Gluten free is quite a fad right now. I prefer not to get too immersed in the food fad experience. In this case, my naturopath suggested that I do a gluten free diet to support my thyroid, so I’ve been giving it a go. I find that if I’m feeling some symptoms related to my thyroid, I can cut out the gluten and it will definitely make me feel better. I’m not extreme about it and I don’t have a gluten free kitchen. My attitude is one of enjoying the exploration of new foods, new flavors, new textures.
I started many years ago when I was eating a wheat free, vegan diet. Ofer created a recipe copying Pamela’s vegan cookies. He made a dynamite chocolate cookie that has a current incarnation as Midnight Moons, available on our Baked Goods page. I jumped into the game when Ofer started making fresh tahini. My gluten free Tahini Moon cookies have become the best selling item we have! Muffins came next and are also quite popular, especially the mini-muffins among the little people.
After the heaviness of overindulging in gluten over the holidays, and completing my cleanse, I’m ready to get back to my gluten free baking experiments. I’ve tried the store-bought gluten free breads over the years and find them to be boring and dry. The manufacturers don’t seem to know about the wide variety of grains and flours that are available to use. I go to the local health food store and find a large array of choices. My only complaint is that there aren’t many organic ones. Oh, well. There are always choices in the world.
I’m on a mission now to learn how to bake a satisfying gluten free bread. I’ve searched a lot of blogs on the internet and collected some recipes. As usual, some are good and some not so much. Any time I find a recipe, I make it once following their instructions and adjust to my tastes as I go along. So far, I’ve had amazing luck with a gluten-free pancake (I added fresh bananas) and a brioche-style bread (kind of like an egg bread). I am not attempting to be vegan here, so I’m using eggs and butter with abandon.
I like to keep in mind the Blood Type Diet list when I’m choosing from the various flours. Sometimes I can actually feel the difference in how it sits in my stomach if I use something off of my avoid list. For example, many of the gluten free recipes use a lot of tapioca. Tapioca is on my avoid list for my B blood type. I’ve been making the recipes with tapioca, but now that I know of other ingredients that can be substituted, I will use those more instead. Arrowroot powder and potato starch (not flour) are both good substitutes for tapioca flour.
I got this bread recipe from Simply Gluten Free at simplygluten-free.com. The first time I made it my dough didn’t rise properly. I baked it anyway and found the flavor to be wonderful. I ended up eating the whole thing. In my second try, I had a good setup (since it’s winter, I put the dough in the car in the sun for the rising time) and good yeast and it turned out perfectly. It was easy to make, it just takes time to sit while it rises. It’s a day-long process so do this on a day you will be around the house.
Gluten Free Brioche
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast – I used 3 cubes of cake yeast
5 Tbsp. sugar, agave nectar or honey – I used honey
1/4 c. warm (not hot) water – I used 1/3 c. because I added flour
2/3 c. brown rice flour – I added 1/3 c. sorghum flour
1 c. tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. sea salt
4 large eggs
9 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp
1. Combine yeast, 1 Tbsp. sweetener and warm water in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 6 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, tapioca, 4 Tbsp. sweetener, xanthan gum and sea salt. Make a well in the center and add the foamy yeast. Mix well. (This step can either be done by hand or in a heavy duty mixer. Don’t use a hand mixer as it isn’t strong enough for this sticky dough.)
3. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add 8 Tbsp. butter, also one at a time, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated.
4. Beat briskly for another minute or two until dough is smooth. Scrape into a clean mixing bowl, cover with a towel and let sit in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
5. Use the remaining pat of butter to grease the 8″x4″ loaf pan. Make sure to coat it thoroughly.
6. Scrape the risen batter into the pan and smooth with a wet spatula. Cover with the towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in bottom third of oven.
8. Cut a slit about 1/4″ deep down the center of the loaf with a sharp knife. Mix the last egg with 1 Tbsp. water and whisk well.
Brush the loaf with half of the egg mix and let sit for 5 minutes. Add remaining egg mix to top before baking.
9. Bake 40 – 45 minutes or until bread in golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 15 – 20 minutes.
Here’s my recipe for French Toast. It’s quite simple and is delicious with the Brioche or Challah. Actually any of your favorite breads will do.
4 slices of Gluten Free Brioche
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. almond milk
dash of cinnamon
1. Mix egg, milk and cinnamon in a bowl or deep plate.
2. Melt butter in large frying pan.
3. Dip bread slices one at a time in egg mix. Place in frying pan.
4. Cook until nicely browned, turn and brown other side.
5. Serve warm with pure maple syrup.
Next up – Pizza!