Bread is something I think about a lot, probably because, for now at least, we’re not on speaking terms. Oh sure, we gaze longingly at each other as I pass by a sandwich shop, and I’ve been known to cop a sniff as I slink by the Ciabatta at Trader Joe’s. But for the most part, the sum of going gluten free and South Beach almost simultaneously means bye-bye bread, hello salad bar.
And it’s killing me, this forced distance between us. Was it just last summer that I was slathering fruity olive oil over crisp slices of rosemary garlic sourdough toast before lovingly draping ripe tomatoes over each bite?
Why yes, yes it was.
By now you know that bread is the enemy, I assume. Not just to gluten-free gals like myself, but to anyone who has a muffin top to pinch, anyone who can rest her arm on her very own waist and declare, “Bread, this is your fault.” Even though it’s really an allergy to exercise that’s to blame. Let’s all heave a collective sigh, shall we?
Not to change the subject, but Nora Ephron died yesterday. I’m sure you already knew that. Did you love her? I did, too. From Heartburn to Julie & Julia and every food-related essay in between, I really admired her as a writer, a humorist and a woman. In I Feel Bad About My Neck she asks, “Are we really going to have to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in America is so unbelievably delicious?”
You know what, Nora? No, we’re not. We’re going to do what normal people the world over do: consume bread. And not just any bread, but good bread. Make that great bread. More specifically, great gluten-free bread.
Take that, muffin top.
I cobbled this together over many anxious moments spent flipping between Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, this post on the Artisan Bread in Five website and this video on the same site. I used the Dutch oven method described on their site because, frankly, the steamy water method described in the book seemed like a lot more work. I also halved the recipe because gluten-free flours are expensive and I am cheap (although my husband might disagree with the latter part of that statement). I baked half the dough and then divided the other half into halves, which I then froze. Obviously, there’s a lot of math going on over here. Here’s how it all breaks down:
- 160 grams brown rice flour
- 101.25 grams sorghum flour
- 180 grams tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1⅓ cup room temperature water
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine using medium-high speed; don't overwork the dough.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover in plastic wrap; let rest for a few hours on the counter.
- After the initial rest, move the bowl to the refrigerator and let rest at least 24 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half. Either return one half to the refrigerator to use within the next week, or freeze.
- Using wet hands, form the remaining half into a rounded dome.
- Let the dough rest on a piece of parchment paper, covered in plastic wrap, for 90 minutes.
- An hour before baking, set a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven into a cold oven; preheat the oven to 500°.
- Once the oven is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Before setting the dough into the pot, discard the plastic wrap and then slash the dough in three or four spots along the top. Grab two sides of the parchment paper and carefully lower the dough into the pot. Bake for 20 minutes, with the lid on.
- Once the dough has baked for 20 minutes, remove the lid and reduce the heat to 450°. Bake for 15-20 minutes more, until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 200°.
- Let cool completely on a cooling rack before serving.