7 of 101: fresh bread, sans gluten

well, i’ve made plenty of quick breads in gluten-free fashion. there’s the zucchini chocolate chip bread, the banana bread, the polenta-pear muffins/bread…. all delicious. but the formidable, unconquered terrain of bread with YEAST in it had not yet been explored.

until today.

today my new friend erin came with purpose of baking a couple of loaves of gluten-free bread together. thankfully, erin is a seasoned bread-baker and i am a seasoned user of gluten-free flours. so between the two of us, we knew we had a good chance of success. we did some homework ahead of time, each finding a recipe that looked promising.

1. gluten-free multi-grain sandwich bread by karina, my gluten-free goddess (whose recipes never fail me)

2. gluten-free bread that just might make you cry [for joy] written up on Gluten-Free Bay, but apparently adapted from a Celiac.com recipe

we made a list of all the bazillion flours we’d need and headed out to woodman’s to purchase them all (luckily, i’ll use these flours for future projects). upon arriving home, she took recipe #2 and i took recipe #1. we mixed the two sets of dry ingredients, then the wet ones.

we poured the doughs into bread pans and allowed both loaves to rise a while in a warmed oven, even thought recipe #1 said it only needed 20 minutes to rise, we allowed it to rise for close to the 90 minutes recipe #2 required. (i love the image of a mound of dough in a porcelain loaf pan, covered in a cheese cloth. it’s so wholesome).

there is a lot of waiting involved with baking any sort of yeasted bread. thankfully, with the gluten-free varieties, there is no kneading involved, however. so, we sat in the living room, still apron-ed, sipping on mugs full of rooibos and talked about our life work, future dreams, and longings for adventure until the rising process was complete.

recipe #1 rose to high heaven, almost doubling in size. recipe #2, however, seemed flat. this did not change through the baking time.

while the loaves cooled, we had a simple meal of kale, sweet potato, and black-eyed peas, topped with feta and a side of corn tortilla.

then, along with t, who always shows up once the food is ready to eat, we sat down at the table and tried a half slice of each, with pasture butter spread on top.  we were careful to chew slowly, after sniffing, and noted aloud what we noticed about taste, texture, and aromas. for a few moments we were food critics, though perhaps not very qualified ones.

final verdict: both very decent breads (though i have a slight bias towards recipe #1). they actually taste and feel like BREAD, unlike many gluten-free store-bought options. worth doing again? yes, indeed. though erin will opt to stay with the traditional gluten-laden breads because, well, she can.

thanks to erin for a wonderful afternoon of baking, laughter, and good conversation. not to mention tasty eats.

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