The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gluten Free. Epic Fail.

I found out recently that one of my roommates has celiac's disease. I'm not really sure everything that means, but I do know that too much gluten in her diet makes her really sick. And although I myself am a huge carb addict (hello, my name is Jill, and I love bread...and rice...and pasta...mmmmmmm), I wanted to delve into the world of gluten-free cooking for when I make meals for the house.

Being an adventurous, creative cook (by which I mean moron), I decided to start with the absolute hardest part of gluten-free living: baking bread. I wanted to see if it was possible to make a delicious loaf of bread (preferably in the bread maker) without using any weird crap (like xanthan gum or guar gum) or gluten.

Turns out, you can't.

Perhaps you are thinking, wow, that looks like it would do a credible job of keeping the door open, or holding up my car when I need to change the oil. And you would be right!

It was fairly...dense. On the other hand, it also tasted funny. As it further turns out, tapioca flour (one of three gluten free flours I used) tastes and smells remarkably like elephant poo.

I did some tinkering with the ingredients to try to solve both these problems. I used milk instead of water and brown sugar instead of white. I also added in some baking powder since many recipes I'd looked at called for cornstarch (one of the ingredients of b.p.) and I thought it might give my bread that extra boost of leavening.

Later that day, while batch two was baking, I mused on the fact that I'd never seen a yeast recipe that called for baking powder or vice-versa.

Apparently, there is a reason for that.

In the immortal words of Eddie Izzard: completely crap, throw it in the bin!

Batch three was no better, even though I added back in some regular wheat flour. Sadly, this week's trash was considerably heavier than normal.

And so, dear children, to sum up:
Tapioca flour is gross
Baking powder + yeast = disaster
Delicious gluten free bread cannot be made by me.

This particular experiment was a rousing fail. But never fear! I have much more faith in my ability to cook vegetables.


Kath January 7, 2010 at 9:59:00 AM MST  

Hey, that's what MY bread-at-altitude looked like! Glad you had your successes before this batch, or we might have blamed the breadmaker and sent IT to the bin!

Gluten Free Sourdough Baker January 8, 2010 at 8:00:00 AM MST  

Dear Jilly Bug,
You can bake gluten free bread without all that weird stuff!
I have developed gluten free recipes around my own food allergies. I have combined old fashioned sourdough techniques with gluten free seed and grain flours and have come up with excellent, delicious breads, muffins and pancakes. They are also free of dairy, eggs, soy, yeast, sweeteners, gums and baking powder. Very suitable for sensitive digestions. I have posted the starter recipe and my first successful loaf of bread on my blog, and here is the direct link:

My complete, and continually growing recipe Ebook, Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking, is available in pdf form on my website,

Check out the testimonials on my website to read the actual words of people who have learned to bake my bread and eat it regularly. Even children eat it!
Good Luck,

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.


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