An appeal to the senses: The Lumberjack Loaf

bread

It doesn’t look like much, but… well, it doesn’t look like much.

As anyone who has struggled with gluten for very long well knows, fresh baked bread is something you learn early to  do mostly without. It’s not such a huge issue anymore what with all the different gluten-free breads available in many major supermarkets and lots of little local gluten-free bakeries popping up (at least ’round my neck of the woods). However, there is something about homemade, maybe it’s all the anticipation from the involved preparation, proofing the yeast and taking that bread pan with the little lump of dough in the bottom and swaddling it in a damp warm cloth so it’ll grow – I mean rise, just like a new born baby (huh?), and then the aroma as it’s baking, the yeasty warmth that fills the house. Or maybe it appeals more to some visceral need, some instinctual urge to make (and dismember) our own food with our own hands, ripping a piping hot loaf out of the oven and sawing off a giant steaming slice with an unnecessarily large carving knife. It makes one feel right with the world.

Gluten Free Bread

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs flax (ground)
Pinch of salt
3 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup milk (I use almond)
1/2 cup oil
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tsp yeast

For proofing the yeast:
1/2 cup water (warm)
1 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Start off by proofing your yeast: put the sugar and yeast in a bowl and pour the warm water (closer to luke than hot) over the two and give it a few gentle stirs. Next combine all your dry ingredients (here’s another chance to use that potato flour) in a large bowl. I use a whisk to get everything well blended. Add your cider vinegar to your milk and stir. Now our little yeasty friends have had plenty of time to gorge themselves on sugar.

eggsinflour

You don’t have to make a well or add the eggs like this; I just wanted a pretty photograph.

Pour the proofed yeast mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until everything is well combined. You should have a sticky dough in your bowl. If it looks dry, add more milk a little at a time. Move your dough to your bread pan (no kneading necessary). Now, do like I mentioned above and wrap a warm wet cloth around the bread pan, completely covering the top, and put the pan somewhere near the preheating oven to rise, somewhere that isn’t hot enough to cook it. Leave it for an hour or more depending on how bubbly you want your bread.

rawbread

Unrisen bread.

Put it in the oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes. When it’s done the crust should be a darker shade of golden brown (err on the dark side to ensure the center isn’t still starchy goop). There you have it, fresh bread with a hard crust and a soft interior. Nothing simpler. Enjoy!

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