Gluten Free French Bread

According to the write up of this recipe, “This french bread is amazing!! It tastes so similar to the wheat containing french bread. Plus it freezes wonderfully !!! It’s crusty on the outside, and soft and tender within…. You can make it from start to finish in about one hour!!”

Wow, apart from grammatical errors, that’s quite the endorsement. Is it true, though? Let’s find out, shall we?

The recipe is a Food.com recipe and can be found here: Gluten Free French Bread by Gluten Free Girl. I’ve been pretty impressed with her recipes and have used her recipe for making pie pastry (see here).

The gluten free blend of flours used in the recipe is a mix of white rice flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum. The recipe also calls for egg substitute as an optional ingredient, which I don’t have. I’m not interested in making this bread vegan, so I’ll opt for not using it. The recipe calls for egg whites anyway.

And away we go…

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All of the ingredients assembled and ready to go. From the left to the right… Flour mix, sugar, yeast, vinegar, and egg whites. Butter, ready to be melted, is at the front. The empty bowl is there for the warm water for the yeast and sugar.

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This is really quite simple. All of the ingredients are added to the mixing bowl and then you beat it. Seriously, that’s it. If this is any good at all, it’s the simplest bread I’ve ever made.

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This is not your mother’s bread dough. No kneading involved. This looks more like buttercream frosting than bread dough! At this point, after 3 minutes of beating (yes, 3 minutes!), it’s ready to spoon onto the baking sheet.

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The loaves, now ready for rising. I used wet hands to shape them into the shape of French bread loaves; without doing that, they were just a little too rustic and ragged looking for my sense of aesthetic. Both have been brushed with melted butter and slashed to give them that classic French bread look. Now, we wash the dishes and wait for the dough to rise.

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After about 20-25 minutes, the dough has pretty much doubled, now ready for baking.

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Out of the oven, this definitely isn’t the prettiest bread in the world but, oh does it smell good. That lovely yeasty bread smell is certainly there, enough to make my mouth water. But what about taste? And what about texture?

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I don’t know about you but this doesn’t look bad at all. The crust is definitely crispy, as a good French loaf crust should be. The texture is a little different than a classic French loaf, a little moister…. not sure if that’s the right word… but it’s just out of the oven. It’s a little different than wheat based bread but not objectionable.

As for flavour…. well, I think this speaks for itself.

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It hasn’t yet passed the “John” test but I’ve left the loaves out on the kitchen counter and I’m about to head out the door for a little while. It will be interesting to see how much of the cut loaf is left when I get home (he’s out at the moment but I expect him home before I get home). I’ll let you know.

Well, it didn’t pass the John test. He had one slice, declared it bland (it’s white bread.. it’s usually bland) and that he didn’t like the texture and “it’s gluten free, isn’t it?”. He was disappointed.  I’m not. For anyone who can’t tolerate gluten and still wants French bread, I think it’s a great option.

It did, however, pass the Kristen test. She and the kids came to pick up the loaves late in the afternoon and her eyes lit up at the first bite. I’d call that a success!

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