Gluten Free Baking Disasters

I have been an avid baker for years.  Some of my recent gluten free baking disasters would tend to prove otherwise.  After confiding in friends that I was “going gluten free” they invited me and hubby to dinner.  So as not to stress them to much, I offered to bring the bread.  Of course prior to this I had read a number of articles on the subject and had visited several websites which offered a wealth of knowledge.  Nothing prepared me for the challenge ahead.

On one of the many gluten free sites I had visited, I found a wonderful recipe for gluten free yeast bread using the bread machine.  I carefully measured out the ingredients and hit the start button to let the machine do it’s thing.  The bread was a disaster!  Not sure what went wrong….it did not rise and was very gummy.  Into the trash bin it went.  I hurriedly made my first pan of gluten free cornbread and my confidence level was restored.  Cornbread is a much safer alternative than yeast bread. 

I then braved the world of making scones with success, biscuits and English Muffins.  The first recipe I used for English Muffins produced a very sad looking product.  The taste was okay but the appearance left something to be desired.   I found that if I split the muffins, buttered the inside, grilled and made inside out sandwiches they weren’t to bad.  The second recipe for the English Muffins produced a wonderful yeast biscuit.  Not an English Muffin but tasty nonetheless.   Using the first recipe I tried, I think I have succeeded in developing an English Muffin recipe that works for me.  I’ll give it another try before sharing.

For those of you who have never done any gluten free baking, the dough is soft and sticky.  Yeast bread isn’t kneaded and the rise time is usually shorter.  The dough will spread and therefore a form of sorts is needed with formed products like English Muffins.  Santa Claus had brought me English Muffin rings several years ago and these come in handy in my new endeavor.  One site I visited did suggest that well washed tuna cans with both ends removed made a good form. 

Then there was the almost pizza disaster.  The recipe I used was from King Arthur Gluten Free Pizza Crust.  There is a 30 minute rest period with the yeast, oil and a portion of the dry ingredients.  The yeast mixture and remaining flour mixture are combined and then another 30 minute rest period.  After carefully spreading the dough onto a pizza pan there is a 15 minute rest period.  Are you getting the idea that this a labor intensive process?

The finished product was beautiful.  A gluten free crust topped with my homemade tomato sauce, Italian sausage, caramelized sweet onions and lots of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano with crumbled feta.  Then panic struck.  You see I don’t have a pizza pan.  I have a pizza crisper.  No problem just cover with foil and oil as you would a regular pan.  Right?  Not so.  The crust stuck.

After my initial panic subsided the crust became a little firmer (typical of gluten free baking) and the foil was easier to remove.  With the foil off, the pizza was placed back onto the crisper and returned to the hot oven.  After a few minutes it was crisp and ready to enjoy. 

Next time around I will opt to use my cast iron round griddle which is what I should have used this time and then transfer the finished product to the crisper for a few minutes crisping in the hot oven.

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