First attempt at baking bread from scratch, part 1

I ran out of my gluten free bread yesterday and since we’re currently broke – and I have a vast collection of flours in my pantry – I decided to bite the bullet and make some myself for once.

I have experimented with packet mixes in the past with pretty unsatisfactory results. I even cultivated some sourdough for a while (pro tip: those yeasties LOVE millet flour if you’re game to give it a shot) but got sick of it stinking up the kitchen and chucked it before I could master the actual baking part.

So yeah, I’m not walking into this with high hopes.

Quite apart from the issues around working with gluten free flours I have another big problem. The gas oven that came with our house is about 50 years old. It’s either on or off, with little gradation. If you need it to be cooler than about 200°C or maintain a steady temperature then good luck. We have a great toaster oven that gets accurate temperatures but isn’t big enough to properly bake a loaf of bread – or even a cake. I can do a dozen cupcakes quite easily but nothing bigger. So a good friend bought me a bigger toaster oven for Christmas. Hooray! Only problem? The temperature control is bullshit in the other direction (it’s super slow) and doesn’t distribute well around the space. AAAAAARGH!!

But I figured I’d give it a shot anyway.

I knew the recipe would be awesome because it comes from this book:

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It’s basically my gluten free cooking bible. Now I’m not actually vegan – I do eat a bit of meat – but since I have dairy issues too I end up eating a lot of vegan cuisine and I LOVE it. Even if you don’t, I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. Everything that I’ve made from it has been absolutely delicious – even for my non-gluten free friends.

Next problem: I have no xantham gum and less potato starch than I need. No worries! I had just enough cornstarch to make up the difference and hate using xantham/guar gum anyway so added some chia seeds instead (and compensated by adding a little extra water). Hooray!

But then it ended up more like a batter than a dough.

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So I sprinkled some extra chia on top and left it to rise anyway. How bad could it be?

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Oh.

Hmm.

So I scraped off the overflow and popped it in a cupcake tray to make “buns” because eh, may as well.

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I managed to get the oven up to the initial 230°C required and put the loaf in. Fingers crossed!! Will update with the gripping finale soon…

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