Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gluten-free Crusty Boule

Artisan Crusty Boule - ready to rise
I revisited the 'Crusty Boule' again lately (Aug 2012) not having tried it in a while and having made do more often than not with some worthy shop-bought alternatives. However, it was time to try to improve on this and so I gave 'Crusty Boule' another try.
This time around I used a 'Dutch oven' - a Le Creuset large pan (lid on for 20 min at 250C, lid off for 15min at 200C). Haven't done the carb count but the slices feel heavy. But, the (fresh) taste was pretty wonderful - chewy, crunchy crust, great robust internal structure. It got the definite thumbs up from our chief tester. I've sliced and frozen some so we'll see how they work out. But following Jeff Hertzberg's recipe is probably best - keeping the dough in the fridge, take out to proof and bake as needed.
Note to self: Didn't have the second cup of brown rice flour so sub'd Doves' Farm strong brown bread flour.

In our (on-and-off) quest for a decent gluten-free bread, there have been many 'also rans' and too many too-bad-to-eat contenders. I'm a sucker for the one's that involve 6 or more exotic flours and ingredients in the hope that with that much science in the mix, the outcome must be amazing.
One such hopeful is a Karina Allrich's site Gluten-free Goddess. This beautifully produced site is hailed as supreme by many. There are plenty of tempting recipes in there (sweet and savoury) - I've tried chocolate chip gf cookies. However, they were very fragile and we've found the Dove's farm version much better, though it could just be me.
Crusty Boule - almost risen
The other problem I have with Karina's recipes is the array of flours she uses. Okay, I'm good with potato, tapioca, various gluten-free mixes, soya, brown and sweet rice, buckwheat. But coconut, hazelnut, quinoa! Please, my saucepan press is laden with flours! Seems you can take any nut, seed, flower or whatever and grind it to a flour. Every new recipe introduces yet another new flour so a halt had to be called. On top of that, some of the recipe directions are seriously detailed and need a carefully choreographed approach.
Ready for the oven (almost)
Fast forward to Artisan Bread in Five with Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. They offer up a very temptingly labelled Gluten-free Crusty Boule. I've tried this twice now and it works. Okay, we're not talking Parisian delight here but it has a crusty exterior, springy interior and isn't (too) heavy. The taste is satisfyingly chewy and there's plenty of bounce. It doesn't crumble to dust when you approach it and the recipe isn't complicated (no overnight, multi-step rises).
Now we're still still some odd-ball flours in here - tapioca, brown rice and sorghum flours. I had the first two for months while trying to track down the last. Tir na nOg (in Sligo) have tapioca and occasionally brown rice. Or try Cosgrove's on High St. who have a great gluten-free range, by the way. But sorghum is another matter. Shout out to Anu, a brilliant friend from India, who ran down what she would call Juwar (Sorghum) flour, apparently very popular in Africa and India where wheat is more expensive. I've only sourced it to Eurasia ethnic food supermarket in Fonthill, near Liffey Valley, Dublin. It can be had online but don't come cheap.
Ready to eat!
You'll also need Xanthan Gum which you'll pick up in most supermarkets but the making up is easy and the dough keeps for a few days in the fridge though I've found it best to bake on the day. After all, there's only one rise needed.
I can rest now - this works and is especially good with cheese or pate. This is said to be great for pizza dough too and I can see how that would be - I feel a trial coming on but after recent efforts on that front, I think I'll have to wait for the memories to fade.

And the final result, just fresh from the oven....

P.S. Worth mentioning here a gluten-free flour mix by Carol Fenster. Haven't tried it but from my experience, the flours are those I've had most success with and (most) are readily available.

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