Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gluten Free French Bread

Ok if you're still reading this, you're probably gluten free.  Or someone you love is.  Or you are a devoted fan.  :)

I think bread is the thing that I miss(ed) the most by being GF.  You can buy packaged GF bread that is acceptable for toast and sandwiches.  But to make bread from scratch, without a factory, seems daunting.  I decided to try this recipe, because it has a lot of steps, but didn't really sound complicated.  Before I read this recipe, I did not know there was such a thing as a French bread pan.  But, there is!  And I bought it!  It cost $14 on Amazon. 

It does seem a bit silly.  Steve says he could have made me one out in the barn but I have my doubts about how the uniformity of the dots would have been.  I really wanted the bread to turn out right so I bought it.  And now that I've made the bread and it was AWESOME I know I will use it a lot more times.  This recipe came from the Simply Gluten Free magazine.

Gluten Free French Bread
2 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
3 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp cornmeal
2 tbsp butter, melted

Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a medium bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar.  Let sit for 5-6 minutes (10 if the yeast has been refrigerated) or until it is foamy and doubled in size.

In a small bowl, stir the xanthan gum with the olive oil until the xanthan gum is dissolved.

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or regular beater (not the dough hook) and mix to combine.  Add the yeast mixture, xanthan gum mixture, eggs, and vinegar and mix on low to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl once.  Turn the mixer to high and mix for 3 minutes.

Spray a French bread pan with 2 forms with cooking spray.  Place pan on a clean kitchen towel.  Sprinkle the cornmeal along the bottom of each pan. 

Spoon the batter equally into the forms, and shape into loaf shape using spatula.  Using a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf.

Cover the loaves with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Place a baking pan on the lowest rack of the oven and fill it with about an inch of really hot water.  Position the rack you will bake the bread on in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 400.

Brush the tops of the loaves with the melted butter and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

We had this with Savory Minestrone soup, which is so yummy.  Steve has a friend that helps him with all kinds of projects around here, and he eats with us a lot as a result of that.  He never says anything critical about my experiments, and also always cleans his plate.  Which is commendable.  I told everyone that this was gluten-free bread.  He took a bite and said...."It tastes like...bread."  Wow.  Music to my ears, truly.  We all felt the same way after we started eating it.  Everyone had two pieces, which no one is obligated to do.  It really was the taste and texture of regular french bread.  And all because of my special pan.  Oh yeah.  This is definitely a recipe I'll make again.  So so so good.

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