Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bread Sticks Detour

I love Pocky. You know, those crispy cookie sticks dipped in chocolate and sold at every Asian foods market you’ll ever encounter. They’re delicious! And also poison for people with a gluten allergy. Yesterday, I decided I’d had enough years without Pocky and it was time to make it myself.

I detour easily.

In the midst of looking for a suitable Pocky dough recipe base, I somehow ended up making bread sticks instead. Rolled in chocolate, these bread sticks do make a rather convincing Pocky substitute; however, they’re absolutely perfect as plain breadsticks for all your savory dipping, munching, and crunching needs. Dust them in salt and black pepper before baking and they’re even better. The same dough, rolled out flat and brushed with olive oil and herbs or cheese, also yields delicious flat bread.

The real gluten-free Pocky recipe will have to wait. I’m too busy munching on bread sticks.

Bread Sticks

Bread Sticks
Makes about 40

1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 tsp salt
1 packet quick rise yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup warm water (more as needed)
1 Tbls olive oil

Mix together all flours, tapioca starch, salt, and yeast. Warm water to about 120 - 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat eggs and olive oil together well. Add warm water to flour mixture and mix till crumbly. Add egg mixture and mix till dough forms mostly into a ball. (Use more warm water as needed to clump dough.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust cookie sheet with coarse cornmeal. Working with about 2 tsp of dough at a time, roll into long 1/4-inch thick snakes. Arrange on cookie sheet so they aren’t touching. Bend into shapes if so desired. Dip finger tips into olive oil and run them lightly down the surface of each bread stick. Bake about 20 minutes, or until well-browned and crisp.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oatmeal Bread

Yeasted gluten-free bread has eluded me for a long while, but I finally broke the code on the first of this year. (A lot of jumping and bouncing ensued!) This homemade bread is chewy, soft, and delicious with a perfect balance of oats and molasses. It’s dairy-free as well as gluten-free and enthusiastically disappears when set in front of anyone on a gluten-free diet or not. A soy-free version should be possible by using rice milk or fruit juice instead of soymilk, though I have yet to try it. Egg whites are what give this bread its beautiful elasticity, so a vegan version may be long in coming.

Gluten-free Oatmeal Rolls

I grew this recipe out of one I saw on Heavenly Oatmeal-Molasses Rolls, posted by monkeymom. They sounded so good, I just couldn’t help but make another yeasted bread attempt. You’ll see a lot of similarities between our recipes, though the methods take a sharp turn from each other when dealing with rising. Gluten-free bread does not like to rise twice; if you punch it down, it will stay down. I find I have the best results with quick rise yeast, since it quickly attains a good height and will remain so when baked at its peak.

I love the combination of molasses and oats for this bread. It yields a slightly sweet bread that still pairs well with soup or other savory meals. Though the loaf is hearty and dense, it makes good sandwiches and excellent toast.

Gluten-free Oatmeal Bread
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 12 rolls

1 packet quick rise yeast
1 Tbls brown sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup soymilk
3/4 cup rolled GF oats
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbls molasses
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 whole egg
2 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp guar gum
coconut oil for top

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water with ¼ tsp brown sugar. Let it proof about 5 minutes till it foams up. Warm oven slightly, then turn off heat. This will be where you’ll let the bread rise (unless you have a favorite warm place in your house for this purpose). Grease a loaf pan or 12 muffin cups with coconut oil and set aside. (Rub a little coconut oil on your hands too!)

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, canola oil, molasses, and salt. Scald soymilk in a saucepot, mix with the oats, then cool till lukewarm.

While the mixture is cooling, combine flours, tapioca starch, and guar gum in a separate bowl. In another bowl, separate 2 egg whites from yolks and beat egg whites to stiff peaks. You won’t use the yolks in the bread, so set them aside and add them to your next kitchen project.

When mixture is lukewarm, beat in whole egg and yeast. Stir in egg whites, but do not over-mix. Add flours and stir or knead in standing mixer with dough hook about 1-2 minutes, until uniform. Dough will be sticky, but not goopy. Spoon into prepared loaf pan or muffin tin, cover with plastic wrap, drape with cotton towel, and set in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour. (This is where the warmed, but NOT ON, oven is useful.) Leave it alone for 1 hour and don’t peek.

After 1 hour, unwrap bread and set on counter. It should have risen to the lip of the loaf pan or above the edges of the muffin cups. If it’s not there yet, wrap it back up and give it a little more time (15 minutes or so).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, brush top of bread with coconut oil and scatter a few whole oats on the top. Bake about 35 minutes for a loaf, or 15-20 minutes for rolls. When it’s done, bread should pull away from the sides of the pan, appear slightly browned on top, and yield a clean toothpick when probed in the center. Cool on a rack. Wrap in a couple layers of plastic when completely cool and keep for 2-3 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge. This can also be sliced and frozen for future use.