This is a sandwich......... Not any old sandwich. No. This sandwich is special..... Not for what it contains, but because it has been made with my amazing newly-developed gluten free brown bread, made with a combination of flours, including oat, brown rice and brown teff....... in the bread maker!!....... 'Gluten free? Are you kidding me?' ......... I kid you not!
Do you see any crumbling? Do you see any cracks? Is it falling apart? Does it look dry, tasteless and lacking nutrition? Uh Uh! This sandwich, my lovely readers, is a revelation.....
If you thought we gluten-avoiders were left out in the cold as far as a decent sandwich goes, then think again. Months in the making and tested over and over again, the loaf that made this sandwich is the result of an extreme determination...... no, make that 'obsession'....... to create a bread-maker brown bread that not only has a perfect texture, but also a great flavour, fantastic nutritional content and holds together to make a robust sandwich that you can pick up and bite without the need for a bib.
You would not believe how excited I was when I sliced my first 'good' prototype...... It was more than I could do not to leap around the room, dash for my lap top and announce to the whole world what I had achieved. I managed to restrain myself....... just. I knew I needed to test, test and test again to be absolutely sure it wasn't a fluke and that I had really achieved the coeliac's (bread-deprived) utopia.....
We have now eaten twenty-plus of these loaves and they have been consistently amazing. You can safely cut really thin slices (yes..... I said thin) without it falling apart and it even stays fresh (wrapped in cling film) for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. The other day, I caught my husband making a sandwich for my daughter's packed lunch...... The man on the moon would have seen my smile as I heard Mr GF mumble 'wow... look at that bread!'
Flavour-wise, this loaf tastes a little like my memories of Irish 'wheaten' loaf, but with a slightly more moist crumb. It gives an almost 'wholemeal' experience...... the colour from the teff and the texture that comes from the oat flour tell you this bread is healthy bread. Yet it also has a hint of soda bread on account of a weeny addition of bicarbonate of soda which provides extra airiness to the bake.
Best of all, Miss GF loves it...... really loves it. And I can be happy that rather than eating the nutritionally-empty white rice-based commercial loaves, she is getting some fantastic nutrition from the ingredients in the bread and not just the filling it surrounds.
So how have I done it? I think probably by a little judgement and a lot of luck........
You may recall that I went on a gluten free bread course at Braxted Park with Adriana Rabinovich back in October last year. One of the tricks she showed us to provide structure to her bread recipes, was to add a little gelatine to the mix (or vege-gel for vegetarian bakes). Not so much that it was detectable, but just enough to help it hold together. All the breads she demonstrated however were hand-baked, but it got me thinking whether the technique might work with the bread-maker....... Creativity took hold and I set to work formulating, tweaking, re-formulating, testing......... Boy there were some gross loaves in that lot!
I will be honest...... I don't actually like the idea of putting gelatine in a staple food, so I have worked this recipe to be perfect whether you choose gelatine or vege-gel...... The texture and taste are equally amazing, so I for one will be using the vegetarian option!
Anyway....... somewhere along the line of testing and tweaking, I got a bread that tasted great and held together fine, but the overall texture was...... well..... just too 'gluten free'. If you've ever made gluten free bread in a bread-maker, you will probably know what I mean by that comment..... It lacked the desired 'breadiness' which is a 'given' if you eat gluten.......I wanted my new bread-maker loaf to be softer, fluffier, squidgier......
My bread-developing journey has been an exciting one since going gluten free and I have some great bread recipes that I have posted on this blog..... Don't get me wrong..... I love every one of them....... and each is an important evolutionary step towards gluten free yeasted enlightenment. I am particularly proud of my Perfectly Fluffy Oat Bread, which has been a great staple in our house. It is however hand baked and I don't have the time to make it frequently enough alongside long working days, to accommodate the family's bread-eating needs. So the necessity of getting a bread-maker recipe right became compulsive......
The eureka moment was a decision to add a tiny bit of bicarb to see what would happen. The difference it made to the texture was unexpectedly wondrous....... my brown bread-maker bread was born........ soft and moist, it is the best sandwich bread I have made.
I have tested it on a number of gluten eaters as well as avoiders and have already had lots of requests for the recipe...... it must be good! A couple of them have even told me I should hold the recipe, as it might be worth a bob or two...... But I don't do this for the money and if somewhere out there, someone benefits from my efforts and gets to enjoy bread again, then I am a happy bunny!
As far as bread-makers go, I use a Panasonic SD 2501 which has a gluten free setting (set to medium crust, which takes 1 hour and 50 minutes for the full baking cycle and only rises once). I have never used any other bread-maker, so am unable to say which would be the best setting on other machines, but I am sure that a quick read of the manual may help determine the route to take. I always remove the loaf from the machine as soon as it is baked and leave it upright to cool completely on a wire rack (uncovered). Unlike many gluten free breads, this is one which is amazing to eat fresh and warm!
Don't be put off by the list of ingredients....... I tend to keep a designated airtight container and when I have a spare moment, I weigh out the dry ingredients and set aside so that they are ready without the need for further preparation when I want to make the loaf. It is worth making sure that the dry ingredients are really thoroughly mixed and broken down for the most even textured bake. All the flours are found in my local health food shop, so hopefully they will be easy for you to source too.
You will also see that I have been fairly specific about the temperature of the water that is added to the pan. Having had a few 'fails' in loaves previously where I have either under or over judged the liquid temperature when measured by hand, I have become increasingly pedantic about accuracy, to be sure that the yeast is quickly and effectively activated for the best dough rise. It is really worth investing in a reliable food thermometer to help you with this. Having been sent a Thermapen 4 to review before Christmas, I can thoroughly recommend it as a fantastic tool (you can see my review here). You may also note that I have weighed the water, again for accuracy.
I'm not sure I have much more to add...... I just hope that this recipe brings those of you who try it as much bready joy as we have had...... Let me know if you try it!
I'm sharing this incredible loaf with the following :
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma
Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum
Bake of the Week with Casa Costello
Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Gluten Free Brown Bread (from the bread maker)
Ingredients (all spoons are levelled)
100g brown rice flour
40g brown teff flour
160g GF oat flour (easy to make as in this post)
50g potato starch flour
60g tapioca starch flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4½g vege-gel powder - I used Dr Oetker (or 8g gelatine powder)
3 tablespoons milk powder
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon runny honey
370g (by weight) hand-warm water at 46 C/115 F
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
14g active dry yeast (for bread machines) - I used Allinson's Easy Bake Yeast
- Weigh and whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, bicarbonate of soda, gelatine/vege-gel and milk powder, making sure the ingredients are fully and evenly combined and all lumps are broken down.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, honey and warm water until fully combined, frothy and airy. Pour into the bread pan.
- Add the lemon juice and oil to the bread pan.
- Next add the dry ingredients to the pan so that they evenly cover the liquid.
- Finally add the yeast, sprinkling on top of the flour.
- Set your bread maker to gluten free setting (I set mine to GF medium brown crust, which takes 1 hour and 50 minutes for a full bake cycle). Leave to bake!
- When the bread is baked, remove immediately from the pan onto a wire rack (place upright) and leave to cool (uncovered).
- Best eaten completely cool or slightly warm. Will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days!