Where have you been? And gluten free vegan bread (what else?)

September 24, 2012 § 5 Comments

Recently my good friend Tziporah decided to stop by.  She lives in my neighborhood but with kids and work its difficult to catch up sometimes.  She, with her wisdom and gift for insight, inspired me to continue writing even when its hard.  And ladies and gentleman, it is hard around here.

Where have I been?  I have two kids under the age of two and was resisting childcare.  That whole “I can take care of my OWN kids” syndrome.  I stuck it out for 9 months.  My son is now enjoying himself in a half-day nursery school and my 9 month old baby girl has never been happier to play alone without fear of being trampled or excessively kissed.  We needed a break.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my life has been in a total whirlwind since my last semester in College.  School, conversion, seminary, marriage, first baby, second baby.  I feel like I can breathe again.  Like I can sit down with a cup of coffee (alone!) and think about who I am and where I want to be.  It also helps that I started Rabbi Aryeh Nivin’s Personal Development Chabura.  I am investing in myself because a happy mommy means a happy family.  (Cheesy, yes.  True, 100%).  I cannot tell you how long it took me to believe that I am worth investing in.

I am also happy to report that as of several months ago I am pain and medication free.  On a recent trip to the States I met with my Rheumatologist who reported that I have perfect blood work.  That means I am completely in remission from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  How did this happen?  I stopped eating gluten.  I had dabbled before with the diet but I now avoid even trace contamination.  I’m not telling every person who might have arthritis or an autoimmune disease to try a gluten-free diet.  I know better.  But if you are not responding to medication and are at your wit’s end, there is absolutely no harm in trying.  I can pick up my kids, use my hands, climb the stairs, push a stroller, fasten my own buttons, cut my chicken, and I have not had this much energy since I was a teenager.  I could not say the same a year ago.

I’ve tried dozens of recipes for gluten-free bread.  When I discovered that my daughter is also sensitive to eggs and dairy, I had to get creative with recipes.  This is my favorite gluten-free bread I have tasted including those from the most popular gluten-free companies.  It contains nuts so it might not suit the needs of everyone.  But if you are looking for a vegan and gluten-free all-purpose dough  this recipe is for you.  (I’ll soon be posting a nut free bread that rivals any  fluffy dinner roll on the market)

I adapted it slightly from Ginger Lemon Girl.  She deserves the credit as I did nothing more than swap out a few starches and lower the amount of gums.  I prefer to bake gluten-free bread in small round tins (slightly larger and more shallow than a muffin tin), but this bread also slices beautifully in a traditional loaf.  I’m even trying it out as pizza dough this evening.  The sorghum and brown rice flour are easy subs for each other if you can only find one or the other. *If you can take the time to buy an inexpensive kitchen scale for weighing dry ingredients I would HIGHLY advise you do so.  Gluten free baking works exceptionally well when done by weight and it makes it even easier to convert traditional wheat recipes to gluten-free.

Gluten Free Vegan Bread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups almond flour (144 grams)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (71 grams)
1/2 cup sorghum flour (72 grams)
1 cup potato starch (140 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3 tablespoons honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil

In a medium bowl combine the honey (or agave to make it 100% vegan), yeast and warm water.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so until it bubbles like a cauldron.  In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well until it becomes a completely homogenous flour mixture.  Add oil to yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well for 5-10 minutes.  Do not skip this step.  The dough (which really resembles a thick cake batter) will go from chunky to smooth as the gums start to develop.  This process mimicks gluten and is essential to a good crumb structure.  Cover and allow to rest in a warm place for an hour or two.  Preheat your oven to 350 F (176 C).  Spray shallow tart tins, muffin pans, or loaf pan with Pam or grease well with oil.  Divide dough equally.  Allow to rise for another 20-30 minutes while the oven preheats.  Bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pans half way through baking time.  Bread is done when it is a deep golden brown color.  Remove the pans from the oven and rest for 5 minutes.  Remove the rolls or loaves and transfer carefully to a wire rack and allow to cool COMPLETELY before slicing.  These keep well for 1-2 days at room temperature, but I usually freeze what I cannot eat in one day.

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