I’ve been working on going gluten free for a while now. For the most part it isn’t a big deal. I’m not a big bread or pasta eater. Other than the occasional desire for pizza and/or croissants which happens rarely, and which I satisfy even more rarely there is little need to come up with gluten free versions of what I eat. The only problem comes in the form of Shabbat.
One of the characteristics of Shabbat is that one eats three meals on Shabbat. What makes a meal? Bread. And what makes bread? A food that has water as the main liquid and flour from one of the 5 grains as the main dry ingredient. What are the 5 grains? Wheat, Rye, Spelt, Barley and Oats. You can see where this runs into a bit of a problem with the “no gluten” plan.
I tried making the gluten free bread recipe from Healthy Bread In Five Minutes a Day, which worked for having something bread-like, but didn’t solve the “How do I have a meal on Shabbat?” problem. Then I found out a cool fact. Oats naturally are gluten free. The problem is Oats breed easily with wheat and then you get gluten in your oats. However, as of late there have been growers who have been specifically growing gluten free Oats. A solution was in the making. I started adapting the Gluten-Free Crusty Boule recipe by replacing the rice and sorghum flour with oat flour. It worked but wasn’t entirely satisfying ( thought it tasted terribly bitter. My husband enjoyed it but I was pretty meh about it.)
I kept on playing with recipe adjusting what went in and how much water and the like and finally this Shabbat I had a batch that I actually enjoyed. Our guest said it was the best bread she’s eaten in a long time so I think I may be on to something. On that note, I thought I would share my adapted bread recipe in case there is anyone else there looking for gluten free bread that qualifies as bread according to Jewish Law. (And for those who are concerned about such matters consult your local Rabbi about how much must be eaten to be able to say Birkat Hamazon. (a specific set of blessings said after a meal.))
Gluten Free Oat Bread
3 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour
2 1/2 cups tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
1/2 cup Sweet Sohrghum flour plus some extra
2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 Tablespoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons xanthan gum
1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil
3 tablespoons honey
Some olive oil
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a big bowl (everything before the warm water.)
2. Combine the liquid ingredients and whisk together.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon or in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
4. Continue mixing by hand (essentially kneading but without the gluten being formed.) Until it is reasonably smooth. If the dough is really sticky I add some more sorghum flour until it isn’t sticking to my hands in large gobs. Once it is just sticking somewhat I pour olive oil on my hands (literally I pool a little in my palm and then coat my hands) and continue mixing until I’m satisfied and I form it into a ball. (I’ve never gotten it completely smooth – I may just be impatient, but it may be the nature of the bread.)
5. Cover bowl with a wet towel (that has been made wet with warm water) and let rise for about an hour.
6. Using a serrated knife cut into loaf sized portions. I usually make 4, you could make more or less depending on how big you want them.
7. Using a bit more olive oil on my hand I form them into individual balls and then roll a little to make little oval loaf shapes and put them on parchment paper on a baking tray.
8. Wet your hands and use your damp hands to smooth the surface of your loaf. You don’t want to make them totally soggy but use enough water to smooth them.
9. Cover loaves with your damp towel and let rise for another hour.
10. At about 30 minutes before the rise is done pre-heat your oven to 450.
11. Before placing in the oven use a wet serrated knife to make incisions across the top of the loaf (side to side). I tend to do 3.
12. Put the loaves in the oven and bake until done. I tend to set the timer for around 22 minutes, and the check the loaves and if needed cook a little longer. (Pick up loaf, tap bottom, if it sounds hollow it is done. If not bake it a bit longer.)