Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gluten Free Bread Baking - Failure and Success plus My Biscuit Recipe

**I am sorry - the pics for this post was accidentally deleted and cannot be retrieved, this post has modified**

I've been gluten free (gf) since about 2008 and soon after being gf, I sought out to make my own bread - gf breads at that time were very expensive (they still are), so being that I like to bake, I went on the hunt for a good recipe. I even sold my regular bread machine and bought a Breadman Pro, which has a gf setting. Most of the recipes I tried didn't work - too gummy or sunk in the middle. Some were hit and miss - one day it would come out perfect, then next time it would flop. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. I've been reading tips about why my bread comes out gummy or sunk in the middle - I try to fix the recipe, but it doesn't work. I don't have the patience like some of these other hardcore bloggers to keep trying and tweaking the recipe. My Breadman now sits on a shelf.

I then found this great biscuit recipe that I've made over and over again and I love it - it works great for hamburger buns. I've tweaked the recipe a little bit:

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

1 cup potato starch - not flour or arrowroot powder
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tbsp. flax meal
1 tsp. xanthan gum
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbsp. butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk (substitute: 1 cup milk of any kind and 1 tsp. white vinegar let sit for couple minutes)
2 beatened egg whites
Optional: chopped lunch meat, shredded cheese
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or by lining them with foil and a light coating of cooking spray. In a small measuring cup, measure the buttermilk and add the beaten egg whites and set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add cornstarch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine with a fork until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mix. Add the lunch meat and cheese, if using. Add the chilled butter cubes and work the butter into the dry ingredients along with the lunch meat and cheese using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture has a pebbly, crumbly texture.

3. Pour the milk into the mixture of dry ingredients and butter and work with a fork until just combined. This is a wet, slightly sticky dough, adding more flour will help. Using a large spoon or spatula, drop biscuits onto baking sheets (see below on how I bake and cut my biscuits).

4. Place pans in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 400 degrees F, bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Serve warm. For daily use, store biscuits in frig, these also store well in the freezer. Makes 10-12 biscuits

  1. I bake my biscuit in an egg ring so it comes out to be the perfect circle. You can use an english muffin mold or an empty tuna can.
  2. The finished biscuit is thin, it is perfect for sandwiches or to use as hamburger buns. 
After a few months of biscuit heaven, I decided I needed a change and I started to try baking bread again, this time in my oven. I took this recipe, a good "quick bread" recipe and tried to tweak it. The original recipe was ok, but the end result was real delicate, the bread doesn't hold up and can crumble easily. I added xanthan gum and had to increase the almond milk in the recipe so the dough would hold together, but it didn't turn out. 
 Then I started thinking . . . bread and biscuits are kind of the same thing. What if I take my good biscuit recipe I like and bake it in a loaf pan? I decided to try it. As I'm prepping the recipe, I realized that I put in 4 teaspoons of baking soda, it was supposed to be 4 teaspoons of baking powder - I goofed. So, in the sea of white powder that's in the bowl, I'm trying to scoop out the baking soda - did you know that baking soda looks like arrowroot powder and a lot of other white powdered ingredients? After scooping, even Jim helped, I crossed my fingers and I baked it at 425 degrees F (a little too high, I forgot that I was baking bread not bisicuits) for about 45 minutes. It came out great - nice shape, brown, and a little taller than the first one. Then I tasted it - blech! It was too bitter (too much baking soda makes your bread bitter - really bitter). I had to throw it out.

Ok, back to the drawing board again. I repeated the biscuit recipe with the correct measurements and it worked!! It didn't brown as nice as the previous one, but the taste is great, the texture is great - it was a little moist, not dry. I baked it at 350 degrees F for about 50 minutes. Next time, I'll bake it a little longer to see if will brown up nicely like the bitter one.

This sure was an overwhelming experience, but at least I finally have a good bread recipe. I've been craving sandwiches lately and sometimes, nothing beats a good ol' sandwich.


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