Did you think your days of eating those beautiful artisan breads you see in a bakery were over now that you’re eating gluten-free bread? The bread with the pattern of … more
Did you think your days of eating those beautiful artisan breads you see in a bakery were over now that you’re eating gluten-free bread? The bread with the pattern of concentric circles etched into them—in all shapes & sizes? No way! We may not be able to order that right over the counter at the bakery down the street. But we can still have the very best gluten-free bread that you can serve to everyone – gluten-free and non-gluten-free alike.
All you need is one of these. It’s called a Brotform or Banetton, and they’re even sold through Amazon. Its purpose is to support a large loaf of bread as it proofs while still allowing air to circulate all around the dough. I got mine at a local cooking supply store, but this fancy little site has a few sizes (but the baskets are way more expensive).
Then – there’s this down-and-dirty site for a shop in Philly that I am now dying to visit and discretely touch everything in the store, just a little bit. They have tons of shapes and sizes, and I want them all all all.
Just look at that beautiful gluten-free bread.
Simply dust the basket liberally with either an all-purpose gluten-free flour, or, better yet, plain gluten-free rice flour.
I used the recipe for Japanese Milk Bread, since it’s truly one of my favorite breads in this world thankyouverymuch. And rather than dividing it into individual portions and shaping them separately, I kept it as a single piece of dough and dusted the outside with flour. Then, I shaped into a flat round with floured hands, and placed it inside the prepared basket.
Do you see how high the bread rose? Amazing. Generally, since gluten-free flours are heavier than conventional flours, I don’t expect my yeast dough to double in size. But this? This did. All that air circulating around the entire loaf went to town on my dough.
Just carefully turn out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and admire your handiwork. Look at that pattern!
This time, rather than a water roux, or Tangzhong, I used a biga, which is a prefermented sponge used in Italian bread baking. This biga is one I adapted from The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
I used 70 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose gluten-free flour (a blend already containing xanthan gum, like Better Batter), 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast, and 70 grams (2 1/2 ounces) room-temperature water. Place the ingredients in a small bowl, stir together with a wooden (or other nonreactive) spoon until the mixture comes together, cover and let rise at room temperature for at least 6 and as many as 12 hours. It should have at least doubled in volume. Then use the entire biga (about 150 grams) in my recipe for Japanese Milk Bread in place of the water roux.
I can’t believe I assumed, for years, that baking bread with a proofing basket, making a beautiful pattern like this, wasn’t for the team. The gluten-free team.
Never say never. And don’t try to tell me “can’t”!