When we first considered that we might need to go gluten free as a family in the fall of 2012, I dug my heels in, hard. Well, mentally anyway. In reality, I’m deeply practical, and I knew we had to start switching gears. But it wasn’t fun to consider. Both my husband and I bake frequently – he’s the bread baker, I cover everything else and we both love to experiment – and we had developed a nice list of family favourites that were particularly heavy on spelt, an ancient wheat tolerated well by many of us, though not all. I’m a huge fan of spelt, and I think that turning my back on it is the hardest part of this change.
We’ve only been making the change in earnest for about a month and we are on a steep learning curve, along with anyone who has ever made this kind of dietary change. The whole GF thing is a bit fraught too, what with the fact that people who need to go gluten free often have other food sensitivities, and so there are issues with the gums (xanthan and guar), for example, that I had no clue about until I really starting getting in deep. Having first excitedly made friends with xanthan gum, we’re now parting ways as we look at other options, and so on…
While I have been happy experimenting with new recipes for muffins, cakes and quickbreads, not having a reliable recipe for homemade bread was really getting me down. Buying pre-made gluten free loaves is silly expensive, and just not in keeping with our family tradition of homemade bread. My husband researched GF bread recipes, and not finding anything that made us go ‘wow’, he suggested we buy Peter Reinhart’s new book on gluten-free, sugar-free baking (Reinhart being a guru of gluten-based baking and the source of many of our favourite wheat-based recipes). Still new to that book, we’re not convinced its approach is entirely right for us, although some of the reliance on nut-based flours appeals to us (we’ve both come down heavily in favour of almond flour and other nut flours, which thankfully we like and can have).
Today, after shelling out for a new spice grinder that could be dedicated to grinding seeds and nuts, my husband came home and hit the internet again. Which is when he found the recipe for the loaf pictured here. Thank you, thank you to Yammie’s Glutenfreedom for this wonderful recipe for a GF bread that actually looks, smells and tastes like real bread. My husband made only very minor changes to the recipe, but a crucial one was substituting chia seeds for the xanthan gum in the original recipe. He also completely forgot the honey, and now wonders if – for him – the loaf would be too sweet with it. Naturally he plans to make another loaf in the next day with honey to see how it compares, but tonight’s result is so good that we had to share.
Gluten-free Honey Oat Bread, ever so slightly adapted from Yammie’s Glutenfreedom Original recipe here
3 1/3 cups oat flour
2 scant tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey (what we left out, but plan to try next time)
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or corn starch)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (white or sweet white rice flour is suggested in the original)
2 teaspoons chia seeds (xanthan gum in the original recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
If you’re using whole oats, blend them in the food processor until they’re pretty fine (as fine as you can get them). Meanwhile combine the yeast and water and let sit for a few minutes. Add the oil, honey, starch, flour, chia seeds and oats and beat until combined. Add the salt, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Pour into a well greased 10 inch loaf pan and allow to rise for about 45 minutes until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the top of the risen loaf with some more oats or sesame seeds and cut a few slits in the top with a serrated knife. Bake for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
Knowing we can produce a loaf as tasty as this one is a great relief, and now we can continue to experiment without the urgency that we had before. You can be sure that I’ll be posting more gluten free bread recipes at some point. In the meantime, if you’re sitting on a wonderful GF bread recipe and are inclined to share, we’re all ears!
Our Delfino coffee/spice grinder, which we’re using to make small batches of nut and seed-based flours, was a great purchase.