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Chef Patti Anastasia
Serving Southern New Hampshire since 2003
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Table Talk » Living Without's Boule
Beautiful loaves of gluten-free and dairy-free bread grace the cover of the current issue of Living Without magazine. Bread like this cries out to be made.
Most of my gluten-free clients miss bread and are looking for breads that they can eat and that are tasty. Yesterday was the day to test out one of breads from this issue of Living Without.
I picked out the French baguette recipe because it is dairy-free and egg-free. Most of my gluten-free clients are also allergic to dairy and eggs. I don't have a baguette pan so I opted to make the boule version of the French baguette.
This bread uses Living Without's high-protein flour blend. This blend was developed for baked goods that require elasticity. It starts with a bean flour, either chickpea flour or soy flour. Since most of my gluten-free clients are allergic to soy, I used chickpea (garbanzo) flour. The next decision to make about the flour blend is potato starch, arrowroot starch, or cornstarch. Some of my gluten-free clients are allergic to corn and I didn't have arrowroot starch on hand, so I went with potato starch. The final decision is brown rice flour or white rice flour. Brown rice flour wins because I have some and it is slightly more nutritious than white rice flour. Toss in some tapioca starch and I'm good to go with the flour blend.
For the bread, first I sift the flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar into the bowl of the mixer. Then add the yeast and herbs. The recipe calls for dried herbs (rosemary or dill), but I decide to use fresh rosemary so I head out to the herb garden and snip a few sprigs.
Here's the sifted flour, yeast, and rosemary in the mixer bowl. Don't skip the step of sifting the flour. These flours tend to clump, especially the chickpea flour. I always sift it to remove the clumps. I don't have a sifter; I use a fine mesh strainer to sift flours.
Next, blend the olive oil and warm water into the dry ingredients and mix on high speed for 4 minutes. Rather than plain olive oil, I decided to use some rosemary-infused olive oil. Here's the dough after mixing.
The dough is transferred to the prepared pan. I used an 8-inch spring form pan. The instructions in the original recipe don't say so, but it is much easier to move the dough from the mixing bowl to the pan if you wet the spatula. I used sweet rice flour to dust the top of the dough. I picked sweet rice flour because it is very fine.
The dough rises for 30 minutes, or until doubled. Then the oven is preheated to 400F. Here's the dough ready to go in the oven. I'm very impatient. I let it rise for just 30 minutes. I considered using the proofing setting on my oven, but decided not to. In retrospect, I think I should have let the bread rise a little longer. I don't think it was quite doubled.
The bread bakes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and it registers 200-220F on an instant-read thermometer. I've never used a thermometer to test bread for doneness. After 30 minutes, the bread didn't sound hollow, so I tested it with a thermometer. It was 185F. I put it back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Ten minutes later, it was 200F. I decided to cook it for 5 minutes longer (a total of 45 minutes) and it was 208F when it came out of the oven. After cooling for 10 minutes, I removed the collar from the springform pan.
As you can see, it's a pretty nice looking loaf of bread.
So now the torturous part starts. Cutting bread when it is very hot is not a good idea. So I let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool. I was dying to cut the loaf and see what it was like.
Finally, the bread is cool enough to cut. And to taste!
The bread smells great. The texture is springy. It's not as light and airy as the boule pictured on the magazine cover, but it tastes very good. I'm wondering if I should have mixed it longer or if I should have baked it longer. I'm 99% sure that I should have let it rise longer. I've experimented with a lot of gluten-free bread recipes, some good, some really bad. This one is probably one of the best that I've made.
I snacked on a still-warm slice. Then I toasted a small slice to see what it was like toasted. Quite good. I cut off a chunk and put it in the freezer so I can see what it is like after freezing. Then I wrapped the remaining half loaf of bread up to take to today's client so they can try it.
I didn't see my client today, but before I left I called her at work and told her about the bread experiment that I left for her. She was looking forward to trying it. I can't wait to hear her feedback.
I'm looking forward to experimenting more with this recipe. I think I need to buy a baguette pan.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free French Baguette
3 cups Living Without's High-Protein Flour Blend
Select an 8- or 9-inch round pan that is 3 inches deep. If you do not have a 3-inch deep pan, form a foil collar to fit the pan to increase the height to 3 inches. Grease the pan and foil collar if using. Dust with sweet rice flour.
Sift flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar into the bowl of your mixer. Add yeast and herbs. Mix to incorporate ingredients.
Blend olive oil and warm water (110-120F) into the dry ingredients and mix on high speed for 4 minutes.
With a large wet spatula, transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to the pan. Lightly dust the top of the dough with sweet rice flour. Place a kitchen towel over the pan and let dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake bread in the lower third of the oven for 30-45 min. After the first 20 minutes, check the bread for browning. If it is well browned, cover it loosely with foil. When finished, bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and it registers 200º-220º on an instant read thermometer. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
This bread is best when eaten within 2 days. To crisp and fresh, place the bread in a preheated 350F oven for 5 minutes. It will keep up to 2 months in the freezer. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in foil.
Living Without's High-Protein Flour Blend
1 1/4 cup chickpea flour, or soy flour
Store in a covered container in the fridge until used.
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Patti, This was such a good step by step report.....I love bread and making bread and I admit to being VERY reluctant to imagine dairy free and egg free bread to be.....BREAD! But you've "gone the extra mile" for clients who NEED an alternative and I'll be damned if it doesn't sound G.O.O.D.
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