Do you know why I started to bake bread? Well… I don’t. Meaning… I cannot recollect all the different reasons why I decided to learn how to bake. But I know for sure that I started to dream of baking my own bread during pregnancy, when the smell of store-bought bread was enough to make me noxious. I remember craving my homeland sourdough pagnotte… and not daring eating regular bread for 8 months straight. But I did not put my hands in the dough until 2 years later. And I remember the one thing that set my will finally in motion. It was the deprecation of bread by enthusiasts of low-carb diet (low-carb is not a bad concept per se, but maybe it should not be carried too far). I remember thinking “this is not right, bread is our history, bread is holy!”. Indeed low-carb diet enthusiasts have begun to make their own bread, too, and this is not surprising. I could really not imagine a world without bread, could you?
Recently, there has been quite a lot of fuss around antinutrients in wheat, and gluten in particular has been on the spot. Well, if it has to do with health, then I take the debate around bread more seriously. However, while celiac disease is certain, I used to have doubts about gluten
intolerance sensitivity. What was that really? Maybe just another fashionable food attitude? Believe me, it is not just a trend. I will tell more on this in my coming posts, but here I can anticipate that in the past few months I experienced some gluten/wheat sensitivity myself (not sure if it is just a temporary sensitization and whether I react to gluten or to other substances in wheat).
So now I agree that we may all want to limit the amount of gluten in our diet. Hopefully, even in some cases of gluten
intolerance sensitivity, it may be enough to just limit gluten intake and learn how to handle grains in a way which makes them more digestible (more on this in coming posts). On top of all these serious considerations, there is also my insatiable curiosity for anything related to bread and flours. Gluten-free, bakery perfect, bread? Is that really possible? How fun to try and find out myself. These pretty looking baguettes were made with sorghum, a type of grass which does not belong to the wheat family. To me they prove that great bread can actually be made without wheat. And I assure you that they truly are yummy and crunchy as they look (SCROLL DOWN FOR THE RECIPE).
BAGUETTE WITH SORGHUM
This recipe has been adapted from the marvellous brand-new book on gluten-free bread by Karin Moberg and Oscar Målevik, a must have if you understand Swedish. I slightly modified both the formula and the method and it still was a success.
94 g rice flour
82 g sorghum flour (sorgo in Italian, durra in Swedish)
54 g corn starch
20 g physillium husk
2 tablespoon fiber for baking*** (fibrex in Sweden)
1 teaspoon marine salt
25 g fresh yeast
150 350 g water, luke-warm
1 egg white
1 tablespoon barley malt or honey
***You can buy fibrex online here. Thank you to Kristiana for the tip!
As usual, combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and the yeast with the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then mix all together and knead for 5 minutes. I used the stainless steel beater of my food processor rather than the dough hook cause the mixture was very liquid at first. Let rest 45 minutes covered. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (Celsius, 475 Fahrenheit). Put your baking stone in, if you have one, or a baking dish in the medium rack and also an empty baking dish in the lower rack. Transfer on a clean surface and divide in three pieces. Delicately make each piece into a baguette and roll in rice flour. I placed the loaves to proof directly on parchment paper placed on my baking peel and covered with a kitchen towel. Left to rise another 1/2 hour. Score the loaves and with the help of the peel transfer them on the baking dish in the middle rack or on the baking stone. At the same time, throw some ice cubes on the lower rack and close quickly. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
CONSIDERATIONS: So you see… you really have no excuse to not have some bread on your table. Whether gluten-free or not, these baguette make for a great sandwich bread and are a lovely accompaniment to soups and salads. Differently from any gluten-free bread tasted before, the baguette were actually crusty and crunchy, I believe thanks to the addition of sorghum (durra in Swedish and sorgo in Italian). This is a plant that has been used in Africa and Asia since forever to make flat-breads. It is rich in proteins and minerals and it does remind of wheat to some extent. I am grateful to Friends of Adam for having imported this precious flour to Sweden (from US actually, so you guys from US surely can get it). I hope this post will inspire to try alternative ways of baking bread, and I will elaborate more on alternative flours and healthy ways to handle commonly used grains in coming posts.
This goes to YeastSpotting thank you Susan.