Monday, November 21, 2011

I tackled the scary “yeast”…..

I’ve always been fearful of making yeast breads because something always seems to go wrong.  The yeast has to be comfortable in it’s home and I usually seem to make it uncomfortable…too hot or too cold!  So, I’ve decided to start conquering my horrible fear of yeast today, giving myself ample time to come up with another plan if it fails.  Prayerfully the result will be something everyone will want to eat at our Thanksgiving meal.

I decided to jump in head first and tackle “Gluten-free French Bread” and mind you, I don’t have a French bread pan!  No worries, I made one myself!

It went  a little something like this….
 Roll up 3 portions of foil the length of your baking pan, with the center one being the thickest.  Then lay a sheet (mine took 2) of foil over the entire baking pan and press down around the three folded portions. 
Here’s my rendition.  I’m sure yours will look a whole lot prettier….or you’ll save yourself the time and go buy a French bread pan!
With the pan ready to go, it was time to proof my yeast.  I think I was so excited hearing the timer buzz after five minutes only to find a fabulous layer of foam on top of the “lukewarm” water, that I forgot to take a picture of the “proof!”  So bummed!  But so thrilled that I seemed to have gotten it right on the first try.  Into the dry ingredients it went, along with a few egg whites and grapeseed oil and mixed ever-so-gently. 
I divided the dough between my make-shift pans, gave it a light brush of oil and covered it in a dishtowel for about 40 minutes to do it’s thing…it just looked so cozy in there, so I made sure to leave it alone!

It doubled in volume beautifully, so off to the oven it went.  I had to resist the urge to peek because that is so detrimental to gluten free baked goods, especially bread!
DSCN1892 Here’s my “Crunchy French Bread”….beautifully golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Crunchy French Bread (gluten-free)
Yields 2 loaves
2 cups white rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp xanthum gum
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp active yeast
3 whole egg whites, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp additional oil for brushing (optional)
Combine the first four ingredients thoroughly.
Proof your yeast in the water  and sugar mixture for 5 minutes.  It should get foamy.
Slowly add the water, egg whites, and oil to the dry ingredients and beat with a mixer on medium for 2-3 minutes.  It should be fairly thin batter for a bread dough (just slightly thicker than pancake batter).
Divide the dough in half and spread into each side of your “make-shift” French bread pan, lined with parchment paper.  Brush the loaves with the reserved oil, if desired.  You can add additional diagonal slices across the top of the bread dough, every few inches.
Allow dough to rise for about 35-40 minutes, until it is doubled in bulk (make sure it is not higher than the sides of the pan).
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Raise the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven.  The bread should be light, crusty, and make a hollow sound when you knock on the crust.  Remove loaves from pan and let cool.
I think this one is a winner and will be making it’s appearance, along with the cranberry-mango spread, at our Thanksgiving table!
Happy baking my friends!  I look forward to hearing what you will be feasting on at your table!


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