If there’s one thing that always helps make me less of an asshole, it’s experience. Case in point: I have been known to scoff at what I perceive to be crazy diets. Vegan? Hell to the no. Gluten Free? What the heck is the point of that, I’d say, while buttering another slice of fresh from the oven gluten-y bread. But since Erik started having some health problems about a year ago and numerous doctor appointments weren’t able to tell us why and what to do to help him feel better, he decided to try out a gluten free diet. The reason he did that was mainly due to frustration with the whole doctor experience: this is my very anti medical establishment boy. The fact that he even went to the doctor, let alone several times, should give you a clue as to how bad he has been feeling. But after paying our last bill of about $500 for another doctors visit that yielded nothing and after visiting a “specialist” who made him wait for an hour past his appointment time and then basically shrugging his shoulders at Erik after finally visiting with him for about 10 minutes total, Erik left that doctor with paperwork ordering a round of more blood tests to test him for celiacs. So Erik being Erik said “hell no, no more poking and blood” and decided to just try out a gluten free diet to see what it would do. Lo and behold, a bunch of his symptoms cleared right up. I have to confess that I was hoping it would do nothing, while simultaneously hoping it would since that would be an answer at least to his issues. I was not looking forward to the work involved in making our house a gluten free home. It has been a lot of research and reading; I’ve checked out book after book on gluten free foods from the library, I’ve got tons of gluten free sites pinned, I’ve been researching different flours for baking and trying to figure out what they do and how they act when used and it’s basically like learning to cook all over again. It has been a bit frustrating because I’ve been following recipes slavishly – I’m finding I can’t just wing it because I don’t know yet what I’m doing (this point was proven to me with a disastrous gluten free pizza – seriously yuck). But the miniature triumphs we’ve had as well have been encouraging. I did successfully make a gluten free sandwich bread (even though I’m not a fan of the smell & slightly weird taste of garbanzo bean flour), we’ve had some really tasty gluten free peanut butter cookies, I made some gluten free sausage gravy for Erik’s breakfast that was really good, and I’ve learned that it hasn’t actually been that huge a change from our usual main meals. I thought I’d be crossing tons of regular dishes we make off the list, but that hasn’t been the case at all. So there – experience has led to some empathy for people who have to eat this way. I never thought I’d be the person in the restaurant asking the waitress “now this is gluten free right????” But here I am, doing just that. Now I’m all, “hey people:
My latest triumph is this bread. I’ve made two other baking recipes using white rice flour and tapioca flour and while they baked up nice and brown and beautiful on the outside, I cut into the insides to use them and they were totally raw and gummy inside. It was gross. But I increased my baking time severely with these loaves and Erik said the best thing he could possibly say about it which was “I couldn’t even tell this wasn’t a wheat bread.” Success! No gummy insides with beautiful brown, crisp outsides! The inside is fluffy and just pleasant to eat and not crumbly at all and thankfully the recipe is pretty easy.
Gluten Free Baguettes
recipe from Delicious As It Looks
2 cups white rice flour (we use Bob’s Red Mill because that’s what’s available to us)
1 cup tapioca flour (BRM again)
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons of yeast (I always use instant)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Mix the two flours, salt, and xanthan gum together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Combine sugar, yeast, and water, then add that into the mixer, mixing gently. Toss in the butter, egg whites, and vinegar and beat well until it looks like a batter and everything has come together.* Spoon half the dough into one well of a greased baguette pan, or spoon two equal blobs of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Oil your hands and form each blob of dough into a baguette shape. Make diagonal slashes along the top if you want. Cover and let it rise about 30 minutes until it doubles in size slightly. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the loaves are deep golden brown. The original recipe says to bake 30-35 minutes but I think mine ended up baking a full hour just to make sure the inside was done and not gummy.
* I am finding that a lot of the gluten free bread dough recipes end up with very wet dough. I think this is to make sure your baked goods don’t end up a crumbly, dry mess. It makes it a little harder to work with when you’re shaping something, but I think the overall texture is much better.