On the 30th March, my blog will turn two! I have published 181 posts, mostly for recipes created by myself, although a few are adaptations and variations of recipes that I have found on the internet or in recipe books and a very occasional recipe belongs firmly to someone else and has been made and posted because it is just too good to alter in any way (full credit has always been given).
Like most bloggers out there reviewing progress since they started, I think I have come a long way in two years. The start of the journey was triggered out of necessity to embrace a whole new way of cooking, eating and living after my daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Now a way of life, my understanding of gluten free ingredients and how to combine them to make delicious cakes, bakes, pasta, breads and biscuits, feels increasingly natural (although I most definitely continue to learn more every day). My kitchen and my larder no longer feel like a new and alien environment, but one where creativity is a familiar and welcome distraction from the day to day pressures of work.
Much as I would love to throw myself completely into the world of recipe development, cooking and blogging all day every day, it remains very much a part time entity alongside my day job which I simply cannot afford to ditch. I read those amazing career blogs out there with an occasional pang of envy, but mostly with awe at the incredible talent, knowledge and (of course) recipes that are selflessly shared.
Although slow to link myself to the world of Twitter and other popular social networks, I have now begun to enter the fray as and when time allows, but I still try to fit in about three blog posts every couple of weeks. More recently, I finally managed to get round to updating my post on gluten free flours and even found time to write a little introduction about us and our journey into gluten freedom.
My beginning post on the 30th March 2013, was for Rice and Oat Bread. I remember that brief moment of hesitation before I pressed the ‘publish’ button for the first time and that wave of fear as I realised that someone out there might actually read the post or scarier still, try making MY loaf of bread.
I have made several breads since then and am proud of all of them. I have however, continued to strive to produce better and better loaves and rolls and to improve the texture and flavour with each recipe, in an attempt to get as close to the experience of gluten-based bread as I can.
In celebration of my two years, it seems fitting that I should unveil this new Oat Bread recipe, which has become an absolute staple in our house in the last couple of months. It is a loaf that has been through endless ingredient shifts to reach the bake that you see here. I became quite obsessed with it for a while, but given the result, I can forgive myself the indulgence. This one is a keeper! My husband (who is quite forthright when he does’t like what I have made), is very vocal in his praise. He tells me this is the best loaf of gluten free bread he has had……
I am inclined to agree. The texture is amazing. It is pliable, soft, definitely not ‘cakey’ and (to my amazement) does not automatically break when you squeeze or bend it! Believe me….. in the world of gluten free bread, that seems a rare thing.
So what has made the difference? Possibly the balance of flours. Likely the addition of some glutinous rice flour (which does not contain gluten). Definitely the use of modified tapioca starch (I used Isabel’s Baking Fix) alongside some xanthan gum. None of this affects the flavour negatively, which remains neutral, slightly oaty but not ‘bitty’, and perfect for both sweet and savoury toppings.
Best made as smaller loaves (to get a stable rise) or rolls, it makes for delicious, soft sandwiches. Toast and toasted sandwiches are good too, although because the bread is not as dry as some gluten free loaves and has a looser, airier structure, it can take on moisture quicker (dependent on fillings). The loaf itself stays reasonably fresh for a few days (if it doesn’t get eaten first) and freezes fantastically.
I am sharing my anniversary Oat Bread with the following blog challenges :
Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse (my first ever entry to the challenge)
Oat Bread (makes 2 x 1 lb loaves)
1½ teaspoons modified tapioca starch (Isabel’s Baking Fix or Expandex)
milk to glaze
- Prepare your loaf tins by either lining with baking paper or lightly greasing.
- Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, modified tapioca starch and salt. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, yeast, lemon juice and tepid water. Set aside and leave to froth for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk powder and oil with an electric whisk until well blended.
- Add the egg mix to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
- Add the yeast mix and use either a mixer with a dough hook or stir thoroughly until smooth, sticky and slightly elastic (this will take a few minutes).
- Spoon the dough mix into the loaf tins (to about half to two-thirds full) and smooth the tops.
- Brush with a little milk (to glaze) and sprinkle with some oats.
- Lightly cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the dough is well risen and the tops are rounded.
- Whilst the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes (15 minutes for small rolls) until golden, crisp and a skewer comes out clean.
- Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.