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Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread


Multi-Grain Bread.


As promised I've been experimenting again with my favorite gluten-free bread recipe. This latest incarnation is my husband's new favorite. Why? It features cornmeal. I learned a long time ago that cornmeal (and polenta) warmed the cockles of his heart. So I bake with it every chance I get. This bread was tender and soft enough for sandwiches. Delicious flavor. The cornmeal gives it a mild and almost grainy texture without overpowering it. It's not heavy. And it toasts up like a crunchy golden dream.

This part- the crunchy toast part- is why I perseverate in gluten-free baking. Because no matter how old I get (and I hate to tell you, I've got a milestone number waiting for me in June that is scaring the juniper pollen infested daylights outa me!) I crave the simplest of foods.

Like toast.

It's my go-to all time favorite form of culinary bliss. I kid you not. My tastes are childhood simple. That fancy-schmancy stuff folks swoon over captures my attention for maybe a minute. Haute food is pretty and all, but. I've read Kitchen Confidential. I know what they're up to in there, behind those greasy swinging doors. I know not to order fish on a Monday. And I know that even at the famous Rainbow Room food gets dropped on the floor. And re-plated.

Not to mention, they puts gobs of butter and salt and sugar in everything. Everything. Like, crazy. And they par-cook and make stuff ahead of time- hours ahead of time- so that when you show up hungry on an early- not too busy- Sunday evening, with a simple request such as, May I have (fill-in-the-blank) prepared without butter or dairy? the waiter grimaces and spins off toward the kitchen with a wiggle of disapproval only to return and tell you, The Chef will make you a special plate. And you exhale with relief.

You think, Margarita time.

When the dinners arrive, your husband is greeted with a heaping platter of grilled shrimp and garlic on greens and savory dirty rice and your son is presented with the mouthwatering carnitas and warm tortillas and calabasitas. And you. You are given a gleaming white dinner plate with enough dry broccoli and cauliflower tops to choke a horse. A big steaming horse. Except that a horse wouldn't be interested enough to risk the whole choking thing.

Horses are pretty smart.

I think I audibly gasped in horror (you don't want to know, Darling what that much Brassicaceae would do to a girl like me). The server kept his eyes down and skulked away. The waiter ignored us the rest of the night. I suspect he knew enough to know that charging $23.95 for a plate of broccoli and cauliflower tops was a tad passive aggressive on the Chef's part. Maybe he thought I was a rich and trendy [insert fad diet of the week] kind of girl. It was Santa Monica, after all. And the saddest part of this story is the punch line. Where this took place. The Border Grill.

Yeah. Those Two Hot Tamales girls. Who are wonderful cooks. And whose gracious Chef Ishmael served up a lovely, safe dinner for me the last time we were visiting Hell-A. He must have been off that night. Watching No Reservations. Or maybe he moved on to another gig. (Hey, Chef Ishmael- where are you Bubbe? It's not the same without you.)

Good thing I have toast. It often saves my life. In body and in spirit.








Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread Recipe


I baked this handsome loaf in my Breadman bread machine. If you have a different machine follow your manufacturer's instructions regarding dry and wet ingredients. If you are mixing and baking by hand, see below for instructions- I didn't forget you, Bubbe.

Quick Notes: 

  1. Ingredients are best at room temperature (except the warm water at 115ºF.).
  2. If it's humid out, use a tablespoon or two less liquid.
  3. Please read updated notes below on changes for sea level baking.*


Instructions for the Breadman machine:

Select the Gluten-Free cycle for 1.5 pound loaf. Select medium or dark crust as you prefer.

First- whisk together your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside:

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal
1/2 cup GF Millet Flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour!)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/ 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (or use 2 beaten large organic eggs in with the wet ingredients)

Seeds:

You'll need sesame seeds for the top; set aside for later.
I also added a sprinkle of caraway seeds into the dough because we love the flavor.

Proof the yeast:

Add 1 packet rapid or instant dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 cups warm liquid (at 110 to 115ºF) with a pinch of sugar for the yeast

Let it get a little foamy (this doesn't take long- or shouldn't).

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bread machine pan:

The proofed yeast and liquid
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey or raw agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon mild tasting rice vinegar (or lemon juice)

Gently pour the mixed dry ingredients on top of the liquid.

Set your bread machine program for 1.5 loaf medium crust. I used the gluten-free cycle on the Breadman; if you don't have a gluten-free cycle, I believe a rapid rise cycle will also work.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Here's what I did- my tips for using a Breadman bread machine with gluten-free flours:


After a minute or two of mixing, open the machine and scrape down the sides of the pan with a soft spatula to help incorporate he flour; I had to do this twice.

After the mixing/kneading cycle was finished (before the Rise cycle) I removed the paddle and with wet fingers pressed and smoothed the top to even out the shape.

I sprinkled a generous tablespoon of sesame seeds all over the top.

When the machine beeped "done". I checked to see if I thought the loaf was baked all the way through. I do this by lightly pressing on the side- if it gives too much or seems soft, add another 5 to 10 minutes of baking time (Select Bake only).

When you think the loaf is done, remove it from the hot machine and place on a wire rack. Tip it on its side and when cooled a little, shimmy it out (if you don't do this, it steams and gets too moist). Place the loaf on a wire rack and do the thump test. The thump test reveals if it's done. It should sound hollow when tapped.

If by some chance you find it's not quite done (it ought to be, but judging from comments I get everyone's bread machine experience is a bit different), or you like a crusty crust, place the naked loaf directly into the oven- on the center rack- and turn on the temp to 350ºF. You can bake it for another 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it. It should be firm to the touch and sound hollow if you tap it.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Slice with a sharp serrated knife.

Readers sometimes ask if they can lessen either the oil or the sweetener in my recipes. My honest response is- in the case of gluten-free bread baking, I'd venture, no. Why? What really makes this bread tender and not crumbly is the give it gets from the honey and oil I've added. That said- if the loaf turns out gummy in the middle you may live in more humid climate, so cut back on the honey or agave.

Honey and agave work wonders with gluten-free flours that lack elasticity; both are humectants and boost the stickiness factor- and flavor. You know those dry crumbly frozen rice bread loaves you first bought when you started glutenfree? Well, this ain't anything like those, Babycakes. And my little tweaks are why.

If you use a real egg, you might be able to get away with one less tablespoon of oil.



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                    *Karina's Sea Level Notes April 2010:



                    I've been baking this bread at sea level with some minor changes. We live in Santa Monica now, and the air has more humidity than the the high dry dessert of New Mexico. If you've been having trouble with dense centers or too much moisture gumminess, try this tweak.


                    Here are the tweaks I do here:

                    Start with 1 cup warm water (this is less).
                    Increase the egg replacer to 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy.
                    Decrease the honey or agave to 1 tablespoon.
                    Or bake at a higher temperature, in the oven- this tip works. Try 400º. Keep an eye on it, though, as it will bake faster. Use a cake tester to test the center.





                    If you don't have a bread machine:


                    Follow the instructions for whisking together the dry ingredients.

                    Proof the yeast in the warm water (110 to 115ºF) as above and a pinch of raw sugar (add the yeast to the water and sugar stir; allow it to get foamy).

                    Add the proofed yeast to the dry ingredients; add the olive oil, remaining honey/agave, cider vinegar (if using a real egg, beat it and add it to the wet ingredients); beat until a smooth batter forms.

                    I use the word batter because gluten-free bread dough is more like thick batter than a kneadable dough.

                    Scrape the dough into a 1.5 pound loaf pan (or 7 to 8-inch round cake pan for ciabatta style) and smooth evenly (I use wet fingers). Top with sesame seeds. Loosely cover the pan with a clean damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot.

                    Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

                    When the oven comes to temperature bake the bread until it sounds hollow when thumped. This might be anywhere from 35 to 40 minutes.

                    Note: Lower style round pan loaves will bake at 22 to 30 minutes, usually.

                    Keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

                    Cool on a wire rack.


                    GFG Recipe Notes:


                    This original recipe was developed at higher altitude. If you live at sea level, or a lower altitude, and the bread is not rising as high, I would suggest adding an extra whipped egg white, for leavening.

                    Vegan gluten-free bread will never rise as high as gluten-free bread with eggs.
                    If keeping this vegan, make sure the batter is warm enough to encourage the yeast to rise. Also make sure you use some sugar or agave/honey to feed the yeast.

                    And remember, if the dough is too wet, it may bake up too dense and heavy. This dough is more akin to thick muffin batter than cake batter.

                    For substitutions, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.



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