Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread (that doesn't suck!)

It's been roughly a year and half since I started this gluten free journey.  I still have no "medical reasons" for eating gluten free.  But I can tell you that now when I do eat it, I feel awful!  I started to have alot of stomach issues, I won't get into the details, and figured I'd cut out gluten to start and see how it helped.  I was amazed that within just a few days I felt so much better!  I've dabbled with paleo and clean eating and still just try to make as much from scratch and as chemical free as possible.  I am by no mean close to perfect or do this all the time with everything, but I sure try my best.  I fully admit that I am a coffee and sugar addict.  I'm ok with that.  I try to limit my sweets (and alcohol) to the weekends, but I don't always succeed with that either.  I'm a stress eater.  So food is my best friend and my enemy sometimes.  I've always had a love for baking and pastries.  I love them!!  When I started gluten free eating that was the hardest for me to deal with.  I could do without the pasta and bread, but to not be able to bake or eat my favorite hot chocolate chip cookies would have killed me.  I was determined to find a way to continue what I already did, just with a gluten free twist. 

That's when I found my All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend that I use for everything.  It is the best one out there and definitely beats any of the pre mixed blends at the grocery store.  Using that blend I have made everything from cookies, biscotti, biscuits, Thanksgiving gravy, sweet breads, angel food cakes and tons more!  I am yet to have a fail with it.  I highly recommend this blend! 

Now that I've figured out the regular baking part of being gluten free I thought it was time to step up a notch and start trying "real" breads.  I want to try all kinds!  If you have ever had gluten free bread, you know it is not the same as real bread.  It is desert dry.  I decided to start with the basics and try a sandwich bread first.  I remembered a friend posting on Facebook that she found a good recipe by Googling "gluten free bread that doesn't suck."  So, that's exactly what I did.  First one that popped up was a blog that a woman wrote about the same thing I was trying to accomplish. 

First I had to make a different flour blend than my usual one.  This was hard for me.  I have attachment issues when I find something I like.  (Just ask anyone that knows me about my chapstick attachment.)  But I did it.  Like her, I couldn't find potato flour so I used instant potato flakes and processed them to make them as fine as I could for the flour blend.  Here's what you  need to make that.  You'll need the whole recipe of flour to make the bread recipe.

Brown Rice Flour Blend

Makes 4 cups
1⅓ cups brown rice flour
1⅓ cups tapioca flour/starch
1⅓ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon potato flour

Word of warning, it is a lot of starch so it will "puff up" in a cloud while mixing.  I had flour everywhere!  After a year and half of gluten free baking I'm sure that you have to have some scientific tendencies to bake this way!  Once you have that mixed up and ready you can get on with the rest of the bread recipe.  Here we go!

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread (that doesn't suck)
from One Good Thing by Jillee

4 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend (see above recipe)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup powdered milk  (I omitted this and added 1/2 cup of warm whole milk instead)
3 large eggs at room temperature (If you are allergic to eggs you can replace the 3 eggs with: 9 Tbsp. water and 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed)
¼ cup butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ cup honey
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast (not INSTANT dry yeast)
2 cups warm water (Since I used 1/2 cup of warm milk I only used 1 1/2 cups of warm water)

  • Spray cooking spray into two 8-inch bread pans.
  • Add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm water and stir until mixed. Set this aside to activate while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  • Mix the flour blend, xanthum gum, gluten-free egg replacer, salt, and powdered milk together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
  • Put eggs, butter, vinegar, and honey in the bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix together for about 30 seconds. The butter will be chunky, that’s OK.
  • Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer. Mix just until blended, and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix for another 30 seconds, until blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water and yeast mixture, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 4 minutes.
  • After the 4 minutes your bread dough should resemble thick cake batter.
  • Spoon the dough into your greased bread pans. Dip your fingers in water to smooth the top of the dough, if desired. Set aside in a warm place to rise for approximately about 50 to 60 minutes.   While dough rises, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • When the dough has risen to about an inch above the top of the pans (My bread took closer to 1 1/2-2 hours to rise that much, but then had a big whole in it after baking that you can see in the picture below of it cut.  That usually happens when bread rises too long.  So use your judgment with this.), place the pans in your preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread’s internal temperature reaches 200 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. (This is very helpful! It’s hard to tell when gluten-free bread is done. But if you don’t have an instant read thermometer you’re going to have to use your best guess based on your particular oven.)
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then remove loaves from pans and place on a rack to cool. (As you can see, I brushed the top of mine with butter when they came out of the oven.)
  • After allowing it to cool COMPLETELY (this is important! Don’t rush it and cut into it while it’s still warm or you will flatten it.) I very, VERY carefully started cutting it into slices. This is ALSO very important…let your bread knife do the cutting for you! You provide the “sawing” action, but let the knife blade do the work. Don’t press down, just keep “sawing” across the top until you get all the way to the bottom of the loaf and hit the cutting board. The bread slices will keep their shape much better this way!

This bread smelled sooo good while it was baking!  It came out gorgeous too!  It tasted like real bread.  It was soft and moist and delicious!  I will definitely make this more!  I can't wait to try French toast, grilled cheese and so much more.  My turkey sandwich was super yummy!  It did dry out a little by the next day.  I froze the second loaf.  We'll see how it is after it's been frozen. 

I will leave  you now to your own opinion.  Give it a try and tell me what you think.  I don't think I'll be buying any at the grocery store again anytime soon.  :)

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