GLUTEN FREE FRENCH BREAD
Going gluten free about six years ago meant either feeling deprived or eating very expensive cardboard. Either way the result was the same and going without became a way of life.
It seems hard to believe because now nearly every supermarket carries quite an amazing selection of really delicious products.
The cost is still very high and at times outrageous but at least some satisfaction is attached to the cost. There is still nothing like the taste of hot buttered bread that just came out of the oven. Gluten free products do not have a long shelf life which is why you will find most of them in the freezer section. The mixes for bread are awesome but, cost about the same as the frozen pre made version.
The ingredients to make home made gluten free products are readily available now and all of them can often be found together at a local supermarket.
This recipe can either be made using the two flours suggested in the recipe or a gluten free flour mix like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix. If you have a high powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix you can make your own gluten free flours. It is advisable to still buy the tapioca flour as it is so fine. It will never get ground up enough in the blender and the noise of tapioca clanging around is just horrible.
Xanthan gum is what gives the gluten free bread a similar spongy texture to normal bread. It may seem expensive but only one or two teaspoons are used in each batch. Do not skip it as you will get very disappointing results.
Once you have made a few recipes, these ingredients will become familiar. It also takes a while to get used to the difference between a gluten bread dough and a gluten free bread dough. The gluten free version has more in common with a cake batter than a bread dough and this seems very strange at first. There is nothing strange about the final product though.
I found this recipe years ago in a book by Betty Hagman who is considered the pioneer of gluten free baking. I have tweaked it a little but, it is her recipe. The first time I made this I was so desperate to eat bread that I devoured a whole loaf in about ten minutes. It is absolutely delicious, slathered in butter when piping hot. Actually I would consider it dangerous as it is so good. If you are watching your weight this is not a bread to make. Gluten free does not mean calorie free.
2 CUPS WHITE RICE FLOUR 2 TABLESPOONS DRY YEAST
1 CUP TAPIOCA FLOUR 2 TABLESPOONS OF MELTED BUTTER
3 TEASPOONS OF XANTHAN GUM 2 EGGS LIGHTLY BEATEN
1 1/2 TEASPOONS OF SALT 1 TEASPOON VINEGAR
2 TABLESPOONS SUGAR MELTED BUTTER TO BRUSH THE TOP OF EACH
1 1/2 CUPS OF LUKEWARM WATER LOAF
Mix the yeast and the sugar in a jug with the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast starts to bubble.
Put the flour, xanthan gum, and salt in a Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment.
Mix for a few seconds just to incorporate the different flours and the gum. If the xanthan gum has not been mixed into the dry ingredients and is left in clumps it will form bubble gum like lumps in the finished product.
Add in the melted butter, yeast mix, and vinegar and mix on high for a couple of minutes.
Line a baking sheet with foil to protect any cross contamination unless there are only gluten free products cooked on it.
Brush the pan with oil and then spoon the dough onto the pan into two loaves.
Each spoonful should be about the size of an egg and place each spoonful horizontally next to each other to form each loaf.
Set the oven to 400 degrees
Let the loaves rise for 25 minutes in a warm place.
When they are doubled in size gently brush with melted butter and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack
Once you have become familiar with the recipe you can play with it and make healthy additions like flax meal and ground sunflower seeds. Or you could go to the dark side and add cheese and pieces of cooked bacon.
If by chance there are any left overs freeze them the same day and defrost when needed . Gluten free baked goods do not keep as well as their gluten counter part. The chances are you will not have any leftovers anyway.