Monday, August 30, 2010

Gluten-free Boule Bread

My loyal readers may be shocked to find out that I have never made my own gluten-free bread.
That is, I had never attempted it before last night.  I wasn't giving it too high a chance of success.  I have a history of screwing up bread recipes - and that's with glutinous bread.  You know how people go on and on about how much they love the feel of bread dough in their hands as they are kneading it?  I was not one of those people.  I hated kneading.  Now I have another reason to love being gluten-free: no more kneading.  And guess what?  It came out great! 

I tried the Gluten-free Crusty Boule Bread Recipe that I read about on Gluten-free Girl earlier this year.  It's very similar to a no-knead bread recipe I had heard about from my sister of the Green Baby Guide blog.  The idea is actually very basic - even primitive.  Did you know that people used to bake bread on a hot stone with a pot inverted over it?  Bread was cooked this way even before ovens were invented.  This recipe uses a very hot oven with a pizza stone or a dutch oven inside to simulate the environment of the earliest bread-baking technique.

I followed the recipe almost exactly.  I used olive oil instead of canola oil, but aside from that I didn't revise.  I expected the dough to be sticky and wet, but I think mine may have been too wet.  I couldn't properly form a ball with it - it was too amorphous.  Then transferring the dough to the hot dutch oven was tricky (and sticky).  It didn't retain its shape.  Mine didn't rise in the oven as much as the bread in Shauna's picture, but the texture was great.  I still have some dough left in the fridge for another boule, so I'll try again in a few days.  The next go-round, I'll form the boule on parchment paper, and after it rests I can put in in the pot - paper and all - without disturbing it.  I may also try spritzing the top with water to get a crisper crust.  I'm excited to try it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pamela's Lemon Shortbread Cookies

I have a new weakness: Pamela's Gluten-free Lemon Shortbread cookies.  These are really tasty!  They are incredibly lemony - I like that.  They're nice and tart.  They have a slightly different texture depending on the batch you get.  I mentioned batch variation as well as cost in a review of Pamela's Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk cookies.  If chocolate's not your thing, or if you're just trying to keep your weight up, this lemon shortbread cookie is the gluten-free addiction for you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Community Garden

My new community garden plot is coming along.  The plants themselves aren't that big this year, but they are bearing fruit. 
I grew kohlrabi from seeds this year.  The leaves are really beautiful.

My eggplant is flowering but not bearing fruit.  In previous years  I've had to pollinate the flowers by hand.  Now it might be too late.  The plants are still really small.
Next year I'll make deeper beds and use more compost and topsoil.  This garden was a parking lot last year so it's amazing to have anything here at all!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gluten Free Pale Ale at Deschutes

In my previous post I promised to give you a description of the Gluten-free Ale once I could get my hands on it.  Well, I never got one.  What I could get was a description of an even newer gluten-free beer: the Gluten-free Pale Ale.

100% Gluten-Free Ale!  This beer is made with sorghum, brown rice, and carmelixed sugar syrup for a smooth gluten-free experience.  The juicy hop aromas come from Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and a touch of Citra.  Tell your friends!
IBU's: 49     Alcohol Content: 5.0%

I learned a few things from a helpful server that I hadn't realized before:

- The gluten-free beers are all brewed in the Bend facility.
- The gluten-free beers are all made in a dedicated gluten-free brew kettle and fermentation tank to avoid cross-contamination.
- The Gluten-Free Ale I had last week may have been one in a series of small experimental batches of gluten-free beer.
- Deschutes is trying to perfect various recipes in the hopes of hitting on one that's popular enough to bottle and sell!

In the spirit of the quest for the perfect gluten-free beer, please weigh in on which ones you've tried at Deschutes, and which were the best.  Here is my list, with my most favorite first:

The Gluten-free Ale I had last week
The Gluten-free Wit
The Mystery Beer (wit beer?) I had last fall
The Gluten-free ESB of last summer (2009)
The Gluten-free Pale Ale
The Gluten-free ESB of this summer (2010)
The Gluten-free Golden Ale
The Gluten-free Crystal Weiss

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Deschutes Brewery Gluten-free Beer

Deschutes Brewery has switched over from the Gluten-free ESB to a Gluten-free Ale.  My server described it as a "wheat-style beer."  Of course, as with all the Deschutes Brewery GF beers, it contains no wheat.

This beer has the smoothest aftertaste of any sorghum beer I have ever tasted.  There is only a hint of that metallic aftertaste that you get from most gluten-free beers.  Run out and try it soon, or I may drink it all myself!  I got a growler today to enjoy over the weekend.

I'll post again when I have an official description of this new gluten-free beer.

Have you been to Deschutes lately?  What do you think of their gluten-free beer?