Monday, 26 November 2007

Daring Baker Challange - Tender Potato Bread

So my third challenge and the second one involving yeast, however it's savoury this time which I was quite happy with. Our challenge from Tanna was for Tender Potato Bread from the book Home baking by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. and you can find the recipe she challenged us with is here.

Bread is something I've toyed with since giving up gluten, I used to love kneading real bread before that as it was a great tension release but gluten free mixes tend to a) be wetter and b) don't have the satisfaction as there is no gluten to make it bounce back. I have made the occasional loaf for other people but if I'm not careful I find the skin contact can be enough to set my hands off and I like having the use of my hands.. I spent several years having to use both hands to pick up anything even vaguely heavy as I had so little strength in either one of them so I am wary about going back to that. One advantage I suppose of that symptom is that if I do accidentally eat something with gluten in I start to feel the ache across my knuckles in moments which stops me eating to much. Any way I digress back to Potato Bread.

I tried this recipe twice this month. The first time as close to the published version as possible and the second with a few more tweeks. I managed to forget to add Xanth gum both times but I think it will get made again and I'll report back if that makes much difference when I do.

Bread the first.

I used a generic baking potato as I didn't have a named variety of suitable type available and on the first try used about 14oz, we were told to use between 8 and 16oz. Flour wise I substituted my standard Dove Farm gluten free flour for the basic general purpose flour and millet for the wholewheat. I wasn't that happy about the millet but we were waiting on a bulk order of flour and other things and I didn't want to buy extra expansive bags in when I'd have loads in a few days. It proves I was intrigued enough to try it that I didn't wait till later in the month.

The dough went together well, being used to gluten free mixes the wetness didn't really phase me and I only added a couple of extra cups to the dough before it seemed stiff enough. I didn't knead it anyone than needed to incorporate the flour as this really serves no function without the gluten as the main reason for this is to develop the gluten chains. I left it to rise in the oven which has a special bread rising function as the kitchen was a little cold and after two hours it was wonderfully risen and full of bubbles as you may be able to see in the picture.

However when i came to shape it the dough was extremely sticky and pretty much poured out of the bowl so I added about another 2 cups of flour to get it workable. The shaped bread was put back to prove but it seemed to have run out of steam rather and only rose a small amount. I baked it anyway as I am fairly used to a mediocre rise on gluten free bread. Now I must admit to a couple of mistakes. I baked the focaccia to long and burnt the onion on it but much worse is I think I forgot to take the plastic wrap off first and that resulted in a plasticy glaze on parts of the bread!! We only eat a bit of it and from the underside to see what it was like then the rest went into the bin!

The loaf was better, rather heavy but quite edible though it had a distinctly bitter edge which was worse once it got a little more stale the next couple of days.

However it showed promise and after some discussion with knowledgeable members of the daring bakers I decided to try again. This time I decided to only rise the dough once as I was told that the second rise is mostly for developing taste and that as my flour has no gluten in it there would be less to sugars to feed the yeast.

Bread the Second.

This time I used a similar potato and cooked up nearly 16 oz. Instead of millet I used buckwheat as my flour order had arrived and indeed I added about 1.5 cups of that in total which gave the bread a distinctly wholemeal look. As I was only doing one rise this time I made sure I incorporated a bit more flour at this stage and in the end used about 6.2 cups out of the 8.5 max suggested in the recipe. I wouldn't expect a gluten free bread to use all 8.2 cups as most none wheat flours soak up more liquid than wheat does.

Once I had a nice dough I divided it into three. One third as put in muffin tins to make rolls, then one third was flavoured with tomato puree and a bit more flour added to counter the extra liquid. The final third as flavoured with cheddar cheese. These two flavoured doughs were roughly recombined so the two types swirled through the bread and then the whole lot was put in a bread tin. Both sets of bread were put to rise in the oven as before.
After two hours a good amount of rising had been done and after carefully removing ALL plastic wrap I cooked them, the rolls got about 30 mins and the loaf 50, the last 10 mins of which I removed it from the tin to allow the crust to develop all round.

This time round the texture was much better and the gluten eating members of the household actually asked if they could have some several times over the weekend meaning I didn't have my usual problem of worrying it was going to go off before I finished it. The cheese and tomato bread was espacally good and will be done again I am sure.

One final thing I decided is I want to develop my own general flour mix as my mum would have liked to try the bread but she has similar arthritic reactions to maize as I do to gluten and Dove farm's mix has maize in it. I like maize flour for some things but in a generic mix I could happily do without especally as there are becoming more flours available.

You can see how other Baring bakers got on by checking out the blog roll, out of something like 400 members I only know of two other who are gluten free they are Naomi at Straight into bed Cakefree and Dried and Sheltie Girl at Gluten a go go


  1. wow i love all your breads, good job

  2. I love the marbling in the tomato flavoured loaf and it looks like you got a good crumb even without xanthan gum.

    I find Buckwheat flour nigh on indigestible so I don't use it at all! Millet generally gives a crumbly texture to anything, so use it where you want 'shortness', I find toasting those bitter grains first helps to reduce the grassy or bitter taste. You can toast flour in a dry pan, just don't let it burn!

    As you probably know already - the key to keeping gluten free bread is to slice and freeze it as soon as it has cooled completely. Then just defrost as you need it.

    Where do you order your flours from? I'm trying to get hold of Sorghum flour and can't get anyone to order it here in Bridport. We don't have any Indian food shops to get it from either!

    x x x

  3. I get my flour either from Suma in bulk or from my local organic shop who delivers along with my vegs each week.

    I haven't looked for Sorghum but if Indian shops sell it I might be able to get some, there is a high percentage of people from the Indian subcontinent here in Coventry.

  4. On freezing. we currently only have a tiny freezer and this weekend we went to my mum's so the bread came with us. However the big chest freezer should be up and running again soon and then I'll freeze things more..

  5. Wonderful looking bread with that gorgeous marble effect!!

    Rosie x

  6. Very nice! I thought about how this could be done while going gluten free. Your turned out looking great!

  7. I am amazed at the gluten free versions. I admire you!! I don't think I'd be able to come up with a decent substitution. Great job!

  8. Sorghum flour.. found a couple of on-line UK sources

    not tried either but I may well if I can't find it in a local shop.

  9. Great job on your adaption to the recipe. You are right, the buckwheat made the difference in the bread but it sure was a lovely loaf of bread!

  10. How wonderful of you to try it twice! Great adaption for those who need gluten free. Fantastic job!

  11. I'm so impressed that you made it twice. It was fascinating to read about the substitions you made for the gluten-free factor. Fantastic job!

  12. Hi Esther - You did a lovely job on your gluten free challenge. I love your marbled bread.

    My tidbits for helping you bake gf bread are:

    1. Go for only 1 rise, as the yeast tends to give out after 1 rise. You can try to combat this by using double the amount of yeast called for by the recipe.

    2. Even though the dough is sticky and runny, it doesn't mean that the bread needs extra flour. GF breads don't always have the same feel as gluten breads.

    3. Divide your recipes into halves or fourths to produce smaller quantities rather than the larger size. GF bread is better fresh than when it has been frozen and then thawed.

    4. Millet and sorghum can give a bitter edge to your baked goods when used in large quantities. I don't use more than 1/2 cup of these stronger flavored flours in a recipe.

    5. Not all recipes need a binder. There are many options for binders that you can use...xanthan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, agar agar, gum mastic, kudzu/kuzu powder, pectin, and gelatin just to name some of the many choices you have available to you...

    Good luck with your own flour blend. My favorite is brown rice, sweet rice (glutinous rice flour) and arrowroot starch.

    Great Job!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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  17. I love to see what the gluten free folks do with these challenges each month. I can't wait to try your tomato/cheddar marbled bread... yum!

  18. The tomato marbling is fabulous looking.

  19. Esther,

    Thanks for the tip on those sites, I have been going through and translating the Indian names for the grains in to English so now I know what to look for.

    I'll write a post on it soon.


  20. I admire you for translating the DB recipes in GF, glad you took it upon you to try a second time, it looks so much better than the first!

  21. I love the tomato swirled loaf! I think you did a great adaptation of the recipe. Awsome job again Esther!

  22. I like the marbling effect produced by the tomato, as well.

    The interesting part about reading the posts from those making it gluten-free is how it comes out, and I'm glad to see your second try was the winner!

    Christina, She Runs, She Eats

  23. Your tales were fun to read. How frustrating (but a bit comical!) to have left the plastic on! I do love the marbled bread, very creative!

  24. To everyone who likes the tomato idea. I had a recipe way back in my pre gluten free days for a wheat based bread like that and remember it fondly so I'm sure it will work for others too.

    Gretchen - glad you enjoyed the tale I must admit I was torn between being cross and laughing about the plastic myself.

  25. Gluten Free bread baking always amazes me! Excellent job at making the challenge work for you.

    I have a friend, who was an avid baker, who has been developing many food allergies and is now down to rice, amaranth, millet, and sorghum. I'll have to point her to your blog!

  26. Oh, I hate when I leave things like plastic on the food as it goes into the oven :( (Or forget to remove the parchment paper from cake before layering and frosting... oy) I feel your pain. But your second attempt puts the rest to shame! They are lovely. Great job!

    -jen at use real butter

  27. Well done! I love the marbled one!



  28. Your tomato and cheese bread is lovely! What a gorgeous second attempt! And your story about leaving the plastic on your focaccia was great! I'm glad you maintained a sense of humor about it. =)