Bread, My Love
I was all set to do a post about preparing the home for Thanksgiving where I was going to tell you how Tim and I got serious on our clutter this weekend, but then bread happened. Yes, bread.
As I told you we would, we spent Saturday morning acting like tourists around downtown Cincinnati, snapping pictures of Findlay Market and then of the incredible gardens at Krohn Conservatory. Tim teased me a little bit, calling me the paparazzi, but once I handed the camera over to him at the Conservatory to take photos of the Orchid House, he started to really get into taking pictures. I think he took a picture of every single orchid in the installation. Every. Single. One.
When we got home, Tim settled in to watch college football and I took up my post in the kitchen, experimentally baking, as I told you I would. My lofty dream of re-creating a family favorite dessert went south--quickly--as just about everything went wrong. Then I mixed up the dough for gluten-free, egg-free baguettes and that seemed to flop as well. My pre-ground flax, when mixed with water, wasn't gelling the way it was supposed to do and the dough was off. It wasn't until I baked up some gluten-free, vegan, soy-free chocolate chip blondies that I felt like I was getting my baking mojo back. I was ready for round two of bread-making.
I followed the directions on the Artisan Bread in 5 Blog exactly as written, even grinding my own whole flax seed to fine powder for an egg-replacer, and said a small prayer over the mixing bowl. As we waited for it to rise, we tackled some clutter (all inspired by Tracy's post on the Homefries blog) by decluttering the living room bookshelf and then emptying out our cabinet with the lazy-susan and ridding ourselves of half full bags of dried cranberries. It felt great to tame our overflowing cabinet, and as a reward for our efforts, the universe cooperated, allowing the stars to align, and our dough rose perfectly.
After we chilled it, formed the baguette shapes (a delicate procedure when working with somewhat goopy, squishy gluten-free dough), and let them rest for another 40 minutes, I finally popped them into a hot oven to bake.
The house smelled like warm, yeasty bread. A smell so missed that I think I had hidden my longing for it deep inside so that even I couldn't recognize it until the smell of a bread I could actually eat awoke it. I could only think, Oh bread, my love, this is our reunion!
It's been over 5 weeks since I've eaten bread that even remotely reminded me of bread. This bread was divine. Even Tim said that it was so similar to traditional bread that he was pleasantly surprised. The outside was firm and crisp, the inside was slightly fluffy with a little bit of the trademark bready chew.
Should you decide to make this bread for yourself or a gluten-free loved one, I do have a few tips. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before eating it. If you break it open too soon, the inside might be a little squishy. It tastes perfectly wonderful at room temperature and has more traditional bread-like structure. Also, I didn't top it with the seeds as shown in the original recipe, but I think seeds would be an excellent addition to the bread. Lastly--and this is the most important--you can't swap out any of the ingredients and expect the same result. For the best gluten-free bread, use the King Arthur Flour mixes exactly as listed. I can purchase KAF Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour at Whole Foods and possibly my local supermarket, but I had to order the KAF Ancient Grains Flour from the KAF website.
(And if you missed it, you can find the recipe with step-by-step photos for Gluten-free, Egg-free Baguettes here.)