Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bread, Wonderful Bread

I take my bread very seriously. I am not sure when my love-affair with bread started but since I grew up in a culture known for its amazing array of doughy creations, I guess it comes as no surprise. Some people eat macaroni and cheese for comfort, I ate croissants, pain de seigle, pain de campagne, baguettes, battard, and pain d'epis with salty butter...

Life changed quite a bit when I had to get off wheat. My first worry was: "what about my bread?", but then I realized that I would enjoy this creative challenge. I love inventing recipes. I find it very therapeutic.

You can eat wonderful breads even on a gluten-free diet and never miss the wheat (at least I don't)-- All it takes the willingness to spend some time in your kitchen playing around and experimenting. After some research, I found out that most recipes can be converted to wheat-free or gluten-free. All you have to do is get up-close and personal with all kinds of gluten-free flours to recreate the perfect baking flour, and add 1 teaspoon of xantham gum per cup of flour to bind them together. Then you wave your magic wand and voila. No, actually you have to be willing to fail because that's what leads you to understand your palette better. I have had my share of flops or so-so breads but ultimately I have come up with some recipes that would satisfy any bread-lover.

The nice thing about making gluten-free breads is that a mixer is all you need. The process is much simpler, almost like making a batch of muffins that has to rise. I have a few recipes that can be made in a bread machine as well, like the one below. This bread is really dense and full of wonderful whole grains (I tend to like hardier breads- the white fluffy stuff does nothing for me). It's wonderful straight out of the bread machine or you can keep it the fridge and toast it in the morning. Either way, you will enjoy its wonderful texture and nutty taste.

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Millet Bread for the Bread Machine

Wet ingredients:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil (I like to use roasted walnut oil)

Dry Ingredients: (combine and mix, with a whisk, all the flours in a bowl before transferring to the bread machine)
2 cups of brown rice flour
1/2 cup of sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup of teff flour
1/2 cup of amaranth flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1 tablespoon of xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
1/4 cup of raw millet grains

Proceed according to the manufacturer's direction for your bread machine. Mine needs the wet ingredients first and then the dry ones on top. Select the bread bake cycle with a medium crust or equivalent (Basic Medium on mine). Once the ingredients start to mix, give it a few minutes and check that there is enough liquid. The dough should not be dry, add some water if necessary until you get a slightly wetter dough (see picture for guidance). Proceed as usual with the cycle of your machine. This bread is great eaten warm straight out of the oven and even better toasted for breakfast the next morning.


Katie said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE! My sister is complaining about stomach pains when she eats gluten (this is a new thing) and we just happen to have a dusty bread machine in the laundry room that my dad used to use. I have wanted to experiment with it for some time, and now I have an excuse!

Alexa said...

Hi Katie,
I hope you and your sister like it. I also hope she feels better. Have fun with the bread machine.

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