I like bread. I like gluten. Both go together very, very well. Today I am taking a detour into the gluten-free zone...
If you have ever tried to make gluten-free breads you will agree with me that it is not a simple task. You will end up mixing a concoction of at least a half dozen different hard to find flours and other additives into a "dough" (I use that term lightly) that resembles more of a paste or possible a "quick bread" batter. The resulting product is normally a palatable bread product which would please those who have adverse reactions to gluten but to the rest of us it just is not the same. The crumb, the texture, the chewiness are just not there.
While I was in the grocery store today to pick up a couple packets of yeast for my next batch of whole wheat bread I noticed this pre-made package of "Gluten Free Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix" from Bob's Red Mill complete with yeast, just add water\oil\eggs\vinegar.
Naturally being skeptical I looked at the ingredients. If I had not baked gluten-free before I would have been puzzled by some of the ingredients but nothing surprised me as out of the ordinary. Bob's Red Mill put together a mix that would otherwise require you to buy at least a half dozen hard to find products only to use a few ounces of each. I am all for this idea. Less waste, save money. In my case a curiosity that cost me an extra $6 on my grocery run.
Getting home I quickly mixed together the poolish and soaker for my "real" whole wheat bread, which will be baked tomorrow, then I proceeded to delve in to the gluten free zone. As I expected the prep was quick and easy. Proof the yeast which was included, combine with eggs, oil, cider vinegar and dry mix then place in a greased loaf pan for a 45 minute rise.
The texture of the dough was as expected, very wet and sticky but not "pourable". What came out of the oven was very different. As you can see from the picture at the top 60 minutes of 375 degree heat transformed the lump of gooey dough into a beautiful brown loaf of bread with crispy crust and an excellent crumb. The addition of molasses and carraway seeds into the mix give the bread a slight rye/pumpernickel flavor which I personally find appealing.
My verdict: If you are allergic to gluten or are just avoiding it for whatever reason and you need your bread fix this mix is something you should check out. If you are intimidated with the process of baking bread, don't be. Just follow the instructions and I am sure it will turn out as well as it did for me.
Stay tuned for the traditional whole wheat bread that was supposed to be this post...