November 29, 2007
We’ve been waiting for our 25 lb. bag of brown rice flour from Bob’s Red Mill forever! The gluten free oats that we ordered with it were back-ordered and the shipping people at Bob’s Red Mill were waiting to send us everything in one shipment. A quick call fixed this problem, but the flour won’t be here till Dec 3rd (I ordered on Nov 15th).
Needless to say we were getting desperate for some bread this week, since brown rice flour is the main ingredient in every baked good that I make. So off John went to our local Bruno’s. And home he came with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix .
Our History with Bread Mixes
Bob’s Wonderful Bread Mix is the first bread mix that we ever tried. We made it at least weekly for a year so. As you can see from the picture above, it makes a nice loaf of bread. It may need a little toasting, but it rises nicely and has a good taste. The only reason that we stopped baking it is that the recipe calls for 6 eggs* and I got tired of running out of the mix at inconvenient times. I abandoned bread mixes and moved on mixing my own flours.
As you probably know, gluten free bread can be temperamental. For years, we’ve eaten squat loaves, misshapen loaves, gooey loaves, and loaves with large air holes. Sometime the bread rises to a lovely height and then the sides and top collapse and you end up with bread that is so skinny that you can barely make a sandwich with it. (I’ve tried to draw the outlines of that type of loaf onto the picture above, but believe me it’s been much worse than that before.) Somewhere along the way I came up with a bread recipe that came out the same every time. That’s why I named it Finally, Really Good Sandwich Bread.
Goeth Before the Fall
Well, I was expecting this loaf of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Wonderful Bread mix to perform like all of those loaves from our early gluten free years.
When John took the bread out of the breadmaker I asked him how it looked. “It rose well, but it looks like it’s going to fall.” Just as I thought.
Bud it didn’t fall. It maintained that lovely rise. And it had no large air holes. And I was left with a mystery. Had I really created a wonderful bread recipe, or was all of my success due to one brief moment of thoughtlessness?
“Thoughtlessness?” you ask.
Yes. In a moment of thoughtlessness I threw away the blade to our bread machine and in the harried life of a new mother did not order a replacement. When it came time to make another loaf I just mixed the dough by hand, threw it in the machine and hoped for the best. And somewhere around that time (the same time we moved to a new house with a 5 week old infant) I made great bread. Really great bread and I’ve stuck with the recipe ever since.
You see, I’d been experimenting with this bread recipe for a while. Every time I made it I’d tweak in a little bit. And then it worked. And I thought I had succeeded. But is it possible that in the hazy days of early motherhood that the success of the bread came at the same moment that I threw away the bread blade? Is the true secret of gluten free bread making to not knead the dough? Does all that kneading overwork the xanthan gum bonds to that you end up with large air holes and collapsing bread?
You’ll have to tell me. Because I’m not buying another blade for that darned machine.
*I should point out that the recipe calls for one whole egg and enough whites to equal something like 3/4 cup. If you use large eggs, that means 1 whole egg and 5 egg whites. It also mean that you have 5 egg yolks that you need to find some use for. Because it would be a waste to throw them away, right?
“What is the solution?”
“My friend, the solution is creme brulee.” =)