02 December 2012

Toto ... We're Not in Kansas Anymore

I set off to my local natural foods market yesterday determined to get our gluten-free journey off on a good foot.  About halfway there I felt so overwhelmed about it all that I truly thought there is just no way we can do this ... it's too hard.  Then I remembered my youngest child and all the behavioral issues I hope will be resolved by going gluten-free.  I need to give this a try for me, but I really need to do this for him.  His body is obviously rebelling against something and I need to help him get well.

My kiddo is a big bread eater.  Rudi's Organic sourdough bread has been a favorite staple in his diet, but it can be no more.  I do know Rudi's makes an "original" gluten-free bread, however, it's not organic and that really bothers me with ingredients like potato extract, egg whites, and xanthan gum.

One of my purposeful missions yesterday was to attempt to find a bread mix I could make at home.  After our good experience with the Namaste Waffle & Pancake Mix, I was really hoping to find the Namaste Bread Mix (even though it contains xanthan gum).  No such luck.  The store carried plenty of Namaste products, but not that one.  Where's a Whole Foods when I need one?  Oh yeah, an hour and a half away!!!  Anyway, after going round and round the gluten-free section - with plenty of help from one of the employees who I am sure I drove completely insane with questions - I decided to try the Sun Flour Mills Sandwich Bread & Rolls mix.  Again, it's not organic (and it has xanthan gum), but it is Non-GMO. 

It was requested I make bread today, and I hoped the final product would result in a loaf that could be used for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I followed the directions exactly and chose to use 2 eggs (organic) - the mix can also be made by upping the amount of warm water and omitting the eggs.  This is unfortunately what resulted.......

No problems with rising for sure!  But really, this loaf was not beautiful by any means.  The directions on the box indicate to pour the batter into a large loaf pan.  I'm sure that's where I went terribly wrong, but what exactly do they mean by "large" loaf pan?  I mean, I have standard cooking equipment in my kitchen.  I'm not running a restaurant with specialty equipment.  If that's what is required, the directions really should state such.  Gluten-free novices like me absolutely need to know.  I had to cook the loaf 15 minutes longer than the longest time indicated on the box to make sure it was cooked all the way through (at the end of the longest suggested baking time the middle was still gooey).  The color also deepened as the loaf cooled. 

The taste?  Well, it's not bread.  It truly leaves a lot to be desired.  It's very dense and heavy.  I'm not knocking the product.  I know this is a whole new ball game with all new flavors and textures involved.  On it's own, it's a no go.  I would not have any desire to sit down and eat a piece of this bread along with a bowl of soup.  My kiddo tried a piece and said no way.  My teen declined to even give it a try.  My spouse tried a piece with cheese melted on top and gave it a so-so review.  We both thought a thinly sliced piece toasted and topped with cream cheese, cheese, or even jelly might be doable.  Toasted in the oven with some butter, cinnamon, and sugar might turn out okay as well.  We still have about three-fourths of the loaf left, so we'll have to give some of those options a try in the next few days.  That will determine whether or not I will give this particular product a try again.  If I do make it again in the future, I will separate the batter into two loaf pans for sure!

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