Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quick Gluten-free Boule Bread

Editor's note: The flour mix for this recipe is no longer available.  Please see the Bread Page for updated recipes.

Do you miss the opportunity to knead your bread now that you cook gluten-free?  This recipe is for you.  If you just miss crusty bread, this recipe is for you, too.

My panel of taste testers included gluten-eaters and non-gluten-eaters.  Everyone was a fan of the chewy inside and the fresh-baked flavor very much like regular bread.  Even my super-picky  6-year-old niece loved it.  This is a girl who eats almost nothing and once declared that she doesn't like gluten-free food.  (She is not GF.)  She kept asking for more slices.

"Quick" Gluten-free Bread isn't instant.  It's just fast relative to breadmaking in general.  This recipe is akin to the 1-hour bread recipes all over the internet for "regular" bread.  This recipe is gluten-free, so it's more like a one-and-a-half hour recipe, but it's the same concept.  You get a soft, chewy interior and a nice crisp crust.  It's so soft inside that it's still soft the next day.  You don't get a huge hole structure because you're going for a formed loaf that's quick-rising.  I'll do bread with gigantic holes in another recipe - one that takes longer.

A note about the ingredients: there are lots of variations on this recipe that work.  I'll note variations I've tried at the end.  However, I have no idea if this recipe will work with any flour mixes besides my own.  I honestly haven't used any other flour mixes besides mine in years.  My flours are specially formulated for superior taste and performance.  I am now sharing my flours with everyone because I love them so much and I think they can improve the reputation of gluten-free baked goods in general. You can purchase my flours at GlutenfreeGourmand.com.

Here is a visual preview of the recipe.
Kneaded dough
Place seam down
Form a boule
Cut the slits
Let rise 35 minutes
Let it cool as long as you can

Slice and enjoy

Recipe for Quick GF Boule Bread:

It's important to have all your ingredients at room temperature or warmer.  I usually warm up my egg in a bowl of warm water while I'm mixing the other ingredients.

Mix together in a small bowl or measuring cup:

1/2 cup (118 ml) warm water, 110-115 degrees F
1.5 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar

Set that aside to proof while you mix the other ingredients.  In a medium or large bowl combine:

225 g. No. 1 All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using No. 2 Pastry Flour)
1/2 tsp. pectin
a scant 3/4 tsp salt
5 g flax seed, finely ground

I another small bowl mix together:

1 egg
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp oil

Once the yeast has proofed for 5 or more minutes it should have a large head of foam.  (If it doesn't, you've likely done something wrong with the temperature or, less likely, your yeast is dead.  With this recipe it would behoove you to start over with fresh warm water, yeast, and sugar to get the right mix.)  Providing your yeasty water looks foamy, go ahead and mix the frothy water together to make sure there aren't any chunks of yeast.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.

If you are using a stand mixer, this is your opportunity to finally break out that dough hook.  The paddle attachment won't cut it.  Dough hook that dough on medium speed until it comes off the sides of the bowl and starts crawling up the hook.  Scrape the bowl down a bit and continue mixing if it doesn't come together right away.

If mixing by hand, mix everything a bit with a wooden spoon until the ingredients start to come together.  Then start kneading the dough until it starts smoothing out.

The dough should be tacky to the touch but springy.  A bit will stick to the hand, but you should be able to knead it.  If it's too stiff then add a little water and re-knead.  If it's so sticky it's unmanageable, flour the dough and re-knead as necessary until it starts behaving.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface.  I like rice flour for kneading.  It's nice and dry - you don't need much.  Knead a few times with a floured hand.  Try to form as nice a kneaded ball as possible. See the photos at the beginning of the post for reference.

Turn the seam side down onto the floured surface.  Gently form a ball, patting and spinning the dough between your hands until it looks smooth.

(Side note: don't use the traditional method of forming a boule here.  It may cause a break in the top of the bread as it rises.)

Put your loaf on top of a lightly-floured piece of parchment paper.  Cut slits in the top of the loaf and set it in a warm, damp place to rise.  I put mine in the cupboard above my refrigerator with the mixing bowl inverted on top of it. I have good results when I warm the mixing bowl with some water before covering the loaf.

Let the bread rise for 35 minutes.  In the mean time, place a dutch oven or heavy stock pot in your oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

When the 35 minutes is up, brush or spritz the loaf with water for a browner crust.  Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the loaf still on it into the hot dutch oven.  Cover the pot and cook the loaf for 30-35 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Most recipes will sternly admonish you to wait until the loaf completely cools before you slice into it.  I won't be so cruel.  I'll tell you that you get better slices if the bread cools before cutting into it, but if you want that amazing experience of eating bread fresh out of the oven you should wait 15 minutes then dig in.  Warm bread is better than clean slices any day.

Variations:

No xanthan gum: You may omit the xanthan gum and replace it with more flax seed for a total of 25 grams flax seed.  Omit the oil as well.  This will give you a very tender, chewy bread but the crust will not be as crisp.

No flax seed: You may omit the flax seed but bring the xanthan gum up to 1/2 tsp.  This will give you a crisp crust still, but the inside will be a bit stiffer and not as chewy.  Eat while fresh.

No pectin: You can omit the pectin.  I don't know exactly what that will do, but it will still turn out.

2 comments:

Christopher said...

I eat a lot of GF bread and this is some of the best I've ever had!

Gina said...

Thanks Christopher! It's nice to get a plug from someone who has tried it.