Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crusty Gluten Free Bread

Gluten Free Bread That Needs to be Kneaded

This very dense crusty loaf of gluten free bread isn't made with one of those batter-like batches of dough that we've all come to know upon entering the realm of gluten free bread baking.  This dough, on the other hand is actually so stiff that it might just burn out the motor of your Kitchenaid if you don’t do the kneading by hand.  

In order to achieve a very dense very heavy loaf of crusty bread I've found that a very stiff dough is required.  When the dough is stiff, the yeast really has to struggle against that stiffness in order to rise.  This inability of the yeast to achieve its full leavening potential produces a nice heavy bread with a tight crumb pattern.  

Making gluten free bread quite isn't as simple as baking regular bread.  To get a good result you’ll need to mix several flours to achieve the results you’re looking for.  Different flours have different flavors and properties that need to be combined to get a good result. The sorghum flour gives the bread a flavor that’s very similar to wheat. Tapioca flour, otherwise known as tapioca starch, gives the bread a stretchy elastic quality.  In short, each flour brings something different to the party.

But I think the best thing about this bread is the need to knead it.  The kneading process is still not the same as kneading regular bread dough.  This bread dough is more like working a heavy piece of clay on your work surface versus a beautiful elastic ball but it’s still fun nonetheless to have your hands in dough again.        

Crusty Gluten Free Bread
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups Corn Flour
  • 1 cups Rice Flour
  • 1 ¼ cups Tapioca Flour
  • 1 cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
  • 2 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Xanthan Gum
Wet Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups Evaporated milk (12oz can)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix together all of the dry ingredients.  It’s very important to combine all of the dry ingredients before adding any liquid to the mix because if you don’t have the xanthan gum mixed well into the other flours and there happens to be some small collections of it somewhere throughout the mixture, once liquid is added those small pockets of xanthan gum will quickly absorb that liquid and form almost rubber-like balls within the bread.
  2. In a mixing bowl large enough to house the ingredients, whisk together all of the wet ingredients then pour the mixture into to the bowl of your mixer with the dry ingredients as it’s running on low.
  3. As soon as the wet and dry ingredients are combined turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for about 2 minutes then turn it out onto your work surface and knead it for about five minutes to make sure everything that everything is well combined.
  4. Roll the dough into a 16 inch log then place it onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner.
  5. Pat the log down to flatten it a little then use a sharp knife to cut diagonal slashes about every two inches across the top.
  6. Cover it with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray then a kitchen towel and let the bread rest for 2 - 3 hours for the flavors to develop.  It won’t rise too much because the yeast really has to fight against this super stiff dough to rise which is how we’ll achieve a really dense crumb in this heavy loaf of crusty bread.    
  7. Bake in a preheated 425°F (218 °C) for 40 minutes or until it’s golden brown, has a hollow sound when tapped or it reaches an internal temperature of just over 200 degrees then cool on a wire rack to maintain the crisp crust. 

Notes:  Since this bread has no preservatives, to maintain freshness make sure to store the leftovers in a plastic bag in the freezer.  And if you don’t think you’ll be serving the leftovers all at once you might want to cut it into the portions sizes you think you might want so you won’t be struggling to saw through dense frozen bread.  To revive the bread to its fresh baked glory defrost it then pop it into the oven at 350°F for a few minutes to reheat.  The exact reheat time will depend on the portion size.   

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