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Happy Sunday Bread Heads!

For about as long as I’ve been doing this series people have been asking after gluten-free recipes. I have been tinkering with them off and on for a while, never really satisfied with what comes out of my oven. Well I have finally developed a recipe that I think worth sharing with you all.

The thing about gluten-free bread is that you have create a replacement for the gluten combined with the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast gives the bread its lift. In doing so I was reminded that all baking is an exercise in chemistry and microbiology.

What you need for a decent gluten-free loaf is eggs, starch and Xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is made from the, well, call it the shell (it isn’t actually a shell) of a microorganism. It possess a lot of the same binding effects as gluten and comes in a convenient powder form and can be found at just about any supper market.

For the flour I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose gluten-free flour. I tried their bread flour mix but it was way more expensive and, surprisingly did not give as a good a loaf as the AP flour. It has tapioca flour, two types of bean flour and potato starch in it.

The other thing I found is that it is important to have a more acidic dough that usual. This because yeast like an acidic environment and we want to give them every chance to grow. The addition of apple cider vinegar really helped in this regard.

Since there is no gluten, there is no point in kneading this dough. Just mix it up and pop it in pans and bake, like any batter bread. So now that I have given you all the background, let’s bake!

Gluten Free Garlic Basil Bread

Ingredients

6 cups gluten free flour (high protein preferred)
1 tablespoon Xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil (or you can sub 3 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 eggs
½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups of hot (120 -130 degrees) buttermilk
¾ cup hot (120-130 degrees) water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Baking pans – Two 8”x4” loaf pans, greased

Method:

For this recipe it is really important that all the ingredients are at least room temperature. So let you eggs and butter and yeast (if you keep it in fridge like I do) all sit out for at least an hour before baking.

Set your oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In your large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer combine the flour, salt, Xanthan gum, garlic powder, pepper and basil. Whisk to combine.

In a small sauce pan heat the buttermilk and the water until they are hot but not scalding. Add the eggs, honey, butter and vinegar to the flour mixture. Pour in the hot buttermilk mixture. With a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer stir vigorously for 3 minutes.

You will have thick batter at this point. Spoon your batter into the loaf pans. Wet your hands and use them to press the dough down and into the corners of the loaf pans. Use the back of a wet spoon to smooth the tops down.

Slip the loaf pans into your oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf pans from the oven and liberally brush the tops with melted butter. Return to the oven to cook for another 25 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and let the bread cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the loaves out of the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing.

What you will have is nicely golden brown exterior and a slightly dense crumb. This bread is intended mainly for sandwiches but it toasts up nicely too. The garlic and basil flavor give it a punch that it would not normally have.

So, after nearly two years there you have it Bread Heads, a gluten free bread recipe that no one will know is not made form wheat flour.

The flour (the gluten free flour) is yours.

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