Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homemade Gluten-Free Bread

This gluten-free bread comes together as easily as a recipe for quick-bread and it's soft, flavorful and slices beautifully for sandwiches.

My daughter Una couldn't wait for my latest batch to cool completely before cutting herself a slice and declaring it "delicious!".

Gluten-free bread is expensive to buy and making it yourself might seem too when you initially buy your ingredients, especially the xantham gum that costs $13.99 for an 8 oz. package.

In the end though, the price of the natural thickener and stabilizer is really no big deal since you need just 1 1/2 teaspoons to make a loaf of bread. Xantham gum is a necessary addition since it holds the bread together and keeps it from being crumbly. That pricy 8 oz. bag will last a very long time.

Adding up my costs, I estimated that one homemade loaf of gluten-free bread costs just under $3 to make, definitely less than buying a loaf which averages $5.

I used a combination of millet and rice flour in the recipe since the millet's texture is soft like wheat flour. Experimenting with just rice flour tasted fine but created a grainy texture that for me screamed gluten-free.

Instead, I aimed to develop a recipe that didn't taste like a diet compromise and I believe this is it.

Gluten-Free Bread
(makes 1 loaf)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup millet flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

Heat the milk in the microwave until it is warm, this takes about 35 seconds. Add the sugar and yeast to the milk and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture set for 5 minutes until it begins to bubble and grow.

In a mixer bowl, whisk together the millet flour, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and salt.

Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, mixing it on low speed until it comes together.

Add the eggs and oil and mix on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until the batter is very smooth.

Leave the batter in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

After rising, give the batter a stir.

Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and pour the batter into the pan. Use the back of a spoon to spread the batter evenly in the pan. If you want to use sunflower seeds, this is the time to sprinkle them evenly over the top of the batter.

Cover the loaf pan loosely with greased plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dough is just to the top edge of the pan. Also, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the bread for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

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