Is it the taste? The texture? The aroma that fills the air as it bakes? Is it the crisp, flaky crust that has that special bread taste?
So often gluten free bread is judged in a category all of its own, because, well, because it is different, and generally nothing like real bread.
Over the past few years I have been entering bread in the cooking section at the Devonport Show. Two years in a row my bread (Brown Rice Bread) was placed 2nd. Now, I should add that I was competing with bread made with wheat. There was no 'gluten free' class!
Last year a 'gluten free' class was added. I entered 3 loaves, one in each of the sections for 'bread' and one in the gluten free section. None of my loaves were placed. To be fair, I had entered my favourites, and, in the rush to bake had not paid attention to detail!
This year I entered 3 loaves, 'Homage to Borodinsky' was entered in the Gluten Free class.
This loaf took a lot of work. It uses a roux as well as malted buckwheat. (I am still working on the process for malted buckwheat. Producing a powdered malt is demanding, but not too difficult.) The bread has moderately strong buckwheat flavour, with a slight malt overtone, and a complex, almost citrus background from the coriander seed.
This bread is one of my favourites, but to be honest, it is probably an acquired taste, and not a smart choice for a relatively conservative competition!
My third bread for the competition was Quinoa Miche. I entered in the 'white or brown bread' class. The dough is a beautiful, flexible dough, almost like a regular bread dough to handle, and it behaves very well.
The Quinoa Miche was awarded 1st place. This bread was judged against bread that is not gluten free. That is: a bread made without gluten or gum was awarded 1st place ahead of bread made with wheat!
(That recipe will be one for the book I am working on!)