We are on a family holiday. My older daughters might dispute that description as they slave away at their university studies. Just before we left home the latest edition of Bread Magazine was published. ( bread.insanelyinterested.com ) I have been reading this brilliant little magazine for over a year now. Yes, it is all about gluten based bread, but it is always interesting and provides some fascinating insights about bread.
Before we left home I decided to see how we could survive without out usual home made fare of bread, pastry and pasta. The latest edition of Bread Magazine has a feature article on flatbread. So, I decided it would be interesting to try my hand at flatbread with little more that a frypan and very basic ingredients.
First, I mixed a stiff dough of 1:2 tapioca:fine rice flour, with half a teaspoon of instant yeast and just enough water to bring it togehter into dough. Then I let it rest for an hour before shaping 3 small rounds about 1cm thick and 5 cm diameter. They were left to prove on a well dusted plate for another half hour before I heated the frypan, added butter, set off the fire alarms and finally cooked the bread.
Not too bad as a first attempt. Could have used a little more water (perhaps a scald as well), and perhaps a little more yeast - or a poolish if there is time. Technique and timing to be worked on, and, aside from the fire alarms ( I did get a message to reception before they called the fire brigade!) not a bad staple. I am sure it would work better with buckwheat, or perhaps quinoa in the mix, but my challenge was to work with what was readily available in a tropical sea-side holiday town.
Most of the work I have done making gluten free bread has has been focussed on making bread like real bread. Bread that tastes, looks and feels like bread. But, what if there were distinctive, gourmet, gluten free bread varieties?
A few weeks ago Karen from Mamabake.com wrote telling me she had bought a copy of my recipe, and because it was so good, asking me if they could review and publish my recipe. It will be available at Mamabake.com until 31 March.
My friend Rachel saw the post and asked if she could review the recipe too. Rachel writes at twodelicious.blogspot.com and she has already provided reviews of another recipe in her GF bread reviews last year. Here is a link to Rachel's review: http://twolicious.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/best-gluten-free-hot-cross-buns.html
The original recipe sheet is available via a link from Rachel's review, or here: http://db.tt/y1YJj2WJ
If you want a free copy be quick, after 31 March it will only be available in my store: recipesforliving.etsy.com
Now, I have to say, the buns are good! But, more important is the reason for the buns. The cute cross on the top reminds us of a vicious tool of death used by the Romans to keep the peace. Thousands of criminals and rebels were killed by cross execution - crucifixion - in the Roman Empire. There are historical records that tell us about the practice. Knowledge of one death, in particular, has been handed down through the past 2000 years, not because it was particularly vicious - the records simply tell us the man was crucified. There are no gory details in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word 'crucified' was probably enough to remind the original readers. After all, for them it was most likely in living memory, and crucifixions were still happening! The reason the history has been maintained is the man, Jesus of Nazareth, who had been confirmed dead by the Roman authorities, was restored to life a few days later.
I have been reading Luke's Gospel about this. Luke carefully researched the matter from eyewitness accounts, and presented the facts. He also recorded some of the history of the early followers of Jesus in the book called 'Acts'. Acts, in the words of the original followers of Jesus, provides their interpretation and understanding of the significance of the events. It is well worth reading. I invite you to read it with me.
I am working with a limited range of flour: buckwheat, millet, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and tapioca. Until today my focaccia has been based on millet. I have used baker's yeast as well as sourdough starter. For some reason I have made millet and buckwheat versions of foccacia, but not brown rice. So, today was the day. Lunch was brown rice focaccia topped with olive oil, sea salt and fresh rosemary tips from the garden. The smell of baking bread was wonderful!
This time I used a millet sourdough starter, and the sourdough flavour could be detected. This bread has a mild flavour compared with focaccia made with millet flour and millet starter. The flavours of the olive oil and rosemary came through more strongly with the brown rice than they do with millet. The crumb is softer, more like a wheaten bread. Millet gives a stronger, more robust crumb.
I tried a different baking technique, shorter proof, then bake in a cold oven, to 230degC. Baking time was 35 minutes.
Not a bad result!
Another batch of croissants; fresh from the oven. A few more minor tweaks to the recipe and we will have a reliable recipe for gluten free and gum free croissants!
NNext, a small reduction in the liquid and an improvement to my technique with the laminations and the recipe should be right. Flavour is very good. Mouth feel is almost right. Texture is much better than last time, but will be better with the tweaks I have noted. Appearance - well, you be the judge.
Now back to reading! "True Feelings - Pespectives on emotions in Christian life and ministry"
For some time I have been considering a new challenge. The first significant GF baking challenge I undertook was to make a croissant that had the right texture,taste and appearance. It had to be just like a regular croissant. A few years ago the challenge and success taught me much about what is possible in GF bread and GF baking.
The new challenge is to make a GF croissant without any gum. I know it is possible to make excellent GF bread, both yeasted and sourdough without gum. Until recently the approach for a good gum free GF croissant has eluded me. As I worked on my artisan bread recipes some new ideas began to emerge.
The new recipe is not everything I want yet, but it is getting closer!
Finally, after a long program of tests and trials, and "almost right" results ... A crisp crust and light crumb combined to give a really tasty baguette!
This recipe looks like a mother for a new range of artisan bread.
I can rave about my bread, but you really need an independent view. I have not been chasing reviews. On recipesforliving.Etsy.com customers are provided with an un-moderated feedback opportunity. There is some great feedback there.
Sometimes other food bloggers show an interest in my gluten free recipes. Here are two:
I'm taking a bit of a holiday, but just can't resist trying out new ideas with bread. I still have to eat!
I have been wondering about how much of each of my few ingredients is really necessary, and if, by pushing techniques a bit further, I can design better GF bread.
So, how about a buckwheat loaf with 5 ingredients including water, salt and flour. No gum, and in the 630g of dough the additional ingredients represent less than 5% - they are the 30g. Baked weight 543g.
Here is the loaf:
I have gone away for a few days - just some time to catch up with family on the mainland. The question of how you travel when you have to eat gluten free is a vexed one. I eat a lot of bread, so travelling provides some interesting challenges.