but you'd be forgiven for beginning to wonder! I blame my daughter for my current experiment, as she discovered a recipe she thought I might enjoy trying.
One of the problems with a gluten free diet is bread. Purchased bread that is also gluten free is usually costly and often not very good. Some resembles madeira cake more than bread and is so spongy it is hard to swallow, others turn to crumbs if you look at them, which is a costly way of making breadcrumbs. Genius is the best I've come across and I feel churlish saying this, but it tends to have over-large air holes which make the slices fall apart, and also it comes in white or brown only - I long for something with a bit more substance and fibre.
I have tried making my own bread and, again, have had some success after a lot of testing and perseverence. We bought a (Panasonic) breadmaker and a number of books. I tried using gram flour (chick peas). The best ready flour mix I have found is made by Glebe Farm Seeded Brown Bread Mix. The snag with this is that the breadmaker paddle leaves a big hole in the bottom which makes the slices of bread fragile (as does the lack of gluten), but I should try to make the dough in the machine and then bake it in the oven. It requires the addition of egg or egg substitute to make it work, so it does not taste altogether authentic, either.
Spelt is a primitive form of wheat and I can tolerate it fairly well (I'm not coeliac). My daughter forwarded this recipe for Three-minute Spelt Bread from the Guardian's blog post on making wholemeal bread, and the idea of quick natural bread mde it seem worth giving a go. The rest of the Blog entry is really interesting and gave me some further ideas to pursue.
I used a mix of 400g wholemeal spelt to 100g white spelt flour. I mixed the dough with my Kenwood Chef mixer. The dough was quite wet and did not form a clump, so I decided I might as well also use the idea of cooking in a well-oiled cast-iron casserole (it is suggested that the trapped moisture encourages rising). So, I oiled my casserole and used a spatula to transfer the dough therein, and proceeded to bake as instructed having placed the lid on the casserole.
The oven has a bread baking setting, so I used that, and left everything alone for an hour.
The loaf looked wonderful when I took the lid off the casserole, and had risen somewhat more than the photograph suggests.
However, the oiling of the casserole was not sufficent lubrication to allow an easy release of the baked loaf and I had to dig it out, leaving most of the bottom crust behind. The flavour, however, is wonderful.
I need to try some further variations on this theme, but oh! The pleasure of eating bread that tastles like bread is a great joy indeed.