“If you don’t like the way things look, change the way you look at them!”
This very clever saying, applicable to much in life, could not be more appropriate for my challenges in living a gluten free lifestyle. In the hit and miss, mostly miss… of purchasing gluten free products, I’ve discovered quite naturally that just like in most things you want to eat, making your own is usually best.
And how is it, you’re wondering, that I’ve changed how I look at this…? It did come with time, as with learning anything new, when I realized that instead of focusing on what I was missing, I moved the focus to what I could have. And then to what I could do about it. The added bonus of that philosophy was discovering a very important thing: in making substitutions for regular white flour, you have the opportunity to add nutritional value, as well as variations of taste. With the abundance of gluten free flours & substitutes available, the options range from earthy chick pea flour, brown rice flour and quinoa flour – to ‘flours’ made from nuts such as almonds or ground seeds, including flax. They all bring their own flavour, texture and nutrition to the recipe – whatever the recipe might be.
If you’ve tried any store bought gluten free products, the first thing you’ll notice is the difference in texture.. and it IS noticeable. Sadly many GF baked goods have the texture of sand, with the resulting crumble when you bite into them. So, so disappointing. But… it leads you to either find a decent, not too over-priced GF bakery, or in my case, the quest to find decent enough recipes to make your own. So be it.
Of the GF bread recipes I’ve tried so far many of them were so horrible they were not worthy to post. This recipe is hands-down the best so far, with a good crumb/texture & flavour, but like most GF bread products require toasting to bring out their best.
Here’s the link for the gluten free flour blend from America’s Test Kitchen.
- 1 3/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 14 oz (3 cups plus 2 TBSP) ATK gluten free flour blend
- 3 oz (3/4 cup) ground flaxseeds
- 1 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 TBSP powdered psyllium husk
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 1 TBSP instant or rapid rise yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- Whisk water and eggs together in bowl, set aside.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, add all dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
- Slowly add water mix and let dough come together, about 1 minute - scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Increase speed to medium, mixing until sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes (dough will resemble cookie dough).
- Spay an 18x12 inch sheet of parchment with cooking spray and scraping out the dough, transfer it to the parchment, shaping into a 6 1/2 inch ball with wet hands.
- Place parchment & dough in an oven safe 8 inch skillet.
- Using a sharp knife, slash a 4 inch X across the top, cutting in 1/2 inch deep.
- Spray dough with water.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has risen by 50%, about 2 hours.
- One hour before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a baking stone on rack and heat to 400°
- Remove plastic, spray loaf with water, reduce temperature to 350° and place skillet on preheated baking stone.
- Bake about 1 1/2 hours, rotating skillet halfway through baking, until top of bread is well browned, crust is firm and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Carefully remove loaf from skillet, transfer to wire rack discarding parchment, and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Wrapped well, it will store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- *You really need a stand mixer to make this - and most GF breads - due to their very soft and sticky nature.
- **If you want to freeze some, slice it, place a piece of waxed paper or parchment between the slices, and wrap well.