Gluten Free bread is not generally known for rising high in the pan. Nor does it often taste good enough to enjoy once the first day has passed. Worse yet, it is mostly terrible in sandwiches, all crumbly and messy. I have tried a few recipes and, especially in the sandwich bread area, nothing was worth mentioning much less putting in this blog. Until I baked the sandwich bread from the How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook, created by the America’s Test Kitchen team. This cookbook promises “revolutionary techniques and groundbreaking recipes” right on the cover. What I love about it is the discussion on how they came up with the final recipe; all the changes and reasons why things were added/subtracted or changed to create the best possible final result. I guess it is the science teacher in me but those discussions are my favorite part of this book.
The bread recipes use one extra ingredient which put me off, I’m sort of getting tired of excessive ingredients and so many flour mixes after only two years of living gluten free. Anyway, the ingredient is powdered psyllium husk. The cookbook says psyllium husk powder is critical to building a stronger protein network that traps gas and steam, key to producing a taller loaf (pg171). It took me a while but finally, I got a bag of it at Frey’s Better Foods right here in town, $6.75 in a twist tied baggie; bulk packaging lowers the price quite a bit from the commercially packaged versions. It is a brown/gray powder. Doesn’t look magical. But apparently, it is! My loaf rose and rose, to the top of my special tall sided 8 ½ x 4 inch pan. And it stayed tall through the baking process, no shrinking or sagging either as it cooled. It is found on page 171, classic sandwich bread. I thought it tasted sort of like multigrain bread, not as white as I expected, which is fine by me. The creating is typical of gf breads: mix the dry ingredients and in a separate bowl the wet ones, mix and beat well. You do have to make up their flour mix: a blend of white and brown rice flours, potato starch, tapioca starch and non fat dry milk powder. Not too fancy but yes, another big jar of flour mix to store somewhere…
Anyway, it was tall and handsome and sliced easily into individual slices to enjoy now and to freeze for later. There are lots of other recipes in this book that I plan to try. If you are serious about gluten free baking this recipe and this book are well work a good look. I am having a sandwich today for lunch and I am excited, bread that looks normal and holds together, no more crazy crumbling sandwiches!
Classic sandwich bread
2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tbsp butter melted
3 cups plus 2 tbsp ATK flour mix (recipe below)
1 1/3 cup oat flour
½ cup non fat dry milk powder
3 tbsp powdered psyllium husk
2 tbsp. sugar
2 ¼ tsp. dry yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt.
Spray an 8 ½ by 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Wisk the wet ingredients in a small bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients in the large bowl of your stand mixer. Slowly pour in the wet ingredients, mixing slowly; scrape bowl sides down as you go; takes about a minute. Increase the beater speed to medium and beat for 6 minutes, it should look very thick; sort of like a cookie dough. Glop it into the prepared pan, trying to fill the corners well. Then, smooth the top with your dampened fingers and spray with a bit of water. Make a foil collar for your pan; if you have the tall pan like I do such a collar is not necessary. The recipe says you can use a stapler to secure it around the pan. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise at room temp until doubled. I heated my oven to 100 degrees and turned it off – popped the bread in and this gave it a nice warm temperature as my kitchen’s room temp is much too chilly for bread dough. It took about 55 minutes for mine to rise; recipe says an hour.
Spray the loaf lightly with water before popping into the oven to bake at 350 until golden and firm and it sounds hollow if you tap on it. Although how you can tap on a hot loaf of bread is sort of beyond me! Try to remember to rotate it half way through the time, I forgot…. Mine was done at an hour and 15 minutes; recipe says 1 ½ hours. Let cool in pan ten minutes, cool on wire rack for two hours before cutting. So don’t be diving into this bread warm; not happening. If you cut gf bread too soon it can collapse and or get gummy in texture. I hate the gummies so I resist the temptation to cut early and so should you! This makes good toast too and great gf crumbs.