24 June 2012

Let them eat cake - gluten free eggy bread

The greatest things missed by kids when attempting a gluten free and casein free diet are bread and cheese. I'll get to cheese in another post, but today I'm tackling the daily staple. 

There are ways of making gluten free bread. I have tried tackling it myself, and I have sampled just about every bread mix on the shelf (by the way - I think Springhill Farm is the best one, followed after a large gap by Red Mill and Schär).  It is very possible to make a gluten free bread that tastes good, warm out of the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and some pink salt. But that's the end of it. As soon as it cools down, it the texture rests somewhere between a bag of breadcrumbs and corragated cardboard. The only rescue from this time on is toasting. So how do I put sandwiches in the kids' lunchboxes and send them off to school to eat it four hours later?

I let them eat cake.

I drew my inspiration from old fashioned soda bread. I've made this with some success with gluten free flour. I added in another trick I have learned - separate the eggs and beat the whites into soft peaks to add later - this helps the dense gluten free mix to gain a little air. I also added some extra yolk, because: 1 - I had some left from making meringues the night before, and 2 - because I thought it might add a little glue or chew to the mix, as gluten free flour is notoriously crumbly. Apart from that, I simply adjusted my own banana cake mix. Success!

  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten free self raising flour (I used Doves Farm)
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 egg whites and 
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup rice milk (or any casein free milk) 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw sugar (or any sugar - use molasses if you want brown bread)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 180℃ (375℉) and take two bowls, placing egg whites into one and yolks and canola oil into the other. Beat both furiously, whites first, until they form soft peaks, then the yolks and oil until they cream up nicely (a bit like a mayonnaise)
  2. Set the whites aside, then add the rest of the ingredients to the yolk mix, finishing with the flour and milk (alternate them).*
  3. Add the whites, starting with a little that you can stir through well, then finish it just by folding. You want it all integrated, but don't whip the air out (slow figure eights with a baking spatula will do it)
  4. Pour into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, then sprinkle with sesame seeds (and press in a design if you like). Cook for 40 minutes, or until it tests done with a spike.  

This bread keeps nicely for about 2-3 days on the shelf. It can be used for sandwiches without toasting, but don't slice it too thin, as it is quite soft. It doesn't work so well in the toaster, but is gorgeous lightly pan-fried in ghee or olive oil. Serve it with the previous recipe, pumpkin soup.

*Because all gluten free flour blends (and non-dairy milks) are different, you may need to adjust the ratio of flour to milk. You are aiming for a texture that still allows an electric beater to get through it without clumping onto the blades, but only just. Too heavy and the egg whites will collapse before you get them integrated. Too light, and the bread won't cook through perfectly. It's not exact, so don't freak out about messing it up. The bread will still work, but might be a little denser in the middle.

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