So after another two unsuccessful attempts at hand baking this week, which resulted in another loaf not rising and not tasting all that great, and a fourth (is it four now? I've lost count!) loaf tasting okay but crumbling to the point I couldn't even pick up a piece without it breaking apart, I went back to the drawing board, reading A LOT of articles and recipes from various sources about gluten free baking, the different kinds of flours, working out which were considered heavy, medium, light etc, and the other types of ingredients people used with successful results.
To make my challenge even harder, I was avoiding the use of the "easy" gluten free flours that are considered to be junk carbs. They have no real nutritional value and will spike your blood glucose level (like eating slices of sugar, really) after you consume them. This being rice flour, tapioca flour, maize flour and potato flour. I also wanted to avoid soy flour, because as someone who has had extensive issues with endometriosis in the past, I was advised by both my obstetrician/gynecologist after the birth of my 2nd kid, and by my naturopath that soy products have been proven to interrupt and interfere with the production and management of some hormones. For someone without hormone issues, soy probably might be a healthy diet addition. For myself, not so much.
Anyway, I was also trying to avoid using xanthan gum as a lot of gluten free recipes do. While probably not entirely unhealthy, I quickly found there were healthier alternatives, such as psyllium husk powder. I also didn't want to use eggs (a common ingredient in gluten free baking) as I seem to have sensitive taste buds and while I like eggs, I didn't want that eggy taste in my bread.
So, I wasn't making things easy for myself!
But, I'm happy to say that my first from-scratch attempt in the bread machine was the closest to success I've had yet! I'm going to make some adjustments for liquid and baking time for the next round, but this bread was definitely a winner and we've nearly finished the entire loaf. I'll probably be making another tomorrow. Just before I get to the actual recipe, a side note, I have used oat flour in this, and for people with Coeliac disease, that technically doesn't make it gluten free. However, apparently the gluten in oats is slightly different from the gluten in wheat, so some people with NCGI (non-coeliac gluten intolerance, which is what we're dealing with in my family) are able to eat oats without issue. But don't just take my word for it, always consult with your doctor and do your research.
So here's what I came up with:
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup arrowroot (arrowroot is almost the same as tapioca, I know but they are technically different, sourced from two totally different plants. Supposedly, arrowroot is the better of the two health-wise)
1 tablespoon coconut flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons psyllium husk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water, left to sit for at least 30 minutes until they become gel-like
1/2 cup milk (I used goats milk, but a milk alternative such as almond or coconut should be fine)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1) mix the chia seeds into 1 cup water, whisk and leave for at least 30 minutes.
2) mix all remaining dry ingredients together.
3) mix all wet ingredients together (including chia seeds gel, which is the egg substitute)
4) add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold together until combined.
5) put in bread machine tin/pan and set machine as per machine's instructions.
Now, I have a gluten free setting on my bread machine, which makes things a whole lot easier. The only thing I will say is that the baking setting was not long enough, and my bread sank a little in the middle after I took it out. I was also slightly doughy still at the bottom, but only right in the middle near the paddle, so next time I'm going to back it for another 20 minutes. It'll mean my crust will be extra dark and crunchy, but I don't mind that, especially if it means the middle is cooked well!
So, I have found a gluten free mix for my bread machine that I'm very happy with. The next item on my baking list to conquer is scones!
Note: Jan 2017
**I'd like to try and improve on this, as it's actually been hit and miss. I can't work it out because I swear I do the same thing every time, but sometimes this recipe works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sorry if it causes and baking catastrophes for anyone, but I will update this post once I get it to be foolproof.**