Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gluten free quest

I love bread... homemade dark rye sourdough with grains and seeds is my weakness...and something I can no longer eat.....
Most commercially available gluten free breads are raised with baking powder and have a very cake like texture. If they include wholemeal flour or grains, they have to be boosted with other raising agents to give extra rising power in heavier dough.
I had picked up a packet of what I thought was Laucke gluten free flour in anticipation of experimenting and it turned out to be a bread mix that only took an hour to make. As I had to have the oven on to bake for the markets and the kitchen was already hot, it made sense to fill the oven. This mix contains bicarbonate of soda (E500), glucono delta lactone (E575), which is either synthetic, or produced by bacteria from sugar. Guar gum (E412) and Xanthan gum (E415) are both natural thickeners and E464 – hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, is a semi synthetic thickening agent derived from wood and may cause digestive problems in sensitive people.
The mix was easy to prepare, I mixed 500gm and water in Thermomix on soft for 30 seconds, then #3 for two minutes. Interestingly, the batter is then left to rise for 20 minutes. It almost doubles in size, I can’t quite figure out why – there must be some reaction between the two rising agents. The 500g bag, which is half the amount in the box, made a large loaf in my 2 litre capacity tin. It browned a little unevenly and sank a little after cooking but this was probably because I had the oven set 5 degrees higher than recommended and didn’t notice so it cooked too fast. The only problem I had was removing it from the tin. I had oiled it really well, as recommended but it stuck in places. I will always line the tins for these batter type mixes in future.
The results were okay, a nice soft loaf that sliced well after cooling. The results were still a bit ‘white’ for my taste, but preferable to the frozen and defrosted GF bread available for sale here and as it costs half as much, is worth considering. The same mix can be used for rolls, pizzas, tortillas, cakes and pancakes, all the recipes are on the packet.
I froze half the loaf, defrosted, it was 'fresh' enough for sandwiches and toasted very nicely.
No luck so far in the hunt for gluten free sourdough recipes but have come across a huge list of GF grains I can play with and some recipes for making your own GF flour blends.

PS. Balingup Bronze Cafe is holding gluten free cooking classes here soon.

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