Monday, May 10, 2010

Everyone Loves Bread

Everyone loves bread, especially when it's homemade.  Every once in a while I hear someone turn down a dessert because they don't enjoy chocolate.  That's pretty shocking, but I've never come across anyone who's said, "No, thank you, I don't care for bread."  It's just unheard of.  If they turn down light, steamy dinner rolls with a crunchy crust, they're either lying or they're on a low-carb diet.

So, when we first hear the news that we must be gluten-free for the rest of our lives, bread is the first thing that we mourn.

Five years ago, in order to bake a really good loaf of gluten-free bread, you had to buy 5-6 different obscure and high-priced flours, spend an entire afternoon in the kitchen, and hope and pray that the bread didn't come out of the oven resembling or weighing a brick.

We've come a long way since then.  And while it may be a lot of fun to experiment and bake breads with a variety of flours, the realities of life can cut kitchen time down to a bare minimum.  Scoop it, pour it, spread it, and inhale it.

Today, we have "go to mixes" for those weeks when we just need a loaf of bread in the fridge for sandwiches.  One of my favorites is Gluten Free Pantry's French Bread and Pizza Mix.  It's incredibly easy to make and is available at Whole Foods and most major grocery stores.

The mix has directions for using a bread machine, but I always prefer using the oven.  It brings back memories of baking bread with my grandma.  Grandma always used one large loaf pan, and she had two tiny loaf pans that she would entrust to my brother and me.  After a few hours of kneading, rolling, rising, and baking, we each had our very own mini-loaf.  We could hardly wait for it to cool before cutting a tiny slice.  We'd watch with wonder as the pat of butter melted into a golden pool.

Grandma didn't have a Kitchen Aid.  Grandma was also the most patient woman I'll ever know.  She wasn't flying around the kitchen attending to five different things at once.  No matter what she was doing, that job, or that person, received her full attention.

Today, the Kitchen Aid gets the kneading done quickly, but it takes away the joy of sticky fingers, flour up to the elbows, and the satisfaction that you can only get by working with your hands.

The Gluten-Free Pantry dough needs to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.  Plenty of time for multi-taskers to check a few more items off the to-do list.

Now, isn't that is a beautiful loaf of bread?  Gluten-Free Pantry really knows how to make a great mix.

Some mixes don't turn out as well.  Here's an example of a bread mix (which shall remain nameless) that had a mind of its own.

I still have no idea what went wrong with this one, but it sure made for a good laugh (and really huge sandwiches).

Summer vacation is just around the corner, and I look forward to having time to putter in the kitchen, mix up a variety flours, add a little twist here and there, and open the oven door with hope and anticipation.

But for now, the Whisker's Family is in survival mode.  Ten days of school filled with final projects, report cards, awards ceremonies, cum records, celebrations, field day, and packing up a classroom are ahead.

So, we are very thankful for good quick mixes.

What gluten-free bread mixes do you use?

No comments:

Post a Comment