While we were finding amazing deals on dining room furniture, we also came across a couple of bread makers for $8 each.
Now, making bread from scratch isn’t hard. It isn’t even all that time-consuming. Which is why I could never justify the $70 or more for one in the past, even though my gadget-loving self has wanted one for quite some time. Finding one for a handful of singles was just too much temptation without very much in the way of risk.
I don’t make an inordinate amount of bread at home–not for lack of love, I just generally buy it when the occasion arises. After going Low-FODMAP, those occasions had become fewer and farther between. Unfortunately, finding a commercially-available bread that is Low-FODMAP tends to leave a lot to be desired. Making good gluten-free bread has not been the most successful kitchen experiments, though my rigged proof box did help quite a bit in that arena. Still, maybe an all-in-one machine would do the trick.
For the first run I used a recipe from Celiac in the City and my usual flour blend. Because I’d read so many dire warnings in the bread machine’s manual about over-filling the pan, I did make some adjustments to the basic recipe to keep it at the ingredient quantities the manual gave as their preferred basic ratios. I needn’t have worried, though, as the finished “loaf” didn’t even fill up half the pan!
Lack of loft aside, the bread was very tasty. It was dense, of course, but definitely lacked the sawdust tendencies of some gf baking. I stored the finished, sliced loaf in the fridge (baked goods, esp. those without preservatives, don’t do well in this house once the temperature starts to climb) overnight but the next day at lunch the slices were still good and moist.
While some bread maker’s have gluten-free settings, this one does not but the tips I’d read suggested using the “rapid rise” option if the machine gave one, as it’s cuts down on a bit of the handling. Since gf doughs tend to be super-fragile anyway, I figured that was the safest course, and also chose the light crust setting just to be on the safe side.
For the second trial I decided to use the same recipe but this time not alter the quantities. I stuck with the rapid rise cycle, but used a slightly different flour blend since I was out of some of the components of my house mix. Not quite a controlled experiment, but this isn’t a laboratory, is it?
The thing to be aware of with bread machines is how the ingredients need to be loaded-in. In my case, all liquids go in first, then the flour op top in such a way that it creates a lid on the liquids. The yeast gets poured into a depression in the center of the flour-layer, and then any butter or shortening gets placed in the corners. Since my test recipe uses olive oil, the first batch I poured the oil into the 4 corners of the pan, but for the second go-round I decided to just mix it in with the water and eggs.
Obviously we weren’t in danger of overflowing the pan, but the danger with the slightly larger loaf is whether or not the full loaf will bake in the given time. This one was a bit on the edge of done after the programmed time but at least was a little larger. Still dense, still tasty, and thumps hollow on the bottom, but if you wanted a darker crust or needed to get it a little more baked through, popping it into the oven for a bit is supposed to do the trick. I didn’t find it necessary for this one, though.
Each loaf has featured a really shaggy top–something that can happen with the non-machine gluten-free breads and something I’ll need to work on. Could use just a bit more liquid or some other tweaking to work well, but I’m encouraged. I’ll be making croutons with the remains of the first loaf and using the second loaf for sandwiches later this week.
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I also picked up a Glutino bread mix that, while not being completely Low-FODMAP (pea protein and whey are the potentially troublesome ingredients, but once you’re past the Elimination and Challenge phases, it might be worth trying) does have the benefit of being all-in-one. And, of course, since gluten isn’t a FODMAP, one could always add some vital wheat gluten into the mix to add texture and whatnot, but I haven’t gotten that far, yet.
I think the next loaf on the list will be an old favorite: chocolate orange bread. I haven’t made it in ages, especially not since ditching the wheat, but I’ve been craving it lately. Even if it turns out dense like these, it’ll be great for chocolate bread pudding!