Adventures in Bread Making

My first job was working in a bakery in a grocery store.  I used to love making breads, proofing the dough and cooking them until they were golden brown and I could hear a hollow sound when I tapped on the bottom.  Although I used to be pretty good at making wheat and gluten filled breads, gluten-free breads follow slightly different techniques, which I admittedly do not know as much as I wish I did about them.

A while ago I got the book Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread, by Jennifer Katzinger.  I skimmed through the book, and was very excited about the techniques and ingredients she uses in the book.  The flours are nutritious and whole grain, there is no white sugar to be found, and minimal gums are used in the recipes.  Unfortunately, there are still not nearly as many vegan and gluten-free cookbooks as there are vegan, or just gluten-free.  So when I found what seemed to be the first gluten-free and vegan bread book, I couldn’t wait to make my own bread, instead of relying on the gross, over-priced, freezer burnt frozen blocks from the grocery store.

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I couldn’t decide which bread to make first, so I went with the first recipe in the book, the Country Batard bread.  I was surprised at the baking time and temperature for this bread.  The recipe called for 2 hours at 400+ degrees Celsius.  I assumed that this was due to the loaf being more of a wet-style batter due to being gluten-free.  I was wrong! I took the loaf out a bit early, but it was still a dense, burnt brick.  I had to throw it out and looked into some reviews online.  Apparently, the author’s oven wasn’t working properly while she came up with the recipes.  I also discovered that the recipes use instant yeast, instead of regular, which was never explicitly indicated in the recipe.  She had published an errata, which is four pages long!  I tried out the recipe, with the changes, and it actually turned out pretty well.  Still, it is kind of crazy that someone could publish a cookbook without trying to reproduce the recipes elsewhere, or getting some testers involved.  I’ll be trying some other recipes from the book in the weeks to come, so hopefully they turn out a bit better than my first attempt.

(The soup in the picture above is a lentil and carrot puree with red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, ginger, cumin, silken tofu, soy milk and veggie broth cooked and blended together with some sriracha for good measure)

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