Recently, I decided to give up gluten again. I did this back in September for a few weeks, but then got back into the habit of buying bread again. My reasons for giving up gluten have nothing to do with losing weight or jumping on some health fad bandwagon. I definitely was very skeptical of why anyone would be “anti-gluten” in the first place.
After a bit of research (see notes at bottom of post if interested in reading more), I have felt a little guilty ever since I started giving my family wheat again. Especially overly processed breads. How can something that takes just a few ingredients in my home require such a long list in the store? I tried my best to only buy sprouted grains for a while, but even these products have additional gluten protein listed as an ingredient.
In my personal experience, gluten free bread generally tastes like cardboard and the ingredients list usually contain some sort of compromise for what we normally will buy. We don’t buy many pre-made food items anymore, simply because it is nearly impossible to find them without tons of unnecessary and unhealthy additives. The more you learn about what is actually in commercially prepared food, the smaller your choices get, and you quickly learn that “Gluten Free” does not necessarily mean you are getting anything more nutritionally beneficial.
I haven’t had bread in almost 4 weeks and we have had no wheat products in the home during that time. I have been sort of playing with alternatives, but they always come out like dense bricks and I give up. We end up eating brown rice tortillas or tapioca spring roll wrappers when we really want something to hold some sandwich-y ingredients.
After this week, that will no longer be the case.
I tried out a recipe with my fingers crossed and came up with something way better than any store-bought GF loaf of bread I have ever tasted.
It is springy and light and soft and delicious and is made with ingredients easily found at our local grocery store. We gluttonously ate almost an entire loaf during dinner and the kids are so excited about having sandwiches for lunch again and toast in the morning.
After my first success I made a double batch and put one loaf in the freezer.
The recipe is adapted from one I found online from Land O’Lakes. My flour blend is a little different and I traded out a few other ingredients, also. The result Perfect bread to have with dinner, for toast, or sandwiches during the week.
We decided that if I can bake up this bread in under 2 hours which is delicious fresh out of the oven and after a few days, then we can live without gluten.
There is a learning curve to gluten free flours, but once you learn how to work with them, you can bake virtually anything. It isn’t exactly the same as wheat, but it can be a pretty delicious alternative anyway.
Some of the flours are a little more expensive, I won’t deny this. Since we are used to not having bread as an everyday staple in our diet though, it will be enjoyed occasionally. I still believe filling our plates with as many whole foods while keeping properly prepared grains in moderation is the best way to go at this point.
I hope you will enjoy this bread as much as we do!
Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread (adapted from this recipe)
Makes one loaf (doubling the recipes works great for two loaves)
First you will have to make a flour blend. This is what I used, but you can definitely switch out some of the flours if you have a different gluten free type you prefer, but I can’t vouch for the outcome. If you try it with a different flour, I’d love it hear what you used and how it turned out!
This is the basic blend (You can make as much as you like and store in a bin for other baking needs. It works as a pretty good universal flour replacer):
1 cup brown rice flour (sprouted is even better if you can get your hands on it)
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. xantham gum
Measure all into a big bowl and whisk it around. Save the leftovers in a dry, airtight container for next time you are baking.
1 c. warm milk (I used almond milk, I’m sure any kind will work fine)
1/4 c. organic raw sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 1/2 c. GF flour blend
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (the original recipe called for butter, I didn’t have any. I love coconut oil and it turned out great, but I’m sure butter is fine too)
2 eggs (I have not tried this recipe with a vegan egg replacer. I imagine it would work, but it most likely won’t be as rich or have as springy as a texture.)
1.) Warm milk (90 – 110 degrees). Pour over sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit 5 – 10 minutes until slightly foamy layer forms.
2.) Place flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Mix to incorporate salt evenly.
3.) Pour milk mixture into flour and begin to mix on low speed. Add melted coconut oil/butter and eggs. Gradually increase speed to high and beat until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes.
4.) Scrape down sides of bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. It will be a thick batter. Let sit in warm place for 1 hour (I preheat my oven to 100 degrees and then turn it off and place the bowl inside).
5.) After 1 hour, stir batter and pour into one 8 x 10 greased loaf pan (I grease with coconut oil. Make sure you oil the bottom well or use parchment paper if you want it to come out easily and in one piece). The original recipe said to let it rise for another 30 minutes. I actually skipped this step and put it straight into the oven and it rose pretty well. Next time I will probably let it sit in the pan before baking.
6.) Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and let bake 25 – 40 minutes until golden brown and hard crust forms. For the last ten minutes, I turned up the oven to 400 degrees and it came out perfectly.
7.) When finished baking, remove from oven and let sit at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Once removed, allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Unless of course you love to have hot bread straight out of the oven and don’t care how your bread looks.
8.) Enjoy with dinner, as toast, or with your favorite sandwich fixings!
What’s Wrong With Our Wheat? – Informative article about the difference between traditional grains and our modern, commercialized grains of today.
Against all Grain – Great blog full of grain free recipes.
Food Renegade: How To Eat Grains - this is an informative article on the benefits of traditionally preparing your grains, how to do it, and why you should.
Wellness Mama: How Grains are Slowly Killing You This article actually shows the dangers of consuming all grains, not just wheat and gluten protein. Being vegetarian, not eating grains at all is difficult, and I am not completely persuaded it is necessary. I try to soak and/or sprout all of our grains to help reduce the anti-nutrients and ease digestibility.
Caveman Doctor: Grains Part III: Lectins – article about lectins and the negative health effects
Food Renegade: Is Pressure Cooking Healthy? – Interesting article on how to destroy lectins further, while maintaining nutrients, by pressure cooking