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My Love Affair with a Bread Machine
February 9, 2010
I am in love with my bread machine. Well, technically, I’m in love with the bread it produces – that coveted wonderful-tasting and smelling loaf that is so difficult to create in a gluten-free world. It’s almost as if my machine is able to intuit my desire for a fresh slice of yeasty bread. Two or three hours after I deposit ingredients in the baking pan and command the buttons to “start,” I gratefully accept another luscious loaf. No wonder I love this gadget.
Truthfully, however, creating a decent loaf of bread was not all that easy at first. It was only through years of experimenting that I have found formulas that were satisfying enough to make me forget my gluten-filled past. These formulas are mixtures of gluten-free flours (mostly flours with fiber), liquids, xanthan gum and yeast. Two secrets make them work. First, xanthan or guar gum helps to create an elasticity that approximates that of gluten. Second, a delicate balance of wet to dry is necessary to help the bread rise, but not too much, and to give it texture and mouth-feel.
Once I have a formula that works for me, I vary it with strategic little tweaks – replacing some of the liquid with maple syrup; exchanging rice flour for sorghum flour or quinoa flour; using milk instead of water or the other way around. But I never change the quantities.
I rely on flour choices from Living Without magazine (see “Flour Power” in our Dec/Jan 2010 issue) and recipes from our great chefs, like Diane Kittle whose gluten-free, dairy-free Oatmeal Maple Bread or Mock Rye Bread fill my tummy and satisfy my cravings. For variety, I often adapt a tried-and-true bread recipe by replacing some of the flours with those that have higher fiber and nutrition content.
What recipes or products help you fulfill that need for bread since you became gluten-free? Tell us which articles in Living Without helped you and let us know which bread machine you are using or if you prefer baking your bread in the oven.