I spent yesterday morning in a product research focus group. If you think this sounds like a group of mums sitting around and drinking tea then you would be right. (Can't have people thinking stay at home mums don't do anything all day.) While keeping an eye on toddlers, picking apples for drying and swapping recipe ideas we also tried my new batch of Japanese quince jelly and talked a lot about gluten free products. As I don't actually need to eat GF for my health it is really useful to talk to people who do. Thank you Ladies.
The general feedback was that ready made products can be nice (I must have been trying the wrong ones) but a change in recipe can put people off something if they have trained themselves to like the taste. Also and more importantly for me, that making your own GF bread at home results in bricks instead of loaves.
Clearly my small reviews could be useful to someone and so I shall continue. Happy Reading. Once I have finished going through the products available I will put together a list of advice on getting the recipe on the back of the packet to work, watch this space.
Yesterday was the turn of Doves Farm GF White Bread Mix. As with my last experiment I followed the instructions on the back of the packet.
The first step involves warming milk and then mixing it with eggs and the the flour.
At this stage the dough looks craggy and stiff. Then you stir in cooking oil. This gives you a wonderful, smooth if slightly sticky texture. My advice would be to stir really well. If nothing else to make sure that the yeast is well mixed in and started.
Then you put in into a bread tin. I line these tins because I can use a pencil to lark the level of the dough on the paper. This tells me if the bread has risen at all.
Here it is ready to go in the oven, sitting next to another, wheat based, bread mix I was trialling. The important point here is that both of these breads had instructions that told me to leave them for one hour to rise. TO rise this much which is about 1 cm at the edge and 2 cm in the middle, they were left for well over 2 hours in a cool kitchen!
This really is where I think most recipes are failing for people. Use your intuition and only cook the bead when it has actually risen. Yes it will rise a bit more in the oven, this is called oven spring, but not that much.
Here is the final bread. Light and fluffy with a soft crust and good crumb structure. It made us all excellent toast this morning.
All the technical points of this loaf are very good. It will make toast, it will make sandwiches. It does have that funny aroma I mentioned in other GF bread mixes and I think that is down to me being so used to the smell of wheat bread. It is not bad, just very different. Personally I think that this bread mix lacks flavour but I am not a big fan of white bread at the best of times. It I make this again, and I will keep messing with the recipe until I get something great, then I will add some sunflower seeds or even oats (yes I know the issue with gluten contamination) and see what happens.
Over all I think this has the potential to be the basis for great bread.
Coming soon, trying to make these recipes without egg! I have read about using gums or even chickpea flower as a binding agent so will be working on those as well.