Bread remains one of those essential items that you need in your larder………… for an easy sandwich lunch or picnic, morning toast, to dip in soup, or just to slather with a good spread and enjoy! Gluten free bread remains hit and miss. Occasionally you get a reasonable loaf on the market, but somehow, the major manufacturers still struggle to achieve a loaf which is moist and does not disintegrate the moment you pick it up. Without gluten, there is not much to bind the ingredients together and the result is often a big mess and the need for a bib…………
Because of my lack of satisfaction with the bread you can buy (even the artisan loaves are mostly like bricks), one of the first things I did when we had a confirmed coeliac diagnosis was to buy a bread-maker. Although I was very careful to pick one that had a gluten free programme, I have to say that I rarely use it and find that I am largely developing recipes to suit the general settings. My bread-maker is made by Panasonic and has not let me down yet, but I am sure that bread-makers differ from make to make and it may be that a good recipe for me, needs a bit of extra tweaking for you.
Bread-making by hand can be a very therapeutic process, but this is probably down to the need to knead the dough (which was always good to work off a bit of stress and frustration). Gluten free bread does not require kneading (in fact it positively shies away from it), so half the fun is gone.
Although hand-made bread will often taste very different (and may in some cases taste better, even when using the same recipe as for a bread-maker), I do love the convenience of my bread-maker. I can throw the ingredients together and set it running with only 10-15 available minutes and then get on with my day, knowing that I will have a tasty fresh loaf to come back to. If you haven’t invested in one, I thoroughly recommend you think about it, particularly if you want to be freed up to spend your cooking time on other things.
My Chestnut and Rice Flour Bread is a bread-maker loaf that we have been eating for some months. It makes great sandwiches, but mostly we love it because it makes amazing toast, – crunchy, well browned, holds its shape and is delicious when topped with almost anything (I recommend homemade butter). I developed it after I was mooching around in our local wholefoods shop one day and the owner suggested I try using chestnut flour, which she advised was nutritious and flavoursome. The flour is quite ‘heavy’, has an unusual scent, and a deep, rich, slightly bitter, nutty flavour. Used in moderation, it adds a distinctive depth of flavour to breads and cakes and I think, tastes fabulous in this loaf. I use Allinson Dried Active Yeast for this recipe and again, have not tested any alternative brand.
I will be honest, that I have never tried making this bread without using a bread-maker, and have tweaked the recipe to get it just right for my equipment, but I can see no obvious reason why it wouldn’t work in any other bread-maker or in a conventional oven, providing it is mixed thoroughly and allowed time to rise sufficiently. If anyone risks it, let me know…………..
Chestnut & Rice Flour Bread (for bread-makers)
150g brown rice flour
125g white rice flour
90g chestnut flour
85g potato starch (flour)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
4 tablespoons dried milk powder (I use semi-skimmed)
½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
23g dried active yeast (1 ½ tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
- Mix together the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and milk powder in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs with the water until light and airy and pour into the bread-maker pan.
- Add the oil and lemon juice to the pan.
- Spoon the flour mix evenly on top of the wet ingredients.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of the flour mix.
- Set the bread-maker to Basic, Large, Medium Crust and leave to cook.
- When cooked, remove from the bread-maker immediately and tip onto a wire rack to cool.
- If the dough paddle has become stuck, remove when the loaf is cool.
- Eat as fresh bread, toast or slice and freeze.