Before anything, I want to get one thing off my chest. I have not posted on this blog in OVER A YEAR. I can’t rightly keep blogger in my bio anymore. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it, or wanting to. It just means, I am plum out of time. (Shame, embarrassment, guilt, and imposter syndrome slightly expunged). So now, onto the good stuff! The stuff that’s bringing me back to post. Bread. That’s right, BREAD! There are very few things in life that I love as much or more than bread. My kids, my husband, my dog, my cat… well, maybe not my cat. Don’t tell her. She’ll develop a bread complex.
However, finding gluten-free bread has been quite a challenge over the years, and finding allergy-friendly, gluten-free bread has been like seeking the Holy Grail. There is some good bread out there (Canyon Bakehouse), but it’s not easy to find and it’s expensive. There is a good Gluten-free bakery in LA, Rising Hearts Bakery, but I have to get in my car and drive there specifically for bread. Because the bread at my local grocery store just doesn’t cut it. You KNOW what I’m talking about. Dense, rocks, dry, too much yeast, bread that’s like foam or worse, styrofoam. Bread with too much xanthan gum or guar gum, that has a slimy gummy finish. It’s often been, well, just not worth it to bother. And I do have bread recipes of my own, (see my Pita), and I like some of the bread mixes out there (Luce’s bread is divine and crusty), but I am a very busy working mom and making bread from scratch or even from a mix is not in the cards most days of the week. Plus, I don’t own a bread machine. (First World Problems).
For many years, I thought I’d tackle this frontier. I’d launch bread products. Rolls, sandwich bread, pita, tortillas, maybe even bagels. However, my Cybele’s Free-to-Eat cookies have kept me occupied for more years than I ever anticipated and more years than I like to admit. Additionally, the challenges of bread and its short shelf life were daunting to me.
I’d all but given up on good bread and had settled on the passible gluten-free bread at Trader Joe’s.
I didn’t even know there was anything else out there. Until a pot of gold from the end of the rainbow in Ireland landed on my doorstep. Say what? A heaven-sent basket of bread. (Okay, it came in a cool shipper packed in dry ice, but to me it looked like it had angels singing and the wafting steam of fresh baked bread rising out of a homey tea towel.) I really said “Score!” as I opened it. There was sandwich bread, multigrain sandwich bread, hot dog rolls, dinner rolls, bagels, wraps in two flavors, and pita bread. To a bread starved free-from eater, this is truly manna from Heaven.
And I have eaten all of it. Yup, I ate it all. I shared a little bit with my family, but I hid some of it in the back of the freezer for myself. And by the way, the freezer is where they recommend you store their products if they aren’t being eaten immediately.
My takeaway? My favorite were the dinner rolls, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, without any weird aftertaste or gumminess. Second favorite, the sandwich bread, both white and multigrain. And third, the Pita bread, which is the perfect size for a sandwich. Usually, one needs to cut the pita in half for the sandwich, and it breaks and splits and is hard to stuff. Not so with theirs – it’s the perfect size to begin with. Bravo, BFree!
For more info:
About BFree Foods
Based out of Dublin, Ireland and manufacturing for the U.S. market in Montebello, California, BFree Foods is an innovator in the wheat and gluten-free bread product category. Passionately dedicated to providing exceptional taste, nutrition profiles and performance, BFree’s wraps, rolls, bread loaves, bagels and pita breads maintain the texture of traditional bread products but are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, nuts and soy. All BFree products are allergen and vegan-friendly, low-fat and high- fiber, making them ideal for health-conscious consumers across the globe. For additional information, visit US.BFreeFoods.com or find the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
As promised, here is my new and improved Allergy-Free Cornbread recipe. Serve on its own, or use it for my Allergy-Free Cornbread and Wild Mushroom Stuffing recipe. This Gluten-Free, Top 8 Allergen-Free, and Vegan recipe is a revision of my Cornbread Sticks recipe from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. I’ve altered it to be made with more readily available ingredients: Canola Oil in place of Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening, and King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour can be used instead of my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend. For this recipe, you can use either an 8-inch cast iron skillet (see below), or 2 cornstick pans, or an 8 x 8-inch square pan.
1 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons rice milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Preheat pan.
2. Combine rice milk with lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Whisk together cornmeal, flour mix, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Add the rice milk to the mixture and stir to combine. Add the egg replacer and the canola oil, and stir a few times until smooth. Remove the heated pan(s) from the oven, and grease liberally with baking spray or oil. Fill pan with batter, smooth surface, and bake about 25 minutes, until golden.
Allergy-Free Cornbread Copyright © 2013 by Cybele Pascal. Cornsticks photo credit: Chugrad McAndrews.
Gluten Free Vegan Focaccia
Makes 1 square 9-inch bread
This rustic flat bread is great served with white bean dip or dunked in red sauce. It’s also wonderful dipped in olive oil. Be sure to serve it warm.
1 1/2 cups warm water (110°to 115°F)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 (1/4-ounce) packet rapid-rise yeast
3 1/2 cups Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix (see below)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1. Combine the water, agave nectar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix well. Make sure the yeast is completely dissolved.
2. Whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture in two batches and mix well for about 1 minute, or until the dough is coming together.
4. Spray a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with baking spray or grease with vegetable shortening and dust with cornmeal, tapping out any extra.
5. Transfer the dough to the pan, using a rubber spatula. Use a frosting spatula to smooth down the surface and coax the dough into the corners of the pan. Cover with a folded dish towel or cloth napkin. Place the pan in a dishpan and pour hot water to come two-thirds up the sides (or just fill your kitchen sink basin). It may float, but don’t worry, that’s fine. Be sure to fold your cloth so it’s not dragging in the water. Let the bread rise for 1 hour. I generally replace the hot water with new hot water after the first 30 minutes. Check it periodically to make sure it’s still quite warm.
6. After the dough has risen for 1 hour, use your fingers to gently make dimples all over the top of the bread. Return the bread to its warm bath to continue rising while you preheat the oven.
7. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Once it’s heated, pour the olive oil over the top of the bread, brushing lightly with a pastry brush to distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the top with the coarse sea salt and rosemary. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until golden on top. Transfer to a cooling rack, turn out of the pan, and let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix
Makes 6 cups
1 1/ 2 cups millet flour
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
Combine all the ingredients in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Shake until well blended. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Focaccia and Gluten-Free Bread Flour mix recipes reprinted with permission from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Chugrad McAndrews.
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.