breads have a horrible reputation for a very good reason: the vast majority are abhorrent. Crumbly and dry or sponges with no flavor, experiments gone wrong every one.
But demand for gluten-free products has soared in the past few years as many Americans discover they have a condition known as Celiac disease, and there are a number of other reasons to watch one's gluten intake, so new and improved recipes are surfacing.
People focusing on one aspect of diet create energy around any product associated with it and many bakers and chefs around the country have been working to create toothsome, enjoyable baked goods for our gluten-free clientele.
(Pacifica's upcoming place to be) is no exception. We will have an entire line of gluten-free baked goods so no one will have to miss out on their favorite sandwich or pizza.
This week in Seed to Feed, I will share the recipe and some secrets to success with gluten-free baking.
For those of you who do not have any familiarity with gluten, it is developed when high-protein flour is mixed with water and agitated or kneaded. This action stretches the proteins and develops the elasticity which renders bread so satisfying. Creating the crispy crust and the airy goodness of the crumb, gluten is driving the bread train.
The good news is that there are other high-protein flours and natural ingredients which will mimic some of the most desirable attributes of gluten in it's total absence. It is also crucial to consider how to optimize the yeast's ability to leaven. The proteins in gluten are what make up the matrix which holds all that air in good bread.
Some gluten free bread recipes read like the tax code, too long and nearly incomprehensible. I suggest finding a gluten-free flour blend like the one offered by Bob's Red Mill, as this will save you some measuring. Blending helps control the flavor and protein density, using just one flour can make for a dull or off tasting bread and unpleasant textures.
As scary as xanthan gum and guar gum sound, they are natural and provide the crucial elasticity required to hold the exhalations of the yeast. Less than a teaspoon per cup of gluten free flour will give you impressive results and you can use them alone or in combo to tune in the exact texture you desire.
My latest gluten free and vegan trick is to use coconut flour in place of dry milk or buttermilk in recipes. I have found it to posses just the right fat content and a flavor profile which mimics the sweetness of dairy. For a vegan version of this recipe, use an egg substitute as they work really well in this application. Eggs are another secret to gluten free breads, try to add at least some whites to any recipe you attempt. It will affect the lightness and moisture of the bread in a pleasant way.
Next week I will introduce Steve Long. While he does not live in Pacifica, he has been working with me for more than four years to make Surf Spot happen and any of you who might visit the place when it opens will soon look at him as a local.
Steve and I will present the recipe for one of the small plates from our opening menu and the following week, one of our many specialty cocktails.
Surf Spot Gluten Free Sandwich Rolls
- 2 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend
- 1/4 cup buttermilk powder or coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon xanthan gum or guar gum, or a combo
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 1/4 cup club soda or seltzer
- 1 teaspoon cider or rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 whole egg
- 3 egg whites (reserve yolks)
Mix ingredients with a strong wooden spoon until they form a ball of goopy dough. This dough is wet enough that some would call it a batter. Dump dough onto a well floured countertop. Sprinkle top with flour and flatten to about two inches thick. Separate dough into 8-12 equal pieces. Gently roll into a ball and flatten into about a 1 inch thick disc.
Spray or moisten dough to prevent cracking during the rise time.
Cover and allow to rise for about an hour. The dough will have doubled in size. Do not over proof or your rolls will be flat an dense.
Glaze the dough by brushing with the beaten extra yolks and bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes. Test by tapping or with a thermometer as demonstrated in the video.
These rolls freeze well, although we will bake them fresh daily at Surf Spot.