Finally, my gluten-free bread game is on point!
Gluten free + dairy free loaf, baked on a stoneware baking sheet in the oven (NOT in a bread machine)!
To me, this is on par with the best German bakery bread - except that stuff's all full of gluten, so we can't eat it.
I've been learning how to live gluten-free for over ten years now.
Ten years ago, I was a vegetarian, and my husband was suffering from seizures, loss of his senses (taste, touch, etc), couldn't sleep, brain fog, lethargy, generalized pain--oh, and (TMI) going #2 about 20 times a day.
He couldn't work, and I was expecting, so I needed to stop working. So my husband went to California on the advice of a friend, to seek a new job and a new life for our family.
While the job didn't work out, he happened to "get stuck" eating only meat and plant foods while he was there...
Cutting out gluten for a week had a massive impact on his wellbeing, and once we figured out that it wasn't just some California-induced mystery-magic, we've been eating gluten-free ever since.
So, when you first go gluten-free, you're eager to learn. What do I need to avoid?
You're motivated, because you've finally figured out a dietary trigger that's been making you miserable, and you want to feel good again!
Then, you start researching, and you're just appalled. Gluten is in EVERYTHING. Canned soups? Nope. Ice cream? Better read the label! Soy sauce? Say goodbye to Asian cuisine (unless you live in a big city, or level up your cooking game!)
Boxed easy dinners? LOL. You're new here, huh?
Feeling like you need a beer after all that disappointment?
Yeah, sorry, that's off the table too. *passes you a hard cider in consolation*
Maybe you spend lots of money and effort buying pre=packaged gluten-free bread alternatives...only to realize, they suck.
Okay, you go to the health food store, determined to get a tortilla and a loaf of bread that you can enjoy.
You find a pack of 6 tiny tortillas, and a loaf of gluten-free bread that's tiny-sized, like one of those dessert loaves. You get to the register with these two items, and you're out $12.50, if not more.
You get these items home, make yourself a tiny, overpriced sandwich, and chew on dry, bland disappointment as the truth hits you:
Are you ever going to be able to enjoy food again?
The answer is YES, IF you're willing to rethink your food habits! One of the first things I had to shift was actually my thinking when we went gluten-free.
Especially with a family of 7, and a not-unlimited food budget, I realized that our diet habits had to undergo some renovation in order to make this gluten-free lifestyle work.
Bread and noodles are easy, quick staple foods for most of us. A bagel for breakfast, pasta for dinner, and a nice sandwich in between, right?
You don't really notice how much the American diet is a grain-based one until you go gluten-free (or GRAIN-free, that's a real shocker!).
Baking our own bread just makes sense, because it's not only way cheaper for a larger amount, it also tastes WAY better, and can be tweaked to accommodate any other food allergies or intolerances.
At one point, we did an elimination diet, and for FIVE months, the whole family did not eat any wheat, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, citrus, or nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant).
So we had to cook everything at home, because even a seasoning mix with paprika in it would trigger an inflammatory response.
The first thing I found on my quest was Nicole Hunn's Gluten Free on a Shoestring, and for years, that was my savior. She recommends the all-purpose flour blend called Better Batter, which I ordered in bulk online for years.
I also discovered Vitacost.com, which has amazing discounts on natural food items as well as supplements - and I could buy Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix from there for an okay price, as well as Bob's Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix -both of which became treat items for our family....but not really staple items.
One bag of Pamela's mix is basically 2 pancake breakfasts for our family...yummy, but more of a treat than a staple!
However, more and more people have gone gluten-free - and NOW, there's a book called Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
It's the brainchild of a pastry chef and a medical doctor who needed bread-baking to be easy.
The concept is: Make their custom flour mix, then use it to make a large batch of dough and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks as it sours naturally, and gets more delicious by the day.
To bake, simply take out the dough and use it.
It's even DAIRY-FREE, and vegan if you skip the (optional) eggs!
Get the book here - it'll change your gluten-free life!
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