Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: The Inside

Gluten free bread, whether commercially made, or made from scratch is largely hit or miss, especially when you are used to eating the glutenized equivalents. I’ve talked to several people who no longer can eat gluten and their reactions are largely hit and miss too. One person told me after not having gluten for years they still hadn’t found a gluten free bread that was to their liking. Another told me that they had no problem switching over to gluten free breads and actually enjoyed their bread of choice. Jamison would squarely fall in the former category and not the latter and given he’s a very picky eater (yeah I know) this bread journey has been an adventure in and of itself! I have to admit though he’s been a very good sport.

Right after we found out that Jamison couldn’t eat gluten we purchased a bread machine that has a gluten free setting and ironically the bread I ended up coming up with works better on the basic setting, than the gluten free one. What can you do? You do what works and in this case the basic setting is the one to go with.

This bread is really good for gluten free. It doesn’t dry out after a day or two after some gluten free baked goods do. It has a very nice texture and a nice crumb too. The taste is also mild and it doesn’t overpower what you’re putting on your sandwich. We’ve been really pleased with this concoction and I bake a loaf every week or so so that Jamison has bread for his lunch to take to work. I have not tried it out in a conventional oven, though I intend to do that one day soon. So far we’ve just stuck to the bread machine because it’s simple and I don’t have to hover over the process. You just set it and go. If one of you gets adventurous and tries the conventional oven before I post anything about what might have occurred then let me know how your results turn out.

What You’ll Need:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of warm water
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons of powdered milk
1 tablespoon or organic cane sugar
2 cups of sweet rice flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of sorghum flour
2 tablespoons of xanthum gum
2 teaspoons of sea salt
4 teaspoons of yeast

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Bread Machine

Into the well of your bread machine dump eggs through organic cane sugar. The machine will do the mixing for you so don’t worry about stirring.

In a large bowl whisk or sift together sweet rice flour through sea salt until well incorporated. Once mixed dump the dry mixture on top of the wet ingredients. The machine will mix these together too. Dump yeast on top of the dry mixture and set the machine on the Basic 2 pound setting.

My machine also has a setting for light, medium or dark crust. If yours has this setting too then set it for medium. Start the machine and go back in and take a look between five and ten minutes to make sure that all the flour is incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the well to make sure everything incorporates. I’m not sure why this is the case with gluten free breads, but I’ve had to do this with every loaf I’ve made even the mix I purchased. When the cycle is through and the bread has baked let it sit for 10 minutes in the machine and then remove the loaf from the pan and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

After the first mix and when you’ve scraped down the sides the dough will look like this:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Rising

The dough is very shaggy and makes a very rustic loaf.

After it has risen it will look like this:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Risen

Still shaggy, but roughly doubled in size.

The top and sides turn a lovely brown:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

And thus your have your finished loaf. It’s moist and holds up well and is easily sliced with a bread knife. It’s just perfect for sandwiches.

Notes: Make sure that you use sweet rice flour and not just plain brown or white rice flour. It really adds to the texture and taste of the bread. Also the tapioca flour helps retain the moisture and give you the tender crumb. You could most likely use all honey or all organic cane sugar and it should work fine. The olive oil also lends to the crumb and flavor. You could substitute safflower oil or something if you wanted, but I wouldn’t recommend that substitution.

South Mountain Creamery Farm Festival

Field

This morning we ventured over to Middletown, Maryland to visit South Mountain Creamery, who was having a family farm festival today! We’re customers of the creamery and I thought it would be fun to go over and see their operation in action. I’m all about seeing where your food comes from!

South Mountain Creamery Store, Middletown Maryland

The festival is today from 10-5 and then again tomorrow from 12-5 as well. You can see cows, goats, adult turkeys, baby turkeys, baby chickens, baby ducks, bunnies, honey bees and so much more! They have booths set up with food to enjoy and they have a store on site so you can try their wares. You can go on a hayride, play in rocks and most importantly (at least from Alexis’ point of view) you can pet a bunch of animals! It was really a fun and if you are in the Baltimore/DC Metro area then you should most definitely stop by!

And now for some more pictures!

This calf wanted to give Alexis a kiss:

Cow Kiss

It looks like he (or she) got her, but they didn’t.

Much to Alexis’ joy she got to pet some calves!

Pet the Calf

And she also got to pet some bunnies too:

Pet the Bunnies

We took a short hayride up the road and through one of the fields so I shot a picture from the back of the wagon.

Farm

They had some baby chicks and turkeys too.

Chicks and Baby Turkeys

They also had a duckling, but he was still in the incubator. They brought him out for a moment and let Alexis touch him, but I didn’t get a shot of that as I have a thing for ducks and was too busy ooing and ahhing over how adorable he was and how soft he was because well who can resist a baby duckling?

And last but not least they had a window box beehive so you could see inside.

Honey Bees

When I pointed out the queen to Alexis she told me “That can’t be the queen…Where’s her crown?” Yes all queens have crowns apparently. I must remember that for future reference. The lady standing next to us thought that was hilarious. That’s my child…The laugh riot! 😉

I also picked up a couple of Carbon tomato plants, which is a black tomato variety, as well as a couple of Cherokee purple plants. They are both heirloom varieties. I was also able to get a chocolate mint plant. I’ve always wanted to try chocolate mint, but had never located it before so I was beyond thrilled to find they had plants!

So that was our morning/early afternoon. We have had a very fun, very educational day so far and now we’re off the the local nursery! How did you spend your day! 😉

The Best Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

Pot Roast is one of, if not the, quintessential comfort food of all time. When you cook a pot roast in a slow cooker you end up with a tender, moist roast that literally falls apart. You can cook it alone and make some mashed potatoes and a side salad to accompany the meal, or you can throw in some cut up potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc to make a wonderful one dish meal.

Any way you make it, this is bound to become a family favorite! And the best part is this is simple and easy to throw on in the morning and have a hot, hearty dinner ready for the evening. Pot roast isn’t just for Sunday dinner anymore!

What You’ll Need:
1 roast (Note: You can chose shoulder, rump, whatever you like.)
Water
Sea salt
Black pepper

Place roast in the bottom of you slow cooker and cover with water until just covered. Add a very generous pinch of sea salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper and believe it or not that’s it!

Now for cooking. You can do it one of two ways. You can cook it on high for 5-6 hours or you can cook it on low all day long. You’ll know it’s done when you stick the roast with a fork and it sort of shreds.

Once the pot roast is cooked remove it from the slow cooker and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing. I usually let it rest on a cutting board or in a glass dish. When you start to slice the roast it will normally just sort of fall apart. Once in a blue moon you may get a roast that does not, but it’s very rare. 9.9 times out of 10 when a roast is cooked like this it just falls apart and is very tender.

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

If you want to add in vegetables then layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker and then lay the roast on top. After that follow the same directions as above.

If you want you can make gravy with the broth that forms from the cooking of the roast by taking 2 cups of the broth and placing them in a stock pot. Take about 1/4 a cup of broth and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of flour until smooth and add to the pot. Stir the broth/flour mixture in to mix and then cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. There is no need to add salt or pepper as the broth already has both. You can also reserve the left over broth for soup.

Notes: If you want you can add in a sliced onion on top of the meat or throw in 6-8 garlic cloves, but it’s not necessary unless you just want to. The salt and pepper bring out wonderful aspects of the meat itself. You could also add in some rosemary and/or thyme.

My Mom’s Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Right before Grant was born my sister and I were discussing banana bread as I had a ton of bananas that were past eating stage, but just right for baking banana bread. She told me about a recipe that utilized toasted pecans, but I am really a sold on my adapted version of my mom’s banana bread recipe and I think it’s the best banana bread I’ve ever had, though the idea of the toasted pecans intrigued me. So what to do? I decided to toast some pecans and add them to my base recipe and I have to admit it was really good!

This recipe is a simple, quick solution that makes use of those bananas that are past their prime. The banana gives the bread such a lovely undertone, while the toasted pecans give it just the right punch. The best part is that the recipe makes two loaves so you have one for you and one to share or you can even freeze a loaf for later!

This bread is wonderful sliced right out the oven and it’s also good at room temperature. You can eat it plain, spread on a little butter or even a little peanut butter and you’ve got a wonderful snack or even breakfast! What’s not to like?

Banana Bread

What You’ll Need:
6-8 very ripe bananas
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of safflower oil or unsweetened apple sauce (Note: The apple sauce would make it healthier all while helping hold together the bread as the oil does. I make it with oil sometimes, but for the most part I utilize the apple sauce instead.)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour if you like. This batch was made with all purpose flour, but normally I use the white whole wheat flour instead.)
2 cups of pecans, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of a mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat bananas until smooth.

Next add sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil or apple sauce to the bananas and mix until smooth.

In a large bowl sift or whisk together flour, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients in with the banana mixture and stir until mixed. Set aside.

Banana Bread: Toasted Pecans

In medium sized skillet add chopped pecans and toast in a dry pan over medium heat until they turn slightly brown and you begin to smell their nutty flavor. Add nuts to the batter and stir to mix throughout.

Banana Bread: Ready for the Oven

Spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray and half the batter between the two pans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until bread is done through. Let sit in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then turn out to cool.

Banana Bread

Makes two loaves.

Banana Bread

Notes: For an added bonus you can stir in chocolate chips or raisins or even blueberries. You could also use a different type of nut. It’s all up to you and your tastes.