her Frijolina.  If you speak spanish, or if you know how to use a handy online translator, you'll know that frijole means bean.  Yes, that was my firstborn's first nickname, when she was about the size of a bean in my tummy when we lived in Beantown (true store, remember Boston?).  See, I love beans!  Just. Not. In. Bread!!!!  Of course, I do have a health conscious husband who's always keeping me up to date on the latest in health news, and he claims (after reading this reputable book)  that beans are actually not all that healthy for you, anyway (and that white rice is actually one of the safer starches... shocker!).  Some folks like to soak beans in vinegar to help get rid of the toxins... but, I digress!  Just wanted to give you the lowdown on beans and my complicated relationship with them.

Now, my health-conscious blog readers, I know!  Dun, dun, dun... I used xanthan gum!  Ack!  Shouldn't I be using something more healthy like chia seed or flax?  Well, truthfully?  I've experimented with them and they alone don't provide enough of the "oomph" required for a generous rise.  So, now you're probably wondering why I'm not using that lovely fiber supplement known as psyllium husk with or instead of the seeds.  Well, I don't plan on co-partnering with Charmin or any of their toilet paper competitors, so I'll just save you and me a few trips to the bathroom and stick with xanthan.  The amount of fiber required to provide the lift I'm looking for is quite high.  A few folks who've transitioned to using fiber as their "gluten-free glue" claim that it takes some getting used to and can cause GI upset.  But, for kicks, I actually tried using acacia fiber which is a fiber I am familiar with, and is similar to psyllium.  It's actually a more "gentle" fiber, in my humble opinion.  I've never had a bad reaction to it.  It did produce a bread with a pretty good rise, but, alas, xanthan is still the best.  Yes, it is a manipulated corn derivative, so use it sparingly--or not at all if you have an allergy, and do opt for the fiber in that case...but I recommend the acacia fiber for starters.  I, personally, do not react poorly to xanthan, and the quantity I use is so small that I don't mind sticking with it, no pun intended...(xanthan makes things so sticky!).

But the beauty of sharing recipes is that YOU can make them your own by experimenting.  Feel free to use this recipe and switch out the xanthan for fiber and let me know how it works!

I will still be experimenting with this recipe myself, but for a good reason.  What is it?  Well, this bread kinda rose so high that it started overflowing in the tiny glass baking dish I used.  Next time, I'll use a standard bread pan (I am so used to gluten free bread not rising that I didn't anticipate the overflow). My bread pan runneth over with gluten-free goodness, does yours? ;)  Also, I wanna try to make rolls with it at some point, but I think that would require a bit less liquid, maybe one less egg.  Anyhow, feel free to experiment with this recipe...but I do recommend trying it as-is at least once, because it would be delicious with a bowl of soup on a cold night like tonight.

I've got some exciting recipes to come! As soon as my kiddos get over the flu, I will be working on a fried chicken recipe.  Yes, the flu!  Dang, and I thought March was a time for flowers and sunshine, and as I write this there's thunder outside, a winter weather advisory in effect, and two kiddos ready to feel better! Last night, after a long day of caring for two sick babes, I needed something sweet and comforting so I made some delicious maple coconut rice krispies treats with the simplest ingredients (we'll just call them brown rice cereal treats ;).  They'll be up next!

Gluten Free Multigrain bread (THAT RISES and doesn't taste like beans! ;)
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup millet flour
2 TBSP almond meal
3 tsp dry milk powder
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
pumpkin seeds, if you want (I topped the bread with a sprinkle of Bob's rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds for texture)

1 fast acting yeast packet combined with 1/4 cup warm water

1 3/4 cups hot water
3 TBSP grade b maple syrup
2 large eggs at room temperature

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a standing mixer until well combined.  

2. In another small bowl, proof that 1/4 cup warm water with the fast acting yeast.

3. Combine the eggs with the dry flour mixture, add the hot water and the maple syrup.  Mix for about a minute in the standing mixer (at about a medium speed), then add the proofed yeast. 

4. "Pour" batter-like dough into a well-greased bread pan (I used a glass pyrex medium bread pan, but that was a bit small :) -- the bread dough, before rising, already filled the pan.  Next time I'm going to use a pan that leaves about 1/4 in of space from the top).  Smooth top with wet fingers and sprinkle with your favorite seeds/nuts/oats.


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