Yep...them there are gluten-free croutons.
For HBin5 we were assigned to make Gluten-Free Cheddar and Sesame Bread. I don't have celiac disease and I don't know anyone personally that does. I do know some people who eat gluten free by choice. I asked my childhood friend, now nurse, what the benefits of such a choice is. Her response was...for a "clean" diet such as when one is cleansing the system.
Anyways....Michelle at BigBlackDogs has the Bread Braid up for this assignment if you'd like to view all the various results. It's always fun to see what others have done with the dough as well as learn from their experiences and tips.
For the soy that was called for, I used Oat Flour. I know there is some concern regarding how "gluten-free" Oat Flour is, due to whether or not it was milled near wheat. However, from what I've read, there are brands out there that make gluten-free Oat Flour. Just look for the statement on the label claiming so.
For the cornstarch, I used Potato Starch. I don't know how much of a difference it made, but that's what I have and that's what I used. I had originally did so in an attempt to alter the flavor. I find that gluten-free bread has a funky aftertaste that I'm not real fond of. I had thought the copious amounts of cornstarch was the culprit.
That's not the case. Now I think it's the Xantham Gum. I'd like to try Guar Gum and see how that is. Any imput? Experience? Words of wisdom?
What I did discover was that toasting the bread almost completely eliminates that aftertaste.
I mixed the dough as instructed (along with my changes) and let it sit for 2 hours on the counter
I was thrilled with the 1 rise!! Then I put it in the fridge for a couple of days. The dough is much easier to work with once it has chilled.
When I was ready to bake some bread, I grabbed a huge....cantaloupe sized handful of dough and roughly shaped it into a ball. Worked it into an oblong shape and placed it in a well greased loaf pan
A couple of things you might want to know about gluten-free dough is that it lacks elasticity. When forming the dough, you don't pull. You mold. Then you get your hands damp and smooth out the top. Very much like working with clay.
Cover with plastic and allow to rest for about an hour and a half. Preheat your oven and bread stone at 425' for 30 minutes. Blush the top of the bread with water and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top
I didn't seem to get much of a rise. If it wasn't so late, I might have let it rest for another 15-30 minutes. But...I was tired, therefore the bread was tossed into the oven....a pan underneath was filled with 1 cup of hot water and the baking began.
Once it was done, I removed it from the pan to place onto a rack. I instantly noticed that the bottom was a bit...soft. Which had me worried. I was afraid that the center might not be fully cooked so I placed the loaf back into the oven, directly onto the baking stone and cooked for a bit longer
The next morning was the unveiling.....
Not bad for gluten-free!! But I knew I wouldn't eat it as is. But what could I do? Grilled cheese came to mind. An open faced sandwich of some sort. A grilled panini...I dunno. Sometime during the day the light bulb finally came on...CROUTONS!!!
There are 3 ways that I know of to make croutons. Baked, grilled and panfried. I normally bake them. But when I got home, after a day of 102' weather.....the A/C wasn't working! There was NO way in hell I was going to turn on that oven. So I panfried them this time. (just letting you know...I prefer the oven method 350' for about 15 - 20 minutes)
I have discovered (from making toast with this bread) that it takes a while to crisp....especially all the way through. So I made sure the pan was over a very low heat.
I sliced the bread into cubes (size isn't much of an issue...what ever makes you happy)
I sprinkled them with some garlic powder and salt. I then heated up a pan with a little olive oil in it. Placed the bread cubes into the pan and drizzled more olive oil over them. Tossed them to make sure they were as evenly coated as I could possibly make them.
They need to be tossed occasionally during the cooking process, until they are golden brown. Normally this only takes a few minutes....but with this bread it took quite a while....maybe 20 or 30 minutes? Like I said, I was doing this over a very low heat....almost "simmer". That way they could get as crispy as possible all the way through without burning. Although some of them were still on the tender side in the middle.
Homemade croutons are so wonderful! And so easily customized to suit your pallet.
Can you guess what was for dinner tonight? Extreme heat + no air conditioning + homemade croutons = salad.
When I got home tonight, I saw a box on the table waiting for me. I opened it up and found samples of some really awesome disposable / biodegradable palm plates from MarxFoods.com The box contained 5 bowls and 5 plates. Oooh so perfect for my salad!
I love how these look!! I remember seeing them a while back on their website and instantly thought "Island Party!!!" Well, I am lucky enough to be able to sample them and give my review. I'm not doing that tonight...but I just wanted to share my luck with you. I'll be doing a full on review of both the plates and the bowls in the near future. But I have to tell ya...so far so good. I drowned my salad (kinda on purpose) with Italian dressing....and let the salad sit in the palm leaf bowl the whole time I've been writing this post. (ya, I know....my salad is going to be soggy) And you know what?
Not a single leak. The bottom of the bowl (above picture does not reflect my review...I was just showing you what it looks liek) is not even a teeny tiny bit oily.
Oh ya...did I tell you what this bread tastes like? It's really good! I wish it had a more cheesy flavor but the nuttiness of the sesame seeds really stole the show. Aside from the aftertaste, this is a very nice bread!