Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"It Can't Be Done!" - Says who??

How many times have we been told something can't be done and then someone who didn't know it couldn't be done --- just went and DID IT !???

Near me is a bakery, the owner of which is an unpretentious man who had not heard that gluten-free bread could never be the same as wheat bread -- so he developed a method by which he bakes bread that NO ONE could tell the difference from regular wheat bread.

I don't think he'll mind if I tell his story, as he told it to me.
He was raised by his grandfather who was a baker, so a bakery kitchen is 'home' to him.
A few years ago he was at a BBQ picnic and his little godchild was sitting on his knee. The hamburger bun was missing from her plate -- she was Celiac. Turning a little pouting face up to the man holding her on his lap she whined plaintively, "Can't YOU make me some bread?"

It became his mission -- to make a gluten-free bread that was BREAD, not some rice cardboard at worst or an imitation at best.
His goal was perfection ! It took him a year and a half - but he did it !!
I tried to tell him that he had done what was declared to be impossible -- that he had done what no one else had ever done !!
He shrugged, smiled and said he had no idea - he never goes on the computer.
And to my suggestion that he could get rich just making that bread and distributing it, he replied he'd rather sleep.
He has two kinds of gluten-free bread in his bakery -- potato/flax seed bread and onion bread. Both are good but the potato/flax seed is my favorite! He also makes buns and other gluten-free products.

Since tasting his bread, I threw out the notion that gluten-free bread cannot be perfect bread and I have been experimenting taking into account a couple of tips he threw out. I'm not sure exact conditions can be duplicated in a home kitchen but I'm determined not to stop until I get at least close.

I have a bread that is fluffy and soft with a chewy crust . It is not perfect yet -- I will adjust the recipe if I discover more 'tricks' but here is the recipe as it is now...


Potato\Flaxseed Bread
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Knox Unflavored geletin
whisk then add .....

1 slightly rounded tablespoon reg. yeast (let proof until doubled)

Dry Ingredients1/4 cup white bean flour + 1 rounded tsp. (grind your own with a good coffee grinder from small white beans you buy in your grocery store -- bought bean flour mixes even if they claim to be white bean have a strong unpleasant beany flavor)
1/4 cup white corn flour + 1 rounded tsp.
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tbls. potato flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground flax seed (or use whole flax seed)

Liquid ingredients1 egg
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp oil (note:Flaxseed oil cannot be used in baking, since it goes rancid when heated)

Method

1.add proofed yeast mixture to the liquids in mixer bowl - beat lightly
2. add all at once the well blended dry ingredients
and beat on high for 5 minutes.

3.Scrap into a mid size greased loaf pan and smooth top with a wet hand.
4.Cover and let rise  until at least doubled in bulk  - it rises quickly.

5.While bread is rising heat oven to 350'
and
Prepare for the next step....
(this step was given to me in a dream ... I knew that there was something to do with steam in getting the right texture to the bread... and one night before I fell asleep I asked the Lord to help me figure it out. The next morning , I awoke with a dream picture fresh and clear in my mind showing me how to do the 'steam step'. )

Take your biggest frying pan and almost fill it with water... bring to a rolling boil on the stove top, cover it with a wire rack.... and put the pan of risen bread on top of the rack... Cover the bread and the frying pan with a large metal mixing bowl.
Let it steam for 7 minutes.
Remove the bread pan and immediately put it into the pre-heated oven to 350'.
6.Bake for about 50-60 min. (don't underbake)

7.Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

60 comments:

  1. that's so awesome, in this day when ther are so many allergies,it's ad to find healthy alternaties, I myself have had dairy, eggs, nuts, sugar, msg, corn, removed from my diet and ii's been challenging.....

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  2. Very cool- I've got some gluten free friends that I'll share this with- Thanks!

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  3. I had to go gluten free only for several weeks, and while there were lots of challenges...bread was definitely the biggest challenge. I missed it so much, even in just a short time. I'm happy for you that you discovered such a great substitute! I will pass this recipe along to a couple friends of mine who eat gluten free. Thanks!!

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  4. Where can you buy Xanthan gum? Thanks.

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  5. Julie you are amazing. . .I knew you were working on bread . .and I can just imagine how many people will be delighted to try this.
    Congratulations on achieving your goal.

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  6. Kath..you can buy xanthan gum at health food stores and I find it in most larger grocery stores.

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    1. Julie,
      I truly appreciate you providing the recipe for GF Bread. My wife is gluten intolerant.
      I on the other hand am intolerance intolerant. In re-reading your narrative above, I did not see that you recommended the 6th St. Bakery or even mentioned the name, and yet the response from Lorraine and Gluten Intolerant. As best I can tell, you only mentioned the bakery as it was incidental to your story.
      I always appreciate knowing the history of a recipe, especially when it was developed for a loved one in response to a special need.
      Also, your more critical readers need to realize that not all people who are gluten intolerant are celiacs and don't have the high sensitivity to gluten that they due and are just greatful to be able to eat bread.
      I'm curious if anyone knows whether the flours produced by Red Mill out of Oregon are ground in a wheat free environment?
      thanks again Julie for your blog.

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    2. Thank you, Jack for your thoughtfully worded comment !

      Regarding Bob's Red Mill here is their assurance on their website that their GF products are safe ...."We’ve even built a separate Gluten Free packaging division complete with specialized machinery to make sure that our products maintain their purity--just as nature intended. By going to these lengths, we’re able to ensure that folks with wheat allergies, celiac disease and gluten intolerance can trust that our products are safe to consume."

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    3. Julie,
      What do you mean in the recipe when you say "regular yeast". Do you mean a quick acting yeast like fleischman's or the Non-quick acting like the yeast that comes in a little cake?
      I'm headed out shopping for potato flour. I didn't know there was a difference between that and potato starch. Duh!!! lol.
      I went out Thursday and bought $50 worth of GF flours and Guar and Xanthum gum and made one loaf of bread. Yikes. gotta get those economics down.
      At least the wife loved being able to have toast in the morning. next I'm working on some Chocolate cupcakes that don't taste like they have sand in them.
      thanks again,
      jack

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    4. Julie,
      Well, I finally got around to giving the recipe a try. I have to say ( and this is not a criticism of you) that I am terribly dissappointed with the results. I'm sure I have done something wrong. Probably sinned against the gluten god or something.
      I followed your instructions to a T and even premeasured the ingredients, double checked, (because I've mis-measured before) and re-read the recipe several times before proceeding.
      The loaf did not rise much during the 20 minute proofing. I placed the loaf in a long narrow glass loaf pan (as per my wife's request regarding the size of a slice). It is about half again as long as a regular loaf pan that I use for banana bread which I think is the "traditional" loaf pan.
      I noticed your warning to NOT under cook. When 50 minutes were up, I checked the loaf. It was already very brown. I covered it with foil as the top of the loaf appeared to be more done than the part below it. I put it back in for 10 more minutes. the loaf looks more like melba toast that the picture you posted. there is another website that frequent and one of the notes that he points out is that we should go by weight rather than volume measurements. I'm not sure if this makes a difference or not. I'm waiting for my wife to come home. She won't be happy. I am not sure where to go from here. Please feel free to delete this post and reply privately. thank you.
      jack

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    5. Hi Jack ... thank you for your comment. It seems I missed your comment or maybe I did respond privately... but it showed up again in my in-box this morning -- so if I missed replying to you , I am sorry ... and if I did forgive the 'repeat' ... A couple of things come to mind -- the 20 minute rising time is approx. Rising time can vary -- so better to go by the visual doubling in bulk - if you don't let it rise enough before putting in the oven it will pretty much bake at that volume.
      Also there is something about glass pans that doesn't work as well with gf bread as metal pans.

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  7. Julie...that is awesome. i know that there are people coming here to find your recipes and this one will be a winner. I will make sure to let several girls know to stop by here today. Kathy

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  8. You're a great pioneer for gluten free recipes Julie! I'll have to share this link with my gluten free niece...

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  9. My 86-year-old grandmother will be interested in this. She has been told by her doctor that she has to go gluten-free, and since she's been making breads and pies since the 1930s, it's quite a change for her. She'll be glad to know there's a method out there that doesn't involve eating a brick. Thank you!

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  10. You've done it Julie..given people hope that they don't have to eat 'bricks'(smile)
    Loved the story of the baker:)

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  11. Having had to figure out how to bake at high altitude last week, gives me a new appreciation for what you do all the time... trying to perfect gluten free recipes! I know I should not even compare these two... but what you do is amazing, Julie and I know a lot of people will continue to benefit. So nice that baker was willing to share with you.

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  12. I've given up on making a good gluten free bread. I can make a good cinn-raisin gluten free bread but regular ole bread NOPE! I am going to have to try this one.

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  13. Thanks for sharing that you asked God to inspire you, that He did, and giving Him credit for this! We can all be encouraged that God is interested in EVERY part of our lives - not just the parts that we deem "religious."
    Very cool.

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  14. I am in awe of how you keep working at your recipes, Julie. How do you know what to "tweak" and how? Your bread looks fabulous.

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  15. I do have a comment about this product. Before you pass on any info to friends. You need to know that Celiac Disease is a genetic auto-immune disease that can't be cured by any medications todate and the only cure is a gluten free diet created in a dedicated glutenfree environment. You need to know this bread is not made in a dedicated facility. As a celiac you can not have product made along side wheat items. Wheat will stay in the environment for 72 hours or more if the facility is not cleaned out prior to baking gf. item, you have major cross-contamination which will bring on celiac symptons. This facility does not do this. He bakes right along side the wheat products. If you go into his facility and you tell him you are celiac, he will tell you not to buy his product and don't have it sliced because he doesn't use separate equipment for gf items to wheat one. He uses the same ovens, mixes, pans, slicer. etc. He lets you make your own decision if you purchase his product. You have to remember, to a celiac, no wheat products is almost like a death sentence. NO, bread, pasat, pizza, beer, etc. When you do see something that says glutenfree and looks like a wheat product, you don't even think until you get home and realize what you have done and what the outcome could be if you eat these products that are produced in a non-dedicated facility. These products are POISON to Celiacs when consumed for an extended period of time.
    Remember, the only cure is a gluten free die produced completely in a dedicated gluten free facility.
    I know this because I do have 6 members in my family that are celiacs(4generations diagnosised in the last 7 years)
    I must tell you I have purchased this bread and it is fabulous. This man I believe would have a gold mine if he just made it in a dedicated gf facility.
    It great to get awareness on celiac disease but we must promote the correct information.
    I don't mean to be harsh, as I said this man has a good product, just make it in a dedicated facility
    thank you.
    Lorraine

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    1. Celiac disease can not be cured. It can be controlled. The baker has tried to do something nice. I am certain the little girl's Mom is vigilant. Wheat and corn are my enemies so I gather bits of info and recipes from many places. This site is terrific! Making/baking bread at home in a safe, G-Free environment is the best way to go and that is what I do. Some folks are unable to do this, for whatever reason.

      I am sorry you have so many family members that are Celiac. Perhaps if you all got together and offered to finance the baker to build/create a G-Free bakery he would consider this an option. Maybe he's just a happy fellow that wanted to do something nice for people that can't have wheat, like me. After all, he does tell the Celiacs NOT to buy the bread. I don't see any problem.

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  16. I have not looked at your blog for a long time. I just looked at your recipes and they look fabulous. Will have to try them.
    Thanks.
    Lorraine

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  17. So Excited! We are trying to pull off of gluten quite a bit and this is FABULOUS!

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  18. Way to go, Julie! Coming from someone who can't even imagine living without bread...I'm thinking today's post will make you a hero among celiacs.

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  19. Concerned CeliacMay 26, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    I suggest that you call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 1-800-442-2342 to get the number for the Burnaby office and ask for Christopher Summers an Inspector for the Agency. Ask him about the 6th Avenue Bakery and Cafe in New West and his very recent investigation regarding allergens. If you have Celiac Disease you should be NO WHERE NEAR that bakery. It is a GLUTEN environment where GF bread is baked at the same time gluten bread is baked. The GF bread is even sliced on the gluten bread slicer. There is no separation of equipment for Gluten Free vs. Gluten baking, I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of complaints of Celiac's getting sick that we have taken on this bakery and the CFIA had to step in as the bread was being sold to other stores without labels and a caution that it is made in a wheat environment. This has to be declared when an item is sold outside of the bakery. Sorry to pop your bubble but too many people have gotten sick eating this bread and no safe GF baking procedures are in place and the "nice man" really does not care who eats the bread, however if he finds out that you have CD he will say that Celiac's should not to eat it (our experience).

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  20. A concerned CeliacMay 26, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    The gluten free bakeries that are known to have good GF baking practices as is separate pans, machines, or a totally gluten free bakery are:

    Panne Rizo - Cornwall Street Van
    European Bakery - Fraser Street Van (Bake GF on Thurs in separate room with only GF equipement, supplies, pans etc and door is closed on other days)
    Choices Rice Bakery - 16th and McDonald Van - supplies all Choices Stores.
    Whole Foods gets their GF bread products from the European Bakery.

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  21. Xanthan Gum
    It can be purchased at Whole Foods (I get it at the Capers on 4th and Vine) however Capers is owned by Whole Foods.

    I would be surprised if Choices did not carry it either - it should be in their baking section.

    There is also a place on Kingsway - between Knight and Victoria on the north side of the street - big box store, which name I cannot remember its name that has bulk food and I have heard of Xanthum Gum being available there too.

    And then there are the two Galloways - Richmond and New West - separate companies however both carry GF flours and items.

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  22. I have had the same results as Lorraine and concerned celiac when I purchased this bread at a health food store and was told it was gluten free. My daughter-in -law had a terrible reaction!

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  23. Could I have an early morning delivery? It looks like something I baked last weekend.
    Yummy! Let me know when you have some fresh bread on hand once again.
    You have researched this topic over and over and here again...you have produced a wonderful loaf...it's melting in my mouth.

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  24. Xanthan gum - the place on Kingsway is called Famous Foods.

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  25. I am not "celiac" but am definitely gluten intolerant and became very ill from eating the bread from the 6th Ave Bakery in New West. I echo the concerns of others. I was personally never once warned about cross contamination by the owners or employees at the bakery and went there three times. The only warning I was given was that the bread slicer was also used to slice wheat bread. I chose not to have mine sliced but still became very ill.

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  26. Thank you, Julie, for this recipe! I'm gong to make it next week. It will be a lifesaver for me!

    I love these gluten free recipes and intend to try many of them!

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  27. We do not bake but would like to pay someone to bake and ship glutton free products to us here in North Fort Myers, Florida.
    We'd welcome hearing from you.
    chrisbarie@hotmail.com

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  28. I'm sorry, Chris...I hope you can find someone who can fill your need but I'm afraid I can't. The food regulations are so strict for anything offered to the 'public' and the difficulty of shipping baked goods across the continent and have them still fresh when they arrive is really a daunting task.

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  29. I will have to try this! When you say white bean do you mean navy beans?
    Also, can you substitute almond milk or hemp milk for the milk in this?

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    1. there is a product that I use as a milk substitute for many recipes. It's called First & Best. It is a whey product. for those who are lactose intolerant it is great. In fact, just for drinking, made according to the recipe, chill it and it tastes like CFR Milk. Also good for survival storage.

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  30. Yes... the navy beans... the ones you use for Boston Baked Beans...
    I haven't tried a substitute milk .. but I don't see why it wouldn't work... I know some of the Almond Milk is sweetened - you wouldn't want the 'sweet' in the bread.

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  31. Yes... the navy beans... the ones you use for Boston Baked Beans...
    I haven't tried a substitute milk .. but I don't see why it wouldn't work... I know some of the Almond Milk is sweetened - you wouldn't want the 'sweet' in the bread.

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  32. Yes... the navy beans... the ones you use for Boston Baked Beans...
    I haven't tried a substitute milk .. but I don't see why it wouldn't work... I know some of the Almond Milk is sweetened - you wouldn't want the 'sweet' in the bread.

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  33. I am having a very hard time finding the white corn flour? I can find all sorts of corn flour, but not the white corn flour here in the Vancouver area? Any suggestions of where to get this product?

    Thanks
    Carolyn

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    1. Carolyn ... I have not found any white corn flour locally .... I have found the White Corn Flour Grits across the line (USA) and then you can just grind it again in your coffee grinder and sift it with a fine sieve. I order my white corn flour from Authentic foods online. If I buy - I think it is 6 pkg.- it works out (even with shipping) to be cheaper than what I could buy it for here locally. Then I store the extra packages in the freezer until I need them. (you could substitute millet or brown rice flour for the white corn if you can't find any)

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    2. Thanks very much for your reply! Will try the Brown Rice Flour as I know I can get that, and then if it doesn't work then I will order online. I currently have found the bread from 6th Ave bakery wonderful but we are moving back to Alberta and won't be near a place like that and I would like to master my own recipe! Happy Easter!

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  34. He told me there was no egg in his potato bread, also that it contained tapioca flour????

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  35. The baker on 6th street has never claimed that his bread is gluten free...In fact he warned me that it is not for people with Celiac disease!... He just makes this bread without wheat flour....Those who have a wheat intolerance but not an allergy can enjoy this bread and believe me, there are alot of us! If he wanted to have a gluten free bakery..that would be his choice! Please don't try to give this man trouble with inspections etc.. as he does warn people that wheat is used in the bakery and the bread is not made in a wheat free environment. People have varying degrees of wheat intolerance and it is up to them to be knowledgeable and ask him the appropriate questions. I know that my problems aren't severe but my IBS improves when I eat his potato breads rather than wheat breads and I'm hoping that "Red tape"...won't cause this baker to have to stop making his lovely potato breads one day! ... Sincerely..Heather

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    1. Hi Heather... thank you for your comment and I agree with you in hoping that he will not ever be stopped from making his lovely bread. I don't think he ever will be -- not since he WAS stopped and then after an official investigation was cleared of all wrong doing.
      'Red tape' sometimes creates unreasonable laws. He has never been anything less than honest about his bakery and his products.
      It is true his bread is not made in a 'gluten-free' environment, but he does clean his bakery before he makes his gluten-free bread on its own. The same I do in my own kitchen !! I know several Celiac people who eat his bread regularly and have never reacted to it. I WISH he would have a gluten-free environment for his bread -- I told him he could get rich if he did and he replied he didn't care about getting rich - money isn't important to him!
      So, unless things change - he and his gf products are not in danger of extinction and maybe one day he will venture into an official gf side to his bakery!

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    2. I agree with Heather. On our next trip to the coast we'll check him out. I can hardly wait! I am wheat and corn sensitive and do all my own baking. Kudos to this fellow for making people happy and offering choice.

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  36. Hi Julie;
    I just made your Potato Flaxseed Bread and it's not looking like yours. I have a few questions:
    1.Would the flours have made the difference....I used yellow corn flour because that's all I could find. I also used potato starch for the potato flour as well. The clerk in the store where I bought it from said she thought there was not much of a difference between the flour and starch.
    2.The recipe says to beat on high for 5 mins.....I presume it's with an electric beater...which I did but it became a big clump of thick dough which I had to cut out of the beaters very so often so it would mix but the beaters seem to keep jumping over the dough.
    3.The recipe says it raises quickly....mine didn't rise at all.
    4.When the loaf pan gets set on the rack over the steaming water, should the element be turned off and just let the steam rise over the dough?
    Hope your answers to my questions will help improve the outcome of the bread because both of my daughters are gluten intolerant and they're coming over in a few weeks so I want to work at this till it turns out to be a ebible product.

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    1. I'm sorry Anonymous ... I somehow missed your comment. I don't know what the clerk was thinking, but there is a huge difference between potato flour and potato starch -- as much difference as there is between wheat flour and cornstarch. Using the starch instead of the flour would very much upset the balance and texture of the dough.
      If you had a thick clump of dough that is not how it should look - it should be a thick cake batter consistency.
      Yellow corn flour is also heavier than white corn flour - if you can't fine white corn flour try white rice flour instead.
      Your dough didn't rise because it was far tooo heavy.
      When the loaf is over the steaming water, the element is left on.
      Hope that helps!

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  37. Julie - This bread recipe looks amazing! I have never tried the steaming method that you describe, but I wish I had read this recipe a few months ago when I started developing my gluten-free baguette recipe. I have figured out a few different ways of trapping steam that work really well. One method is to cook the loaf in a large dutch oven with the lid on. The steam that escapes from the bread is trapped in the pot and it browns the crust. If you don't have a dutch oven or pot big enough to hold your loaf, the other thing I've done is I wrapped the loaf in parchment paper which I stapled closed. That had the same effect as the dutch oven technique. Your bread looks wonderful! Thanks for the recipe and ideas!

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  38. Gina, thank you for your tips ... I did know about the dutch oven but I had never heard of the parchment paper. That sounds interesting and would maybe work even better than a dutch oven! I'll have to try it !

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  39. DO NOT make the same mistake that I did, thinking that white corn flour is the same as masa harina! Oh it is white, and flour like, and made with corn sure... but I now have a messy kitchen, a doorstop of a loaf of bread, and two hours of my life I will never get back ;-) Sigh. GF bread experiment fail #763.

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    1. Oh Anonymous , forgive me but I do have a funny picture in my head of a gf doorstop!
      Seriously, I am sorry you had such a disappointment and wasted time!
      Your experience reminds me of when I recently had two unlabelled containers, knowing that one was xanthan gum and the other unflavoured gelatin. I thought I would just taste one to tell the difference. Well... I happened to taste the xanthan gum -- I shall NEVER do that again! It was like sticky slug slime that I thought I would never be able to clear my mouth of !

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  40. Do you know if Masa harina is same as white corn flour? That is available here but all the corn flours they sell here are processed in facilities with wheat so we can't have them. Can you grind potato flakes to make potato flour?

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    1. Hi Diana , I think the Masa Harina from the white corn (sold by Bob Red Mill) should be pretty much the same as white corn flour, although they are made differently. Worth trying, isn't it ?
      And 1 cup of ground potato flakes will yield 1/2 cup of potato flour.

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  41. My son has recently developed a wheat allergy. He also is intolerant of eggs and milk. Usually soy milk makes a good substitute for cows milk, but I'm not sure egg replacer will work well in place of the eggs. What is the function of eggs in GF bread? How can I replicate that function with another product? We would dearly love to find a bread recipe that works!

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    1. Hi Dharlene.. I'm sorry your son has multiple allergies.. that always complicates things... The purpose of eggs GF is a binder and to help the dough rise so I think egg replacer might work. I haven't tried it so if you try it and it works let us know !

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  42. Hi Julie,
    I was diagnosed with allergies to wheat and corn. Many GF recipes contain cornstarch or cornmeal and I was wondering what would be the closest substitutes so the recipe will still turn out? Thank you for all your amazing recipes and research!

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    1. Hi ! I'm sorry you have allergies to wheat and corn ... but the answer to your question is easy ! Instead of cornstarch just use one of the other starches like Arrowroot or Tapioca starch/flour.... instead of cornmeal you can substitute pretty much any other gf flour such as brown rice flour, millet flour, oat flour , sorghum flour. If cornmeal is the only flour in a recipe then you would need to use a flour mix (flour/starch) - either your own mix or a packaged one. Hope that helps !

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  43. Hi Julie, I've made the potato flaxseed bread twice. On both occasions, when I steamed the loaf before baking, it did not rise any more, as you mention in the recipe that it should. In the 20 minutes that I let it rise under stove range light, it did rise slightly above the top edge of the pan. Would elevation have anything to do with the fact that the steam rise did not rise the bread considerably more as you mention in your recipe - I live in Calgary, and elevation here is high.

    Otherwise, flavor of this bread is very close to that of wheat bread. I bake this loaf for friends and family that are celiac.

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    1. Thank you for your comment.. Elevation could well have something to do with it... as well as other factors that don't always seem to be consistent, the humidity level, for example.
      For me as well, the steam does not always result in the same level of 'extra' rise. As long as the loaf has risen and bakes well - that is good!

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