One of my first conversations with Andrew was about baking bread. He had been experimenting with a pear bread, and already had a killer cinnamon raisin bread that was better than any other sweet bread I had ever tasted. He wasn't shy with the cinnamon, and as a lover of the bark I thoroughly enjoyed and happily ate the loaves he would give to me. Even on the hottest of days, in his kitchen or mine, and eventually in our own, we'd bake together -- usually he'd make bread and I'd make biscotti. Then we'd nosh out, accumulating the most lovely carbohydrate coma.
Then, like some terrible bug, we both became gluten intollerant. My reason was antibiotics had destroyed my digestive system, his reason was over consumption from working at quite possibly the best bakery on the east coast. We've been doing without bread, as we prefer to make our own gluten-free goodies rather than buying processed products pumped with preservatives, and gluten-free bread baking is a bit intimidating. Xantham gum and potato starch sound a bit too foreign to me. But, like a long-lost friend, the familiarity of the texture and taste of bread was calling me back. So I went to my trusted gluten-free and vegan cookbook -- Jennifer Katzinger's Flying Apron's Baking Book. I've found some delicious recipes here, and recalled a bread recipe that called for quinoa flour and no yeast. This worked out well for me, since I had quinoa and never keep yeast in the refrigerator. Confident that my bread would somehow form a loaf of something I could turn into toast, grilled cheese, and just munch away on, I got to work, grinding my own flour from quinoa seeds.
Here's the most captivating flour grinding video you'll ever see:
With soft flour in hand, I followed the directions (almost) exactly. I quickly realized that this was going to be more of a baguette-style bread. I did my best at shaping, but it didn't look as luscious and welcoming as I had anticipated.
After enjoying a bit of it with breakfast, I sliced it up into crostini-sized morsels, and reminiscent of my biscotti baking, let the pieces harden up a bit more in the oven.
modified from Flying Apron's Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book
- 1 3/4 cups quinoa flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top of the bread
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Oil a baking pan, and dust your work surface with rice flour. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with your favorite spoon. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and shape into a 12-inch loaf. Transfer the loaf onto the baking pan. Sprinkle with extra salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Gently slash the loaf along the length of the side to minimize cracking. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for a half hour if you can help yourself. Makes 1 small loaf.