Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread - Attempt 1

My sourdough starter appeared as ready as it will ever be and I determined today was the day that I finally make bread. I took the starter out of the fridge and brought it to room temperature and then fed the beast:

1 cup sourdough starter + 3/4 cup hooch (liquid above sourdough starter)
1/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
Sir, cover, proof.

I came back 4 hours later and it smelled yeasty, but didn't look like it had too many bubbles, so I stirred in 1 tablespoon of sugar and sure enough, there were bubbles, they were just hiding under the surface.

This is the point where I said to myself, "why am I trying to make bread from scratch the very first time I am attempting gluten free bread making?"
I was seriously frustrated with the recipes I have found that do not tell you what the dough is suppose to look and feel like. Granted, I was not following any one recipe, but baking is tricky; the humidity of the day effects the quantities of ingredients that are needed. I know what "real" bread dough should be by sight and touch, but gluten free dough, I don't have the foggiest.
Yet I pressed on.

1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp argar argar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 cup starter (with 1 tbsp sugar in it)
2 eggs beaten
1 tbsp olive oil (plus more to grease the bowl)
1/2 cup luke warm water

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Using the dough hook attachment on a mixer, slowly add in the starter, eggs and olive oil. Mix thoroughly.
3. At this point, the dough was not sticking together, so I slowly drizzled in water (approximately 1/4 cup) till a cohesive batter formed.
It looked like a dense cake batter, but also a bit like whipped frosting. Heavy and thick like cake batter, but with pockets of air and denser, holding shapes, like frosting - or sort of like hummus.
4. Transfer to an oiled bowl and proof 1 hour.

5. Turn it out into a baking pan or loaf pan. (I used a cast iron skillet - and there was some definite sponginess and give to the dough, making me feel better about this project.)
Allow to proof 1 - 1.5 hours.

6. Cut an X across the top. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes and until the center sounds hollow when knocked.

The bread did settle a bit after cooling. It has a good, sourdough flavor. The crumb is small, dense and pretty uniform. It is moister than I expected.
It is not as light and fluffy as I wanted, but I think its a good starting point. I think that with the addition of baking powder and an acid it could be lighter, but I am open to suggestions.

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