Gluten free impressions

Yesterday, I made my first foray into gluten free baking. Someone brought brown rice flour, Old Mill gluten free flour, and xanthan gum.

Making gluten free bread is kind of like making a light, delicate angel cake with winter wheat bread flour. It can be done after a fashion, but might not really be recommended.

If you recall from an earlier post, gluten is what the yeast eats to make the bread raise. The yeast must be appeased in gluten-free baking, both as a leavening and a flavoring, and so, without gluten, the yeast needs a cozy temperature. The other most common leavening seems to be egg whites, beaten egg whites, and, sometimes, baking soda and powder.

Start out with everything room temperature or a little warmer. Whip the egg whites with any oils or sugars, then add the dry ingredients. Slowly add the warm water, stirring and stirring. It will be a heavy batter. A good mixer with bread hooks would be very nice to have, though the batter is stirred. It never gets thick enough to knead. It raises in the pan it will be baked in.

Pans are prepared by both greasing and flouring them. Even then, I had a bit of trouble getting the loaves out. Let them cool a bit so there will be condensation, and the loaves will be easier to remove from the pans.

Plop the batter into the pan, then use a spatula to smooth it over. I warmed the oven a bit, not too hot, and put the pans in there to raise. This takes about half an hour. When the batter is about half an inch from the top of the pan, heat the oven to 350°, then put the pans in to bake for 30 minutes. It will look done, but isn’t. Get some tin foil, and tent the pan, then go away for about another 30 minutes. It’s best to have a thermometer, as the loaf is done at 208°.

What I made tasted a bit like shepherd’s bread. Not bad. But I’m making a batch of “real” bread in the next few days.

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