August 4, 2008
The key to staying gluten free is to make being gluten free as easy and tasty as possible. One of my tricks is to keep a stash of gluten free bread mix in the freezer. It only takes 2 minutes to grab a bag of flour, mix in the liquid ingredients (handily noted on the bag), and pop the dough into the bread machine.
Even better, my husband can do it too, so bread making is not “my” responsibility. (This only works if he remembers that you showed him the new stash of bread mix in the freezer!)
And, if you’re thinking that it would be easier to pick up a bag of bread mix at the store, you’re probably right. But it wouldn’t taste nearly as good, and that’s more important than being easy.
If you’d like to make your own stash, grab you favorite gluten free bread recipe and follow along.
First, mix up a big bowl of the main flours in your recipe. I used my gluten free flour because I wanted to make my sandwich bread. Since I use my All Purpose mix for lots of recipes, I didn’t do the math to figure out how much flour mix I would need for 8 loaves of bread. But you could certainly do that.
If you’re new to gluten free baking, the main flours would be any grain or bean flours, plus any starches like corn, potato, or tapioca.
Now, measure enough flour for one loaf of bread into each plastic freezer bag. I used a quart size bag. If you’re making a recipe for a 2lb. loaf you may need to go up a size. My recipe calls for two and a half cups of my All Purpose Flour Mix, so I don’t really have to think about how much flour to add. If your recipe calls for separate flours, add up the measurement for each of the flours you mixed in Step 1 to determine how much flour to add to each bag.
Take each additional dry ingredient and add it to each bag. For example, I add 1 Tbsp of yeast to each bag, and then 2 tsp. of xanthan gum to each bag, and then the sugar, and then etc. It’s very important to pay close attention during this step because it’s really hard to tell the difference between 1 tsp. of xanthan gum in a bag and 2 tsp. of xanthan gum in a bag. (Don’t ask.)
Now you can close each bag, lay it flat, squeeze all of the air out and seal. The only reason that you have to get most of the air out, is that it makes it so much easier to write the recipe on the bag. The bread mix will be in the freezer and should stay fresh for at least 6 months.
Using a Sharpie, write the name of the recipe and the amounts for the wet ingredients on the bag. You can also write any additional directions, if you (or any other bakers) will need them. I chose not do to that, because I follow the dump and stir method with this bread. Dump the dry ingredients in, dump the wet ingredients in, stir, bake.
Stack the bags in the freezer and forget about them till you need them. Be sure to tell everyone of baking age in your family about your stash, so that they can bake you bread in your time of need. (This is particularly handy if you’ve just had a baby or an illness in the family.) If for some reason your husband keeps making Flat Bread from scratch even though this easier option is available, he may have been distracted by a more enticing view (of you, of course)when you (proudly) showed him your stack of bread mixes and explained (in a very excited voice)how to use them. He may need a reminder.