Unless you’ve had your head in a hole for the last couple of weeks, you will know that the annual GBBO shindig is now in full swing. We’ve done cakes and also biscuits, so this week must be Bread Week!
For all the gluten-eating bread-bakers out there, this is the week where gluten really comes into its own, as you pummel, pull and contort your dough to develop its stretch and turn it into all sorts of wondrous creations. Good luck all!
For us gluten-avoiders, it is the week which spells trepidation and leaves us watching from the sidelines. With gluten free bread being such a tricky beast, I usually look on with envy at the one thing I can’t ‘do’ with flair and artiness.
Sure, there are plenty of gluten ‘replacers’ we can use to help bind and hold together our bakes (xanthan gum, guar gum, chia, psyllium, etc), but none truly give gluten free bread dough comparable properties…… and this leaves me a tad frustrated.
Whilst I have developed some amazing gluten free loaves….. my Brown Bread being the one we swear by (and live off) in GF HQ, the opportunity to get truly creative and ‘pretty’ with bread has been elusive……. until now!
A few weeks back, I set about tweaking my old fave a little to develop a new loaf using a different blend of flours. Nothing dramatic, but the tweaks have produced a gorgeous bread with a slightly lighter flavour, yet still made with a healthy wholesome flour blend incorporating Teff flour (a great source of fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin and vitamin C (and lots of other good stuff)), Oat flour (great for lowering cholesterol, stabilising blood sugar, and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals), and Millet flour, which acts as a prebiotic and is good source of magnesium (supports a healthy heart),and other essential nutrients.
Not only is this bread good for you (and way better than your average shop-bought loaf), but it also has an amazingly soft, bready, pliable, hold-together texture, which makes for great sandwiches that can most definitely be eaten ‘on the run’ without fear of heading gutter-ward due to disintegration.
This is a recipe which also makes delicious bread-tin baked loaves, a fantastic soft baguette, and perfect mini rolls.
I should be ecstatic….. Another gluten-free loaf which tastes amazing and is real bread! But it’s Bread Week and I want to be part of it too! Which got me thinking…….. How could I make a gluten free bread show-stopper that would not look ridiculously pathetic alongside all the others in the Bake-Off tent?
3am, two nights later (you know those sleepless blogger nights, dreaming of foodie creations and conundrums and hoping the quiet darkness will bring inspiration)……. I got it!
Most gluten free dough cannot be ‘moulded’ maybe, but being more like a paste, it would be perfect to pipe…..
I was desperate to get down to the kitchen to test the idea, but Mr and Miss GF would be less than impressed if I disturbed their sleep in the middle of the night to bake….. I had no choice but to wait until morning…..
I am so thrilled with the results…… My first batch was a selection of letters, hearts and flowers. I even tried a snail, but by the time it had risen, it looked like a deformed slug (no photos of that one then!)…. As we munched through a selection of shaped rolls for lunch, both myself and Miss GF (almost in unison) declared…. ‘these flower balls would be great for dipping in garlic butter.’ For sure…. they make brilliant tear and share mini rolls and could be dipped in any number of things, from olive oil and balsamic vinegar to houmous, salsa and yoghurt-based dips.
Which got me thinking again…… to make a bouquet of bread-ball flowers, perfect for an edible table centre-piece to accompany soup at a special dinner…… to be shared with friends at a party….. or even to enjoy with dips, cheese or spreads whilst watching a favourite film.
It may not be plaited and it may not be quite as stunning as Kate’s Corn Maiden or Benjamina’s Braided Bread Heart, but on the plus side, my bread has no less than six flours in there (twice as many as required by Paul and Mary). And whilst I don’t like to blow my own trumpet too often….. I can honestly say this is the most unusual shaped gluten free loaf I have ever seen (and possibly the best bread I have ever made).
And here it is…… my beautiful Gluten Free Bread Bouquet…… fit for a banquet or even the Bake Off Tent.
I am sharing with the following linkies :
Cook Blog Share – this week with Easy Peasy Foodie
Great Bloggers Bake Off over at Mummy Mishaps
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma
#FoodCalendar with Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – celebrating the Great British Bake Off
Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka’s Blog (and Marathons & Motivation)
The Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons
Oat, Teff & Millet Bread (makes 2 x 1 lb loaves, approx 15 individual mini loaves/rolls or can be piped into rolls/shapes of your choice)
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7g gelatine/4g vegegel
3 tablespoons milk powder
11g easy bake yeast (I used Allinsons)
3 large eggs – room temperature
1 tablespoon runny honey
370g warm water (at 46 C/115 F)
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
milk or egg to glaze
seeds/oats/nuts for decoration
- Weigh and mix together all the flours, xanthan gum, salt, bicarbonate of soda, gelatine/vegegel, milk powder and yeast (I weigh all into an airtight container, seal and shake to get an even blend with no lumps). Set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add the honey and warm water (at 46 C/115 F). Beat with a whisk until well blended and airy.
- Add the lemon juice, sunflower oil and dry ingredients and mix together well with a dough hook mixer attachment or wooden/silicone spoon until even. Continue to mix for a couple of minutes to allow the ingredients to amalgamate well.
- Spoon your dough into your base-lined bread tins/moulds (about two-thirds full), or into a piping bag with your desired nozzle attached.
- If you are piping, pipe your design onto a tray lined with baking paper, leaving a very slight gap between elements to allow room for rising (at which point the dough will join to form one piece).
- Cover with clingfilm and place the trays somewhere warm for about 40 to 50 minutes to rise (they will almost double in size) – I put mine in a very low oven with a bowl of steaming water.
- Before baking, brush the tops of the dough with egg/milk to glaze and if using seeds/oats/nuts, sprinkle them on top.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and bake the bread – 15 minutes for small rolls, 15 to 20 minutes for a bouquet or piped pieces, 30 to 40 minutes for larger loaves.
- Remove from the oven when baked golden brown and transfer to a wire rack to cool.