November 16, 2008

Gluten Free Bread with an unexpected twist

I was never a huge fan of bread.  I didn't like most sandwiches.  White bread always seemed to get soggy, and whole wheat was just too strong tasting.  I guess I was spoiled at a young age by living in Europe where they know how to make a good bread.  I'm afraid North Americans still have a little ways to go.  So, really, going gluten-free was almost like a blessing...suddenly I had a legitimate reason to not eat bread, beyond the "I don't like it" one.  No longer do people sound shocked that I'm passing bread up, ironically they just feel sorry for me.  

But,  just because I'm just not a fan, that doesn't mean I hate it.  I loved grilled cheese sandwiches and panini's.  Oh, the gooey cheese, and the crispy bread.  The layer of butter or oil on that lovely crunchy crust.  That I miss.  So finally, I began my search for a wonderful GF bread.  I'd heard all the horror stories of store bought, and I'm going to say, I agree.  None of that pre-packaged bread for me.  So I started searching through blogs (for some great GF bread baking tips, please seethe following advice from Shauna AKA Gluten Free Girl and Karina the Gluten Free Goddess. Surely someone has found a GREAT recipe.  I've tried a few different ones, and I still have a few I'm curious about.  But the other week, I found THE bread.  Here I go loving something else for Gluten-Free Mommy, but wow, it's good.  What is this bread I speak of, none other than her Whole Beer Bread.  And to top off having a great recipe, there are a load of bread backing tips.  Only problem is, here in Nova Scotia (and perhaps Canada in general) we don't have GF beer.  This means I can only get it when I go the States.  Which really, is only ever year or two.  I must limit my bread enjoyment it would seem.

Well, not if I get creative!  What can I use in place of GF beer.  I thought of using Ginger Beer, in particular the fantastic local one we have by Propeller, but that didn't seem quite right - I still might give it a try though.  Besides, I didn't have any in the house, and I wanted  bread now.  What else might work?  Root beer?  Eww, I hate that stuff.  Club Soda?  Might be a little flat tasting.  Same with mineral water.  Finally I realized that I have one type of soda/fizzy drink in the house right now anyway.  Coke.  Though I was worried it would make for a very sweet bread.  Take out some sugar, and away I went.  

Oh. My. God.  It's just as good as Natalie's.  Heck, I like this stuff better than any real bread I've ever tried, and that's saying a lot, considering I grew up on delicious European breads!  I can eat bread whenever I want now, and so can you if you don't have access to GF beer.

Coca Cola Bread

1/2 cup arameth flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 cup arrowroot
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3 tsp xanthan gum
2 Tbsp molasses
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
6 Tbsp melted butter, unsalted
1 can of Coke, at room temperature  *I used Coke Zero, though I'm sure you could also use any type of Coke, Pepsi or generic brand
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 warm water

In a small bowl combine the yeast, sugar and warm water.  Leave to sit and proof.

In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.  If you have a stand mixer (I'm very jealous let me tell you!) combine dry ingredients in the mixer bowl.

In another bowl combine remaining ingredients, minus the can of coke.

Once the yeast is all bubbly and happy, add it to the dry ingredients and combine well.  Once well combined add in the molasses mixture and mix thoroughly.  Finally pour in the room temperature coke and mix until you have a dough the consistency of a thick, stiff cake batter.

Scoop batter into a greased loaf tin, cover with a damp dish cloth and let rise until about doubled in size.  I like to bring my oven to the lowest temperature setting and the leave the pan in for between 30-45 minutes.  The temperature and humidity can and will affect rising times.

Once doubled in size, bake at 350 F from 55 minutes until a deep golden brown and it sounds hollow when knocked on.  Let cool, slice and enjoy!

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