A few years ago I lived off of french bread and anchovy stuffed manzanilla olives. Don’t ask me why I chose this particular carb ridden diet, but for a starving student it was heavenly. Salty, briny olives and soft sweet bread. Simple, fast and delicious. It was a phase that lasted about a month and while I do not know the love affair ended so abruptly (it could have been because the grocer near me stopped carrying the olives) I know that my waist is thankful that it did.
Enter Celiac disease and the lack of a good gluten-free baguette and I suddenly develop the urge to slap myself because I ended the baguette diet so quickly. I loved bread. Someone once told me that you could bring any girl to an Italian restaurant on a first date and the guy would be golden because all girls love carbs. Well if that guy brought this girl to an Italian restaurant without warning I would probably stomp out of the restaurant after longingly staring at the beautiful baguette or ciabatta in the centre of the table. Don’t get me wrong, I will still go to Italian restaurants but I have to mentally prepare myself beforehand “No bread. No pasta. No bread. No pasta!” and seek out the menu prior to dining. Ah, the sweet side of gluten free eating!
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and being a pescatarian celiac my meal does not contain the usual turkey or stuffing; instead there are other delights like grilled salmon with salsa verde, grilled mussels, sauteed sweet potatoes with caramelized apples, brussel sprout hazelnut slaw, and truffled mushroom risotto (recipe to follow later this week).
I was heading to my Mum’s for dinner and I wanted to bring something. She is the Queen of nibbly foods and so I already assumed she would have an assortment of cheese and Almond thins (especially for me) but I felt a pang when I thought of the cheese. The cheese that would go so nicely with a warm, crusty, chewy, sweet slice of baguette. So I set out to bake two baguettes to bring for dinner. Sure enough, when I arrived there was Gorgonzola, Welsh Cheddar and Triple Cream Brie and all went perfectly with the bread.
Be forewarned, the recipe that follows is quite time consuming. There is a lot of waiting involved and a lot of kneading-it is a great arm workout! There is also the option of flours, unfortunately I had to use garbanzo flour because I ran out of both tapioca and brown rice flour. I detest garbanzo flour as I find it really just tastes like beans and even worse smells like beans but miraculously it turned out and tasted delicious! You will also require a spray bottle and a pizza stone if you have one-I have yet to acquire one and mine turned out just fine!
makes 2 demi baguettes (adapted from the GlutenFree Girl)
280 grams gluten free flour blend (brown rice, sorghum, and tapioca)
140 grams tapioca flour
140 grams potato flour (I had to sub in 1/4 cup of garbanzo-I would not recommend anymore than that!)
100 grams milk
100 grams water
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon raw honey
For the Flour:
Whisk the flours together to blend
For the Sponge:
Measure out 210 grams of the combined flours into a large bowl. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it is lukewarm. Add the milk to the flour and mix. Run the tap until it is room temperature and add a bit to the flour/milk mixture. Stir to combine- it should be the consistency of thick oatmeal. If it is really thick add a bit more water. Sprinkle yeast on the mixture, let stand for 3 minutes, stir and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until it has doubled or tripled in volume, about 1 to 2 hours.
For the Dough:
In a large bowl, mix the remaining flour, the sponge, the xanthum gum, melted butter, honey, and eggs. (This will be a bicep workout) Mix the dough for about two minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt on the dough, knead the dough for about 7 minutes until it comes into a ball. Scrape down the dough into one ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place until it has risen to twice its size, about 1 1/2 hours. Take the dough and cut it in half, on a floured surface roll the dough into two long baguettes. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven to come to temperature. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the oven is ready, unwrap the dough and place it on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, score the top of each baguette and dust lightly with gluten free flour.
Take a large sheet tray and place it on the bottom rack of the oven, fill it half way with water. Slide the tray on to the middle rack (or on to the pizza stone if using). Spray the inside walls of the oven with water from a spray bottle. Close the oven door, wait a minute and then spray again. Bake the baguettes until they are golden. About 15-25 minutes.