Monday, October 25, 2010

Barbara's Gluten-free (Almost Whole Wheat) Bread

Fresh Gluten-free Bread, Ready to Bake

I grew up eating homemade whole wheat bread.  Every morning it seemed we ate homemade whole wheat toast.  Every day at school I devoured sandwiches made from homemade whole wheat bread. Even at a young age, when my mom was there, I was there with her in the kitchen mixing yeast and sugar, wiping flour on my face, kneading my little bit of dough while she kneaded 6 loaves of dough at a time.  I learned a lot from mom, one of which was that Whole Wheat Bread is a life essential and that it tastes best when you make it from scratch.   I came to enjoy making bread on my own.  When I went away from home and got my own kitchen, I started making bread for myself.  I would still make 6 loaves at a time, which is a huge amount for one person, but I'd put them in the freezer, and then they'd be ready when I needed them.  I didn't need to make bread too often.  

What I didn't know was all that wheat bread eating was causing my health problems.  It was good whole wheat bread, but it wasn't good for me.  I was over weight, had a cloudy head and was tired all the time.  Since then I have learned that I am gluten intolerant.  Living gluten free has changed my life.  Among other things, I have energy.  I don't need naps all the time.  My head is so much more clear.  And it is easy for me to maintain a healthy weight.  I have learned to be happy without eating bread.  (I really was addicted to it.)  It has been around 13 years since I first went gluten free, but in all this time, I have not found a bread that starts to compare to the bread I used to make.  But I've developed a recipe that comes closer then anything else I've tasted.  And I give thanks to God for making it happen.  All good ideas come from God.

I've learned that there are lots of different kinds of breads out there.  There are lots of ideas on what the perfect bread tastes like.   Only a few people enjoy a vegan whole wheat bread when they are eating gluten, so I can tell you from the start, this bread recipe will be only for a certain group of people who want a plant based bread, containing as many whole grains as possible, with no eggs, milk or refined fats.  This bread will surprise many people because it contains an apple and a stalk of celery, but those two ingredients are very important to the success of the bread, so don't leave them out.  The recipe requires a high quality blender, so if you don't have one, this recipe isn't for you.  But if your desires are similar to mine, I think you will find this bread to be very pleasing.  It rises well compared to other whole grain gluten-free bread recipes I have tried.  And the best of all, this recipe has excellent flavor for a whole grain, plant-based, gluten free bread.   It has been a long time since I've eaten Mom's homemade bread, but this bread gets closer to it then any I've tasted, given my other dietary restrictions.

Go ahead and give it a try.  Follow the directions carefully.  I've learned that many of Mom's rules for making whole wheat bread don't apply here.

Newly Shaped Loaf

Barbara's Gluten Free (Almost Whole Wheat) Bread
By Barbara @
January 2012 Edition

Step 1: First of all, if you keep your yeast in the freezer, get it out early and measure it so it will be room temperature by the time you are ready to add the sweetner and liquid. Then make some flour mix. You will use part or all of the flour mix to make the bread. You could make a large amount of flour mix ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, but make sure it is at room temperature before you mix up the bread.

Flour mix:
2 cups gluten free oat flour (grind in your blender from gluten free oats)
1 cup teff flour
2 cups sorghum flour
½ cup garbonzo or garfava flour
1 ½ cup tapicoa flour/starch
1/4 cup psyllium seed husks
2 Tbsp. EnerG egg replacer
1 Tbsp. xanthan gum

Step 2: In quart sized bowl mix together:
1/2 tsp. honey

1 cup very warm, almost too-hot water
1 Tbsp. yeast
Let set 'til foamy

Step 3: In blender combine:
1 fuji apple, medium to small in size, cored and sliced
2 large stalks of celery
¾ cup walnuts
1 cup flax seeds
1 tsp. rose hip powder (If you don't have this, You can sub 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice, but the rose hip powder yields a little better result. This is to put an acid in the recipe.)
3 tsp salt
2 tsp. blackstrap molasses
3 cups warm water
Blend until thick and foamy. Then add to yeast mixture, when the yeast is ready. 

Step 4: (The first thing I need to remind you of is that this is not wheat bread, and therefore you will not follow the rules for making wheat bread.) When the yeast mixture is good and foamy, place the ingredients in the blender and the yeast mixture in  large bowl and mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Now add 2 cups of the flour mixture made in step 1 (above).  Mix until well combined, but don't over mix.  Add more flour mix, cup by cup, stirring well, until dough is dry enough to knead on the counter (probably about 2 -3 cups of flour mix), but still sticky. You may not need all the flour mix for one recipe. Scrape the dough out onto the flour covered counter and then spread some flour on top of the bread. Gently work the bread, turning it under and around. Do not work it hard like wheat bread. Work in just enough flour so you can handle it and shape it into loaves.  Your hands will still be sticky.  This is one of the major secrets of this bread, put in just enough flour to form loaves and work it in completely, but don't over work it, but do not work in too much flour, or over work the dough, or it will be heavy bread. Remember you are not working to activate gluten fibers in the bread, as there is none, but rather to just mix the bread well. It really does not take too long to do this.
Step 5: Shape into two loaves, and placed in oiled bread pans.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 
Step 6: Place bread on a low rack in a cold oven set for 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for 90 – 100 minutes.

Cool and Ready to Slice
Step 7:  After the bread is baked, let it cool. It is quite sticky at first, but will be more firm the next day. It is best to keep it in the refrigerator.  If you aren't going to eat it right away, slice the bread and then store it in a zip bag in the freezer, taking out only as much as you need at a time, and letting it thaw to make sandwiches, or toasting it in a gluten free toaster, (so as to avoid contamination from gluten crumbs).