gluten free diet
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By Mary Frances Pickett

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Are You Prepared To Bake Gluten Free Bread When The Sky Falls Down?

January 24, 2013

Are you afraid the world as we know it is going to end soon? Or maybe just that you’d like to be prepared for whatever life throws at you? Read these questions from a gluten free mom who wants to be prepared to bake gluten free bread regardless of what the future holds. By the way, even if you’re not a prepper, there are some great questions about ingredient substitutions below. Multiple- allergy folks – this article applies to you.

Mary Frances, my daughter and I LOVE your bread! I made two loaves this morning and Jenn fairly drooled over it when she saw how light and fluffy it is–and she can make sandwiches again! I am going to try a bunch of other GF bread recipes, too, but we may just have found our main one. I have some questions, though. I am looking forward to your answers before I make this bread again. I know you are busy driving around, homeschooling, and living the good life (kudos!) but I hope you can find time for my questions. Thanks! ~Connie

Instant Yeast Or Bread Machine Yeast?

1. Can I use regular quick rise instant yeast with this instead of bread machine yeast? (I don’t know what the difference between them is, but I’ve tried to use the regular stuff in my bread machine and it doesn’t work.) I’m not planning to make this bread in the bread maker because it doesn’t have the ability to just rise and bake.

Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast (sold in packets), and Fleischmann’s Bread Machine yeast (sold in a glass jar) are the same product in different packaging. I generally buy Fleischmann’s Bread Machine yeast because I like to have a larger quantity on hand. I also tend to spill the little packets when I tear them open (because who can find scissors when they need them), so the bottle is just an all around better choice for me.

So, yes, you can use instant yeasts with my gluten free bread recipes. All of them were developed and tested with it.

Making Large Batches

2. Can I double or triple this recipe safely or will that make something awful happen to the dough?

I’ve doubled it without problem. I do weigh my flour now though, so that helps prevent some of the problems that typically come with doubling and tripling recipes. If you’re making Finally Really Good Gluten Free Sandwich Bread, then use 12 oz. of the flour mix per loaf.

Will Powdered Eggs and Milk Work?

3. If I use powdered eggs can I just add the powder to the flour mixture and the 9 tablespoons of water to the yeast mixture, and then beat them together?

First, for my other readers, the 9 tbsp. referred to above is the amount of water that I would use to make a flax seed substitution for the eggs. 3 Tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed with 9 Tablespoons of hot water is approximately equivalent to 3 large (2 oz) chicken eggs).

One of my test bakers does use powdered egg products and he bakes for a living so I know that it is perfectly fine to use them. Rather than going with the 9 Tbsp of water that I use for the flax egg substitute, I would recommend that you follow the package instructions on the powdered eggs as to the amount of water and whether the eggs should be reconstituted before you add them to the recipe.

4. If I wanted to boost nutrition could I proof the yeast in warm milk instead of water? Alternatively, could I add powdered milk to the flour mixture without adding more water to the yeast proofing mixture; or if I do have to add more water–how much more? What other adjustments would I have to make to the recipe if I do this?

Yes, you can use milk! I originally created this recipe as a milk bread recipe and you can just substitute an equal amount of warm milk for the water listed in the ingredients. Again, for the powdered ingredients, I would check the instructions on the product to see what the equivalent portion is.

Grinding Flour At Home and Other GF Flour Questions

5. Have you tried grinding your own rice flour? I’m thinking of trying that but your recipe asks for “super-fine” flour. How much difference will there be in the final product if I use a flour that is not as fine as that?

I haven’t ground my own rice flour, but I know of people that do. I test all of my recipes with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours, so you could buy a bag of that and use it as a gauge to figure out the right consistency when you’re grinding your own flours.

I have used other brands of rice flour that are not ground as fine as the Bob’s Red Mill and the end product was noticeably gritty. I was NOT a fan.

That being said, the most important thing to consider is that the size of the flour particles impacts the absorbency of the flour. And the absorbency of the flour mix determines how much liquid is used in the recipe. When you’re grinding your own flours, you may need to adjust the amount of liquids in the recipe so that the dough ends up at the right consistency.

Adjusting the recipe as you go will be scary to some people. They just want to follow a recipe and have the bread come out perfectly. However, if you know what the gluten free dough is supposed to look like, then you can gradually add the liquids to the dough so that you can customize the recipe for whatever mix of flours you happen to be working with.

6. Would it be okay to use oat flour instead of sorghum flour when I run out of that?

Assuming that you’re using GF oat flour, that should be fine. As with any flour substitution, the amount of liquids may need to be increased or decreased. You won’t know that for sure until you’re mixing the dough so add the liquids gradually so that you can stop before the prescribed amount if necessary. If the dough is too stiff even after all the liquids have been added, then you can continue to add liquids until the dough reaches the correct consistency.

7. Can I use any dry beans to make flour–like navy beans or great northern beans? I don’t have a supply of dry garbanzo beans or fava beans (don’t like either, actually) so I cannot make garfava flour.

Yes! Bob’s Red Mill sells several different kinds of gluten free bean and pea flours, so you’ll just be doing at home what that company is doing commercially. As I’ve already mentioned, whenever you make a substitution just watch the dough to see if you need to adjust the liquids.

8. What about sea salt? I use sea salt and my bread machine recipe book tells me that it behaves differently than the regular table salt which I assume your recipe calls for, so to use 2/3 teaspoon of sea salt when the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon. I therefore did this with your recipe even though I didn’t use the bread machine. It seems fine to me. Comments?

Sounds like you did it just right!

So, If There Was A Catastrophe?

9. In a situation where I don’t have electricity (and therefore cannot use a mixer), will this dough turn out as well if I hand mix it? How long would I have to hand mix? What, if any, other changes would that mean? (I know, I know. I’m not looking forward to beating this–but if I’m bugging out I’ll probably have to.)

We didn’t bring our mixer when we started traveling the country, so I regularly work this dough up by hand. The dough is soft, so it’s not as hard as it could be, but you’ll get a good workout. I mix the dough by hand for 15 minutes or so for the best results. Gluten free dough doesn’t have to be kneaded, but a good long mix at the beginning helps develop the xanthan gum. Again, knowing what the dough should look like is the best guide. I just keep on beating it until it looks like it did when I used a mixer. No other changes to the recipe are necessary.

10. If we’ve bugged out and I have to make bread I will probably not have vinegar with me or xanthan gum once it’s used up. What affect will the loss of these two ingredients have on the finished product? Is there any way to make up for their loss?

Once you are out of xanthan gum you will be limited to flat breads. The amount of liquid in the dough will need to be reduced, and the consistency of the finished loaf will not be anything like the wheat bread that you’re used to.

However, you could stock up on mucilaginous seeds like flax, chia, and psyllium. If you grind and of these seeds and then mix them with water, it creates a mixture that is somewhat like glue and that can help hold your bread together.

The cider vinegar is not essential to the bread recipe, but the acidity it adds does make the bread better.

One Last Question

11. How moist is this bread supposed to be? While cutting my loaves (which I cooked for 50 minutes) I had to scrub off the knife after every second slice! Should I have cooked it for 60 minutes???

The bread should not be gummy. Rather than baking the bread for a set amount of time, try baking it until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 210 F. Then take the bread out and let it cool completely before slicing it. (That’s my advice. I don’t always follow it myself. I usually have to cut off at least one slice while the bread is still hot so that I can it slather with butter.)

How Do I Know What Gluten Free Bread Dough Is Supposed To Look Like?

Mary here – It’s completely possible to take a gluten free bread recipe and make successful substitutions if you know some basics about gluten free flours AND you know what a good gluten free dough should look like. If you don’t know what the dough should look like and are not having luck with the gluten free bread recipes that you’ve tried, you need to take my Gluten Free Bread 101 class online. Many students, including students who were experienced wheat bread bakers, have said that the video in that class was a “lightbulb moment” for them. Click here to start Gluten Free Bread 101 today.

 

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