gluten free diet

I Didn't Realize How Much I Missed Bread...

I always love hearing from readers and students who have read my book, baked one of my recipes, or taken a cooking class. Getting feedback from people who are learning to go gluten free is invaluable.

One of my readers, Dorothy Kovak, got in touch with me recently, and I asked her to try out the Gluten Free Bread 101 course and let me know what she thought. Dorothy has been gluten free for about a year, but hasn’t been able to make or find any decent GF bread.

She wrote me back with a great letter that I’ve reprinted below. Dorothy, thanks for sharing with us, and I’m glad I was able to help you make a great loaf of GF bread.

Here’s Dorothy:

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Mary Frances,

I am ready to take the plunge and bake my own gluten free bread from scratch. I used to bake bread many years ago with varying degrees of success. My home baked breads sometimes came out great and other times I could use them for doorstops. I didn’t make enough to figure out the problems.

My bread machine breads were just as variable. I finally gave up baking bread many years ago. I started buying the artisanal breads that became so readily available. Now that I need to go gluten-free and dairy-free for health reasons, I don’t have the luxury of wonderful bakery bread anymore; and grocery store gluten free bread is awful.

The first step is to read through all the instructions and watch the video. After that, I make sure have all the ingredients and cookware necessary. I’ve been at this new way of eating for more than a year so I’m familiar with all the terms and various substitute flours and dairy sources.

I just finished reading through the instructions and frequently asked questions. Wow, so much useful information!

Something new for me is to learn about the ratio of flour to water. This is helpful information for future experimentation. I really rely on recipes and appreciate the work others do to come up with them. After reading this I would not be so hesitant to experiment in the future.

Also, since I have to be dairy-free, the substitutions section is very helpful.

I am a visual learner so the video is great. I never weighed ingredients before, but do have a scale and like the idea of such precision. I’m aware that success in baking is having precise measurements. It’s very straightforward and helpful.

It was good to see what the dough should look like while beating and when done. In the past, it was always hit or miss as to how the dough was supposed to look. How high it should rise? What was the best method for rising? With this video all those issues are addressed. Very helpful.

I also like to see what the dough looks like, and what it sounds like when it’s done baking. I wouldn’t have bothered trying to bake my own bread, but watching this has given me the confidence to try.

I’m ready to bake my first loaf of gluten free bread. First, I mix my flours according to your recipe. I don’t have enough corn starch and I’m tempted to substitute Tapioca flour for it, but I think the first time I should use the exact recipe. I found the corn starch in the regular grocery store and it says it’s gluten free. (Argo brand)

It’s been so many years since I made bread that it felt like making it for the first time. The video was invaluable. I have an iPad that I propped up next to me as I worked. It was like having an experienced person there with me every step of the way.

I would watch a section, hit pause and do that action; then watch some more, pause and do that action, on through to the end.

This helped because I was so uncertain about everything. I wasn’t sure if I mixed the dough to the right consistency. My husband and I compared my dough to how yours looked and it looked pretty close.

Mixing and measuring everything was time consuming, but, in time, I’m sure it will be easier and faster. Now to clean up the giant mess while the bread rises, hopefully.

Woohoo! The bread has risen to the top of the pan and it’s ready to go in the oven. I’m actually excited about this. I guess the yeast was fine since it fizzed over the cup I had it in.

The bread has risen well. I decide to leave the oven rack in the middle. I set the timer for 50 minutes, cross my fingers and hope for the best.

It came out picture perfect! I’m so excited. I don’t believe I ever made such pretty looking bread.

Now, set the timer for 30 minutes and hope it stays upright. The timer went off and it’s still a pretty loaf of bread, although it sank slightly on the top and seems to have been sucked in a little on the sides. All in all, it’s an extremely successful loaf of bread. And that’s on the first try.

The last test is to cut it and see how it tastes….drumroll please….Wow!!! I’m in mouth heaven! It is sooooo good. First, I put some Smart Balance “butter” on it. Love it! Then I put on some crunchy peanut butter! Wonderful! Oh, thank you so much for this cooking class!

I couldn’t have produced anything so delicious on my own, that’s for sure.

It’s been 15 months since I ate any ‘bread’ that was fresh, soft and tasty. All the gluten free breads I’ve bought were the consistency of cardboard and about as tasteful. I gave up buying it months ago and have been eating rice cakes and thin corn cakes for sandwiches ever since. I’m actually doing a happy dance (something to see in an overweight 55year old. :-)

I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed bread.

Since I made the bread I’ve had a sandwich and I’ve made French toast. It is really such a treat to be able to eat ‘normal’ food again. Thank you, Mary Frances, for sharing your knowledge and your recipes. I look forward to taking the rest of the classes you offer!

— Dorothy Kovak


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