This is not normally a spread you would see in a gluten free household. It is one we have missed dearly. I've said many times I could probably live on bread alone. And cheese. That's all I need. After the gluten free verdict, I tried to stay brave for my husband's sake. But inside I was dying a little. Needless to say, when I stumbled upon this recipe on a GF recipe site from the UK, I was skeptical. But, somehow this recipe actually tastes like French bread. The crust is crisp and brown and crackles when you tear it. The inside is chewy and moist. There is no grit and no aftertaste. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Sooooo Good!
By the way, how cute is that olive oil plate? My Mother and Father in-law brought those back for us from a trip to Italy. They have been hidden away, but are now back in use!
Below is the first step...Proofing the yeast. You should use a fast rise yeast. Warm water, sugar and yeast...Wait until it foams.
Since this is GF bread, there is no kneading. Just set that mixer to high and let it roll for about 3 minutes. It will look like cake batter.
I am so excited about this purchase! French bread pans! It gives the loaf a chance to rise and not just spread, like on a baking sheet. You actually get a loaf shape, which makes you feel good...Like you actually know what you are doing or something.
Spoon your dough into the loaf pans you are using, or onto a baking sheet, and shape them like a loaf. I sprayed my fingers with Pam and tried to smooth the dough as much as possible. I then brushed the top of the dough with melted butter and cut little slits down the length. The recipe recommends letting your dough rest, covered until it has doubled. Mine never did...Grrr. So, I had really low expectations for this bread. (It ended up rising in the oven and tasted perfect, so there you go).
Here is a little tip I found somewhere along the way. I can't believe I actually posted a picture of the inside of my oven. Wow, that needs a pass with Easy Off. Anyway, to get that crackly, golden crust here is the trick... Put the bread in at 450 for 15 minutes and throw about 4 ice cubes into the bottom of your oven. Then turn the temp. down to 375 for 15 minutes and throw 4 more ice cubes in. The steam keeps the crust from setting too early, thus keeping the loaf from expanding. Then when the inside is done expanding, the crust can get brown and toasty. For a more rustic look, sprinkle a little four on the bread before going in the oven.
Aaaaah. Freshly baked bread. Is there anything quite so wonderful in this whole wide world? To keep the bread crusty, let it cool on the counter, don't wrap it up. My kids and I dug into one of these loaves before it had even cooled. We had put a whole loaf down before I realized we had better save some for Daddy! (The reason I bake GF :). He was blown away with how good this bread was. Just the other day he was reminiscing about bread dipped in olive oil. I always aim to please. Give this recipe a try. It has a few steps, but is SOOO worth it!
Recipe for GF French Bread
3 Cups Better Batter
1 1/2 t. Salt
2 T. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Luke Warm Water
2 T. Fast Rise Yeast
2 T. Butter, melted
3 Egg whites, beaten slightly
1 t. Vinegar
Melted butter for brushing
1. Proof yeast in small bowl with water and sugar
2. Sift flour and salt
3. Blend yeast mix. into dry
4. Add butter, whites and vinegar; beat on high for 3 minutes
5. Spoon dough into greased/cornmealed (optional) loaf pans (makes 2 loaves)
6. Slash diagonally and brush with melted butter
7. Cover and let double in size (20-40 minutes)
8. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and don't forget those ice cubes in the bottom of the oven, then at 375 for another 12-15 minutes with 4 more ice cubes.
9. Remove bread and allow to cool, if you can before digging in!
**Keep uncovered or the crust will get soft
**Ok, post script, this bread does not keep well overnight. Like many gluten free baked goods, it is best the day you make it. So plan on using it all up that day!